But it doesn’t have to be a landline or a cellphone.
There’s now something called VOIP.
Get a VOIP Phone For Your Business
Some small business start-ups try to rely on a mobile phone line and not bother at all with a landline.
But mobile phones can be expensive and they aren’t always the best in terms of image.
It depends on the nature of your business, but often people expect a solid business to have a solid “landline” type phone connection, rather than just a mobile number.
So, what should you do if your business ideally needs a landline connection – but you don’t want to pay the high rental and charges of the landline phone company?
What about Skype?
Along with a mobile phone connection, some small business start-ups try to use Skype as their “landline” phone alternative.
You can register a professional sounding Call ID with Skype for your business. I have a Skype Call ID in my business name, but in practice I rarely use it. I set it up mainly for those times where I might want to hold a conference call Skype-to-Skype or to avoid high international call charges.
The problem with Skype is that it’s first and foremost a proprietary audio-messaging service for private users sitting at their computers. It’s not a quality business-standard telephone service.
For my day to day business use I prefer to use VOIP.
VOIP is the Solution
VOIP is the system of making landline- or mobile-destination phone calls via the Internet using VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
VOIP provides a higher level of reliability and call quality than audio-messaging. It also means you can use a proper VOIP phone to make and receive calls.
With systems such as Skype, you have to run Skype software and be connected via a USB headset to your PC whenever you want to make or receive a call.
A VOIP phone by contrast runs independently of your PC. Your PC or laptop does not even need to be switched on. You don’t even need a PC or laptop to use VOIP.
A VOIP phone looks like a normal “landline” phone – with more features. But the big difference is that a VOIP phone connects to your Internet router or Ethernet connection and not to the landline telecom socket.
You don’t even need a landline phone connection in order to use VOIP. VOIP will run over any kind of Internet connection as long as it is DSL standard.
A Phone Number from the Country of Your Choice
VOIP isn’t just an alternative to an old-style landline. It’s a much better form of landline which gives you more functions at a lower price.
VOIP also provides you with a proper geographical telephone number. And you can choose a number of the location of your choice.
Unlike traditional landlines, with VOIP you’re not limited to a phone number relating to the physical location of your office. You can choose a number from a country and city which is best suited to your business and your customers, regardless of where your business is actually physically located.
And no-one needs to know that your phone connection is VOIP-based. It’s completely transparent to callers.
In fact, many of the big companies in the UK now use VOIP to divert customer service calls made to local numbers in Britain to overseas call centers.
Your business can also take advantage of the same know-how and low cost to run your business telecoms on VOIP. There’s no need anymore to have any contact with your local landline phone company and their overpriced tariffs.
VOIP also makes it possible for you to have multiple phone numbers from practically any locations around the world. For example, if your London-based business does a lot of business with say Australia and the USA, as well as the UK, then you can register a London, Sydney and a New York VOIP phone number, all routing to the same physical VOIP phone line.
When you pick up your VOIP phone receiver to make a call, you are for the sake of the call already “located” in London, (assuming for this example this is the primary number of your VOIP service connection).
In the same way, callers to your number are effectively calling you in London, regardless of where you have actually plugged in your VOIP phone – which can literally be anywhere in the world with an Internet or Ethernet connection.
You don’t even actually need to have a VOIP phone to use VOIP. You can have the calls diverted to an answering service, to a landline number, a mobile number, sent to voicemail, or even emailed to you in MP3 format.
VOIP is Shaking Up the Old Telecoms
VOIP is also cheaper than the old landline telecoms – and offers you a better service. Since VOIP providers are usually smaller companies, they provide a much higher level of service and customer responsiveness than the old telecom corporations of the past.
The old telecoms are now losing customers as more users switch over to VOIP. In particular, VOIP is now a favourite amongst large companies. Many have now completely replaced their old analogue or even digital IDSN landline systems and replaced them with VOIP hardware.
At the moment, it’s mostly business users who know about VOIP and who are ditching their old analogue connections. Take-up of VOIP in the domestic market has been much slower.
Partly this is because of lack of awareness. But also because home users tend to rely more on mobile phones and Skype as alternatives to landline phones.
Choosing a VOIP Provider
When you’re looking around for a VOIP provider you need to research. Because of the nature of the business, it’s fairly easy for very small, low capitalized operators to enter the sector and then disappear a few years later. So check reliability of service and the experiences of existing customers first.
Check Out Voipfone
One of the best VOIP providers in the UK is Voipfone, based in London’s Canary Wharf.
Voipfone offer VOIP-based services, including telephone numbers for locations throughout the world. This is also the VOIP provider I use for my own business.
Voipfone are a small company (most VOIP operators are) and so their customer service is excellent. They’ve been around now for 10 years (practically a lifetime in VOIP terms) and they’re well established in the UK VOIP market.
Their service offering includes facilities such as voicemail, mobile phone callback for international mobile calls (much cheaper than the so-called “roaming” tariffs the mainstream mobile operators try to get you to use), as well as virtual switchboard systems and many other services.
Your business doesn’t to be based in the UK and you don’t need to be resident in the UK to become a Voipfone customer.
Find out more about Voipfone at their website at www.voipfone.co.uk