With the right technology, the dream of running an entire business using your smartphone as your only communication device is now a reality. Technology is on your side.


There are an array of apps designed for single-device entrepreneurs — from organizational to budgeting to inventory to video conferencing — that turn your phone into a genuine, practical business machine. But no matter where technology steers your phone, at the end of the day, it’s still a phone — and the incoming calls still need to make it to the right place.


Call Forwarding


Forbes recently reported that more than one in three business owners (36 percent) use three or more mobile phones to run their enterprise. With call forwarding — or call routing — this simply isn’t necessary. A call-forwarding service can direct any incoming call to the single phone from which you’re running your business — and you can avoid the embarrassment of saying “hello?” into the wrong phone while the one actually receiving the call rings in your pocket.


But if you’re running the business from a single phone, why would anyone possibly need more than one number?


Virtual Numbers


Virtual numbers are phone numbers that aren’t associated with any specific phone line, but are instead linked to a call-forwarding service that bounces the call to a predetermined phone. There are a lot of reasons that single-device entrepreneurs maintain more than one virtual number, but the two most common are to maintain local numbers and to maintain a toll-free number.


For most of the history of enterprise calling, businesses faced a decision between choosing a toll-free number or choosing a local number. Call forwarding with virtual numbers means you don’t have to choose at all.


Toll-Free Virtual Numbers


Toll-free numbers give customers the perception that the business they’re calling is large, well established and credible. They are easier to remember than an arbitrary combination of 10 digits. They also help a business with branding and marketing — all of this is especially true when the toll-free number in question is a vanity number, which spells the name of the business, it’s product or acronym. According to research:

  • 24 percent of TV commercials contain a toll-free number.
  • 57 percent of those are vanity numbers.
  • An ad featuring an 800 number can result in 30 percent more orders.


Local Virtual Numbers


Local virtual numbers give customers the impression that a business is based in their community. Like a toll-free number, customers calling from that advertising region won’t be charged to call from a landline. Here are some reasons that businesses choose local virtual numbers:

  • Local numbers allow businesses to advertise in a targeted region as if they were established there.
  • Local virtual numbers are routed to the business owner’s mobile phone without the knowledge of the customer.
  • Local virtual numbers are familiar and comfortable to regional customers.


It is now possible to run a business from a single phone. There was a time very recently where that simply would not have been conceivable. But business apps and a more powerful Internet have made that concept a reality. No matter how much technology pops up, however, the most crucial piece of the customer-service puzzle is still a person on the other end of the phone. Use call forwarding in conjunction with virtual numbers to make your one-phone business a reality.