The modern world holds untold marvels, many of which can help you run a successful home based business. One online business tool that is allowing entrepreneurs to save time and money is Skype. Skype is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) program that you can use to make free telephone calls to anyone in the world.

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Skype has a number of features that makes it very attractive to internet business owners. Its primary feature, however, is the cost. Skype members can make telephone calls for free to other people using the service. Calls to land or cell phones can be made for literally pennies per minute (.01-.02 cents per minute depending on the plan). For the Baby Boomer and up generation who may be pinching pennies these days, you can cut the cost of your phone bill significantly.

If you have a home based business, however, then Skype makes the perfect business line. In addition to voice calls and text messaging, you can also:

* Make video calls using your webcam. The service provides HD video conferencing for free.
* Transfer files by dragging and dropping them into the Skype interface to send securely.
* Share your computer screen. When you turn on this feature, the person you are talking to can see what you are doing on your computer. This is perfect for collaborative projects.
* Make conference calls for up to 25 people. People can join the conference call using Skype, a landline, or a cell phone.
* Instant message other people in your network.
* Make international calls without paying international rates. Skype to Skype calls are free no matter where they are made or received.
* Used Skype on some smart phones and television sets.

How to Use Skype for Your Business

There are a number of ways you can integrate Skype into your home based business to maximize the features available.

One Button Call – If you have a website or blog, you can install a piece of code that will allow web visitors to call you when they push the button. This is great for consultants and personal service professionals such as Life Coaches. The button will let the caller know if you are available or not. Calls can be forwarded to your cell phone which means you’ll be able to take the call even if you are not at your computer.

Conference Calling – The conference calling feature provides a wealth of possibilities for network marketers managing teams. It allows up to 25 people to patch in at one time. You can get your team together for a weekly meeting, provide video training or telephone training, or simply make announcements about upcoming products or changes.

Video Chat – Now it is not necessary to travel to your client in order to hold a meeting. The video chat feature allows you to meet with your client face to face in the comfort of your home. You can also use it to record video interviews that you can later replay for your team. Video chat is free so you don’t even have to upgrade your account in order to use it.

Collaboration – Working with team members and clients on a project is a breeze with the file transfer and screen share features. You can send clients files without having to use your email account. No more waiting for emails to download. Just drag and drop to send. If you are working on visual media, like video or images, you can turn on screen share option so that the others on the call can see what you are doing.

Business Telephone – Instead of buying a separate cell phone or installing another phone line, you can use Skype as a business phone. You can buy an online phone number that people can call from a regular phone. It will be directed to your Skype account. You can even have the number forwarded to another number so you can answer when you are not in front of your computer.

Skype Groups– These are essentially chat rooms that you can make public or private. This feature is good for creating a place where your team members, clients, and business associates can ask questions or share information.

How to Skype?

* To use Skype on your computer, you must have a headset with a microphone. If you want to use the video chat feature, your computer must have a web cam installed. Most computers, notebooks, and Netbooks have web cams but you want to double check.

* Sign up for account at Skype

* Download the Skype software and install it on your computer

* If you are going to be calling regular phones or sending text messages, you will need to either fund your account or sign up for a subscription service.

* To call people using Skype, you will need to add them to your contact list. Skype is able to import your contacts from email address books and even Facebook. You can also add people manually.

* Once your contact list is filled out, you can start making calls. Search for the person you want to call in your contact list. Once you find them, click the green call button and you will be connected.

* You must be signed into the service in order to use Skype. You can have calls forwarded if you are not going to be at your computer or you can purchase voicemail.

Skype is a simple and straightforward business tool that can help you keep in contact with your team and clients. Having a business phone can also enhance your business brand and profile by adding a dimension of professionalism. It can also help you maintain that precious separation between your personal life and your professional life. If you are looking for a good business success tool, Skype is worth taking a look at.

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