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In our world of communication, it doesn't seem all that strange to see people carrying two or more phones. For business professionals, there may be a ton of phone lines to keep track of - there's the business lines, the business cell, the personal cell, the home phone, a fax line, etc. With so many phones and phone lines, it's easy to see how one could get lost in the sea of technology or how one could feel the mounting pressure of paying all those bills.
In our economy today, the best way to handle all of those phones is to consolidate. This is a much easier task than you would think, as consolidating cell, business, and home phones can eliminate the stress of too many phones, while still being able to maintain the active lifestyle a business professional needs to stay in the loop.
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Consolidating simply means to combine separate items together in order to make a better and more manageable package.
If you're considering consolidating your cell, business, and home phone lines, all you need is a plan on what your end goal will be. By this, you need to plan on how people will get hold of you, whether or not you need separate phones (like business and personal), and if you need separate numbers.
There are a couple of steps to consider before you get started.
- Figure out how many phones you want/need. This is of course very important, as this dictates what and how many numbers you will use and where certain calls will go to where. Ideally, you should aim for 3 phones - a business phone, a cell phone, and a home phone.
- Figure out which numbers to keep. Ideally, you should try and keep any business lines the same, unless you have a way to notify clients and vendors of a change in the number. The same goes for home phone lines and cell phones.
- Check your bill. In this regard, it may be a good idea to see if you can bundle certain phones with one plan. For instance, if you have a business cell phone and a personal one, see if you can get a deal from your current cell phone provider. It's cheaper to use only one provider, but if you feel that one provides better service than the other, switch to the one that has better service.
- Use alternative means. Depending on the type of business and employees, you may be able to utilize alternative means instead of spending for a monthly phone bill. For instance, if you run a small home business, you may want to look into getting a Magic Jack to have both a home and business line. Keep in mind that this system is based on having a good and steady internet connection; there are benefits, but also disadvantages if the Internet goes out due to poor signal or an outage. This is a product people either love or hate- check opinions before you get one for yourself.
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Consolidating your phone lines may mean combining numbers or phones together. Consolidating of course means different things for different people, depending on what you use your phones for. An individual, for instance, may not need a land line if they have a cell phone for both business and personal use. The sophistication of smart phones allow for people to check email, text, and even voice mail on the go. A smart phone may work for a single person, as it combines the advantages of a personal, business, and cell phone needs.
If you have need, there are options for receiving faxes that do not require a dedicated line.
On the other hand, someone with a family may need to keep a land line, if just to allow others to receive and make phone calls. For this, having a business cell phone plus a land line may work out better.
In the end, you want to ensure that you have a manageable number of phone lines. Most phone providers have the ability for call forwarding and number blocking; using these two features can eliminate a phone line, while also making sure that certain people don't have access to a personal number.