RackNerd was recently featured on an op-ed guest editorial post on a web hosting blog. Our CEO shares the below tips on how to choose your products as a business owner.
A copy of the guest post can be found below:
Continuing our Guest Article Series, today we are talking with Dustin B. Cisneros from RackNerd about how to choose your products as a business. Are you planning to start a new business, or do you already have an existing business that you would like to refine and grow? If so, we believe that you’ll be able to take home some advantageous tips that you can start implementing today from this article.
Perhaps you’re entering a marketplace with little to no experience, or maybe you’re already in the marketplace but are in confusion on what products you should be offering, or are already missing. Truth be told, you’re going to have to confront sales – everything in life is a sale. To be successful in business, you are going to have to learn how to sell, what to sell, and what to avoid selling.
1) Products are important, you need multiple: Let’s say you’re a web hosting provider. In this example, you currently sell shared hosting which essentially is a product that helps businesses have a web presence on the internet, at some point you’re going to need to consider offering domain registration, this way, new businesses or those looking to create a new website can consider you a one-stop shop whereby they can order their domain with you, along with the shared hosting – versus the customer having to obtain the services from multiple providers. Making the process easier for the customer, makes the customer sticky to you! These customers then renew these services for years to come, or if you’re able to sell these businesses services with prepayment terms, do it. This allows customers to secure the best rates with you while reducing your overall churn. The concept is simple, and while this may not be your “niche” or desired customer in the hosting industry, you need to start thinking similar for whichever is your niche market. This is just a simple yet easy to understand example. You need multiple products, to increase opportunity and revenue. You need products that are scalable and allow for easy entry as a customer, which later can be sold another suitable service as their business grows with you. This could as an example be shared hosting -> virtual private servers -> dedicated servers -> private cloud. The upgrade and growth pattern for the customer is there, as needed.
2) Knowing what products you should not sell: While I mention above it is important to have multiple products to sell, it is also very important to know what products you shouldn’t sell. Here’s why: you enter the marketplace, and try to offer every product possible, but the truth is your sales team and maybe even you, aren’t familiar with all of the products, technology and so forth you’re offering. This leads to immediate confusion, and lack of confidence within the organization. Confusion leads to loss of production, revenue. And if customers are sold the wrong products, which surprisingly happens a lot, likely even in your organization today you lose customers without knowing. Those cancellations you may be seeing from your customers today – there’s a real reason behind those, and those reasons often times aren’t exposed to you. Confront what you’re capable of supporting, not just selling. Your team’s talent should help you brainstorm which products are best suited for your organization to offer. Do this now, confront it, and you’ll thank me later!
3) When to move away from a product you currently offer: It’s important as a business owner that you’re committed to your organization, and updated with technology. What may have sold years ago, and worked years ago, may not be the solution today. Be sure to know when it’s time to move away from a product, when to upsell customers, when to upgrade customers at no cost, whatever is required – this is something you’ll need to confront and make a business decision on as you continue to grow with the current times and market trends. For example, in the hosting industry, providers who offer OpenVZ have shifted to KVM, due to demand, flexibility and have confront that OpenVZ is no longer a desirable virtualization platform. Providers who still try and maintain their existing dated infrastructure and technology are being left behind without knowing it, or confronting it. Don’t let this happen to you. Know when to pivot. Nothing ever remains the same, it either improves or gets worse.
4) Don’t try and do this all alone. While my tips may be great, and you’re starting to brainstorm and think about your next opportunity – it is important to know you can’t do this all alone. Brainstorm with your team, share your goals, with the eagerness and drive to innovate. You’ll be surprised by the feedback your team provides, oftentimes resulting in rewarding new products. Most importantly, engage with your customers, vendors, and find out what products your customers want you to offer. You can conduct customer surveys for them to fill out so that you can evaluate and fulfill the demand from there. That’s extremely important if you’re expecting long term growth, and sticky customers (ones that stick around for years). Lastly, don’t forget about your vendors. They’re constantly innovating and coming up with new products that may help take your business to the next level. How can you leverage your vendors or partners’ products? Communication and creativity are key.
5) Increase value delivery for your customers: Get creative and figure out how you can add additional value on top of the existing products you offer to your customers today. For example, on RackNerd’s shared/reseller hosting lineup, we recently added JetBackup offsite backups, and MailChannels outbound mail delivery for all new and existing customers, all at no additional charge. This was on top of everything else we already included, such as CloudLinux, LiteSpeed Web Server, Softaculous one click script installers, etc. By doing this, you are creating features that your customers/value-added resellers can leverage and begin promoting not only for themselves but for their end-users, which results in growth for them and you. This is simply a real example of something that we did recently, but this concept really applies to any industry and any type of product offering. Continuing to stay in communication with your customers, and enhancing your services is a surefire way to make sure your customers continue to remain satisfied and stick with you in the long run. After all, just remember that your customer’s success is your success.
Whether you are already in business, or are looking to enter the business and are intrigued by the hosting industry, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn to chat and leverage each other’s talents. I’m extremely experienced with marketing and sales, which are inevitably crucial in running and growing a successful business, and would love to share knowledge wherever possible.
These are just some of the tips I am sharing today — more business tips will be shared in future guest posts. Thank you for taking the time to read, and feel free to comment below if you have any additional feedback, or advise on how you successfully run your business!