Like many new home-based business owners, I had this very question years ago as a startup. It just makes sense if you run a business that you should have a business phone number and a dedicated line.
Or does it?
In this post, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of having a dedicated business phone line, and number for your small home office.
How busy are you going to be?
Do you have someone else to answer your phone calls while you do the core work that's most important to your business? I ask this question because it stands to reason if you have a dedicated business line that you'll probably have it listed on your websites, your business cards, and probably in the Yellow Pages, and other business directories.
If you have your business's number listed in so many places, guess what's going to happen? People are going to call you, and often with the strangest of questions, and even unrelated subjects. Telemarketers can still solicit businesses, so be prepared for that too. Just having a business phone can, if you're not careful, be a serious time killer.
On the other hand, you might rely on contacts for leads. Even if you're the only person who runs your home-based business (which many are), it might still be worth all of that extra time if you have your own service or physical product you offer.
Maybe you're a web designer, a tax specialist, or make wooden rocking chairs out of your garage. In this scenario, you'll need a way for people to contact you other than email, or contact forms. You have to generate leads, and you deal with valued customers, and potential customers directly.
Is it okay to just use your home phone, or cell phone as your business line?
Absolutely! If other people or businesses want to do business with you, they will, and could care less what kind of contact number you have. They have an agenda, and their primary objective is just to speak with you to discuss a proposition, or proposal. However, you wouldn't want to plaster your home, or cell phone number everywhere the same way you might a business contact number. A rule of thumb here is just to use it when it makes sense. If you're contacted via email or social media from someone you have an interest in working with, go ahead and share your primary contact number, or ask them to share theirs, and set up a time to hop on the phone.
Let's face it. If you've been successful at operating a home-based business that's something to be proud of and having an 800 number attached to that company can carry a bit of prestige for a lot of us. This is why a vanity 800 number might still be a viable option even if direct contact with potential customers isn't crucial to your business. It's still not a number you would want to be listed out in the wild if you don't have a lot of time to take calls. It is a way to sort of have your cake, and eat it too though. With a vanity number, you can have those calls forwarded to your primary phone or cell. This way you can have a business phone number, without the phone line. You can have it printed on business cards, and even use it for those scheduled over the phone meetings.
If you have any measure of success in your home-based business, there may come a time when you need a dedicated business phone regardless. Until it becomes a necessity, you would likely be doing yourself a favor to wait, and just focus on doing what you do best.
Do you have a dedicated business phone for your business? Drop us a note we'd love to hear from you!
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Daymon H is the owner of Buckeye Web Development, LLC and ServiceInMyArea.com where you can discuss, compare, and review phone service.