If you work from home or run a business for yourself or on the side, you’ve probably have already had that awkward moment where you want to give a potential customer or prospect your number but you don’t want to give them your personal phone number. Now in the past, setting up a second phone number would’ve been costly and time consuming. All that has changed and there are plenty of affordable virtual business phone services and apps out there for you to choose from.
But here’s the real reason why you shouldn’t rely on your personal phone number anymore. There are plenty of hackers and scammers out there who are more than willing to invade your privacy. It just isn’t safe for anyone, quite frankly, to have any of their personal contact information on any public-facing platform.
We’ve all been guilty of having that “second email” handy for when we buy things online, but for some reason we’re slow to do that when it comes to our phones and our business. If you’ve got your personal phone number or info out there on the web for your business – take it down now!
I know it may be a pain for some of you, because if you’ve been in business for a while – you’ve got your number out everywhere, on websites, social media pages and in groups – but you’ve got to do it. The last thing you want or need is for someone to hack into your phone and get access not only to your friends and family but to your business as well. Thieves have no conscious and they never sleep.
So having said that, you’re still going to need a way for your customers to reach out to you and you to them. So how can you do that? To help you get started, I’d like to share with you this week two of the many virtual business phone services out there. Both of these services offer affordable, easy-to-use apps that have a “smart” selection of features that you’ll use almost everyday in your business.
I have to say, I’m impressed with this app. Some virtual services offer a ton of features that are all great, but can be a bit overwhelming and costly for the small business owner, while others don’t offer more than what comes pre-installed on their phone. Grasshopper offers you a nice blend of the two and it can grow with your business.
It has all the basics – choosing a local or toll free number, call forwarding and custom voice mail messaging, etc. However, Grasshopper has taken the time to add in some extra features that can really save time and money like adding extensions for other employees, being able to send videos directly from your phone or your laptop and even having faxes delivered to you as PDFs. Yes there are people still using fax machines 🙂
A service like this can run you around $26/month annually, but it may help you eliminate the need to add or subscribe to 2 or 3 other services for duplicate features or for ones that you rarely even use. That can save you time and money in the long run. You can learn more about their service here.
Most of us know GoDaddy for their web hosting services, but few seem to know about some of the other services that they offer – like Smartline. Smartline is their virtual business number service and you can start at the very affordable price of just $9.99/month for a local number or $19.99/month for a toll free number.
Smartline isn’t as robust as Grasshopper but it’s a great start and a far cry from you trying to screen calls on your own. It gives you the basics, like customizing your greeting, text messaging, setting business hours, for taking calls, and sending your messages to a separate voice mail box.
Alrighty, that’s it for me this week. I hope you’ve found this week’s post helpful, but as always I want to hear from you.
Question: What do you think about having a separate number for your business? Do you find it helpful or does it just add more confusion? Share your comments and questions below.
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