Establishing a new business takes a lot of careful planning to establish the brand’s identity, figuring out all of the logistics, fine-tuning products and services, choosing locations and markets to offer your product or service, and more. Even with all of the technological advances and the extreme need for businesses to have a website representing their brand, there is still a long remaining need for business phone numbers.
Even businesses that are 100 percent online need a phone. While your clients or customers may not typically call you, the business may need it for other reasons, such as web hosting. Many owners of home businesses start off by using the phone they already have, whether it is a mobile phone or their home landline. There are, however, several advantages to setting up business phone numbers that are strictly for use in the business. Some of these advantages include:
- Keeping business and personal lives completely separate. If they are kept completely separate, you do not have to worry about determining whether it is a business call or a personal call when you hear the phone ring.
- Tax deductions for your business expenses. Phone-related tax deductions are fairly simple to track. The Internal Revenue Service frowns upon the mingling of personal and business expenses and accounts. If a business owner uses a personal phone number, they can only deduct the direct business expenses versus being able to deduct the entire amount of the bill for business phone numbers.
There are a variety of options with regard to what type of line to use for business phone numbers. They include:
Landline – Prior to the introduction of cell phones, options for business phone numbers were fairly limited. A home business owner could add a second phone number, which could have a distinct ring to it.
Cell Phone – Today, almost everyone has a cell phone. They are easy to use and allow someone to be accessible from virtually anywhere in the world where they are able to get phone service. Like a landline, a business owner can get business phone numbers linked to an existing phone service or use an online service to create business phone numbers that are simply forwarded to the business owner’s mobile device.
Other business phone options could be to buy a prepaid wireless plan that allows a user to pay as they go or use a virtual phone service, which allows a business owner to establish either a local phone number or a virtual toll free number for their business.
Long-distance calling used to represent a substantial expense for some business owners. During the early 2000s, long distance phone companies were battling over consumer business by competing with lower rates. Since the creation of unlimited long distance for a single fee, the vast majority of long-distance callers have opted for this. This has brought the cost of long-distance calling down dramatically for business owners. The challenge is in deciding whether to use an existing phone line for those long distance calls for business and then determining what portion can be tax deductible for the business’ expenses. The simpler option seems to establish business phone numbers that are completely separate from the existing personal line and being able to deduct the entire amount of the bill.
Another decision to be made in relation to business phone numbers is whether to have a toll free or local number. Though this may not be one of the crucial decisions a business owner may make, it is a very important one. It all depends on the specific needs of the business and whether it makes more sense to offer a local number or a toll free number to customers, clients, and other business contacts.
Toll free business phone numbers are great because they allow your customers to call your business from anywhere and not get charged for it. Having a toll-free number is also a good way to give your business a large-scale feel.
Local numbers, on the other hand, give your business a more accessible “hometown” feel. Small town customer service is actually very appealing for some types of businesses, as it conveys a more intimate, one-on-one kind of customer service.
After careful consideration of the business’ specific needs and goals, business owners have a lot of important decisions to make in establishing a new business identity, creating a brand that will stand the test of time, and be successful as a result. Selecting business phone numbers is one of them.