You’ve launched your new business, done a bang-up job on your website, and even achieved some ranking on Google so that business is now starting to come to you. What is the next step to growth? Don’t answer your phone.

Solopreneurs and business leaders who directly answer their incoming calls, rather than routing them through a virtual assistant and even using a live receptionist service, often impede rather than help their business. Mistakes, oversights, and lost opportunities occur when you elect to answer your own phone.

Here are seven reasons why you should not answer you phone and instead use a virtual assistant to handle your customers as their sole focus, freeing up you to get business done.

1. Missing Important Sales Calls. No solopreneurs or business leader is available all the time. The last thing you want to happen is for an important sales call to go into voice mail. A virtual assistant will intelligently route those calls to someone on your team who is available. It also will prioritize sales calls above others that are non-revenue related. Live receptionists provide those prospects with someone who can capture their details, prioritize the routing of the call, answer questions, and facilitate sales (and even close sales in some cases).

2. Missing Important Support Calls. Pushing customers experiencing support issues to voice mail is the last thing you want to do. Research shows those customers become frustrated and angry and begin looking for other business providers. Virtual assistants help prioritize support calls and route them to the right person in your organization, and live receptionists can answer and resolve many support issues.

3. Lost Business Focus and Productivity. Dealing with incoming calls, which may or may not be relevant and might be better handled by someone else in your organization, can drain productivity and make you lose business focus and miss deadline.

4. Interruptions During Important Meetings and Work. Calls that interrupt important meetings and work, such as with prospects, customers, suppliers and even employees, can be detrimental. Meetings lose focus quickly and easily and often cannot get back on track.

5. Real-Time Is Not Best. In some cases, you don’t want to take a call immediately. You need to research an answer for a prospect or customer cialisfrance24.com or develop a remediation path for an issue before you speak to them. Putting yourself in a position where you must answer them in real time can result in frustrated or angry customers and prospects who go elsewhere.

6. Wrong Person. Unless you’re a solopreneur, you may not be the most appropriate person to field a call. Virtual assistants can route calls to the most appropriate member of your team based on who is calling and what question or issue they have. Not only does your productivity suffer when you’re handling calls that someone else in your organization should handle, but callers can quickly become upset.

7. Work-Life Balance. A recent research report in Fast Company reveals a majority of U.S. workers believe they have an imbalance in their work-life. When calls encroach on our personal lives, they have the ability to impact the time we spend with friends and family and personal development. Virtual assistants that intelligently route only those calls that are high priority to you during times when you’re “not working” can play an important role in bringing balance back to your personal life.

So, what’s the takeaway from the above? In a day and age customer expectations for 24-7 connectivity have transformed how we connect and work, it is critical to ensure we don’t become so tethered to our phones that they have a detrimental impact on our professional and personal lives. Virtual assistants and live receptionists are two ways that solopreneurs and small businesses are freeing up their time to grow their business.