For small business owners, a smartphone is both their personal and professional mode of communication. With calls and messages from customers, clients, colleagues, vendors, family and friends coming to the same number, understandably, it will be both confusing and unproductive to use the same number. So, it makes sense to think of a business phone.
When all calls and messages are managed through the same number, it would be challenging to separate professional and personal communication. All contacts will be merged, making it more difficult to quickly search for a particular one when needed. Handing out your personal number to all contacts also increases the risk of privacy violations.
So, a business phone is an effective solution. To make it easy for you, here are the key parameters by which you can select your second phone.
You should know your objectives before you go searching for models and makes. What will suit a restaurant owner may not work well for an office stationery supplier. Broadly speaking, these are the key things to consider:
To start with, would your business phone be used to communicate with colleagues, partners and vendors? If you’re in the business-to-business (B2B) sector, that would limit the exposure of your number.
In other words, it would be an ‘intra-business’ phone where you won’t have to share your number with the customers. What you need is a model that will at least have all the features of your current phone.
If you’re in the business-to-consumer (B2C) sector and plan to share the number with your customers, you’d need an ‘external business’ phone with considerable battery life, storage and memory. If this is the number you share on your website, online profiles and social media, the phone shouldn’t run out of charge.
Does your job require taking photos? If you’re in the restaurant, salon or pet-grooming industries, for example, it would be in your interest to take high-resolution photos and share them through social media.
For that, you need a business phone with an excellent camera. If you also shoot videos, you should check out the quality of the videos your new phone will be able to deliver.
If you take photos, you’d also need a phone with enough storage. But that isn’t the only thing you’d need storage for.
If you frequently have to download high-resolution files like account statements or project proposals, your business phone would need to have excellent memory and storage capabilities.
Would you also be using your company email from your business phone? If so, it needs to have enough power to support email and other communication clients.
Remember that if you’re in the B2C space, you’re also likely to get emails from customers. This calls for increased capacity and power.
Does your business use any apps for productivity, communication, scheduling, project management or customer service? If you use any of these, your new business phone should be able to support and run all those apps without getting stuck.
Ensure that your business phone can also help you open and edit business documents. Those apps should seamlessly work on your new phone. The phone’s interface should also make it easy to locate the apps.
This one is tricky. That’s because if you manage your business’s social media page, you might also be doing it from your phone. But if you have your business and personal pages from the same account, in all likelihood, you’d only need one phone to use them.
Although, if you decide to use your business phone only for your business pages and profiles, then you should get the social media apps installed and see how smoothly they function.
Just remember that it may be difficult to access the same social media profiles from two different phones. So, you may have to remove those apps from your personal phone.
This one’s entirely up to you. If you see yourself using the same business phone for more than three years and need all the features, go for the best model. But if you only want limited usage, you don’t have to spend too much on your new phone.
A second-line app is a functional and value-added alternative to getting a business phone. That’s because you’re not really looking for a new device – you’re looking for a solution with bonus features. That’s what a second-line app delivers.
No phone needed: You don’t have to buy a new device. Download the app and you’ve got a new number within minutes.
No additional bills: You won’t be billed for every call or text. Chalkboard, for example, only charges a fixed, reasonable amount for the subscription.
No missed calls: With a second-line app, you can set up auto-reply to calls and texts. So, no more missed opportunities.
A business phone should be judged on whether it suits your requirements. It may be the right solution for you but if you want added features, you should consider getting a second-line app instead.
Chalkboard helps you to separate your work and personal life. Everyone deserves some downtime.
Mobile-friendly apps for accounting, payments, time tracking, communications, project management and customer service for small businesses
There are many professional and personal reasons why local business owners should have a second phone number