Author: Charlie Galaviz
Posted on February 26, 2021 by Charlie Galaviz
Remote workers are leaving California in droves in what many are labelling a “tech exodus” and the “great migration”. Given that nearly 50% of company executives will allow permanent work-from-home after the pandemic, big decisions lie ahead for the Golden State’s workforce.
Out of full disclosure, I left the Bay Area in California in 2018 after our hybrid team went remote full-time. Sure, I will always miss my family, the weather, and the gorgeous beaches, but moving to a remote-friendly city was the right decision.
In order to find the cities that offer remote workers the highest quality of life, I’ve analyzed factors like remote-friendly workspaces, taxes, cost of living, activities, and sunny weather.
Thinking of leaving California? Here are the 5 best cities for remote workers.
5 Best Cities for Remote Work
Salt Lake City, Utah
Best known for having the greatest snow on earth, Salt Lake City is an ideal destination for remote workers due to the high quality of life, family friendly neighborhoods, and plethora of outdoor activities. In the winter, you can ski and snowboard, and in the summer you can hike, rock climb, mountain bike, and camp. If you prefer to work away from home, it tops the list in both coffee shops and co-working spaces per capita. Plus, the airport was recently upgraded to an international airport – which allows you to travel the world in your spare time.
Austin’s Silicon Hills is quickly becoming the next Silicon Valley. Best known for its thriving music scene, Austin is regarded as a top place to live. It has world-class entertainment, warm weather, a strong economy, and a high quality of life. It’s also a top city to start a business and get funding. The demand to live in Austin is so high that real estate prices are soaring. To offset the high costs, you pay no income taxes, which is a hefty welcome gift from the Friendship state.
Best known for its stunning beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural scene, Denver is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The Mile High City averages 8.4 coworking spaces per 100k people. That’s more than any other city on this list. With all the remote-friendly office spaces, restaurants, and entertainment, it’s almost as if Denver was designed with remote workers in mind. What’s not to love about 245 days of sun and beautiful views of the rocky mountains.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is quickly becoming more than “Sin City” the entertainment capital of the world. Due to its close proximity to Los Angeles, affordable housing, entertainment, and tax incentives, it’s an attractive city for telecommuters. While there isn’t a ton of coworking spaces to choose from, many transplants are opting to buy a larger house in a master planned community. If you ever get bored of the world-class dining and shows, you can take a day trip to Zion National Park, Joshua Tree, and the Grand Canyon.
Phoenix is best known for its warm weather and bustling metropolitan area. The Valley of the Sun has it all, from excellent food, parks, hiking trails, resorts, and so much more. While you won’t see very many co-working spaces and coffee shops, it ranks high for both affordable housing and childcare. If you don’t mind the hot weather, Phoenix makes a lot of sense for the variety and affordability it offers.
Work from Anywhere With Flex Plans
No matter which city you select, you’ll need a way to stay connected to your team and clients. The VirtualPBX Flex Plan is the perfect solution for remote teams and entrepreneurs that want to transform their smartphones, laptops, and desk phones into a full-featured business phone solution. With features like virtual receptionist, unlimited local minutes, texting, and video conferencing, you can run your business from anywhere.
Want to learn more about communication solutions for remote workers? We have friendly VoIP experts on standby to answer your questions.
Posted on October 30, 2020 by Charlie Galaviz
Think of a single Auto Attendant as a full-time virtual receptionist that is efficient, flexible, and capable of orchestrating your organization’s complex call tree.
Now imagine how powerful it would be to deploy Multiple Auto Attendants that can work in conjunction with each other to steer call traffic where you want it. You can supplement your main phone number with additional attendants that reach personal DIDs, Ring Groups, and other inbound phone lines.
We’d like to share five use cases of our newest feature, Multiple Auto Attendants, that your business can take advantage of.
5 Business Use Cases for Multiple Auto Attendants
1. Multiple Location Management
Franchises with multiple storefronts and enterprises with dispersed offices can benefit from using multiple auto attendants. Using the VirtualPBX Phone System, administrators can easily manage each location’s auto attendant and customize the menu options based on the departments and services available at that location.
2. Provide Multiple Language and Country Support
Welcoming customers in their native language creates a personalized caller experience. Companies can use more than one attendant when providing multilingual support with extensive call tree options. In addition, international companies can utilize toll-free and international numbers to provide region specific call flows for countries like Canada, Mexico, and the UK.
3. Promote Products, Services, and Promotions
Multiple attendants can be used as a dedicated line with alternate greetings specific to seasonal products, services, or marketing promotions. For example, during the holidays you may want to shorten the time it takes for customers to reach sales. E-commerce stores can use a secondary attendant to streamline sales questions and process orders over the phone.
4. Backup Auto Attendant for Emergencies
Prepare your business for unexpected events and natural disasters. Having a backup attendant on standby allows you to instantly deploy an alternative call tree should an office or department suddenly become unavailable. Calls can be routed to a different location, department, or a 3rd party to give your customers a service option when spontaneous events arise.
5. Consolidate Your Accounts and Save Money
I’ll let you in on a big secret. Entrepreneurs with multiple businesses can save on their phone bill by consolidating their businesses into one phone account. Instead of opening separate accounts for each business, you can create one account, and then add additional auto attendants for each business. Not only will you save a ton of money, but you’ll also appreciate how much time you save when handing over your annual expenses to your accountant.
Try Out Multiple Auto Attendants
These use cases are just the tip of the iceberg of what Multiple Auto Attendants are capable of.
Want to learn more? Our VoIP experts are available to chat about how to deploy Multiple Auto Attendants at your company today!
Posted on July 31, 2020 by Charlie Galaviz
Millions of consumers use Google My Business (GMB) every day to find products or services like yours. GMB is a valuable resource for communicating with current customers and turning prospects into new customers.
You’re probably here because you want to grow your business using GMB. I worked on the Google+ Help Team years ago, so I can assure you that you’re in good hands.
Without further ado, here are 5 ways to keep your customers informed using Google My Business.
5 Ways to Keep Customers Informed
1. Business Description
Channel your inner salesman and copywriter to distinguish your business from its competitors. In your business summary, you want to emphasize what makes your business unique. It’s important to use keywords that your customers would use when searching for your offering. If a disruption in business occurs, we recommend informing your customers about any new business procedures in this section.
How to Create a Business Description: Login to your GMB profile, click “Info” in the left menu, and scroll down until you see “Add business description”. Click the pencil icon to get started writing a brief description of your business.
2. Featured Post
Make your business more discoverable on Google Maps and Search by creating Featured Posts. Share up to date news, offers, events, and products of your business. Also, you can pair all of your announcements with photos or videos and a compelling call-to-action. To see the results, we recommend posting weekly on a recurring schedule.
How to Create a Featured Post: Login to your GMB profile and click “Posts” in the left menu. Click the create icon in the bottom right corner to get started creating your post.
3. Hours of Operation
Consumers rely on Google to tell them when a business is open or closed. Having a sign posted on your storefront isn’t enough anymore. You can create more happy customers and increase your sales volume by setting your normal business hours and special business hours. Without exception, our recommendation is to always keep your business hours up to date.
How to Edit Business Hours: Login to your GMB profile and click “Info” on the left menu. Click the pencil icon near the clock icon to set your business hours. In this section, you can also set “more hours” for additional service hours and “special hours” for an irregular schedule.
How to Mark as Temporarily Closed: Login to your GMB profile and click “Info” on the left menu. Scroll half-way down the page to the “Close this business on Google” section. Select “Mark as temporarily closed”.
4. Telephone Number
Google does not require businesses to have telephone numbers, but that doesn’t mean they’re not vitally important. Toll-free or local telephone numbers show customers your professionalism and willingness to be contacted. Our recommendation is to get your free local telephone number, so that you can warmly answer your customers calls and route them to any department at your business.
How to Add a Telephone Number: Login to your GMB profile and click “Info” on the left menu. Scroll down until you see the telephone icon. Click the pencil icon to add your business telephone number. Google provides additional fields for multiple telephone numbers.
Get discovered by customers by the products and services your business offers. Google provides the most relevant results based on location, rating, cuisine, etc. Furthermore, a restaurant could add the attributes “Takeout” and “Delivery” to attract customers that are not looking for dine-in options. We recommend taking the time to add products, services, and attributes to your listing – it will give you a clear competitive advantage over your competitors.
How to Add Products: Login to your GMB profile and click “Products” on the left menu. Click “Add product” to create a product photo, name, price, and description.
How to Add Services: Login to your GMB profile and click “Services” on the left menu. You may add any services and custom services you offer.
How to Add Attributes: Login to your GMB profile and click “Info” on the left menu. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the “Highlights” section. Click the pencil icon to add attributes about your business.
Note: Only businesses under the Primary Category “Restaurant” can add “Takeout” and “Delivery” attributes.
Stay Connected to Your Customers
These days, having a Google My Business profile is not enough – especially with mounting competition from online businesses. Now more than ever, local businesses are operating short-staffed and need to keep efficiency high. With the help of a business telephone system, businesses of all types and sizes can compete at a higher level even while staff count is low.
Now, don’t forget to repeat all those great features from GMB into your phone system! VirtualPBX makes it simple to keep your phone system tethered to your current events and promotions. As seasons change, your professional greetings and call routing tree can change to reflect your business/holiday hours.
Posted on June 26, 2020 by Charlie Galaviz
Video calling empowers businesses of all sizes and industries to communicate and collaborate in ways that extend beyond virtual meetings. It can help you reduce operational costs and propel efficiency at your business in the wake of the uncertain times ahead.
As a telecommunications company with over two decades of experience, we’re no stranger to providing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. Here’s why you should now, more than ever, begin using video at your organization.
1. Increase Productivity
Are your employees already working from home? Your small business could potentially save thousands on rent, office supplies, and utilities expenses by telecommuting full-time. According to Skill Scouter, 94% of businesses claim that video conferencing has increased their business’s productivity. In other words, moving to a virtual office is great for your pocketbook and your employee efficiency.
2. Improve Training and Reporting
As a remote-first team, we know first-hand the importance of utilizing video calling for training and informational purposes. Our Marketing, Sales, and Support teams rely on video screen sharing for explaining complex procedures, creating product demonstrations, and presenting analytics live. With video calls, you too can share your important documents with dozens of others in a company conference.
3. Expedite Your Interviews
Video conferencing allows businesses to forego in-person interviews in favor of quick and convenient video interviews that are just as effective. Save yourself the time and money on airline tickets, lodging, and meals for your interview candidates by conducting virtual interviews with them instead.
4. Boost Your Team Morale
Over the years we’ve learned that video calls can accomplish what voice calls cannot. While VirtualPBX offers both Voice and Video Calling (Beta) for 1-1 video calls, we intentionally conduct daily video meetings because it creates a stronger interpersonal connection among our team members. Placing a face to the voice and inviting our co-workers into our home office is akin to the watercooler conversation. This helps us communicate well and often.
5. Increase the Value of Your Meetings
Ever gathered a dozen people into a conference room only to find out you’re missing the dongle that connects to the projector? Huddling employees into a conference room can be an unproductive and unreliable method of communication. Keep your team on task with video-based meetings that get straight to the point.
Voice and Video Together in Harmony
At one time, professional video conferencing was a costly solution for businesses. With VirtualPBX Video Calling (Beta), you can now enjoy 1-1 video calls as part of our shift towards being a complete Unified Communications provider.
Want to take Video Calling (Beta) for a test-drive? New and existing customers can sign up for it today!
Posted on May 29, 2020 by Charlie Galaviz
Eager to get back to business? According to Alignable, COVID-19 negatively affected 85% of small businesses.
While consumer behavior isn’t likely to change overnight, there are steps small business owners can take to shift consumer spending back to your local community.
Our goal is to help you recover quickly. The following guide contains five small business strategies you can use to bring customers back sooner.
The key to successfully reopening is communication. Let your customers know you’re open for business in a variety of ways. Consider sending out an email newsletter, posting on social media, updating your local listings, and making sure your business phone greetings are all up to date. Furthermore, if you have a physical location, you can place an “Open for Business” sign in front of your store.
- Health and Safety
When announcing your reopening, it’s important to simultaneously outline the steps your business is taking to ensure the health and safety of your customers. It could be as simple as creating an option “2” on your phone system’s auto attendant to inform customers about the precautions you’re taking. Does your business skew towards an older demographic? Consider opening an hour early to let high-risk individuals shop.
- Partnerships and Referrals
Small businesses are stronger together. Now is the perfect time to grow your partnerships and referral programs. Whether you’re creating a refer-a-friend program, building relationships with affiliates, or partnering with other local businesses, you’ll be stronger in numbers.
- Free Advertising
When money is tight, businesses must get creative and take advantage of every free advertising opportunity. Some of my favorite free advertising channels include Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Alignable. Once you create a profile, be sure to add photos, share promotions, and encourage reviews from your customers. But don’t stop there, make sure you’re added to every local directory in your area.
- Online Store
To level the playing field with large retail giants like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, small businesses should seriously consider catering to online shoppers. Sites like Facebook, Etsy, and Shopify are small business-friendly and make it extremely convenient for customers to explore the marketplace and purchase your products.
Keep Your Customers Informed
Above all, keeping your customers informed is the single most important step a business can take when reopening. The VirtualPBX Business Phone System provides the most streamlined way to manage your hours of operation, introduce new safety protocols, and lead customers to the right person or department at your business.
We’re here to take the stress out of reopening your business. Our team is standing by 24/7 to answer your questions and help you select a plan that fits your unique needs.