Weaving a Complex Tapestry: 1: Hosting
At the heart of successful companies in today’s economy is the ability to identify common characteristics among business units, and to create the synergies which sometimes do not leap out to the casual observer. With budgets and expenditures at a fraction of what they were even a few years ago, companies are forced to become lean and mean, reexamining the overall tapestry of their operations. As adult entrepreneurs, we should be following their lead, leveraging commonalities between ventures within our own organizations.
An empire built on sand will require constant supervision and attention. By contrast, if you construct the profit generation components of your business correctly, you will continue to realize increasing gains with an inversely proportional investment of time. Setting up your operation correctly will likely not require you to fully reconstruct your business, but will require some retooling in a few areas, and a renewed focus on additional opportunities.
Begin by examining the products and services you currently use as an adult webmaster, the sources you procure them from, and how you might leverage the need for these services in a business to business (B2B) aspect. The B2B consideration becomes more important as you begin to build your network of contacts, and allows you to capitalize on both the waves of popularity in our industry, as well as maintain steady cash flow in the case of a down trending market. In this series of articles, we will address many of the aspects of B2B and B2C you should explore for an enterprise that prioritizes profitability and efficiency. By constructing your enterprise to leverage opportunities and fuel its own growth, you can build a profit machine to realize your dreams.
Aspect 1: Hosting
When setting out to form an adult company, one of the first things you will need is a hosting company to house your websites. This consideration is one of the most important. A compelling network of offerings won’t sell anything if your visitors find a “Page Cannot Be Displayed” error when they click a link to your site. This article isn’t designed to help you choose a host effectively. There are plenty of articles and threads dedicated to that topic. We will address hosting in this article to the extent of its B2B aspects and the steps necessary for you to provide stability within your own infrastructure.
As your company matures and your total volume of traffic expands, you will find your cost per gigabyte decreases exponentially. This is the effect of the total buying power your company has achieved, and puts you in a rare position of leverage. By leasing space and equipment at your provider’s site to take advantage of your position of strength, you can provide yourself with the security of a segmented network, as well as open doors to reselling your provider’s services.
At the very least, you should be running your own DNS and Web Servers. More advanced networks should seek to operate their own mail, backup, and load balancing operations. Taking responsibility for your own servers will give you excellent control over how your traffic is handled, and also gives you the option of bringing in “emergency support” from the outside, should this become necessary.
As you begin to bifurcate your network from the host’s other customers, you should explore enhanced support options (24 hours, 7 days, if they offer it), as well as a dedicated sales representative. These resources will enable you to expediently, and in some cases proactively, address any of any problems either you or your resold accounts run into. Once you have your infrastructure in place, and allies at the hosting company, you are ready to begin the process of reselling the services.
Your first step in the process of establishing a business to business reseller account is to seek out the established options of resale your particular hosting provider currently offers. If they have a program in place, it is likely designed for a plain vanilla reseller, and the prices are based on a likely sell through of a few units per month. Your overall bandwidth consumption, position within the community, and access to other adult webmasters give you very specific advantages which will increase your anticipated sales numbers. You must present this case to the company in a concise and informative format, and get an agreement in writing to provide you with a competitive pricing and support package.
To facilitate a relationship of this nature, you must first identify the individual at the hosting company who forms such partnerships. Surf their “about” page, looking for an individual with “Business Development” or “Marketing” in their title. Invest time in a short email (or phone call) to introduce yourself to this executive, explaining your value as a customer, and outlining your plans to resell their services. Let them know you will be sending a more specific proposal with terms and a go forward strategy, then get off of the phone or end the email as quickly as you can, without being rude! It’s unlikely you will sell them on the initial phone call or email, and you don’t want to end up putting your foot in your mouth.
The proposal should include an outline with a short history of your company, what type of relationship you’ve had with your host to date, and how you plan to expand your focus to include B2B opportunities. You should detail the price points you anticipate reselling the services at, and what pricing you would expect from your host in order to achieve these goals. Check your document for spelling and grammar, then send your proposal. A follow up phone call or email is expected after 3-5 working days. Seal the deal!
These accomplishments will cement, as solidly as possible, your options for B2C and B2B services with your hosting provider. Your next step is to ensure your network is as stable, reliable, and secure as possible, and then to explore reselling the services directly.
In the next article, we will examine similar opportunities with content.
Edge Productions Produces, Propagates, Markets, and Distributes Quality Smut. Domenic Merenda advises the company on overarching brand strategy. Formerly the Vice President of Business Development for the company, Mr. Merenda now invests a portion of his retirement time helping adult webmasters.