Request For Business Input On a Change I'm Considering...mostly phones

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Yesterday I got a "new" idea. Business is slow and we are old. We have a few customers that buy in quantity and keep us in operation. Those customers order by phone or when weekly sales calls are made by husband.

    My idea is this. Instead of spending 40+ hours at the store maybe we can get rid of our Comcast package (phones, internet and tv) and get the phone numbers transferred to cell phones. Customers would be able to reach us and we could be in rocking chairs at home, lol. We have two landlines, a toll free number (really obsolete since most phone services include out of State calls now) and a fax number.

    I'm not sure how we would be able to receive fax transmitions "unless" the more modern cell phones can be used for fax transmitions. I'm not smart about "smart phones" etc. Do they include fax capability?

    What are the flaws in this idea? I need you guys to brainstorm for me before I make exploratory calls. We have the internet at home that receives/stores business and personal emails so I don't think we need the internet at work.

    The bldg is listed on MLS now. We would retain the bldg, be able to receive freight as usual, meet customers upon request (maybe even notify the local customers in advance and share the change and assure them of our availability). Brainstorm please. DDD
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You might be able to put a smart-ring on one of your land-lines. That's a separate number that uses the same phone line, but has a different ring tone (think country-style party lines...). You would make your fax number the new "smart-ring" number, and connect your fax machine to that line and set it to recognize the smart-ring. (I'm assuming fax machine is no older than about 7 years... we've had ours that long)
  3. jal

    jal Member

    I haven't tried faxing from my phone but my phone has slots for work and home fax numbers. You could keep the fax if you still get a lot of business that way but you can receive email on your smart phone. Customers could also send you a purchase order as a PDF attachment to your email that you can then send to your printer for a hard copy.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Here's what I would recommend.

    1) Have your business phone lines transferred to cell phones, as you suggest. Make sure that at least one of the devices (as in, cell phone "hand sets") is a smart-phone with e-mail capability. You'll see why in a moment. Also, check out the plans available through your cell phone providers -- make sure that you have enough calling minutes and data capacity to handle the amount of voice and e-mail traffic you're likely to get from the business. Some of the smart phones have nice big screens and good visibility. It might be worth looking into bluetooth headsets so you don't have to hold up a giant handset to your head. (usually, cell phones come with wired-in headsets, but I always get tangled in mine and end up "slingshot-ing" my phone across the room with them. If you're anything like me, wireless is GOLD!

    2) Maintain one land line, and set it up with a fax server. A fax server allows you to send and receive faxes directly from your computer. Incoming faxes are converted to PDF files, and then sent to you as e-mail attachments. This allows you to receive faxes via e-mail, and view them on your phone if you're not in front of a computer. An alternative to maintaining a land line for this part is to set up a VOIP service, and use it for your fax server line. (VOIP -- voice over internet protocol -- delivers phone service through the same "pipe" as internet service, rather than through the separate phone infrastructure. You can still use traditional phone handsets to place and receive phone calls).

    3) Is your home internet service reliable and fast? Is your data plan sufficient to account for any additional traffic from the business? If not, then it's probably worthwhile to look into upgrading your service and or data capacity. If you're not anticipating a lot of extra traffic to your home internet connection, then it's probably fine as it is.

    4) Re: the building, will you still need the whole space? Are there any opportunities to rent out part of it and increase your revenue stream by becoming a landlord?

    Overall, it sounds like a good plan to me.
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with Trinity regarding the fax. I cancelled our fax line a little over a year ago at work because we were never using it. But recently we've had to send some sensitive financial information via fax only. I use a company called metrofax through my computer. If I want to send a fax, I just attached a pdf file with the information to be faxed and the company turns it into a fax. I get faxes that same way. I get an email, open it, and the fax someone sends me has been made into a pdf. The cost is cheaper than a designated fax line and I really like that everything is kept on my computer for record keeping. The only issue would be that your new fax line number is assigned by the company - you might want to check into seeing if you can port the old number.

    *I also like the idea of renting out any unused space!

  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi D.

    We ran into this issue when we closed our business. We did keep the numbers.

    We "ported" (that's the term) husband's business telephone line AND his fax line to a company called His business voice calls went straight to VM or we could forward them to our home # as we chose. (This way we didn't get business calls at all hours) any faxes that come in go straight to our emails as .pdf. We use our landline to send faxes with our fax machine but we've set the fax to "manual" so that it doesn't answer the landline. We could "scan to fax" thru accessline but prefer to just send faxes the old fashioned way thru the landline.

    Check out (not affiliated)

    The one thing I did learn is to port the numbers first BEFORE speaking to your current providers to cancel or move things around.
    Lasted edited by : Nov 14, 2013