The number of new startup businesses being registered in the UK is on the rise, and this isn’t a new trend. For years, the attractive nature of the startup sector has meant Britain has seen an explosion in the development of new businesses. However, the dream doesn’t always last. 60% of startups fail within three years. To combat the potential for early collapse, many startups put in place robust actions and strategies to try to secure a stable future. From finding crucial investments and developing a solid business plan to locating the best base of operations and hiring the right people, there are a few very obvious things that most startups will keep in mind during their early days. But with so many startups failing, these standard practices can’t be the holy grail of longevity. There must be other things you can do to help support a long lifespan for your new business. What else can help your startup succeed? Virtual Phone Numbers The right phone number can be a powerful tool for your startup — yet it’s something new business owners rarely consider. Data has shown that locally targeted landline numbers can increase pickup rates by 400%, while freephone business lines are thought to boost the number of people that call your company. The acquisition of the right business number can be more troublesome than you might have thought. Some startups don’t have office locations that they can register a business landline to, while others may want to provide long-distance services to a region where they aren’t physically based. If you face limitations in the phone number you have, you’d be forgiven for thinking you just have to put up and shut up. But you don’t, and you shouldn’t. Virtual phone numbers allow your business to optimize its communication platform to acquire whichever number is going to support the best opportunities for growth and development. Effectively, you can choose any type of number you like — be it premium rate, local or business — and have it forwarded through digital technology to your current phone system. An example of this would be a startup that uses only mobile phones but wants to sell in London as a local brand. You can purchase a local virtual London number, provide said number to clients, and have all calls to that number forwarded to your mobile. It’s a simple, painless and cost-effective way of acquiring the right kind of phone number to help your business thrive. Online Faxing Despite what you may have heard, fax has not gone the way of the dodo. Billions of fax documents are sent every year, with many international markets still using fax machines prolifically. It’s important to have a fax as part of your communication system so that you aren’t limiting yourself when it comes to interacting with other businesses. The fax also has a number of key benefits over other technologies, such as the submission of legally authentic signatures. However, fax machines themselves are known to be problematic when it comes to business operation. Outdated, expensive to operate, inefficient and complete with a host of security risk factors, your startup doesn’t want to introduce a fax machine. But if you need a fax but can’t buy a fax machine, what are you supposed to do? Online faxing is the solution you are looking for. Online fax is a tool that enables your startup to introduce fax functionality to your business through 21st-century technology. Faxes are sent as digital files using your mobile or computer via online service platforms. For you, there is never any need to use a fax machine, as your digital documents are formatted automatically to be readable by a recipient’s hardware. If somebody then sends you a paper fax file, the system is reversed and their physical document is digitized, allowing your online fax system — accessed via your desktop PC, laptop, mobile or tablet — to receive it. Adopt fax communication without the limitations and weaknesses of fax machines; it’s the ultimate solution for your startup. Online Marketing Strategy Your customers are all online. 91% of people regularly use the internet in the UK. When people want to find something — be it local news, the weather forecast or a business service — they’ll use the internet to find it. This means that if you want to succeed, you need to be developing your digital identity. You need to be placing yourself in the right online spaces so that your customers can find and interact with you. How do you do that? Create a Social Presence — Social media is a vital tool for customer acquisition. 77% of businesses claim to have built their customer base through social posting. With 21 million people in the UK actively using social media, you don’t want to miss out on this huge market. Optimize for Search Engines — Globally, Google receives around 40,000 searches per second. This is where people look for businesses. Following best practices to help search engines display your brand to users is an important step to acquiring customers. Local Visibility — Being listed locally is very important for startups. 88% of searches for a local business online result in a visit or call within 24 hours. Making sure you’ve registered your business address and details for easy local visibility is key to your online strategy. The best place to start is with Google My Business. The Tools Your Competitors Use Every industry has a different subset of tools that are specialized for task completion. For example, those in healthcare operate appointment reminder software; businesses in accountancy will have bookkeeping systems, and restaurants will likely use some form of online reservation service. When developing your startup, it’s important that you also introduce the kind of systems and software that your competitors are using. There are two reasons for this: 1. They Work: Your competitors use these tools because they are effective in either building sales or completing tasks. By failing to meet industry standards, you risk not being able to perform to the same level. 2. They Are Expected: When it comes to certain tools, especially those that are client-facing or used to produce results for customers, people will expect you to use them. If you don’t, your services may not meet expectations, sending business elsewhere. Conclusion Discovering exactly what kind of tools your competitors use — and which brands and providers they trust — can range from being very easy to near impossible without direct contact. Simple techniques for unearthing the best tools to use include investigating competitor services and websites, joining community channels like industry-specific forums, and talking to peers at conferences and events.