Despite uncertainties over Brexit and a volatile political climate, the number of small businesses in the UK continues to grow year on year.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there were 5.8 million new startups in 2019, representing a 3.5% increase on the previous year.
Whatever industry your company operates in, there’s likely to be plenty of competition and more on the way. Perhaps it’s no surprise that 50 per cent of small businesses fail within their first five years.
But looking on the bright side, that also means half of all businesses started in 2020 will continue to thrive in 2025. How can you make sure your business falls into the right 50 per cent?
Successful business owners continually strive to stay one step ahead of the competition. That means keeping up to date with the latest trends and technology, making smart investments and seeking out new opportunities.
An increasing number of companies are realising the benefits of virtual phone numbers for business. A virtual number uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, allowing calls from any location and device with internet access.
They represent a cost-effective communication solution that provides far more than a phone number. If you’re not already subscribing to a virtual phone number service, here’s why we think you should.
Most virtual phone number providers offer a cloud-based hosted solution, meaning there is no need for a business to purchase any expensive new hardware.
The technology required to use a virtual number is bought and maintained by the service provider; the business pays a fixed monthly subscription fee to use this hardware.
A virtual number will work with your existing devices, from mobile phones to desktop computers and tablets.
Not only is there no need to buy new equipment, call charges using a virtual system are often considerably more affordable than via traditional carriers. Provided you have access to the internet, any calls made will be charged at the rates agreed in your plan.
For companies with a high number of international clients or those with a global team, this technology can drastically reduce the monthly phone bill.
Imagine if internal calls made between colleagues in different countries charged at a local rate? Wouldn’t it be great if you could call your client in the states at the same rate as a client in London?
Manage business on-the-go
Virtual numbers offer a level of flexibility that traditional landlines could not possibly provide. There’s no need to be tied to your desk phone for fear of missing an important call.
It’s easy to route calls to any preferred device, allowing entrepreneurs to manage business on the go and work wherever they may be — provided there is access to the internet. This means less “dead time” spent commuting or waiting for meetings and no missed opportunities.
Lower risk and cheaper expansion
Most small businesses operate on a tight budget. Even if an entrepreneur identifies an exciting new market where demand outstrips supply, it may be hard to capitalise on the opportunity if funds are lacking.
A virtual number can provide a cost-effective way to branch out into new locations. Purchase a virtual number with the area code of the target location and instantly establish a local presence for your business without the expense of setting up new premises.
This can be especially beneficial for small business owners who are keen to branch out into locations where renting office space is particularly costly, such as London.
Consumers are more likely to buy from local companies and a company that appears to have national reach is more trustworthy.
If your plans are even more ambitious and the target location is international, buying a virtual number for that location is a great way to test the waters in a new market without committing to the expense and administration required to expand abroad.
Develop a strong company brand
Many small businesses start at the kitchen table, but it’s important to build a professional reputation and a strong brand from the outset. Few people will have much faith in a company that uses a personal mobile number on business marketing material.
Purchasing a number instantly recognised as reliable or memorable is a great way to establish a company brand and enhance its credibility.
A number such as 0845 immediately suggests a business has national reach, whereas a toll-free number, such as 0800, will instil trust in consumers.
A vanity number that uses a highly memorable string of digits or letters will give your brand a real boost. A consumer is much more likely to remember 0800-FLOWERS than a set of random numbers.
A virtual phone number can offer a host of benefits to any business, from startups to established enterprises. They represent a low-cost, low-risk investment, making this technology highly attractive to small businesses on a budget.
Equally, they allow more established companies to branch out into new markets and expand their reach. With BT’s ISDN switch off looming in 2025, companies who continue to rely on traditional telecommunication technology will soon be left behind.
More from ByteStart
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- What are the Alternatives if Your Broadband Doesn’t Meet Your Business Needs?
Funding Your Business
- How to Find the Right Business Loan
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- Secured v Unsecured Business Loans – The Key Differences