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A More Polished Voice New phone platforms can boost the perception of professionalism for small outfits.

By Ericka Chickowski

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nothing says success like professional presentation. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs who wouldn't bat an eye at dropping some coin on a decent website, impressive newsletters and other collateral tend to shatter the illusion when it comes to their business phones.

Too often, small-business owners send customers the wrong message by mixing business with pleasure--routing all of their calls (work and personal) to the same number, for example, or having overly casual, unprofessional voicemail greetings. The cost and complexity of setting up traditional business PBX systems--with all the bells and whistles--have made them prohibitive for startups.

All that changed with the rise of virtual PBX and software-as-a-service telephony providers like RingCentral. Its flagship RingCentral Office offers a hosted phone service with four lines, VoIP soft-phones, fax services and real-time routing to cell phones for a monthly rate of $24.99 per user. Meanwhile, its RingCentral Mobile service does all of the routing and unifies multiple user phones under one virtual phone system for $9.99 per month per user. The San Mateo, Calif., company has brought in tens of thousands of paying users since its 2003 inception.

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