Internationalization and the virtual phone number (guest post)
(By Kevin Clarke, of United World Telecom) Expanding your business operations into foreign markets presents very difficult and often unexpected challenges. Even the most successful startups run into serious roadblocks at the internationalization of their business. Globalization has promising opportunities with untapped markets of consumers, but if not done properly it can mean the end of your business.
A physical expansion into a new territory can be an extremely straining feat for a company. Most of the time, it requires taking out a business loan and putting the company in serious debt. Many businesses take this risk and very few come out alive. Why take all that risk when there is a less expensive, more practical route?
Luckily, in today’s interconnected world economy, businesses need not make that physical move to new markets. Instead of taking that dangerous risk, businesses can make a bold presence in a new market through the use of telecommunications and online marketing.
Businesses That Use International Virtual Phone Numbers
Modern telecommunications allow any business to reach customers anywhere across the globe. Relative to a full expansion into a new market, opening a virtual office is essentially free. Furthermore, businesses can connect to employees from around the world through call forwarding. More and more often businesses use international virtual phone numbers to present a local, domestic profile in a foreign market when really they have no actual boots on the ground there. These tactics are used by companies ranging from producers & wholesalers, to service based businesses, and more.
The idea is simple, smart, and inexpensive. You will need to purchase a local or toll free phone number (about $7.95) in your destination country to receive calls from customers in that area. The calls are then forwarded to your business’ phone lines in your home country. Once the connection is made, your customer service, sales, technical help, etc. personnel are now doing business with people in a new market. A market that you have no tangible investment in!
Some examples of businesses that utilize this effective tactic:
Conversify, an international “virtual” company of home-based offices operates off of one main number and a number of different home phone numbers. Customers call the company’s main number and are greeted by a virtual receptionist who forwards them to the appropriate extension.
Automattic, a company with 123 employees, has an impressive take for a virtual office. The company has a headquarters, but employees are able to work from anywhere in the world (Bulgaria, Vietnam, Alabama, San Francisco, etc.) The official location is a hub for all business, but the company enjoys the geographical diversity of customers and employees worldwide. Employees and customers reach each other almost solely through telecommunications and the internet.
With a system as efficient and cost effective as United World Telecom, a business can easily take on multiple markets simultaneously without any major investments made or debts incurred.
Low Risk, High Reward
Operating internationally off of virtual telephone numbers gives you the virtual presence. In other words: Your company is doing business in a foreign country, but you have no real attachments there other than your phone number. In the event of a failed expansion in a foreign country, the business would not have to lay off any employees, there would be no real estate to sell off, there would be no worry about losing any tangible assets there. The business would simply discontinue their telephone service in that country and move onto the next venture.
Verkehrsschild Global und LokalConversely, if the virtual expansion proves to be a success and the business is making a profit in the foreign country, there are a few new opportunities that are presented. At this point the business may either continue to operate solely through its current telephone system or explore further expansion methods. Once the business is established in the market, it may be fit to purchase real estate there and open a “brick-and-mortar” office. If you decide to go this route, United World Telecom has even more tools and features that can further develop communications throughout your business.
United World Telecom is a service provider located in the United States, helping Israeli companies establish virtual offices around the world.
Advantages of a Virtual Office with United World Telecom
With United World Telecom’s suite of easy to use features, customers can remotely operate their virtual office anywhere in the world. Here are a few of those features (follow each link to learn more about each feature):
• Largest selection of toll-free and local numbers worldwide
• Call Forwarding anywhere in the world
• Interactive Voice Response (menu) with Custom Greetings
• Call Recording and Voicemail
• Simultaneous Ringing
• Local Ringback
• Rollover Minutes
• Select Country Forwarding
• Application Programming Interface
With these features and plenty more, your business need not worry about communications. United World Telecom’s got your back!
Israel Trade & Economic Office