Your business telephone number is an identity. The first random sequence of numbers you were offered by the telephone company when you placed your order may not be your current telephone number. Many businesses use vanity numbers that spell their names or the names of their products. Others use palindrome-style numbers to provide an easy way for customers to find them by phone. Whatever your number, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) makes it easy to move it from a land line to a mobile or a VOIP as long as the move is within the same geographic area. If you are moving to a different location, you need to be creative to take your business phone number with you.
Call you local phone company to port your number to your new location if you are moving your business within the same area code. Area codes change, so don't make assumptions about them.
Investigate whether it makes financial sense to keep your old telephone number in service and have calls forwarded to your new telephone number. Extending the time period that the phone company automatically forwards your calls by keeping your old number in service is a good decision if your number is memorable and longstanding. The expense can be evaluated against advertising materials, business cards and letterhead that are in inventory and would need to be reproduced with the new number.
Choose whether it is time to invest in an 800, or toll free number. Your local phone company can provide a toll free number, or you can find another provider online. Research which plan has costs and benefits that suit your needs best. With luck, you can put the 800 in front of your old number and keep your identity. If not, check to see if your number is still available with other toll free pre-fixes like 866, 877 and 888. Your toll free number will remain with you regardless of future moves. People like to call free numbers and usage of your old number will diminish, especially from customers that otherwise would pay a toll to call you.
Sign up online for the new free telecommunications service provided by Google called Google Voice. Unlike the phone companies, this product gives you a choice of area codes and telephone numbers. Select numbers from available options, and see if you can find your business telephone number in a new area code. Or find an area code that has cache and choose a number you like. Your Google number is permanent. It can be forwarded to all your telephone numbers including your cell and home phones, so you never miss a call. Domestic calls and text messages are free, international calls are cheap and missed calls are transcribed as e-mail. There is a Google Voice mobile app available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones.
Take advantage of your move to advertise your business with your new telephone number and location.
- telephone image by Goran Bogicevic from Fotolia.com