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References

"The Small Business Professor is a site that should be bookmarked by every entrepreneur. In today's business environment, it is difficult to gather information and obtain answers to the myriad of questions that face business owners. Bruce Freeman's 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column is an excellent resource that provides guidance, up-to-the-minute information, mentoring, and more."

Irene Maslowski

APR Principal

Maslowski & Associates Public Relations

"Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is a most valued and enthusiastic guest contributor to the business segment of our radio show dealing with the challenges facing today's entrepreneurs. His practical and insightful advice has served to enhance our ability, as broadcasters, to help business owners move ahead in their various fields of endeavor. ....Thank you, Bruce."

Sue Tovey / Sande Foster

Co-Hosts

WTBQ 1110 AM (ABC Affiliate Station)

"I find the column inspiring and helpful to me in running my own small business."

Dan Janal

President and Founder

PRleads.com

"I've been working with patients for almost 10 years as a Chiropractic Physician. I'm always looking for new ways to increase awareness of the valuable clinical services provided at my centers. Bruce Freeman has given me insightful ideas to assist in my marketing efforts. I rely on his 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column to keep me abreast of new trends and developments in the field. I couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable and capable advisor as my companies move forward into providing nationwide healthcare for patients."

Dr. Daniel Houshmand, D.C.

AlternaCare Wellness Centers, LLC

"'Ask the Small Business Professor' is a must read for small business owners looking for free expert business advice. Using a Q&A format, Bruce Freeman covers important small business topics weekly by bringing in recognized experts on subjects including accounting, legal issues, trademarks marketing and sales. Don't miss it!"

Joseph L. Rosenberg

CPA

Professional Phone Services

Dear Professor Bruce:

I have a small real estate company. When someone is not there to pick up the phone, it goes to voice mail and sometimes we don't get back to the person for hours. I feel that we are losing potential business. Any suggestions?

Answer:

In today's business environment, you have to be available at all times. Being unavailable because you were out of the office is not acceptable. Returning a call at the end of the day may mean an important matter goes unresolved for too long or that a business prospect went elsewhere. You cannot always rely on your cell phone. Even if you gave the cell phone number as your contact number you may lose the call (ie. battery problem, poor reception etc). Having a back up plan is critical whether it is a second cell phone or a voicemail that will find you where ever you are. A reliable phone services company can provide a solution.

For example, when your customer or client calls your office (or home office), you may be on the road meeting other clients. Instead of the call going to your office phone voicemail, the call will be forwarded to your cell phone after a few rings. Instead of the voicemail saying, "I am not in the office right now so please leave a message or call me on my cell phone at 111-222-3333, " you just set up your phones to ring in order (office, cell, backup phone). You can even set your phones to ring based on time of day or who calls you.

According to Ari Rabban, CEO of Phone.com, " by offering such services to small businesses, you can give out one number that will find you on any of your phones (business or personal) and have one voicemail box set up for all your phones so that you will need to remember different passwords and check several voicemail boxes to check for important missed calls.

A professional phone services company can also make your company appear larger and more professional. A welcome greeting, a menu of options (ie press 1 for Marketing or press 2 for accounting), company directory, music on hold and other features that you would expect from an expensive business phone system are now available for small businesses.

You can also get professional greeting recordings or voicemail that is transcribed to text so you don't need to listen to your voicemail. All your voicemails arrive to your email and also alert you as a text message on your cell phone.

For further information, please visit www.phone.com.

Having a back up plan is critical whether it is a second cell phone or a voicemail that will find you where ever you are.