E-mail is essential. You can no more do without your email than you can be without your phone system. Whether you have a free e-mail account or your own mail server: you have to have email these days.

A bare minimum to be in any sense in business these days is a phone number and an email address. It is truly astonishing that this should be the case when email is so often such a mess. Imagine if your phone system was like your email - imagine having a phone number that was too long for anyone to remember, imagine getting junk calls every couple of minutes, dozens of dropped lines and misrouted calls every day and pretty frequently the phone just not working at all.

It is at least as important, so why isn't email just as good as the phone system? Well, one answer is that email just happened - like so much on the internet. It was never intended to be the key tool of business communication; it just evolved that way. And, of course, another reason is that, like anything, you get what you pay for.

It really isn't terribly businesslike to have a business email address that includes the name of your ISP or a free mail provider. All business people really must have an address of the form myname@mybusiness.

Leaving aside the free web based providers there are two approaches to business email these days: you either have your own mail server (an amazingly cheap option now compared to a few years ago) or you use a mail client, such as Outlook, to connect to an external POP3 server usually provided by your ISP.

While the former is by far the more preferable option (with the external mail provider relegated to provide a back up mail drop in case your server ever fails), either option can, if properly configured, provide a wealth of benefits from email aliases and group mailings to email on the move via your mobile phone, PDA or laptop. Again, if properly configured either option can also allow you to access your email from any PC or Mac anywhere that has an Internet connection.

Too many business people struggle on with inadequate email systems while, often for no more than is already being spent, their systems can be configured to meet their needs entirely and, perhaps more importantly, present the right image to their clients, partners, suppliers and others,

At Lynx computing we have advanced expertise in the configuration of email systems, having been involved in email system set-up and configuration since the technology first emerged. Our MD is annoyingly found of mentioning that he has had an email account since 1988. If you want an email system that is better and more reliable than your phone system just email us or - just to be on the safe side - maybe better to pick up the phone!

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