To help you start a business, present a professional image, grow a business AND have a life, here are some suggestions:
Please remember, the poor choices you make today could haunt you for a long time…
While there are economies and conveniences discussed in previous posts, I hope you have at least considered the negatives of using your cell phone as your primary business line. There are a few more things you may not have thought about:
What happens when your company has grown and you need someone else to handle calls for you?
Can your cell phone number be ported to a land line number and become your office number so that you can maintain that number as the main number for your company? Not all numbers are ‘portable’. If your number is not portable, are you willing to permanently forward it to your new business number (and still pay for the phone that you can no longer use)?
Before you get that great wrap on your vehicle and print stationery and brochures, make sure you won’t need to change your business number a few years down the road.
Also please think about the fact that – although cell phones are very sophisticated – they cannot offer as many alternatives as a phone system, such as the ability to record messages into separate voice mails for each employee. They also do not have the ability to ‘route’ calls to another line when someone is already fielding a call on the main number. These are functions that may become extremely important to you as your business grows.
If you have been using your cell phone and it needs to be transitioned to the company number permanently, you will need to get yourself a new cell phone and start to transition all your personal contacts over to the new number. It doesn’t sound that bad, but it can be a mess! Just get it over with now!
If you find yourself having to change your business number, I would suggest that you keep your cell phone active but stop answering it. Simply record a voice mail that picks up immediately and tells callers “ABC Company now has a new number. Please reach us by dialing ______.’ Your callers will make the transition more quickly if they don’t reach a person when they call your former number, especially if that person is you!
Many of us, when starting a business, feel that we want to keep it small and cozy so that we can control it and have more personal relationships with our customers. That may be true, but most of us would also like to have something to hand down to the next generation or sell when we want to retire. Be careful that your business does not become all about you; make intentional choices to expand, duplicate and teach others so that – when you want ‘out’ (or even when you need a few days off) – you have the ability to get out (and have some money in your pocket!). With careful hiring and training it IS possible to have employees with the same mindset and energy about your business and clients that you do.
Be careful, if you are a one-man band and you have decided to put down your instruments, there is no reason for anyone to think there is a reason to buy a ticket.