When you're starting your own business, money is often tight, especially in the beginning. Naturally, you'll want to save money wherever possible. Using your cell phone as a business phone number may seem like a perfectly good solution. However, this decision can cause more problems than it solves in the long run. Here are three reasons you should not use your mobile phone for business:
1. It can complicate your business expense records.
Itemizing business expenses is an important way to get the tax deductions you're entitled to. Internet and phone service bills are deductible when they're used for your business. If you use your cell phone for both business and personal calls, you will have to spend time figuring out what percentage of your monthly use was due to business. This can complicate your records, leading to trouble from the IRS. Save yourself the headache and purchase phone service used exclusively for work.
2. It can disturb your work/life balance.
Maintaining proper boundaries between your work and home life is key to sustainable business practices. While it may be tempting to be constantly available, this can erode your morale and mental health over time. You need to be able to leave work "at the office," even if you're working out of your house. Using a separate phone system for work use can help you maintain that boundary. Set specific business hours and make it a point to never answer your work phone outside of those hours. Customers can always leave a message, if it's important.
3. It isn't as powerful as a designated business phone system.
Cell phones are good at many things. They excel at making calls, sending texts, and even surfing the web. However, your cell phone doesn't give you the ability to put a customer on hold or transfer their call to a more relevant department. These features are important; they can signal to customers that you're a professional. Investing in a business phone system can give your clients the best possible experience whenever they call you.
While frugality is a great trait in any startup business owner, you also need to know when it's worthwhile to splurge. Spending a little extra money on business phone systems is a smart choice. It will help your company grow, allow you to project an air of professional competence, and even encourage you to keep a healthy distance between your work and free time.