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Jonathan Kay : Two Things Every Business Must Have

So here you are, an entrepreneur with a brilliant idea, laptop in hand, ready and excited to make a million dollars this year. But where do you start?

If you have ever started a business, you know there are a million things to do.  It can be extremely overwhelming and frankly it’s not uncommon to get frozen in your tracks.  Which is why it’s important to stay focused on the basics, the simple things that can actually help make our business run.  The tools that can make our business successful.

The Two Things Every Business Must Have

In an effort to “get back to the basics”, every startup is going to need two things:  A domain name & A business phone number.  I mean, what a great time it is to be an entrepreneur. There is a ton of opportunity out there and with the boom of co-working, you can now have a unique address, desk to work at, web presence, and a business phone number all for under $200 a month. (For those in the Boston Area, WorkBar is a great co-working option)

Now officially a decade into the 2000’s, I am pretty sure everyone knows what a domain name is, why it’s valuable, and where to find one.  I can certainly speak for Generation Y when I say I won’t even buy from a business that doesn’t have a company website.  However, many people still do not know what a Virtual Phone System is, or more importantly how it helps you stay connected wherever you are.

Understanding Virtual Phone Systems

Starting a company, most of us think we will be fine just using our cell phones and cell phone number.  But, it’s important to keep in mind that just like in dating, and job interviews first impressions are everything when it comes to a potential customer.  Picking up a sales call on your cell phone saying “Hello??”, might be the difference between a sale (and brand advocate) and a disengaged consumer.

It’s becoming more and more important to differentiate yourself from the crowd.  In fact, it’s essential for you to sound more professional than your competitors and earn the trust of your target market.  As an entrepreneur and a consumer myself, I am always more likely to trust a company that I can pick up the phone and call.  The more accessible you can make your business, the more comfortable people feel giving you their money.

In 2005, 22.2 million Americans worked from home or at an out-of-office location at least one day per week (Forbes), and it is predicted that nearly 100 million US workers will telecommute by 2010 (Kiplinger).  With virtual offices becoming such a common thing it is necessary for you to stay connected to your business regardless of where you are.  Especially with a remote team, having each employee set up with their own virtual extension will allow you to present a united and confident image to your potential customers.

At the end of the day a virtual phone system is an inexpensive and practical way to sound bigger, more professional, and always stay connected.  Most services are less than $30 a month for a toll free number, call forwarding, personal greetings, custom voicemail and more.

Just remember, lots of people have really good ideas, it’s how you execute them that separates the mediocre companies from the great ones.  Start your business with the tools you need to be successful.

What Systems Do You Use?

It seems only a small percentage of the business world is aware of what a Virtual Phone System is.  Which leaves me wondering:  What are all you entrepreneurs and small businesses out there using for your business phone number?  What tools are you using to help your business appear bigger and more professional?