Most small-business owners have juggled the work life balance thing for many, many years -- long before it became a popular thing for the rest of us to talk about. That's why many have opted for basic Internet telephony services. But the rise of smartphones and tablets is prompting some to reconsider the applications that come with those services.
"More small businesses are using them and personal use is spilling over into business applications as a result," said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing for j2 Global Communications, the company behind a series of cloud services focused on small businesses.
One example is Sandy Abrams, founder and CEO of Moisture Jamzz, which makes moisture-infused cotton gloves that can be used to help relieve dry skin. But that's not her only professional responsibility: aside from running her product company, Abrams has a consulting business, and she is raising two boys. Juggling when and how to take a phone call became a challenge, so in January 2010 Abrams started using eVoice.
She stumbled upon the service almost by accident: she had been using the related eFax Internet fax service for several years, so she felt comfortable testing out the company's voice applications. "I didn't feel the need to shop around," she said.
Abrams, whose company employees three people, opted for the five-extension eVoice service, which is priced at $29.95. eVoice provides a virtual number that can be routed to wherever it is convenient, so it doesn't really matter exactly where she is working. An app on her iPhone can help her save minutes by switching to Wi-Fi for calls when it's practical.
There are two feature that Abrams deems particularly useful:
- The voicemail to text feature, which sends her messages to her email so she doesn't have to chase them in more than one place.
- The voice recording feature: Instead of taking notes during a call, she can opt to record it instead.
j2 Global figures that mobile applications can help save small-business owners between four and five hours per week. "The end user isn't worried about exactly which technology is getting them there," he said.