If you live in the 21st century, chances are you’ve already got a personal mobile phone number. When you decide to launch a business, you might think, “I’ll just use my cell number for my business until I grow.” People can already reach you with your current number—wouldn’t two just be more complicated?
In actuality, waiting too long to get a second phone number is what causes the real complications. Why create problems for yourself down the line when you could make everything easier right now? Below are 5 problems you’ll avoid by investing in a business number (and a few bonus alternatives!).
- There is such a thing as making yourself too accessible. Using your personal number increases the likelihood that your work and personal lives will blend together. Chances are it’ll be pretty much impossible to enjoy that long-overdue tropical getaway if your clients are calling you every five minutes.
- It’s incredibly difficult to make the switch to a different number after you’ve established your business. At this point, you will be faced with two options: either switch your personal number and update all of your friends and family on the change, or switch your business number and update all of your clients and employees on the change. Neither of these circumstances are ideal, so you might as well save time and get a separate number now.
- Clients can tell the difference between your cell phone’s voicemail and a business voicemail. At this point, we all know the “…at the tone, please record your message. When you are finished recording…” jingle that each of the major mobile phone carriers use on their voicemail recordings. If someone calls your business, and they realize that your business number is actually a cell phone, it certainly doesn’t add to your credibility. It’s in your best interest to appear as professional as possible to clients, so investing in an alternative can only make you look better in the end.
- Using your personal number now means you’ll have a difficult decision to make as you begin adding employees to your business. When make a new hire for your company, and you don’t have a separate business number, you’ll either have to make the decision to make the switch at that moment, or forgo the possibility of that new employee taking calls on behalf of the company. Furthermore, if that new hire has to make a call for the business, they will have to either borrow your phone or make the call from their personal cell.
- If you and your employees are all using personal numbers, it becomes that much more difficult for you—the boss—to be sure that everyone is doing their jobs. How will you know if someone is ducking client calls or just generally not being responsive enough? Alternatives like a virtual PBX service can solve this problem by providing a trackable business line and allowing certain users—like you—to monitor ingoing and outgoing calls through a log. Little things like this can be invaluable to staying on top of your business as it expands.
4 Easy Alternatives
- Google Voice: This option is ideal for one-person businesses who want to try something free before investing in any paid alternatives. If you just want a different number with a different voicemail—no bells or whistles—choose Google Voice. When you make a hire, you can port your Google Voice number into one of these other options for a very small fee (currently $3).
- Phone.com: For those who want business phone system functionality (like setting business hours, routing calls to various extensions, custom voicemail greetings, etc), consider an inexpensive service that works with your existing cell phone(s). Phone.com & RingCentral are a couple of the companies that provide this resource and prices start at $10/ month.
- Business VoIP: If you’d rather use a physical desk phone, hosted business VoIP services are the next step up. Nextiva, RingCentral, Jive, and Phone.com all provide these services.
- Virtual Receptionist Services: If you’d just prefer human interaction for your clients, virtual receptionist services like Davinci would be a good fit for you. Depending on the plan you choose, these virtual receptionists can take your clients’ calls, route them wherever you’d like, and even take messages.