Now that we’ve narrowed down the list of 100 business ideas to our favorite 3, we need to select the top idea and develop it further.
Managed Hosting Provider
This business will manage the external server presence for other businesses. This can range from a website running on a single web server to a large application require several levels of front-end, middleware, and back-end servers. In addition to server management, this business provides the servers (whether physical or virtualized), inter-server networking, and connectivity to the Internet as required.
The potential customers for this business are anyone with a need for an online presence. Of particular interest are companies that want to outsource their technical needs (for example, boutique retailers) or development houses with an existing staff of software developers who do not want to expand into server administration. Since a larger business generally requires server administrators for their own internal purposes, this will generally limit potential customers to small and medium-sized businesses. Additionally, the service is more attractive to customers that have a more technically complicated Internet presence or for whom their website is mission-critical.
This business part of the Technology or Service Provider industries. It can be operated anywhere in the world and does not require a physical presence. The business may choose to implement its own hosting or use other providers.
The Internet has made it possible for businesses to reach customers all over the globe. For many companies, maintaining their online presence is more complicated than a simple informational website and requires the skills of professionals. These professionals often command salaries over $100,000 per year and a team of these professionals may be necessary to keep the company’s presence up and running 24 hours a day. This business allows these companies to implement a team of server administrators at a fraction of the cost of having their own team.
The design, implementation, and ongoing management of the customer’s server infrastructure is what separates this business from existing hosting providers. Although there are many hosting providers offering similar server products, only a small subset of those providers provide full management.
The server hosting industry is a large, well-established industry with both large and small competitors. That being said, the industry is growing. Every company has a need for some type of online presence. Of those companies, a smaller set will have a presence significant enough to need managed hosting. Although it’s possible for this venture to provide its own infrastructure for the hosting, large competitors such as Amazon and Google have turned infrastructure hosting into a commodity business. This venture should be able to leverage that infrastructure to build its managed hosting product on top of.
The main competitors in the field are companies like Rackspace and Bulletproof. These companies provide managed hosting, but they limit what options they will support. Although this lowers their support costs, it leaves some customers out in the cold. To differentiate itself from the existing competition, this venture should focus on providing a wider range of support options. Additionally, the venture can benefit from specializing in specific technologies (i.e., ecommerce solutions).
The most difficult challenges facing the business will be identifying its target markets and getting the word to potential customers. The entire hosting market is extremely large; much too large to try and market to all at once. By segmenting the market based on the business’s support products or specializations, the business can market to its strengths and against the weaknesses of its competitors.