Outlook Publishing – Interview with Ben Weaver

This year, Vonage are proud sponsors of The Duke of York Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 13th annual National Business Awards.  This award celebrates the potential that exists within leaders of the UK’s most promising start-ups and as an enabler of UK small and home businesses, Vonage is the perfect partner to support and celebrate Britain’s brightest new business leaders. Continue reading

The Benefits of Using Vonage: What Our Customers Have To Say

At Vonage we love to receive feedback from our customers so we know how we’re getting on with our service, what aspects our customers are particularly satisfied with, and where we can make improvements.  It’s all part of our plan to deliver the best possible home and small business phone lines service we can.  Here’s just some of the kind words that our small business owner customers have to say about us. Continue reading

Magic Thermodynamic Box Interview: Alistair Smit

As part of our commitment to helping small businesses succeed, Vonage is sponsoring the inaugural Duke of York Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 13th annual National Business Awards.  This award celebrates the potential that exists within leaders of the UK’s most promising start-ups.

Ahead of the ceremony taking place at London’s Grosvenor Square, Park Lane on the 11th of November 2014, we caught up with the five finalists to learn more about their business story and entrepreneurial spirit. Continue reading

The Best Free International Calls Apps: The Future of Calling Abroad?

For too long, phone users have been hesitant to make long distance calls – ironically, even more so in the mobile phone age.  The technology that should make it easier than ever to talk to our loved ones, wherever they are in the world, has been hampered by roaming and international call charges. Tales of horrendous phone bills unwittingly racked up on holiday, the hassle of having to use international calling cards – isn’t it about time the mobile phone industry caught up with international phone users’ needs? Continue reading

Open All Hours: The Impact of Easy Global Communication on Small Businesses

Big or small, and whether you realise it or not, almost all business takes place on an global level now. Even the handmade craft products for sale in the shop just down the street from you might have been made from supplies sourced from another part of the country or halfway across globe. None of this would be possible without the benefits of easier, cheaper global communication in the business world. Continue reading

Small Business Case Study: My Itchy Dog

In 2009, Kate Bendix, a BBC producer specialising in food and science-based programmes, set up My Itchy Dog to sell effective remedies, healthy treats, and supplements to pet owners like herself whose pets were tormented by skin conditions.  After all, dogs can have allergies too and when they do they scratch, bite, and claw at their itchy skin, making themselves – and their frustrated owners – miserable. Continue reading

Small Business Case Study: Anstu Media

Ian Cash started with an idea; to build a successful photography and video production business. Ian started in the media industry more than 33 years ago, and built a wealth of experience in his field working with blue chip organisations like the BBC and ITV. Nowadays, Anstu Media, the company he built, boasts of offices in Lancashire and Leeds offering film making, photography, television production and videography services. Continue reading

Vonage Announces Extended International Calling and New Prices for Home Businesses

At Vonage we like to think that we’re always breaking new ground in terms of offering our customers the best low-cost call pricing across the globe.  That’s why we’re so pleased to announce that we’ve extended the number of countries included in our Talk World call plan to offer new customers unlimited calling to landlines and mobiles in Nigeria, Bangladesh, Brazil and Chile.  Continue reading

Remote working: The future of global business?

Remote working, teleworking or telecommuting: whatever you call it, it’s fast becoming a new workplace reality for a growing number of us. Nowadays ‘going to work’ doesn’t necessarily mean going to the office. Thanks to the internet, more flexible working hours, and our trusty smartphones, many of us can now get our work done from the comfort of our own home, the library, or even down at our local coffee shop. Continue reading

The Big Switch: Talk more Text Less

If you’re a regular traveller on UK buses or trains, you may have noticed a recent ad campaign urging people to get their business contacts off email and onto conference calls for more effective interaction. And it’s not just in the world of business that people are noticing that calls are more effective than texts. Even in their personal lives, people are becoming more inclined to opt for a phone call – just as long as they can use the internet to make it rather than their landline or mobile phone. It’s a symptom of an interesting shift, as telephone user’s switch back to calls for important communication, but why?

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Home Business Ideas for Mums – Working From Home

There are now over 1 million mums running home businesses in the UK – and it’s easy to see why. Running your own business puts you in control – allowing you to fit work around childcare and set your own flexible hours. If your business is run from home, you also reap the benefits of low start-up costs – no office rental and you can take advantage of services like the Vonage Home Business package, which is specifically tailored to the needs of people working from home. Continue reading

Mumsnet Workfest : Starting a Small Business

Vonage was extremely proud to be one of the partner sponsors of Mumsnet Workfest – a special event aimed at helping mums craft the career they want – whether through returning to work, or starting a small business. The event was a great opportunity to demonstrate that our support of small and home businesses goes beyond our service range, and to interact with some of the UK’s most enterprising women.

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What is Data Roaming? Read About How to Avoid Roaming Charges Abroad.

We all know that the cost of calling home from abroad can be prohibitively expensive. Depending on which country you’re calling from, the mobile roaming charges can be many multiples of your standard calling package – enough to put you off from calling completely or, at the very least, making for a rather quick call and definitely a lot of clock watching.

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COULD YOU BE THE DUKE OF YORK NEW ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR?

Vonage is proud to announce our role as the lead supporter of the “Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award” at the National Business Awards. This prestigious award is given to the first-time founder of the best business less than 18 months old.

The winner of this high-profile, nationally-recognised award will have started their first business in the last 18 months, and demonstrate how to build a successful business with entrepreneurial aptitude, commercial acumen, vision and drive.

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International Workers’ Day 2014 – Vonage’s Top 10 Companies Around the World

May 1st is International Workers’ Day, a celebration of the International labour movement. The date is marked as a holiday in over 80 countries and also celebrated unofficially in many nations across the globe. To mark the occasion, we have pulled together some great businesses and organisations from around the world – all based in markets which you can reach with low cost international calls from Vonage.

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National Business Awards

The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award Open for Entries

Press release from 5th March 2014:

Vonage partners with the National Business Awards to support campaign to find the UK’s best new entrpreneurs

The inaugural Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award opens today to celebrate those starting their first enterprise, with entries invited from founders of all ages.

Vonage, a leading provider of cloud-based, internet telephony for small businesses, is partnering with the National Business Awards to support the campaign to find and celebrate the UK’s best new entrepreneurs.

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Semana Santa parade

Easter Traditions and Celebrations Around the World

Easter is almost here, and preparations are underway to celebrate, from Columbia to Cambridge, Berlin to Valencia. Easter is a very important holiday in many countries – a sacred date in many religious calendars. But, like Christmas, it’s a holiday that has become more mainstream over the years, now celebrated by many who aren’t religious at all – undoubtedly tempted by all those chocolate Easter eggs!

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What is Driving the Rise of the UK Tech City Start-Up Phenomenon?

The Rise of the UK Tech City Start-Up Phenomenon

What began as Silicon Valley, an American dream the whole world wanted to emulate, has become one of the biggest business start-up trends of the 21st century. Right now, more than 1,300 fledgling businesses are setting up shop in a corner of East London in the capital’s Tech City – the fastest growing tech cluster in Europe.

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Five Tips for Reducing Your Business Start-Up Costs – Vonage

Five Practical Tips for Reducing Your Business Start-Up Costs

One of the biggest concerns to any fledgling business is the start-up costs.  You’ve taken the plunge to do things for yourself and are getting to grips with the practicalities of running your own business, but how can you ensure that you minimise the costs associated with getting things off the ground?  Continue reading

Introducing the Vonage blog

Introducing the Vonage blog – a space for showcasing the latest Vonage product news and features and for helping small and home business owners to grow their businesses.

There are four categories where we will feature information on areas that will support our Vonage community; whether you have recently started a new business from home, or you have moved abroad and want a great service to connect with your family back home, we have got you covered:

 Home and Small Business

You can expect to find in-depth analysis of the latest small business trends, easy-to-follow step-by-step guides covering a range of business best practices, home business news that we think you’ll want to hear about, and tips to help you give your business the competitive edge it needs.

International

With family and friends spread across continents, we help you get closer. Here’s where our international customers can find the latest international news, as well as updates about our latest call rates and products that will help you stay connected, wherever you are, for less.

Latest News

Whether you’re a business customer or an international customer, our news section will let you know when we launch new products or services that could help you connect for less. You’ll also find out all about our partnerships and the charities Vonage has been working to support, and what we’ve been doing to help.

Advice

Your satisfaction is important to us, and whether you’re a business or international customer, we want to make your Vonage experience perfect. We’ll help to make your online experience as easy as 1, 2, 3 with our video tutorials and simple step-by-step guides. And of course, we’re always keen to hear your questions and queries – so please do get in touch.

Thanks for taking time out to read our blog.

To get in touch with us reach out in the comments section, on  https://www.facebook.com/VonageUK or @vonageuk, we’d love to hear from you.

Tips For Starting Your Own Home Business – Vonage

Starting your own home-run business is a brave thing to do, especially in the current financial climate.  If you’ve recently taken the plunge and incorporated a private enterprise then you’ll want to do all you can to give it the best chance of success.  Here are Vonage’s top five tips for starting your own home business.

Tips-for-home-business-success

Presentation

As any PR guru will tell you, appearance is key to a business’ success (or failure!) and first impressions really do count.  You need to convey to your customers that you know what you are doing, can deliver on what you are offering and are, basically, a safe pair of hands.  If a website is going to be your first point of contact for your customers then it’s important that it looks professional.  A convincing website can instantly build trust in your brand and services and a well-maintained social media presence can help to reinforce an impression of grandeur.  If your start-up is operating from a home office – i.e. residential address – give yourself a physical presence by setting up a business address such as a virtual office. This is especially important if you are targeting a specific area and want to demonstrate local knowledge, or want to have a presence in a certain city, with London being the common example.

Communication

Communication is also paramount in business, and this is no different when it comes to successful start-ups and home-based businesses. Your customers need to be able to contact you and making this as simple and professional as possible is of paramount importance.  Consider setting up departmental email addresses to give your business a sense of structure and scale, even if they are just feeding into one inbox (for now!).  Set up a dedicated second line for your home business.  The last thing you want is a family member picking up a business call, and simply directing customers to a mobile number loses an element of professionalism that comes from a landline number.  Vonage’s second line service includes visual voicemail, caller identification (to personally greet customers) and call waiting facilities.  You can even choose the area code and phone number, which allows you to establish a local presence without being geographically based there.

Innovation

If you think a small business can’t compete with the big ones, think again.  One of the key benefits of being small is it allows you to be more innovative and reactive.  Large companies may have successfully dug a niche for themselves but they are often stuck in it and hampered in their ability to do anything too radical or too quickly.  Small businesses are more flexible.  The owner tends to be much closer to its customers, benefitting from immediate and direct feedback, something that the CEO of a multi-national can only dream of.  The size, scale and speed-of-decision making is much faster, meaning you can adapt much more quickly and effectively.

Partnerships

The one downside of the above is that innovation often requires extra resources, something that a small company doesn’t have internally.  The way around this is to establish partnerships with similar sized operations, for instance, other home businesses  in your area, and form a ‘co-operative’ where you pool resources together to devise new offerings or win bigger jobs.  Vonage offers 3-way calling, a virtual number facility where you can separate calls coming into you for your co-operative’s business and, if you are working in another office for the day, calls can be diverted to your mobile or another landline.

Incentives

Partnerships are all well and good but when the time comes that you’re able to take on additional staff you should really consider incentivising them with shares in the company.  Many of Facebook’s first employees famously received shares instead of full salaries, and now they’re looking at their share of a multi-billion dollar fortune.  There’s nothing like dangling the carrot of a big pay-out to help motivate employees do a better job for a company they believe in.

Keep in touch with Vonage on Facebook and Twitter.

We Love Internet

Create a better online presence for your small business

There are more small businesses in the UK today than ever before – and the numbers just keep growing. As an increasing number of new start-ups enter the market each year it is, in many senses, the age of the small business. Yet, despite the growing numbers, things do not get any easier: survival and growth are far from guaranteed. An effective online presence for your business is one way to set yourself apart from the competition. Continue reading

Women In Small Business

Influential Women In Small Business and Startups

Influential Women in Small Business

To mark International Women’s Day, Vonage wanted to shine a light on the women who are making the small business world tick, both globally and locally. Women are starting up new businesses at twice the rate of men, yet their efforts are often overshadowed or ignored, and they can find it harder to come by serious funding, investment and support. In truth, women-owned businesses are thriving, and it’s time to celebrate it!

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How to Set Up the Ultimate Home Office

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular for new businesses and for larger organisations that are adapting to the changing lifestyle of today’s workforce.
Maintaining that professionalism is beneficial and can really help individuals progress with their work – you need to make sure your home office meets your needs. You can get the most out of your working space by following our four steps for setting up the ultimate home office.

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Small businesses can impress customers with great service

In the UK we may have a die-hard reputation for being a bit shy, a bit reserved, never wanting to make a fuss; cringing at the thought of complaining and ‘making a scene.’

However unwilling we may be to verbalise it though, the UK it seems, is not satisfied. In fact, the Institute of Customer Service tells us customer satisfaction fell in its last two Customer Satisfaction Index Surveys. An opportunity that small or home-based businesses, for which customer service is of paramount importance, can capitalise on. For those who get customer service right, satisfied customers are more likely to buy again, and to recommend to others.

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