For early-stage companies and quickly growing businesses, being lean is the name of the game. Large, established companies can make business decisions and change strategies without having cost being an inhibiting factor. Startups, on the other hand, need to be as efficient as possible with limited resources.
Strategy will oftentimes be shaped by scarcity, and a smart entrepreneur will know how to get the most done with limited time, money, and structure. Sometimes you can get by with free services and free programs, but some things, such as customer communication tools, are worth investing in.
There are a few different options for entrepreneurs looking to get reliable business phone lines at an affordable price.
1. Use your existing phone and phone number
When you are first starting out with your business, you might use your personal phone to contact customers. As you grow, however, it will become more and more important to have a separate phone line.
The obvious benefit to using your own phone is that it provides you with a cheap business phone line. However, when you consider the impact this has on your brand image and ability to manage a healthy work-life balance, the benefit of low cost is not worth the negative impact.
To begin with, curating a professional image and building trust with your clients are a lot more difficult when you are managing communication through the same phone and phone line as your personal life. Whenever you get a call, there is no way of knowing if it’s is a work or personal call. You are then left guessing how you should answer, and instead of confidently answering as the head of your company, you might answer with a nondescript, “Hello?”
In the event that you miss a call from a client, they will be routed to your personal voice mailbox, leaving them wondering if they even have the correct number for the business they are trying to contact.
Using your personal phone line for everything you do also makes it difficult to separate yourself from work. Without a way to tell the purpose of an incoming call, it’s all too easy to end up talking with a client when you are trying to reset and get a break from work. Furthermore, your customers will have access to your personal cell number, which means that even on vacation you may be pulled back into work.
2. Add an extra phone and phone line through your cell service provider
Aside from using your own phone line and cell phone for business communication, the next easiest solution is simply getting a separate phone and phone line. While this would allow you to separate your business and personal calls and build a very professional image for your business, the benefits are outweighed by the high cost.
The efficiency of this option is undeniable. Over 40% of small business owners struggle to carve out personal time away from work and regularly get pulled into work-related tasks when they are trying to relax. With a separate phone, getting time away from work is a lot easier because you can simply shut off your work phone whenever you need a break.
With a separate work phone, you can also rest easy knowing that any missed calls, or calls that you choose to ignore, will go directly to your business-specific voice mailbox.
The major downside is that a separate cell phone is not exactly a cheap business phone line. A new cell phone will cost at least $400 dollars, and adding an extra phone line to your cell service plan will cost $30 or more a month. You will also have to carry two phones with you everywhere.
3. Use a VoIP system
A lot of entrepreneurs will use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems to manage their communications. VoIP is a cheap business phone line option that allows you to manage your customer communications in a separate channel from your personal communications. However, it does not provide you the flexibility or reliability that a separate phone would.
In addition to being affordable, a lot of VoIP systems will allow you to make and receive calls from a separate business line using your own cell phone. However, because VoIP relies on an internet connection to make and receive calls, working while you are on the go (and need cell service) is a lot more difficult.
4. Use an app-based phone service
The best solution for small business owners who need a quality business communication system at an affordable price is to use a second phone line app, like SmartLine. The right business phone line app will give an entrepreneur the flexibility to work from anywhere without compromising their company’s professional image and also enable them to manage a healthy work-life balance.
Instead of relying on an internet connection, like VoIP systems do, the SmartLine app uses your existing cell service connection to make calls and send texts from your business line. This means that wherever your phone works, you will be able to call and text your clients without any problem.
Using a business phone line app like SmartLine will also help you manage your customer interactions in a more professional manner:
- You will be able to differentiate work calls from personal calls and answer the phone appropriately.
- Missed work calls will go to your business voicemail rather than your personal voicemail.
- SmartLine also automatically transcribes voicemails, so you don’t have to spend any extra time rewinding and transcribing messages.
- You can reach customers via their preferred method of communication. With SmartLine, all of your communications with a client (calls and texts) are in one place.
As an additional benefit, the SmartLine app helps you create a healthy work-life balance. The ability to differentiate work calls from personal calls also helps you avoid accidentally answering a work call when you are taking time off because you thought it was a call for you instead of for your business.
Plus, when using the SmartLine app, you can set business hours. Any calls that come in outside of those hours will be automatically routed to your business voicemail.
All of this functionality, and all of these benefits, don’t have to cost your business an arm and a leg. SmartLine makes the communication system you need in order to grow your business available for under $10 a month.
Getting SmartLine set up for your business only takes a matter of minutes.
- First, choose a number that you want to use for your business phone line on the SmartLine website. You can even choose to get a toll-free 800 number!
- Next download the SmartLine app.
- After that you can start making calls and sending texts!
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