New business – Choosing your new phone number

you can divert all your calls to your mobile

you can divert all your calls to your mobile

When you are setting up your new business communication is vital. The very first thing you need is a phone number and email address.

It may be your idea but your  business is a separate entity from you and hopefully it will grow to something much bigger than you. So although it is tempting to use your personal  phone you should separate your business line  from your personal at the outset.  You need to be able to divert your business calls to your virtual reception team, but not your personal ones.

The email address is easy. You can create a Google or hotmail email address as a temporary contact but what about the phone?

In the recent past when you started a new business you needed to get a BT business landline. Not anymore. There are a bewildering number of Options and the purpose of this article is to try to clarify them.

The phone.

It’s best to be mobile, you really don’t need a land line and it’s likely to be the most expensive option. Your cheapest solution might be a second mobile on a pay as you go tariff.  But there are some alternatives…..

New to the market is a second line to your mobile phone. Vodafone and undoubtedly other mobile phone service providers offer this service if you already have a business account. Essentially 2 lines are sent to the same mobile using one account. So if you have inclusive calls and texts on your account you can use them with either line number. They offer other services within the package such as a VOIP landline, voicemail and  auto -attendant.

BT offer a VOIP service that can direct calls to your mobile, and you can download an app which allows you to manage your phone system from your mobile.

In the US there are a couple of companies producing apps which allow you to download a second line to you smart phone. This means you use the “free” call and texts time from your contract mobile. Not yet available in the UK but it will mean you don’t need to get a business account.  I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before they are available in the UK.

Dual Sim cards and apps.  There are established dual sim phones available elsewhere in Europe but not in the UK. You can buy them on Amazon, but of course you will need to set them up yourself. This link might be useful if you decide to go down this route.

The advantage with all these options  is that you only carry one mobile around with you and get all your calls on one device. Your outgoing calls can display your business number to the recipient. And you can divert them to your Real Time Reception team.

Choose your number

You might not want to use an 07 number for your business.  A landline number can give a bit more gravitas, and you will want a number you can keep all through your years in business, on you website, business cards, invoices etc.  You don’t need to have a landline to get a landline number -you can get almost any kind of number you want.

If you google “VOIP number uk” you will find an array of websites offering these. They will generally have a special offer for the first few months so look at the small print. You will be able to choose a number from a list but the “best” numbers will cost more.

The Vodafone and BT options mentioned above provide a VOIP landline, how much choice of number remains to be seen.

Do you want a geographic or non-geographic number?

A geographic number has an implied location by the area code. If your business is to serve local clients a local area code might be best.  If your clients are national you could get a London code number to present  a centralised location.

A non- geographic number is an 08 or 03 number. As the number of calls originating from mobiles is increasing   dramatically an 03 would seem to be the better option.  0800 and 0300 are free to callers – you will pick up the tab.

As these are all virtual numbers the calls are directed to a real phone to be answered. You will have a cloud based account with the provider and you can log in and enter the number to send your calls to, so that can be your mobile, your home or your virtual receptionist.