An Office In Your Pocket

    April 2, 2003

Even with such a large body of potential prospects to work with, sales online still are only a tiny fraction of all sales reported. One of the biggest concerns online continues to be security. And, a big part of this concern comes in not knowing whom it is that you are dealing with behind that web page. How can you help to put your potential customer’s fear at rest?

By putting your office in your pocket.

You can do that by picking out an inexpensive cell phone plan so that it can be your point of contact for all of your online business.

Too many folks trying to do business online are reluctant to post actual contact information on their web page for fear of loss of privacy.

But think about it. Do you feel comfortable doing business with someone online if all they give you is a PO Box as a contact?

A telephone, on the other hand, is one of the oldest and best tools for conducting business. Using a cell phone would give you the added advantage of being able to carry your business around with you in your pocket.

My sales jumped noticeable the day I started posting a real address on my web site and listing my phone number.

At first, I listed my residence phone on my web sites as my business phone.

But with the continuing growth and flexibility of cell phones, I acquired an account for less than the cost of DSL service that allows me to be available to answer any questions that a customer might have about our services.

My cell phone is now an integral part of my online business expenses.

Here are a few reasons why it makes good business sense:

    1. In the United States, I get to write off the cost on my taxes for business.

    2. Many plans now INCLUDE long distance calls and only deduct minutes off of your overall plan without added cost.

    3. You can be accessible to answer questions no matter where you are. The only thing I would recommend is that you set a time limit, that is, the hours of the day when you are available to answer questions. Very few businesses operate 24 hours a day, as web sites do, so you need to set the hours during which you are available and when you are closed.

    4. You can carry your office with you wherever you go.

There are some practical drawbacks to also consider:
    A. Driving while trying to answer the phone or talking in a crowded place. It is advisable to use a hands-free speaker phone or an ear-piece to free your hands while taking the call.

    I often ask the caller for their number, although most cell phones automatically list the phone number of your caller, and tell them I will call them back in a few minutes.

    It makes it safer to do so then to try to handle the call while driving. And, I am able to speak more comfortably and with less distractions if I can return the call when I am not in the middle of a large crowd of people.

    B. When changing phone plans, you can not keep your current cell phone number.

This is perhaps one the biggest reasons for not using a cell phone to conduct business. If you change cell phone providers, you will not be able to keep your current number.

However, this problem may soon change.

As early as this coming November, the FCC, Federal Communications Commission,, is seeking to pass the “Telephone Number Portability Act” which would allow cell phone users to keep the number they have been assigned even when switching cell phone providers.

Needless to say, the cell phone providers are fighting this because it helps to keep people from switching plans.

You can make your voice heard loud and clear on this issue by sending an e-mail with the Subject: Docket 95-116 and e-mail your opinion to:

Consider making your life easier and your customers happier by spending a little on a cell plan that will give you back a lot.

A.T.Rendon is an entrepreneur and published writer. Subscribe to our FREE Business Classifieds Newsletter & receive FREE online access to our ENTRY Protected “FREE Submit To Over 3.1 MILLION FREE Ad Sites – DAILY!!!” Visit us at: