A common mistake first-time business owners make is using their personal phone number for business purposes.
Not only can this be detrimental to a productive workflow, but when your small startup finally jumps into growth mode, it can be a huge headache—and sometimes a massive expense—to divorce your business from your personal communications.
Fortunately, advancements in technology have reduced the setup cost of a dedicated business phone line by a tremendous amount. Rather than calling the phone company and having them send someone out to install a separate landline, you can create a new business line instantaneously by downloading an app on your smartphone.
Other benefits of creating a number dedicated to business include the following aspects.
1. Put a professional foot forward.
Would you go to work in flip flops and board shorts? Didn’t think so. Why, then, would you use your casual phone number for a professional relationship?
You can do a lot once you have a phone number for your business that most people wouldn’t be comfortable doing with their personal number—list it on your website, print it on a business card, place it in an advertisement, put it in your email signature.
If you use a smartphone app, you can customize your number with a voicemail greeting specific to your business hours and location, and create text auto-replies when you’re out of the office or unavailable.
2. Separate your work and personal calls and texts.
A separate number dedicated to work will help keep you organized and effective by not getting communications mixed up with your personal number.
Instead of answering every call on the off chance that it’s work, with a dedicated business number you will always know what that call will be about when that line rings.
Keep your contacts separate, keep your texts separate, and answer phone calls with a business greeting.
3. Be local (and trustworthy!).
According to a National Consumer Survey, over half of customers prefer to buy local. Sometimes this is because the products (especially food) taste better. Other times, like in real estate and some service-based offerings, it’s because local is more trustworthy.
With the trend of buying local continuing to grow, getting a phone number in the local area code you serve is a smart business decision. If you’re a real-estate agent, or a traveling salesman, you may even want to consider getting multiple phone numbers with local area codes in your regions.
4. Save money on extra devices.
It used to be that you had to have a separate line installed on premises for every new phone number. Phone companies loved billing businesses for this extra expense.
When cell phones became ubiquitous, it wasn’t uncommon to see people with extra devices.
Now, you don’t even need to buy extra devices to get dedicated phone lines. Many of these apps are free to download, and charge you either per minute or per text, or a flat monthly rate on a subscription basis. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars per year, or more if you have multiple employees.
5. Level up your communications.
Finally, smarter phone systems come with extra perks that traditional business lines and landlines don’t have.
For instance, with Burner, Nomorobo spam call blocking comes integrated with every subscription line. All numbers also have the ability to set up text auto-replies, customized voicemail greetings, and more.
For those who receive customer questions, you can create a separate number dedicated to customer support, optionally integrating FAQ bots, and other smart software that allows you to store voicemails to Soundcloud, and save texts and contacts to Google Drive.
The rest of your business is in the cloud these days. Why not your phone number?
These are just five obvious advantages of a dedicated business phone number in the modern workplace. The more you use one for your work, the more opportunities you’ll see to increase efficiency, save money, and provide your customers added value.
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Greg Cohn is cofounder / CEO of Burner. Prior to Burner, Greg led strategy and business development for social and developer platforms at Yahoo!, where he worked on identity (OpenID, oAuth),Yahoo’s Brickhouse incubator, and partnerships with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zynga and other industry leaders. Before Yahoo!, Greg was a key executive at several startups, including Away.com (sold to Orbitz) and Everyday Health. He began his career in book publishing and holds degrees from Penn and Oxford.