Small business owners must always be on the lookout for new ways to improve and grow if they are to stay ahead of the competition. According to recent research by Fundera, 20% of businesses fail in their first year and only 50% make it past the 5-year mark. However, the number of entrepreneurs continues to rise — there were 200,000 more small businesses in 2019 than the previous year.
So how can you give your startup the best chance of succeeding? There are many resources, tools and strategies to help small businesses go the distance. In this beginner’s guide to virtual phone numbers, we’ll take a look at the top eight reasons why they make a wise investment for businesses of all sizes across a wide range of industries.
What Is a Virtual Phone Number?
A virtual number is not tied to any particular device. It does not require a traditional phone line but instead operates using the internet, with all data transmitted through the cloud, while calls are directed to a desktop computer, a mobile phone and most other devices with access to the internet.
Why Does My Small Business Need a Virtual Number?
- Save Money. Startups and small businesses often operate on a tight budget. A virtual phone number can cut hundreds of pounds from the monthly phone bill, especially if you make a lot of international calls. Route calls via toll-free internet links to reduce the cost of communicating with colleagues and clients abroad. There’s also no need to purchase any expensive hardware for your new virtual phone system. Virtual numbers are compatible with a wide range of devices and set up on existing handsets, desktops and phone systems.
- Increase Flexibility. Business can easily be managed on-the-go. A virtual number can be used from any device or location where there is access to wi-fi. This allows employees to maximise their work time by making calls while commuting or waiting for meetings. Virtual phone systems also support flexible work patterns, which are increasingly popular amongst employees and a great way to attract top talent.
- Improve Brand Recognition. Companies that use virtual numbers will not be put out of business by a freak storm blowing down phone lines, or a technical fault with a piece of hardware. If there is an issue with one device or location, calls divert elsewhere. This flexibility allows businesses to provide a consistent and reliable service that will increase consumer trust in the brand. Vanity numbers, such as 0800-ROOFING are another great way to improve brand recognition and make it easier for potential customers to contact you.
- Customise and Scale with Ease. A virtual number is more than just a business phone number. Most providers offer a wide range of advanced features and services such as virtual assistants and voicemail transcription. These features are added or removed to customise the service received, ensuring you only pay for what you need. As a business grows, the service can be scaled to meet new needs.
- Separate Work and Personal Lives. Virtual numbers allow ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners to use multiple numbers on one device, allowing them to develop a healthy work-life balance. Calls to the business number can be diverted to voicemail or employees at specified times, while personal calls can still be taken. Gone are the days of carrying two mobiles around.
- Expand into New Markets. Many people prefer to engage the services of local businesses. So how can you tap into lucrative markets beyond the location of your business if you lack the budget to set up satellite offices? Simple. Virtual phone numbers can quickly establish a local presence for your business in any chosen destination, whether you’re looking to expand into the nearest city or to a different country. When a customer dials the “local” number, the call routes to any device or location selected. The customer is unaware of this process — and the call will appear to be local.
- Choose the Perfect Number. There are many different types of virtual number available, each with their own unique benefits. Consider the main purpose of upgrading your business phone system and choose a number that will help you to achieve your business goals. If delivering outstanding customer service and increasing incoming calls is a priority, a toll-free number is an ideal option. Looking to expand into new markets abroad? Opt for an international virtual number. Virtual phone numbers are a cost-effective option for business owners seeking to boost brand recognition, expand into new markets and improve customer service. They are quick and easy to set up and most virtual phone systems operate via a mobile phone app. Get one step ahead of the competition and start enjoying all the benefits of a virtual phone number for your business.