Are you dreaming of being an entrepreneur?
Anyone can start a business these days, provided you have the necessary savvy, skill set, and resources. Home businesses can also provide entrepreneurs with the schedule flexibility they crave.
One of the best DIY businesses is an answering service business. Answering services cater to companies who need help fielding phone calls and client messages.
It is possible to launch your own answering service business in no time. In this post, we'll discuss how you can start yours today and be set for life!
1. Clarify Your Business Vision
It's difficult to launch any business without a clear sense of your vision. Take the time to craft a solid business plan for building your answering service business.
Every business plan is different, but the best ones are the most comprehensive. Your plan should outline resources required to launch the business itself--including finances, office space, technology and employees--as well as a trajectory for acquiring these resources.
Business plans should also include a company mission, clearly articulated goals, marketing considerations, and compliance with any state or national regulations for answering services. It's also important to analyze the market need and demand for the answering service itself--you'll need to know how to meet this demand, too!
Learn more about the components of a solid business plan here.
If you are unsure about how an answering service actually works, be sure to brush up on this knowledge before you write your plan. Find more info here.
2. Identify Potential Business Partners
It is possible to tackle your answering service yourself, but chances are you'll need some solid team members to bring your vision to fruition. Take the time when crafting your plan to identify potential business partners.
These may be prospective employees. They may also be co-owners of the business itself.
Be careful in selecting these partners, especially if you anticipate signing any formal contracts with these individuals. Business partnerships should be treated much like intimate relationships--choose only partners you fully trust to help realize your vision.
Reach out to these individuals only once you've crafted a solid business plan.
3. Select and Implement Your Answering System
There are many ways to approach the technology required for a professional answering service.
Some businesses begin in home basements with several phone lines. Others have select offices for certain employees.
In many cases, the system you choose will depend on your initial budget and resources. At the very least, be sure to select high-quality phones with versatile phone lines that enable switching between clients from different locations.
It's also important to ensure your phone lines have the capability to set up different mailboxes for different companies. This will be particularly vital for when you have a variety of clients at any given time.
Test out your answering system before launching in any capacity and address any tech issues immediately. Also, it's wise to have a plan for resolving tech issues in the future.
4. Build a Website
One of the best ways to market yourself as a professional answering service is to set up a professional website. Websites function much like business cards in this digital age. Your online presence is more vital than you may realize.
Consider hiring professional web development services to craft a website that adequately portrays your services offered, pricing, and agreement terms. You can also build your website yourself using a platform like Wix or Squarespace.
Promote this website by implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and making use of social media.
5. Set Up the Financial Side of Things
It's wise to separate your business and personal accounts when it comes to handling the financial aspect of your answering service business. Open a checking account and/or credit card account dedicated to handling business-related expenses.
You will also have to register your answering service as an LLC, proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. Your choice in this regard will likely have to do with tax considerations and your vision for future expansion.
Be sure to have your business officially registered and accounts in order before you connect with potential clients.
It's also wise to establish your pricing for answering services at this stage. Some answering services offer various plans to clients in order to cater to a variety of budgets.
6. Reach Out to Prospective Businesses
As soon as you have the key components of your business in order, it's time to reach out to prospective clients.
It may be wise to begin with local companies first, depending on the community in which you are based. If you've performed a market analysis in your business plan, you should know at this stage of the game which businesses will be in need of your answering services most.
If you aren't sure which businesses may value your services, perform market research now.
Target larger corporations that provide products or services to an extensive customer base. Expanding smaller businesses may also be in need of answering services as they grow.
Reach out to these businesses in person or via phone, if possible. Drop off brochures and business cards at potential companies. You may even wish to post flyers in public spaces.
Offer free consultations to prospective clients and/or a trial period. Be sure that every client knows what every pricing package offers and how you'll deliver on these services.
7. Understand Your Competitors
As you build your client base, keep tabs on the answering service industry in your community. Keep pace with your competitors as much as possible, analyzing their marketing efforts and pricing.
The more you can understand your competitors, the easier it will be to surpass them. Be sure that all of your marketing efforts attempt to outshine what these competitors offer.
8. Build Testimonials
Continue to cultivate your reputation as a professional answering service business by gathering testimonials and online reviews.
Respectfully ask clients to write testimonials for services rendered. Set up a business profile on platforms like Yelp or Angie's List, and promote high reviews through social media.
Building an Answering Service Business
An answering service business takes the burden of customer service off of most companies' shoulders. Most importantly, it's possible to start one of these businesses yourself from the comfort of your home.
Set yourself up for success by first crafting a stellar business plan, which should identify business partners, resources, registration, and market analyses. Build a professional website and ensure that you have high-quality phone lines in place before advertising to clients.
Target the businesses in town most likely to benefit from your services, and build your client base by acquiring testimonials and assessing competitors.
Looking for more career ideas and inspiration? Check out our other posts here!