Standing apart from the competition

Tim .

Whatever kind of business you’re running, doing things differently matters. In a market crammed with one thing, do another. In a world where everyone’s saying the same thing, say something else. Why? Because standing out isn’t just useful, it’s a make-it-or-break-it thing.

At Nimbus, we’ve been there. Having the courage to evolve and do something different was a tough journey, but it’s the best move we’ve ever made. Here’s why…

It’s easy to stand out at the start

If you’re a hosting company like us, or a digital agency like so many of our clients, there aren’t many barriers to market. To offer hosting, all you need is a laptop, an internet connection and web space. As long as you’ve got the experience, you can be up and running in no time. Easy.

So you’ve got to have a point of difference. For us, it was free migration (from our clients’ existing hosting providers) and customer service that went the extra mike. It went down really well, and it wasn’t long before our customers started to copy us. Which meant we needed a new point of difference that was harder to copy. The obvious answer was price, but unless you’re a global player with huge financial reserves it’s almost impossible to win on that level.

Getting closer to our customers

The answer came from a member of the team who suggested we create some software to replace cPanel and Plesk. At the time, we installed either cPanel or Plesk software onto each of our customers’ servers. The majority of our customers’ interaction with us – their hosting company – was through this software which we had very little control over. Not ideal.

So we decided to create our own software, enabling us to control our customers’ entire experience. By managing, and therefore understanding, that experience we’d be able to make tasks more straightforward, solve problems before they happened, improve our customers’ interactions with us and boost our retention rate. It all just made sense.

Starting the journey… and never stopping 

After a year in development, STORM was born. Today the software is our key product and our unique selling point in the market. It wasn’t an easy journey. It took a tremendous amount of pain to get to where we are today, but we think that’s a good thing.

Not only has it made us really scrutinise our product, but it’s open up a gap between us and the competition. And if our competitors want to close that gap, they’ll have to go through the same pain as we did. They’ll also need to find the new skills to become a product-focused company.

The journey’s also taught us that our product will never stand still. To stand still is to let the rest catch up, to get lost in the crowd, or even to get left behind. So we’ll keep on developing STORM to serve our customers better. It’s the only way to stand apart from the competition.

 

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