High Speed Internet: A Must if You Run a Home Business

You're going to have a hard time running your online business without reliable high-speed Internet access.

At one time, we were having so much trouble meeting our bills that the satellite TV was sacrificed. Instead of buying the food we wanted, we purchased the cheapest food we could — with coupons. But, during this time, there was one thing we knew we couldn't do without: Broadband Internet access.

Many people look at high-speed Internet and immediately classify it as a “want.” These folks, though, obviously do not make a living online. We have always used high-speed Internet access because it's necessary when you run a home business. You can't set up and maintain an online store unless you have broadband Internet access. As a freelance writer whose clients are mostly online, I need access to the Internet. If you plan to run a successful home business, reliable high-speed Internet goes a long way. Search your entire region, as business internet providers are more numerous than you think. For example, if you are in southern California you may want to look for internet providers in San Diego and Los Angeles to compare prices and speeds.

What are Your Options?

Your first step is to consider your options. Sadly, where I live, the options are fairly limited and the service is awful across the board. Even with a 15 meg plan — which I pay for — I'm lucky if I end up with between 5 and 8 megs. (I used to have a 7 meg plan, but it was so incredibly slow that every day's work became an exercise in frustration.) Consider what you need in order to reliably access the Internet. Your speeds and reliable access can also be influenced by:

  • How many people in your household are using the Internet
  • The kind of sites you visit, and the bandwidth involved
  • The quality of your router and other equipment
  • If you have wireless, your connection can be influenced by the obstacles in your home
  • Whether your service provider practices throttling
  • Time of day (whether the provider is weighed down with usage)

Shop around to figure out which service provider will give you the best deal, and help you meet your needs. And, if you're stuck, like I am, paying out the nose for what can, on a good day, be only considered mediocre, remind yourself that it's the cost of doing business and be thankful that at least it's tax deductible.

Create a Backup Plan

While being able to work from home in your underwear is a nice perk of owning a home business, sometimes you won't be able to work from home. If your Internet goes out, you will have to be able to complete your business actions somehow. The same is true when the power goes out. Your router and modem won't work if there is no power for them to run off. You need a backup plan for when you can't work at home.

One option is to use a coworking location. If you don't want to pay for home high-speed Internet service, and if your home business doesn't require you to have constant access to the Interent, coworking might work for you. But, even so, you still need a backup for when your expected Interent access isn't working.

I have a chain of backup plans that I can put into action if needed. Here is a rundown of where I go for Internet access if something happens to prevent me from getting online at home:

  • Locally owned coffee shop with free Wi-Fi access (but I buy a pastry and a drink because I feel bad if I don't)
  • McDonald's because it now has free Wi-Fi
  • The library (which doesn't have Wi-Fi, so I only get an hour on a “research” computer)

Just as I have limited access to decent Internet at home where I live, my access to other Internet resources is also limited. Most of the Wi-Fi hotspots in town are in coffee shops and hotels. There aren't a lot of choices for public Wi-Fi, especially since the hotspot at the mall was discontinued. If I end up going to the library, I have to make a very specific task list of the vital items that need to be accomplished, since I will only have an hour.

You can look around your town to find out what is available to you, in terms of Wi-Fi. JiWire has a handy hotspot finder that can help you find free and paid hotspots in 143 countries. Know where you can go before?you run into problems; you'll save time when you're in a crunch.

High speed Internet access is what allows you to work online, as well as hold meetings with others via Skype or other meeting software. From promoting your business, to updating your online catalog, to connecting to clients and partners, the Internet is one of your best home business tools. If you are interested in a well-run home business, high-speed Internet access is a must.

9 thoughts on “High Speed Internet: A Must if You Run a Home Business”

  1. Internet and a pool were the only things I required when we were searching for an apartment last June. Thankfully I got both! While some may think Thailand is a third world country (we just got 3G here), in terms of connectivity things aren’t that bad. I have a 12Mb DSL connection (8Mb in practice) for $45/mo that is just as fast as my $60 cable connection was in the States (thanks Comcast). The pool is for cooling down when it is 90+ degrees which is pretty much every day.

  2. You are so right! High speed internet is an absolute must-have for businesses. And so is having a coffee shop with wi-fi nearby. 😉

    Can you believe that as a SCORE mentor, I’ve met new entrepreneurs who thought they could start businesses without it. And without regular access to their email?! Yeesh!

  3. I am so glad to see an article that speaks of back up plans. If this post comes across as a rant, sorry, well it sort of is!!!

    Nobody wants to look at the glass as being half empty but it?s a fact in our modern technology world. Stuff breaks. I did residential internet technical support for years and it is an unpleasant call when someone?s internet breaks and the turn around time to fix it is 2-4 days. The reason for that turn around time is that a residential internet is designed basically to be a toy. Sure it?s a great toy and a toy one can use to do their work but at the end of the day, it?s a toy. Residential internet is NOT designed to be used to generate an income. If you work from home a lot you need to think of a back up plan. For example:

    Wireless: Wireless is great but it also is the number one call generator for tech support. Wireless is a fairly simple concept but people don?t want to learn how to configure and troubleshoot wireless. Why would someone not want to learn something? Well they have tech support to do it for them. Configuring wireless can be a very long phone call you your ISP because the agent might not be able to see your wireless information (due to privacy laws) so the only option is to rebuild the network. This is time consuming because people have a lot of wireless devices in their households; computers, iphones, xbox, blackberry, the list of wireless devices is endless.

    If you have a wireless connection in your home, and you are using that connection for work, you need to do know how wireless works. Simple as that. It?s a skill you need to learn to do your job just like you have to learn how to use the photocopier or use Excel. The good news is that wireless is very easy. You can master wireless configuration in about 15-30 minutes.

    If you don?t want to learn how to manage wireless then the next step is ensure you at least know how to do a wired connection. Yes that means you won?t be able to sit on the couch to do your work but at least you can do your work at a desk. Like in the days of yore!

    Redundancy: I used to get calls from people who told me they were losing money (the numbers ranged from $5000 to $1 million dollars a day) because their internet was down. If you are losing that kind of money, then you can afford to spring for another $50/month for a second connection. Since most of us are not losing a million dollars a day, at least have a backup dial up connection. Many internet providers do provide dial up as a contingency. Set up your connection before you have a problem and test the connection weekly.

    This advice may seem harsh but when it comes to back up plans, it?s best to be brutally honest.

    There are many situations in this world we cannot control and when problems arise, you have to roll with the punches. The good news is that only a tiny bit of knowledge is required to prevent disaster. Think ?glass half empty? and when disaster strikes, you?ll be ready.

  4. Marshall Davis

    I remember around 10 years ago sharing a single dial up connection between my wife’s and my computer. We had to purchase a special card that linked the two computers. Talk about a slow connection! Those were the days (of frustration).

    For a backup plan, we have a Verizon Mi-Fi that we can use on the rare occasion our broadband goes down.

  5. Dan N (part time blogger)

    of course you need high speed internet for a home business, or its loads of time right down the drain.

    I remember back in the 90s when I was content was content with the speed of dialup, however sites were not as content rich as they are now.

  6. High Speed Internet

    High speed internet gives you the connection that you need to support the applications important for your home and business requirements. It replaces the frustration of slow upload and download times common with dial up and helps you stay productive.

  7. For better speed & reliability one thing to check into is availability of commercial internet services at home. I was able to get business internet from our cable company at home without much hassle. Unlike residential cable, where your bandwidth is shared with your neighbors, my connection is unshared so I get 30/5Mbps 24/7. I also get a lot better support since I can call commercial support techs – when things have gone down I’m able to reach a human being right away, and they’ll roll a truck if required.

    Best of all, at least for my provider, is that it costs only $10/month more than residential service!

    1. Miranda Marquit

      I have a “business” package. Sadly, I don’t think my provider is as awesome as yours. It’s not that great, but every time I question whether it’s worth the extra (we’re talking almost $30 extra for me) I remember what it was like to have a “lesser” package. This way, the frustration is less, and I tell myself that it’s worth paying for.

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