Why You Need Virtual Numbers
The following blog article is a conversation/interview between Garry Kousoulou, Managing Director of Loving Social Media, and our Chief Operating Officer – Nick – getting his thoughts about Virtual Numbers, why they are needed for businesses (especially start-ups) and what lessons he has learnt during his time as a business owner.
Why did you start a telecoms business?
I’ve always been interested in the start-up industry and I’ve been working with Cleartone since 2005 so it’s been quite a long time. As a technical business, we decided that the best way to start the business and our perfect our ideal customer was to focus on brand-new businesses and so in essence from day one we’ve developed all of our technology and our services to be laser-focused on helping the new business operate successfully.
As a business, there are many factors that go into this, one of the key ways is with Marketing. The best way to get that online credibility is to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and work to develop an online presence. One thing that is becoming more and more clear is credibility – that is credibility with your customers and potential customers and online credibility – especially with Google.
A golden nugget for every business is that you should ensure your business is shown on “Google My Business”. With Google My Business, the minute you have a landline they authorise you straight away because they see it as more credible. By taking advantage of our services and using a Business landline number (if you currently are using a mobile number for business), you can get on Google My Business straight away! Get in touch and we will get you a landline that works with Google.
What should you do as a new business just starting out?
Identify your core customer – your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) – this is the main type of customer you will be targetting. Identify who are the people that are going to find you, buy from you and focus on that market.
What would you consider the perfect customer?
When you go out to market make sure you’re really focused on who it is (although admittedly this can change as your business pivots). Ask the market, and decide where is your sweet-spot? Once you work out who your ICP is, which is your ideal customer profile, once you’ve got that focus, focus, focus focus on that market.
Always remember, if you find you are getting demand for an aspect of the service you didn’t realise would be popular – run with it! Don’t be afraid to do that, but certainly, once you’ve identified your ideal customer profile, focus on that.
Garry Kousoulou talks about his first business here.
My first business I couldn’t afford to do it all by myself and I had an uncle that was about to retire, I needed about £80,000 but I had only had half of that. I didn’t let that hold me back and I turned that business into a £1.5 million pound business. Without my uncle’s help at the beginning I wouldn’t have been able to survive – and he was really good at cash flow and cash flow forecasting and bookkeeping which was my weakness!
I’m very grateful to my uncle but the fact that there is no money shouldn’t be the reason to stop you growing – no absolutely and generally – and this is a generalization – for those who are looking to invest in a very early stage start-up, they may not be available 24 7 but they’re often available at the end of the phone if you want to bounce ideas off them ask them ask some stuff. So even if they don’t only end up put money into the business they’ll generally have a lot of business experience that can help guide you because rest assured and you know it’s a lot it’s a lot easier to start to succeed in a business when you’ve got more experience. As Tony Robbins says, “if you lack resource, become resourceful”.
Something that is not discussed enough when starting a business is you need resilience you need; you do get knocked to the ground sometimes you do lose a client, things go wrong and it’s about you dusting yourself down and picking yourself up.
Have Cleartone needed to be resilient?
Absolutely! There have been many challenges that have been put before us both regulatory and there have been some changes in government laws and so on. Let’s just take the numbers, I mean if you think about it you know, virtual numbers didn’t exist 30 years ago so the way the industry has changed and the speed of the technology and as well as wanting to be ground-breaking within the business, certain aspects of it need forward-thinking, certain aspects mean keeping-up and having to invest that time, knowledge and effort into it so there are always challenges in the business.
The impact COVID has had on your business?
Garry shares his thoughts.
It’s been an interesting challenge to work from home and it took a while for things to settle down and everybody to get into the swing of things – both within the business and also within the individual’s homes. Having everything there at my fingertips and obviously, you know a lot of people had a very hard time which has been very difficult and it’s been a challenge. A lot of our customers have really struggled and we’ve done what we can to help them and work with them and give them advice so we’ve also at times been sort of a counsellor – there’s a lot of customers we work with very closely and it’s been really hard for us.
We have always worked remotely – we have most clients that we’ve never met before, so from that point of view it’s not had a massive impact on our business and obviously a lot of people – whether for good reasons or not – are starting new businesses so that’s certainly been interesting, outside of the personal tragedies some of our staff and customers have experienced. Lots of negatives however, hearing about all the troubles that some of the business are going through and working with them to see what we can do to help them through this difficult period.
That said, it’s really exciting and encouraging to see how many people are stepping out and saying “I know I can do it” “I know I’ve got the right idea” “I know I’ve got the skills to pull it off” and actually going out – even in the most challenging times. If you can survive these times, things will get better and at that point – that’s when you should start to see the growth as the economy grows – you will see that growth in your business as you’re putting the right building blocks in place right now.
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