Choosing the right telephone system for your small business is an important decision that will effect how your customers perceive your business when communicating with you. Perhaps more important than the actual system itself is the company that you entrust to install it. Here are a few key points to consider before purchasing a new system.Do I need a VoIP capable telephone system? There are many advantages to using VoIP eg. remote extensions, multiple sites, cheap international calls. Not many of the benefits are applicable to a small business. A pushy salesman is more than likely going to use VoIP as a selling point and a reason to upgrade from your current system. Make sure that you understand all of the costs involved, both upfront and ongoing of maintaining a reliable VoIP system. In 99% of cases for a small business, VoIP is going to be of very little benefit.Direct lines: If you require direct lines for your staff then you will need to find a telephone system that is compatible with ISDN. ISDN is a digital telephone service available in most countries that gives extra features such as; direct dialing, caller ID, always presenting main number regardless of which line you pick up, and transferring calls off site.Voice mail: Do you need a telephone system that has a voice mail box on each handset? This feature usually gets paired with direct lines. Some telephone systems include the voice mail to email off site that sends your messages to your email address as an attachment.System capacity: Most telephone systems for small business are capable of handling up to 24 extensions and 12 incoming lines at the very most. Most of the parts in the small, entry level telephone systems are not transferrable to the larger models. If your small business is growing rapidly and you see yourself exceeding 16 extensions within the next 2-3 years, you should consider spending a little more now to future proof your purchase.The look: Let’s face it, the handset is the part of the telephone system that you touch and use everyday. Many phone systems have a poorly designed handset. Before purchasing a telephone system, you should ask to see the telephone handset in person. Typically brands such as Panasonic phone systems, NEC and Samsung all have quality handsets. Often when you are quoted on a new system, the salesman will quote you on the small, basic model of handset. He does this to keep his quote competitive but in the end it is you who looses out. The larger screen model are usually only $40-$60 more expensive than the base models. For a small business with only 4 handsets it is not going to cost much to upgrade to the larger model. The user friendly larger handset usually comes with more programmable buttons and a bigger screen. The quality and design are usually better too. The small handsets are designed to provide a cheap solution to large organizations that will be purchasing hundreds of handsets, not for small business.The installer: Even if you purchase the best, most expensive system you can find, if it is installed by an amateur or someone with no interest in providing the best solution to your business you will likely wish you never upgraded in the first place. Almost all telephone systems have the same basic functionality so picking the right phone company should be your number 1 concern. A good telephone system company will give you obligation free advice and will offer you a solution that is transparent and easy to understand.