West Points

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pseudo-phone numbers, a Must for Start-Ups?

by Heather Gurewitz
Mendocino Women's Business Center Director
As more people are looking toward starting a business and self employment, there are some conflicts of interest that come up. For example, for professionalism as well as personal safety you want to have a separate business line, something different from your personal number or your house phone. However, a new business line can be expensive to set up, cost prohibitive in most cases, and in many ways less efficient. Yet, especially for women entrepreneurs, having a published personal number is not desirable, especially if you plan to have flyers pasted all over town. So, how do you maintain personal safety and privacy and a high level of professionalism? Technology to the rescue! Both Google and Skype are offering FREE "phone numbers" that you can link to your existing telephones. While I am not as familiar with the Skype version, with Google it is very simple. You set up your Google voice number so that it rings your home, cell, and/or other number choice. The best part is, if you have caller ID, you can have your Google number show up when calls come through so you know how to answer. And, if you decide a year down the road to get a business line in your new building, you don't need to necessarily change your number. You can just forward it to the new business line. Did I mention this was free?

If you are starting a business, there are a number of free online tools to check out. These are great ways to make your start-up experience more seamless and reduce those hefty expenses. For more on starting a business take our Building a Better Business series!

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