- Do you need a virtual US phone number for a business launched outside the US?
- What are your options for a virtual US phone number?
- Why a virtual receptionist is the best choice
Q: How can I get a virtual US phone number for my small business?
A: If you live in a country outside the US but want to launch a business here, you’ll need a US number. While there are plenty of ways to get a virtual US number for your business, a virtual receptionist plan is by far the best for business owners. This article explains why.
The US is one of the best places to launch a small business right now. The rise of e-commerce has created a market where businesses can succeed without needing a physical location.
Additionally, the globalization of businesses is generally viewed as positive.
A survey recently conducted by Pew Research Center asked participants from 15 countries how they felt about foreign businesses opening factories in their countries. 72 percent responded that they thought it was a positive thing.
These factors make opening a US business a fantastic idea. But to do so, you’ll probably need a virtual US phone number.
Fortunately, the market expansion in this area means you have multiple options to choose from when it comes to getting a virtual number.
Not all options are the same though. Your financial situation and personal schedule may bar you from making proper use of some of the virtual phone solutions available.
We want to see you succeed in launching your US-based business. That’s why this article delves into the different phone solutions available, making note of the pros and cons of each.
Here’s what you need to know.
- What do you need to register your business in the US?
- Do you need to get a virtual US phone number?
- What are your options for getting a US number?
- Why a virtual receptionist plan is the best solution
What You Need to Open a US Business
You can open a US business from anywhere. In fact, you don’t even have to have visited the US to register a business within the country.
“Receptionists can help you get past language barriers, allowing you to increase caller satisfaction and boost customer service.”
That said, on top of the organic difficulties foreign businesses must overcome, you do have to go through the process of proper business registration if you are to operate here legally. This registration requires a few important things on your end.
For starters, you’ll need a name for your business. Seeing as any business you’d launch would have a name anyway, this shouldn’t pose any issues.
You’ll also need a US mailing address. This address must be in the US. While this may be a bit more difficult to provide from outside the country, it’s not impossible.
If you’re going to be operating remotely, you can simply use a virtual office address for your business. These can be purchased from anywhere and will ensure any important business mail is passed along to you.
A registered agent is also required for business registration.
A registered agent is a third party with the authority to receive service of process notices, and other official documents on behalf of a business.
Anyone can serve as your registered agent, but you’ll want to choose someone trustworthy and responsible. Many businesses choose an attorney for this role.
Finally, you’ll need a US phone number to complete your registration.
Do You Need a Virtual US Phone Number?
You may be wondering if you can simply use your pre-existing phone number for your business. The answer, unfortunately, is no.
The number you use to register your business must be a US number by law. You can’t list a foreign number as your business line.
With that said, you don’t necessarily need a virtual US phone number. You could theoretically buy a traditional phone line and use that for your business number.
The issue here is that you’d need to bring someone on to operate that phone, seeing as you won’t be able to do so from a foreign country.
So what’s the best way to get a virtual US phone number?
Let’s take a look at the most common ways foreign business owners go about securing a US phone number for their businesses.
What Are Your Options for a US Phone Number?
Traditional Phone Line and Receptionist
Rather than getting a virtual US phone number, you could opt for a traditional phone line instead. You’ll need someone to answer this phone for you.
There are a few upsides to going this route. Traditional receptionists can help you get past language barriers, allowing you to increase caller satisfaction and boost customer service.
Receptionists can also help you understand cultural differences, potentially helping you connect with your target market more effectively.
This option does provide all you need for business registration and gives you access to someone who can handle calls with care. However, it’s often financially impractical.
To do this, you’d have to purchase the phone plan and pay your receptionist a salary. You’d also need to rent an office space or storefront for the receptionist to work from.
That can cost thousands of dollars. For most startups, that kind of overhead just isn’t feasible.
Virtual Numbers Through Apps or Software
Another option is to get a virtual US phone number for yourself and use that number for business registration. This is the cheapest way to get a number for business registration purposes.
Many companies like Google can offer a virtual US phone number for free or at very little expense. With a virtual US phone number app, the number connects to your existing phone, routing calls to you through the cloud.
The problem with this approach is that you are directly responsible for answering these calls.
If there is a language barrier, you’ll have to find a way to communicate. This will likely lead to frustration on both ends and potentially result in poor reviews for your business.
Additionally, the time difference may mean your customers are calling in the middle of the night. If you want to keep your callers happy, you’ll have to become nocturnal. Not ideal in most cases.
So while this option may be the easiest on your wallet, it’s probably the hardest in your life.
Finally, there are virtual receptionists.
Virtual receptionists are professionally trained receptionists who answer your business calls remotely. They do this by linking to a virtual US phone number that you can use for business registration purposes.
Virtual receptionists are far cheaper than traditional receptionists, providing the same level of customer service for far less than a full-time salary.
Your virtual receptionist will handle calls and schedule appointments on your behalf. Should a caller need to leave a message or speak to you directly, your receptionist will pass along the message or schedule a callback.
Why a Virtual Receptionist is the Best Choice
While all three of the above options can work for business registration, virtual receptionist plans are superior for a variety of reasons.
While traditional receptionists provide an equal level of customer service and convenience, they also require a massive financial investment. You’ll have to pay for a physical space for them to work, a phone line, and their salary.
A virtual receptionist provides the same help and professionalism at a fraction of the cost.
While getting a virtual US phone number for yourself may be slightly cheaper, it poses quite a few issues to your work-life balance.
Depending on time zone differences, you’ll likely have to adjust your working hours. This could mean starting very early or working late into the night, a rather unpleasant way to live.
Additionally, any issues you may face communicating with people in the US will directly hinder the quality of your interactions, potentially harming your business’s reputation.
A virtual receptionist eliminates these issues. They handle your calls for you, letting you live a more balanced life while helping you maintain excellent customer service.
You’ll also get a powerful VoIP phone system with lots of useful features.
This includes unlimited extension numbers, caller menus, customized greetings, and more. You can even use your VoIP system and virtual US phone number for SMS messages.
If you want to launch a business in the US, you’ll need to get a US phone number for business registration purposes.
While you can do this by hiring a receptionist in the States, doing so is a significant investment and requires a lot of overhead.
You could also use a virtual US phone number linked directly to your personal phone. This saves money but means you may have to answer calls from different time zones, making this option highly intrusive.
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Alliance Virtual Offices’ virtual receptionist plans are a better solution. You gain access to a professionally trained receptionist who will handle your calls and appointments for you, at a highly affordable monthly rate.