Running Your Hosting Company

A hosting company isn't self-maintaining. It's not the kind of business that someone can set up and simply walk away from. Servers need maintenance, customers need support, and billing needs to be handled. Running a hosting company is work, though how much work depends on whether you are running your own server, or acting as a hosting reseller.
The first thing a hosting company owner has to understand is how much motivation running any kind of company entails. This is especially true with a hosting company, where regular software and hardware upgrades are the norm. Even if you have a hosting reseller account, it still pays to see what kind of technical specifications your host's competitors are offering, and at what price. Becoming lazy and complacent and trying to do business on out-of-date equipment, or with a company that's using out-of-date equipment, is a surefire way to end up with dissatisfied customers. Keep up with what hardware and software are being used by major hosting companies, as well as with new advances in hosting technology. Even if you don't own your own server, it pays to be knowledgeable about your chosen field and your competition.
After that, anyone running a hosting company needs to consider what kind of customer service they can offer. You should give your clients at least two methods of contacting you, usually a toll free phone number and e-mail address. With an industry like hosting, customer service is extremely important. Many hosting companies are judged based on the kind of service they provide, and customers have been known to leave a hosting provider for nothing other than having poor customer service.
The next thing any business owner needs to look at is whether or not they can realistically handle the entire business on their own, and what level of service they will be able to provide. One person may be able to manage a server, but they have to sleep sometime. What happens if a customer urgently needs help then? Sure, they could wait until the morning... or they could move to a hosting company that provides twenty four hour support. Look at your company's needs, and determine whether or not you will need to hire someone else to help you. If you do have to hire someone else, look at what kind of qualifications they will need to have to be able to do their job properly. Then look at what you are able to pay them. Compromise accordingly.
Next, sales are important. Hosting companies are essentially retailers. Unlike a brick and mortar store, however, nobody is going to spot a hosting company and decide to check them out if they don't advertise. This is where having good business sense comes in, because it will allow you to determine which forms of advertising are worthwhile, and which aren't likely to get you the customers you need to stay in business. One of the best (and cheapest!) forms of advertising is word of mouth, which is another reason why providing good service is an absolute must.
Owning your own company is a rewarding experience that has the potential to be extremely lucrative. Hosting companies pose a few unique challenges that other small businesses do not, however, so it's important to keep these things in mind while you're running your hosting company. By staying motivated and passionate about what you do, offering the best possible customer service you can, acknowledging when you might need to hire some help, and advertising judiciously, you can ensure that your hosting company enjoys many profitable years of operation.