It’s 6:30 p.m. After a long day of work, you’re ready to cut loose by preparing a home-cooked meal, relaxing with music playing in the background, and decompressing after a day of dealing with clients and customers. Then you hear it: text alert beeps.
It’s a client. Can you fix this issue for them right now?
Sure, you could say “no,” but that’s not the point. Even if you do, you’re now going to be thinking about that problem your client has. You’re going to be thinking about the extra work it’s going to cause you the next day. You might start talking about it with friends, roommates, partners. It’s official: work has seeped into your personal life—all because you couldn’t get a separate phone number for business purposes.
If you’re asking “Should I get a separate cell phone for business?” keep in mind you don’t necessarily need an entirely new phone. You just need a system in place that can help you keep your personal texts and calls separate from your working hours. Here’s why.
Reason #1: Avoiding Customers and Clients During Off-Hours
When you worked in a cubicle dreaming of that day you might run a small business of your own, we’re going to guess that you wanted to avoid the feeling of being chained to your desk. Giving your clients your personal cell phone number is a sure way to wipe that advantage to entrepreneurship away.
When you go home for the day, it’s important that you feel a clear delineation between working hours and personal hours. That happens when you separate your personal phone from your business phone. You won’t fully rest and recuperate for the next day if you’re constantly checking your phone and answering client questions. The only way to make sure that you’re not doing this? Keeping your business calls relegated to business hours.
You might wonder how a call forwarding system will help free up your personal time. The answer is that during off-hours, if you’re using a setup like Grasshopper, you can make sure that business calls stop forwarding to your personal use phone and start going straight to your business voicemail. You might also have your calls routed to a virtual team that’s still on the job, even after you’ve clocked out for the night.
Reason #2: Reducing Stress
Believe it or not, the way you manage your time with a smart phone can have an enormous impact on the way you deal with stress. One survey found that those people who label themselves “constant checkers” also reported the highest feelings of stress. The age of the landline is over, but the distractions are at an all-time high.
It doesn’t matter what phone you’re using—whether it’s iPhone, Android, or any cell phone with a straightforward phone service. If your phone is always on you—and customers and clients have a way to get to it—then you’re not removing yourself from the stressor. Your personal calls and your work phone become indistinguishable.
Sure, it’s a good idea to decouple yourself from the cell phone when you go on vacation. But is that enough? Make it a daily habit to improve your work-life balance by keeping your phone calls relegated to the time you’re at work. This won’t only establish clear boundaries for you and your customers, but it will help you create a more manageable business that doesn’t feel like it’s sucking up all of your available time thanks to texting, intrusive text messages, and the hassle of an unhappy client.
Reason #3: Automation
When you don’t keep the same phone number for your cell phone as you do your business, you open all sorts of possibilities when it comes to automating your phone system:
- You can set up a voicemail system so that a customer has to dial “1” to reach you first. This helps create a buffer layer between you and your customers, which is more important as your business grows and you have less time to spend with individual clients and customers. You can also use this feature to stop forwarding after a certain time, which helps you keep your mind off of business when you’re trying to rest.
- Let the phone system do the answering. Let’s say you set up a phone system with Grasshopper. You can use a professional voice greeting establish to your customers that you’re ready to talk to them off the bat, which helps maintain your professionalism. From there, you can let the voice menu direct the customer’s call. This ensures that the customer feels like they’re actually going to get to talk to a human. It also means that some of the calls will reroute to more appropriate parties, such as people in your customer service department. You won’t be expected to pick up the phone personally anymore—unless the call is specifically for you, and during office hours.
Reason #4: You’ll Give Yourself More Options
Keeping a separate number on your mobile devices for your business makes it possible to do entirely different things with your phone system. You can hire a voice professional to record your greeting message. You can set up call forwarding to your team. You can use a voice prompt menu. You can do all sorts of things—but not if you’re answering on your personal number.
You don’t have to get a second phone, either. Another mobile phone will only add to the complexity of your life. Between social media, personal data, and managing your personal phone line, it becomes too much.
The personal number is a direct link between you and the customer. That’s a great thing if you’re just starting in business and need to offer great service. But it’s not exactly a great thing if your business is growing and you have to spend more time optimizing the business itself. The more valuable your time becomes, the better off you’ll be separating yourself from the customers.
When you get a separate business phone number, you can start utilizing all sorts of features with Grasshopper Connect. That includes bringing everything into one inbox so you don’t have to check several accounts every time you come to work. You can also keep your previous conversations with a business contact in the same thread so you don’t feel embarrassed if you forget somebody.
It all starts with a separate business number. Try Grasshopper or Grasshopper Connect to set up a virtual phone system specifically designed to give you more control over your small business.