When you’re developing business credit, how important is a listed phone number? Ultra important. The founder of a coffee roasting company opted for a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone system to save hundreds of dollars each month. He launched his business with immense enthusiasm and all the hoopla his budget permitted. His first customers told their friends about his products. Sales were briskly ramping. However, his business was nearly stopped cold in its earliest days when his preferred coffee bean supplier called Directory Assistance as part of their standard credit check. Told that there was no listing for the company, his credit application was denied.
It is a standard practice for vendors to verify business phone numbers before granting credit. The regional Baby Bells, which control most business phone service and create standard 411 directories, do not welcome listings from individual companies that reject a typical landline in favor of alternative phone service.
Whether you select VoIP, cell phones, or an inexpensive call forwarding system, your business phone number must be listed with Directory Assistance. Here are five ways to get listed and amp up your professional image without succumbing to unwanted product or pricing schemes.
- Check out ListYourself! This free service lists your phone number (of any type) with your local phone company. Before they will list, they verify the validity of numbers, which keeps their reputation squeaky clean. If you are using a call answering system, the calls must forward because they must be able to verify the number. After you register and receive an ID code, which will validate your listing, remain near the phone so you can verify the number when you are called. If you’re using a VoIP or cell phone with the same number on your caller ID as the number you want listed, you can call ListYourself! when you receive your ID code to establish verification. While you will probably not be listed in the print edition of your local Baby Bell directory unless you have a landline, this service puts you in the 411 database. Anyone who calls Directory Assistance searching for your number will receive information as if you have a landline.
- Contact YellowPages.com. Fill out their free listing form. After providing this information to a few readers, I’ve been told they had phone numbers plus maps to their business locations live on the YellowPages system within an hour. With a home-based business, you probably want to use a business mailing address rather than your home in any listing.
- Log onto BigBook.com, also known as SuperPages.com. Fill out their free form. While they seem to take a bit longer to get information into their system, your business will be listed. Your listings with YellowPages.com and SuperPages.com will populate to several additional legitimate online directories published by these two companies.
- Explore YellowBook.com. Sign up for a free online listing for your business. YellowBook also publishes print directories for nearly 1000 communities across the country. If you live in one of them, contact your local YellowBook office to find out how to secure a free business listing in their print edition after you’re listed online.
- Research the non Baby Bell print directories in your region. If you don’t find a Web site where you can add your listing, call their business office to ask about adding a white pages listing to the directory. This should be a free service. Examples of independent directory companies: Phone Directories Company and The Talking Phone Book.
With very little effort it’s possible to save mega-bucks on your phone service while getting yourself listed widely. No one needs to know your primary phone service is not a hardwired landline.