How do I get a business phone number?
For small business owners or sole traders, keeping things low-cost and convenient is crucial. A dedicated business phone number might seem unnecessary when you could just use your existing cell number, and many organizations do use their personal phones to communicate.
However, it’s not great for privacy or for separating your work and personal life—and it won’t help you stand out from the crowd. If your business is to look professional, compete with rivals, and grow, adopting a business phone number is essential.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a successful company seeking a better business solution, we’ll show you the many advantages of using a business number.
Advantages of business phone numbers
- Improves professionalism
- Increases calls and revenue
- More convenient
- Helps work-life balance
- Saves money
If your business needs a new or additional phone number, you could get your phone company to run a new line to your premises or buy a second phone for business use.
But you’d have to pay a setup fee and monthly bill for the new line, and your number would be tied to one location. A second mobile can be costly unless you’ve got unlimited minutes, and it’s easy to get confused when handling business phone calls from your personal number!
Investing in a business phone number is cheaper and faster than installing physical phone lines and more convenient than either a location-based number or a second phone. Numbers are available from various providers, and you can combine them with the advantages of a virtual business phone system from the likes of RingCentral.
A separate business phone line ensures privacy and helps business owners keep their work within business hours. It also shows customers that you’re professional, established, and trustworthy. People are far more likely to call you on a business number than a cell number.
Here’s the great thing—with a virtual phone system, customers dial what looks like an office phone number, but you can have incoming calls diverted to any device, wherever you are. Companies without physical premises can handle business calls from personal cell phones, and remote teams can connect from anywhere.
One number covers multiple branches of your business, which is easier for customers to remember and helps you simplify your marketing. A business number also gives customers the option of speaking to a real person rather than relying on other channels like email, live chat, or text messaging.
Choosing a business phone system
Before you choose a business phone number, check out the benefits of different phone systems. Some organizations still prefer the PBX model with physical hardware, but it’s becoming less adaptable in the digital age. It’s more expensive to install and maintain and not very flexible or scalable.
With almost universal internet access, it makes sense to use digital technology instead of traditional landlines. As well as cheaper local and international phone calls, there are more opportunities to stay competitive and keep customers happy.
Cloud phone systems using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) are fast and easy to set up. There are some free options, but for total professionalism, you need a business VoIP service provider like RingCentral MVP—which also offers unified communications, including business texting and conference calling.
There’s no need to install new phone lines or even use a desk phone, as your computer or mobile can receive calls. VoIP phone systems provide better audio quality than traditional phones, plus advanced features like call screening, call routing, and virtual receptionist.
It’s also super-scalable, with a subscription plan that lets you pay for what you use. It’s easy to create additional business lines for new team members—just upgrade your plan and plug in extra phones or download phone apps for Android or iPhone. If you already have a business number, you can use a process known as “porting” to move it to your new VoIP provider.
Choosing a business phone number
Once you’ve selected the type of business phone system, it’s time to choose your business phone number. Options include:
- Virtual numbers
- Toll-free numbers
- Vanity phone numbers
- Local numbers.
A virtual phone number isn’t tied to a particular phone or location. With a virtual phone system like VoIP from RingCentral, your virtual number can be accessed from any internet-enabled device—desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, or VoIP phones.
A VoIP phone number is the number assigned when you sign up for a VoIP service. You can share the number between devices and employees, access unlimited calling, forward calls, and record voice messages and voicemail messages effortlessly.
A toll-free business number is a popular choice, as customers can call you for free! These calls are routed to a local number, and the number’s owner pays the cost. Initially, toll-free phone numbers were only used by large businesses—but now they’re very affordable.
Toll-free numbers all have a three-digit prefix, the most recognizable being 800. They’re all housed in a national directory, which permits companies known as RespOrgs (Responsible Organizations) to assign them on a first-come, first-served basis.
Most toll-free numbers are free of charge when calling long-distance inside the US and Canada. Many providers offer toll-free numbers for other countries, so you can cover more markets and give all customers the option of speaking to a human agent without having to pay.
A vanity number is a customized telephone number that spells out a word or name, making it easy for customers to remember. By incorporating your name or slogan into your business phone number, you’ll boost brand recognition and improve ad response rates.
Vanity numbers starting with a toll-free prefix such as 800 are free to call; the most well-known example being 1-800 FLOWERS. You may find that your business name has already been taken, so it pays to be creative when choosing a word or phrase.
Local phone numbers are linked to a specific location by an area code. No matter where your company is located, it’s possible to buy a different local area code for business use.
Organizations choose to do this because customers are more likely to call a local business or answer the phone to a local number. You can have inbound or outbound calls forwarded through your cell provider, so you can still use the local number when you’re off-premises.
Local numbers are distributed to phone companies in batches instead of being stored in a registry, so you need to pick a provider with plenty of choice. RingCentral has a database of over 200 area codes.
- Whatever type of number you choose, remember to list it prominently on your business website to ensure customers know about this option.
How do I get a business phone number?
There are tons of business phone service providers, all offering business numbers as well as virtual systems and business phone apps. Before you sign up, do your research and figure out what’s best for your business.
Maybe you’re simply looking for a new toll-free, local, or vanity number to start things off or expand your business. But it’s worth remembering that a virtual phone system like RingCentral will give you plenty of extra phone features for communication and productivity.
Here are some key aspects to check for:
- Choice of numbers
- Flexibility and scalability
- Affordable pricing
- Reliability and security
- Call management tools
Which provider should I choose?
If you want your phone number to be the first step toward growing your business, you could incorporate it into a smart telephony and communications system—and you don’t need to look any further than RingCentral.
As well as affordable business numbers, RingCentral MVP (formerly RingCentral Office) offers you extra features, including SMS and conference calls, plus management tools, and integrations with other apps.
The huge database includes toll-free, local, and vanity numbers, or you can create your own. You can port an existing number to RingCentral, choose international numbers for over 75 countries, and get unlimited calls within the US and Canada.
Your number won’t be tied to one office phone for your business, as it can be accessed from any device, anywhere. Employees can use their company number on the mobile app instead of personal phone plans. Customers will see your business number as the caller ID, and the call forwarding function means you’ll never miss a call.
The auto-attendant lets you create custom greetings, hold music and voicemail greetings, while other features include call recording, voicemail transcription, text messages, and fax. An intuitive dashboard is easily manageable from a browser, desktop, iOS, or Android phones (and RingCentral sells a range of business phones, too).
RingCentral has you covered for digital business communications, backed by maximum reliability and security. Starting with a business phone number, you’ll find everything you need to make running your business simpler and increase your revenue.