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David Hauser about Grasshopper -The Virtual Phone System Designed for Entrepreneurs

The Grasshopper virtual phone system is designed to help entrepreneurs stay connected and sound professional. Back in 2003, two young entrepreneurs needed a radically different kind of phone system. They wanted a simple way to sound professional and stay connected no matter where they were. No telephone solution on the market offered all the benefits and features they needed, at a price still affordable to entrepreneurs.

So they started Grasshopper to provide it. To date they have helped more than 100,000 entrepreneurs start and grow their small businesses.

What is the Grasshopper Virtual Phone System ? The Grasshopper Virtual Phone System helps your small business sound more professional and stay connected. With a local or toll free number, unlimited extensions, live call forwarding, on hold music, name directory, and much more, your small business can function and appear like a Fortune 500 company. When callers dial your Grasshopper 800 number, they hear a custom main greeting giving them options from which to choose, i.e. “Thank you for calling ABC company, dial 1 for sales, 2 for support…”

Since each phone extension can forward to any number, you can be reached on your home, office, mobile or VoIP phone. Assign extensions to each department or employee and let the find-me-follow-me functionality of call forwarding connect callers to the right employees. Give callers access to information such as product info, store hours or driving directions using Informational Extensions. You can also receive voicemails and faxes online or via email as audio or picture attachments. With these powerful features available from Grasshopper your small business can stay connected and sound more professional.
Grasshopper is a product of Grasshopper Group - a suite of products designed to empower entrepreneurs to succeed. Vallabh Rao spoke to cofounder David Hauser to learn more about GrassHopper and the virtual phone service. The founders were selected among the top five entrepreneurs in the country in Business Week magazine’s inaugural look at the most innovative and youthful leaders in U.S. small business.

1) You started GH as you could not find a service for entrepreneurs? Has this approach shaped your growth as well? Do you plan to focus on providing services to entrepreneurs?

This has greatly shaped our growth and talks to our core purpose of empowering entrepreneurs to succeed. What we created with our virtual phone system was not a sexy new technology but something that had been around for a very long time, just never available to entrepreneurs at a price point they would be ok paying ( while still providing great value to their business). Over the years we even shifted our messaging to better target entrepreneurs compared with small business owners and as we look at new products or even new services for the current offering we will look at what our target market really wants, not what is just cool or sexy.

2) So we have the virtual phone service do you plan to add other functionality? Do you plan to diversify?

We plan to grow the virtual phone system business a lot this year by both adding customers and functionality for existing customers based on what they are asking for. As Grasshopper Group we launched Chargify which is a very different business and we will continue to look at opportunities that serve our target market of entrepreneurs and help them succeed.

3) How many clients/entrepreneurs have you worked with so far?

We have served well over 100,000 entrepreneurs since we started, grown very quickly and will continue to grow. We were on the Inc 500 list for our growth rate but we do not share revenue or subscriber numbers after that point. We have about 50 people in a few different offices and remote employees all around the globe.

4) How are you funded?

We are 100% self funded or bootstrapped and have not taken any outside venture capital money. We have been smart about our growth, with a positive cash cycle, and spending on the best ROI opportunities only.

5) Any specific plans for India?

While there are not specific plans for India right now, we are looking at international growth in the coming years and I am sure India will be on that list with the entrepreneurial spirit and companies which are there.

David Hauser is passionate about helping entrepreneurs make their dreams a reality. Fortunately, as co-founder of Grasshopper, he gets to do this each and every day. Want more of David’s advice? Read his blog, MindDrift, or follow him on Twitter: @dh.