10 Lessons From 10 Years In Business

At Rivalhost, we have been powering ideas since 2003. We’ve been in business for 10 years now. Over the course of that time we’ve served thousands of customers, answered thousands more emails, phone calls and support tickets, and met a lot of great people in the process.

We’ve learned a lot from our customers, and with ten years online we’ve seen a lot of changes: more people launching websites, the rise of social media — and unfortunately, the rise of DDoS attacks.

But the one thing that remains constant is the importance of being relentless in our approach to delivering a quality service that is personable. We strive to do better each year, and with 2014 on the horizon, we’ve had some time to reflect back on what we’ve learned over ten years in business.

1) Listen to your customers.

You can go on and on chasing marketing trends and trying to think about “what’s hot”, but the reality is that if you stop to listen, your customers will tell you what they want. Always reach out to your customers, learn about their business, and find what’s most important to them. They will repay you by staying a customer.

2) Never stop improving.

A relentless commitment to being better is how you have to approach business. There is never a time when you can rest on past accomplishments. Everyday you walk in the doors you need to be thinking to yourself, “what can I do to help us improve for our customers?”

3) Have a sense of urgency.

Never procrastinate when it comes to your business. Whether it is responding to an email, developing partnerships, or adding new services, you always have to be eager to get started, and eager to see the job through.

4) Go the extra mile.

Don’t rest with delivering the bare minimum. Any time you have an opportunity to go the extra mile, do it.

5) Be a step ahead.

In order to remain competitive you have to stay on the cusp of innovation and be on the leading edge. The more aware you are of your industry the easier it will be for you to recognize gaps and find ways to improve either your service or delivery.

6) Be critical.

It’s not easy to be critical of your own work, but it’s important to take stock of what you offer and look at your business from your customer’s shoes. Removing your feelings from the process will help you see areas that need improvement and will help you make better decisions.

7) Sweat the small stuff.

You absolutely have to sweat the small stuff. If you don’t, who will? Every nuance of your business is ultimately in your control so improve wherever you can and keep a list of ideas for improvement.

8) Know what you’re doing.

This is the best thing you can do for your business and your customers. You have to develop written processes for your business, with clear instructions for responsibilities and best practices. The more organized your business is the better you will be able to respond to customer needs.

9) Lead the way.

If you are at the head of your business it is vital that you work on the business, not “in it”. As the leader you have to be the one entering uncharted waters and setting the course. Don’t get so caught up in the day to day tasks that you can’t step back and see the big picture.

10) Set goals.

You will never know if you are improving without defining clear goals. From response time to sales goals, down to traffic numbers you need to set goals.

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