As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard about the great business opportunities that abound in Germany. To get a piece of the action, you may be wondering how to start a business in Germany as a foreign national.
There’s no shortage of guides available online that can take you through the process of starting a business in Germany, which can guide you through all of the legislative hoops and exacting bureaucratic requirements that Germans are known for. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to get a German phone number and how it can supplant outdated models of what it means to do business in Germany.
Problems With the Traditional Way of Starting a Business in Germany
The traditional path of starting a global business to start interacting with German people and businesses can be tricky, even though Germany welcomes foreign business. For many startups and small businesses that want to establish a business presence in Germany, however, there are quite a few obstacles to getting your business up and running.
First, you’ll have to submit the required documentation and pay the requisite fees. Next, you’ll have to lease or purchase property to do business. Once you have the location set up, hiring foreign staff and management becomes the next big hurdle, which must also be in line with proper guidelines. And, after you’ve completed all of these steps — which can take up significant time and resources — then you can finally start making a profit.
There is a better way, thanks to advancements made in virtual communication and cloud computing. Through VoIP technology, your business can instantly contact German citizens and businesses no matter where your business is located, with the bulk of business occurring through online portals (i.e. e-commerce website, automated apps) or over the phone.
German Virtual Phone Numbers for Doing Business in Germany
Considering that nearly 88% of Germans own and regularly use a smartphone/mobile devices, the best way to reach them is by phone. Opening up lines of communication means that your business efforts in Germany reach the broadest audience. However, with a phone number that’s based outside of the country, you will hit a number of roadblocks. First, not every German citizen or business has the ability to receive international calls, due to restrictions of their telecommunications service provider. Those that do have the ability to receive calls will be charged long-distance fees — even if your number is a domestic toll free number. Second, many Germans prefer to do business with domestic businesses, as they inherently trust that local businesses can provide better service and better understand their needs.
That’s where German virtual phone numbers are a true asset to expanding to Germany. Using virtual phone numbers, your business is able to be based outside of Germany while doing business just as any Internet-based business would operate. When a virtual phone number is dialed by a German caller, the call is instantly routed through the Internet and sent to your phone number (the “destination phone number”) that can be located anywhere in the world. German callers perceive the call as originating from within Germany and are consequently more likely to conduct business as they would with any other phone call they receive throughout the day.
On the flip side, when your business wants to contact German callers, virtual phone numbers allow you to have a phone number that resembles German phone numbers, and will even appear on the caller ID as either a geographically-specific phone number or a German toll free number that citizens recognize. Of course, this requires that your business uses an add-on called “outbound calling”— without it, your virtual phone number will be a random assortment of digits on their caller ID (which significantly reduces the likelihood that callers will pick up the phone).
Now that you understand how German virtual phone numbers can work to establish your business in the country, remember that it is still important to have other virtual means of doing business in place. These include having a fully-integrated website (for processing transactions and answering customer inquiries), call centers that can handle calls from German customers, and marketing your new German business just as you would with a brick and mortar business in Germany.
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