Starting a small business can be expensive as it is, without worrying about having the 'right' telephone system. Start up businesses often rely on the equipment they already have, to ease cashflow. Is communication something that you can compromise on?
Although we live in a digital age, where social media and online businesses rule, people still want to be able to communicate by phone. Not having a phone line for clients or potential customers could give them the impression that either you're not easy to contact or even that you're not legitimate.
If you're working at home or in a home office, it might seem sensible, from a cost perspective to use your home landline for telephone calls. Do you really want your business and personal calls coming in on the same line? What happens if you can't answer the phone? Are you able to rely on your family taking messages?
Using your home phone line for business is a minefield. Think about the chances of you missing an important call or your children potentially answering. It's not going to project that air of professionalism that every small business needs.
There's also the privacy aspect. Do you want your home phone number in the public domain? Could it be that you're potentially leaving yourself and your family open to calls when you're officially not working. It's hard enough to maintain the boundaries between business and personal at the best of times, when you're working at home.
A better option is using a mobile phone. According to Ofcom, 93% of UK adults (2015) have access to a mobile phone. With prices now being very affordable, could it be that using a mobile as a dedicated number for your business is the right option?
Despite advances in technology, there are still areas of the UK with poor mobile coverage. If you get a signal by standing on a chair, pointing your phone at the ceiling, then this isn't the right choice for your business!
Talking to customers when your phone signal isn't great doesn't project the right image either; neither does a conversation when you're in the supermarket. The beauty of mobile phones, i.e instant contact might not be right for your small business. When do you switch the phone off? Using just a mobile phone for your business could give your clients the impression that you're easily contactable, when they want to speak to you. It doesn't always work that way.
For a professional solution, then perhaps consider getting a dedicated phone line for your business. It is a cost that you might not want to necessarily consider, but the benefits are there from day one.
You can only project a professional image with a dedicated phone line. It can, especially for a new business, give an air of legitimacy and even suggest that you have been established for longer than you have.
A dedicated phone line means you can give your clients or potential clients the opportunity to always leave a message, should you not be there. You have of course got the option to forward to a mobile phone if necessary. What you can do is walk away when the working day is over. Something it's impossible to do if you're using your home phone line.
Spending money on communication tools might not be a priority. Think about how you look as a business to an outside. First impressions do count. It could just be that it's worth getting a dedicated phone line from the start.
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