What is a virtual phone number, and why do I need one?

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As an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time and effort bringing your vision, company, and product to life. Using the right tools to get your small business started can make a difference from day one. Like a telephone communication system. Every business needs one.

If that sounds like a big-business purchase, think again. Low-cost, functional telephone communication systems are available to small-business owners via virtual phone number services. And they offer a number of benefits you may not have realized you need — Like a Swiss Army knife with multiple tools and functions, a virtual phone number allows you to do more than just make receive calls.

What is a virtual phone number?

A virtual phone number is a number that is not tied to one specific phone line. Instead, it can be attached to, and moved among, a host of different phones. Formerly called access numbers, virtual phone numbers were used primarily by large companies with call centers and traveling sales teams. Being able to forward incoming calls to multiple phones at once and switch which phones were connected to which numbers helped these corporations manage their client communications in an efficient and professional manner.

Like their predecessors, today’s virtual phone numbers are not assigned to a specific phone; that is the only similarity they share. Today’s numbers live in the cloud, enabling you to make and receive calls and texts from your existing smartphone. Basically, they are perfect for small business owners.

In the past, you would need to buy a landline office phone along with a telephone carrier contract in order to use a virtual phone number. Now, you can make use of a virtual phone number with nothing but the smartphone you already own and the cell phone carrier contract you already use for your personal phone line.

How will a virtual phone number help my small business?

Entrepreneurs value communications flexibility more than their colleagues working in a large corporation. Always on the go, they need to be able to work from anywhere. And that’s why a virtual phone number can be so invaluable for small businesses.


In the past, you would need to either be in the office to make and receive a work call, or make those calls from your personal phone and give out your personal cell phone number to customers. Now, you can combine the flexibility of a cell phone with the professionalism of a virtual phone number system

In addition to allowing you to make and receive calls or texts on the go, having a virtual phone number attached to your smartphone helps to establish a healthy work-life balance and maintain a top-notch professional image.

  • Any text or call you make from your phone using your virtual phone number will only show up on the customer’s phone as your business line. Your personal phone number will stay completely private so you can easily give yourself a break from work when you need one.
  • Calls coming into your virtual phone number will be routed directly to your business voicemail if you cannot or choose not to answer it, or if they come in outside of your set business hours.
  • You can easily distinguish between work calls and personal calls and choose when to answer and when to let the call go to voicemail.

Together, these features allow you to take the time you need away from work. They also give you a peace of mind knowing that customers won’t accidentally engage with your personal life instead of the business you’ve worked hard to sculpt and create a professional image for.

How to get a virtual phone number

Getting a virtual phone number to use on your smartphone has never been easier. You can access and set up a virtual number through apps like GoDaddy SmartLine in a matter of minutes.

  1. First, you select a phone number from a list of options that will serve as your virtual business phone number
  2. Next, download the GoDaddy SmartLine app, where you will link that number to your existing phone line.
  3. Once you do that, you can set up a voicemail box specific to your business and set business hours.
  4. After that, you will be ready to start calling and texting with your customers!

If you are an entrepreneur, don’t bother with buying a new phone system just so you can communicate with customers in a professional manner. Using a virtual phone number through your smartphone is cheaper and more efficient.

Image by: Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/smartphone-phone-call-message-2212963/

Jennifer Lin
Jennifer Lin is the Senior Director of Marketing for Voice & Messaging at GoDaddy. As a marketing leader, problem solver, storyteller, and lifelong learner, she is passionate about helping small businesses turn their ideas into reality.