Internet Buisness Questions, help needed.

Discussion in 'Computers' started by DeathStar1, Jun 7, 2003.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    OK folks, seems the Gauntlet has been handed down, and I'm in need of some suggestions.

    In 2000, I saved enough to buy a web server, and started my own buisness. I never lasted very long at regular jobs, because I'm not as conversational as I used to be. Blockbuster lasted 3 months, TRU 1 week, and Grand Union 3 weeks. This is more up my alley because I'm much more conversational online and via email.

    However, for the past two years, my father has been helping with the online bills for the T1 line, since he has his own buisness as well. Apparently that might not be happening anymore, because I was just given one this week. And with three customers, at $60's per month, that's not going to cut it.

    So, I'm looking for suggestions. Word of mouth hasn't really worked in drawing a new customer base. I always add a signature in the message boards I visit with a short add below, and that hasn't worked. I've lowered the price as low as I can go without giving it away for free, and that hasn't worked.

    The customers I do have have been kind enough to spread the word as well, and that hasn't worked either. So, a question. What's the best way to get a REALLY small buisness(with one employee, no less [​IMG] ) off the ground?

    My new goal is to get at LEAST 3 new customers per month. The more I get, the more I can lower the price, and I'm hoping that can help. But first I have to attract people to the server.

    We offer all the basics, but that dosn't seem to be bringing them in either.... Any ideas?

    Most appreciated [​IMG].
     
  2. RandyObert

    RandyObert Agent

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  3. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Give free services to prominent members of the various forums you frequent. Make the deal contingent upon them giving you a write-up.
     
  4. Chad Ellinger

    Chad Ellinger Second Unit

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    Internet hosting companies are a dime a dozen, and I imagine that it's very difficult for a start-up to compete with larger businesses.

    That said, the key to entrepreneurship is finding a need in the marketplace and addressing that need. Instead of asking, "How can I get my business off the ground?", maybe you should be asking, "What's lacking in the internet hosting industry, and how can I fill that gap?"

    What is your target market? It seems like your current customers are personal/fan sites. How about talking to small businesses in your area? I think businesses are a greater source of word-of-mouth advertising than small personal sites.

    Sorry I couldn't offer more concrete advice. Best of luck to you and your business.
     
  5. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    >Maybe you should ask for a blank check? As a hosting provider myself, that type of statement would have me closing my browser window. There are a couple other issues I would have as a subscriber but that one jumps in my face. >>

    I've been asking for traffic quotes for a month now from my online provider, and they don't seem to WANT to give me an answer. I've heard this is the story with most online providers. Great online service, but customer service is a bitch. Once I finally get these things, we'll be postingthe info rigth along on the service page in increments of 5. 1GB, 5GB and price alongside it, etc..


    >>>Give free services to prominent members of the various forums you frequent. Make the deal contingent upon them giving you a write-up. >>

    Heh, already do this of sorts. I lent some free space to two friends and tell 'em to spread the word. So far, that strategy dosn't seem to work so well either.

    >>maybe you should be asking, "What's lacking in the internet hosting industry, and how can I fill that gap?"

    What is your target market? >>

    First question I asked, and one of the reasons I wanted to start this in the first place after a company lured me in with the false advertising of 'unlimited traffic and space'. Apparently I didn't read the fine print [​IMG]. I wanted to set this up so that people know what they are getting in to off the bat, with the important stuff in big bold letters.

    And yeah, I'm mostly looking towards hosting the fan sites who need a lot of hard drive space for Multi-Media at a cheap price. When I told a reseller I was originally goign to go with before I bought the server, that my site was going to require 2 GB's of space, he laughed in my face... over the phone [​IMG].

    I've been wary of looking into hosting buisnes sites. With myelf as the only employee, that might be more than I can handle at the moment.
     
  6. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Location:
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    Joe Kauffman
    I do web hosting as part of my business. The main income is from web site development (and I push my own hosting for those sites) and computer technician skills. I concentrate solely on individuals and small businesses in my area. I don't rely on advertising or online word of mouth. Face to face time is the best way to get clients.

    I host a couple website for friends, and that has generated some interest from their coworkers. I host for my dad, who is an accountant, and he refers his clients to me when they need services I can offer.

    For web hosting, I just resell services. I've been with about 4 companies since I started doing this, but I have been with the current one for over a year. It's a bulk reseller plan where I get my own space and total bandwidth on a shared server, so I just create my own custom packages for each client (space/bandwidth/POP/mail lists/databases) and charge accordingly. With my current web-hosting client count, it takes me about three months to cover my web hosting costs for the entire year (and this includes my business site and some of my own personal sites. My clients pay between $8 and $20 per month.

    Also, by reselling, I have my own tech support and backbone redundancy that a T1 to my house (or even an office) could never replace. Admining a Linux box is easy, until something goes wrong. And if someone digs a hole in the wrong place, your server could be offline for days.
     
  7. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    A Reselling question for you..

    A free client of mine has told me that their friend is going to be starting a reselling buisness, and is looking at my services. I'm going to be asking alot of questions before considering this, since the main part of the server was meant to be for individual fan sites rather than buisnesses, but this seems to be working great for you, so I have to ask.

    What are the pro's/cons of a reselling buisness? As stated, I'll be doing some research into this before considering anything, so I'm always the inquisitive one [​IMG].

    Thanks..
     
  8. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Location:
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    Joe Kauffman
    First off, let it also be said that I am by no means a marketing expert and that while I am profitable, I couldn't afford to do this if I was single. I am netting about 1/4 of what my wife makes at her job. But the real money is in the development. I would only need to work 5 hours a day of web development to make as much as she makes. i consider the hosting income to be a "bonus".

    I currently use the smallest reseller package with the company I resell. $35/month for 1000MB space and 20GB transfer. The reseller packages go up to 2500MB/35GB for $65/month.

    The pros:
    *You don't have to admin the server
    *You don't have to be the one to guarantee the uptime
    *You don't have to deal with the name servers
    *You have tech support help
    *Each site has it's own domain control panel automatically, as soon as the site is set up (I use CPanel)
    *Features are standard across most web hosts (PHP/MySQL/Perl,SSL, SSH-Telnet, etc.)
    *You can create packages standardized or custom hosting packages through WHM web hosting manager

    The cons:
    *If the company isn't reliable, you have to wait long for support. The company I go with has always been prompt though.
    *Server permissions are limited, so you may need to pay to have special software installed that may need root access for installations
    *You have no control over upgrades
    *You won't be able to host large or high-bandwidth sites.

    I have found that most sites don't really need all that much to run anyway. Unless it's a big site or has huge amounts of traffic to require a dedicated server, it only needs the equivalent of a standard domain hosting account that's available at most hosting companies.

    Also, I'm looking for my own niche in terms of development/hosting. Such as building sites for a certain type of business. Some of the possibilities I'm looking into are bed & breakfasts, wedding information websites (personalized for each couple). My cousin does sites for realtors. You can create a few templates and then just fill in the blanks and you have a customized site. We pretty much only deal with locals though. Like I said before, you need face time.
     

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