5 Things Travellers Should Know When Starting a Business

Guest post by Matt Carter of Alphatalk

From years of sponsoring and working with the travelling community we have picked up on a few difficulties and discriminations that occasionally arise when starting up a small business. First of all we are largely (but not exclusively) talking about the 50% of Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers that still choose the mobile lifestyle.

Modes of communication are usually the most common difficulties that pop up; modern systems and services sometimes seem to be a slightly incompatible with people in the travelling lifestyle/culture, especially when starting up a company or sole trade.
Obviously with communications being our “thing” we have put together five points that should be taken into account by anyone in the travelling community that wants to get into business.

1. Connect only 0800 or 0330 numbers to your mobile

At the moment it is probably best to stick to 0800 numbers, but if you want a future investment (or gamble, depending on what you read) you may want to give 0330 numbers a think about because they have been designed to appear attractive to callers.

Nevertheless, as for any business Freephone numbers still seem to be the most attractive and trusted numbers to call.

Try to stay away from 0871 and 0845 numbers if you can.

2. If you’re a sole trader keep your website simple (3 pages max)

Studies have shown that when people search online for sole traders they aim to speak directly to the person. If your website has too much information or is too flashy it challenges the purpose of a person wanting a sole trader. Keep it simple, intimate and give them what they want most of all, to talk to the trader.

3. Make sure your phone number is portable

It seems like a no-brainer, but it is surprising how often the value of number portability gets overlooked. If you frequently change mobile phone numbers or contracts, then a portable business number is crucial. You always want your business number to stay the same, for the sake of promotional material (posters, flyers etc.) and the more people remember your number the more likely you will get recommendations. Yes, word of mouth is surprisingly still important.

4. Set up a Virtual Office

Setting up a real office can be a lot of hassle and if you’re a sole trader it can be even more counterproductive because you may never have the time to actually be there. However the presence of an office or even a location your business can be associated with is an important aspect in regards to your company’s professional impression.

Also for your own privacy and security you don’t want business mail going directly to your home address; as you can imagine it can get confusing and occasionally quite daunting.

A virtual office (sometimes called Intelligent Office) is a cheaper way to dodge these kinds of hurdles, a company will own registered office addresses and hire them out to people. The office phone number gets directed to your mobile and the mail/faxes directed to your home address. In a nut shell it gives the impression and location of an office that only partly exists.

5. When it comes to telecoms, make sure it’s flexible

Try not to get yourself stuck into a contract that is too stringent, aim for the flexibility. The telecoms market changes yearly and the last thing you want is to be stuck in a two year deal when someone else has recently dropped their rates. A one year max contract is ideal with the current market changeability patterns.

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