Telecom mistakes to avoid when starting a business in 2018
There are many challenges for every business start-up, but some new businesses make it harder for themselves by making basic mistakes with their telecoms.
1. Only having a mobile phone number on your business card
Research shows 30% of people do not trust it and therefore will not contact them. This is even higher if the business is offering professional services such as accountancy, financial advice or consultancy.
So what are the other options? Some company’s use 0800 numbers to get round this issue which add to costs as then you pay for the incoming calls. Others try to offset this by using 0843 or 0844 numbers but that just creates the impression that you want to profit every time someone calls you.
Anything other than 0800, or numbers beginning 01/02/03, for post sales service is illegal. If you still wish to use them then you must also publish the cost of call them in close proximity to where the number is publicised in all places – websites, business cards and vans.
2. Using your home phone number for business
Some business starters are tempted to use their home phone number but then you may not always know who is calling.
It also means you can’t turn your business off if you want in the evening or at weekends. There is limited functionality as well for handling a second call and personalising voicemails. Also if you move house you may move to another telephone exchange and not be able to take the phone number you have been marketing for years.
For this reason many small businesses wonder if they should use a telephone answering or virtual PA service for when they are not available.
The key question is what you want them to do. If it is to just take a message you need to ask yourself what value is that adding. If they can handle certain queries then that can enhance your offering.
3. Signing up to very long contracts
There is also great pressure for all new businesses to manage their costs at the outset whilst revenues are low. Offers of free installation if you sign 3 or 5 year contracts can on the surface appear very tempting, but there are many downsides. Technology improves year on year, do you want to be left with 3 years of a contract using outdated and expensive technology?
Firstly your business may expand and / or you may move the business and you could find yourself facing penalties for cancelling the contract. Secondly you are locking yourself into prices for a long term in an environment where prices usually go down. The cost of calling mobiles has fallen by 50% in the past 4 years.
At the same time many business owners forget to read the small print in the contracts and forget to check the basics such as length, notice periods and penalty clauses. They then get caught when they want to make changes.
4. Serviced offices
Many start-ups consider using serviced offices when starting out which can make sense as it avoids long term commitment that usually comes renting your own space.
But if considering this route ensure you check if they will expect you to use their telecoms services. This can create two issues.
Firstly, the costs can be very expensive compared to organising yourself, and secondly, they may not release the number to you should you move out at some point in the future.
5. Failing to buy business grade telecoms
Some start-ups also try and save money by buying residential services instead of business grade telecoms solutions, most notably mobile phones and broadband.
Whilst they may be cheaper service levels are also lower and you should factor in “what is the cost to my business of not being contactable”. It may well be more than the few pounds a month you are saving.
Overall the key for any business owner is to be wary. Before you sign anything, ask yourself ‘will my telecoms support the business in the way I expect it to develop and will I be making it easy for customers to get in touch?’ We can offer no obligation assistance and guidance in getting your new business telecoms set up properly from the word go!!