The foundations of any business are largely shouldered by the grit and intellect of an efficient entrepreneur. Being au fait with the contemporary trends in technology, devising all-encompassing business strategies, maintaining a prolific approach, and possessing the quality of collective delegation, aid in precise sculpting of an ideal entrepreneur. Epitomizing these traits is Peter Bryant, the Founder of RimuHosting Ltd.
Peter grew up on his parent’s dairy farm. Working on the farm instilled a strong work ethic within him. Although his parents worked 7 days a week, they had independence and a lifestyle that his friends’ 9-5 working parents did not have. Later on in life he aspired to having that same independence and self-determination by running his own business.
Peter strives to make sure that RimuHosting always has the best and brightest staff along with great servers sitting in reliable data centers. He is a regular squash, tennis and netball player and a fitness enthusiast as well. He is ceaselessly striving on achieving his goal of exploring all of New Zealand’s Great Walks. He has far too much camera gear, and tries to take a good photo every now and then. Peter also exhibits his evident passion for photography.
A Comprehensive Organization
Headquartered in Cambridge, New Zealand, RimuHosting, while working closely with customers to help support their hosting services, aim to relish a good insight into the problems they are hitting. For instance, a common need was for customers to want to host their own emails on their servers with the organization.
After helping many customers setup email on their servers, RimuHosting decided to setup and operate the 25mail.st fully managed email hosting service. “We identified best-of-breed open source email hosting components and put together a well-documented and maintained service, with features like spam management, easy user administration, and flexible email delivery,” states Peter.
Peter emphasizes on the fact that the first item on any entrepreneurial attribute list should be a spare six months. “Leading up to the public launch of RimuHosting, I spent many late nights and weekends while I validated the technology, created website content, and started setting up the hosting infrastructure,” states Peter.
Peter had a technical background, but through running his own business he soon developed and honed a broader skill set. His communication improved while editing website content and writing pre-sales emails. His accounting knowledge improved as service pricing had to be matched to costs, and company growth had to be constrained by how much the bank was willing to extend in personal loans. Over time, Peter and his team started adding more staff and he learnt more about what it takes to build and manage a skilled team of customer service experts to provide follow-the-sun support for the organization’s customers located around the world.
These experiences transformed Peter into a prolific and profound entrepreneur. Leading by example, Peter sets the benchmark of entrepreneurship for every aspiring business leader.
Peter thinks that most business ideas are created out of a personal interest or need. The same was true for Peter as well. When Peter initially discussed his business plan with friends and colleagues he received a mixed feedback. Some were supportive while others felt that in 2002 the hosting market had matured and it was too late for new entrants. It turned out that there was a lot of scope for Peter’s business idea. Yet, Peter advises anyone thinking of setting up their own business to seek feedback, and take it on board but also to trust their own research and ideas.
Peter had spent many years in the 1990s as a software developer working on projects for large corporates. The Internet was in its early years and he wanted to experiment with a few personal web projects. He realized that the inexpensive ‘shared hosting’ plans would not support the technologies he wanted to play with and fully dedicated servers cost more than what a personal project warranted. So he used his software development experience and his growing experience with Linux and the web to setup a virtual machine-based hosting service. “This let our users get all the flexibility and lack of restrictions that a dedicated server provided, but at the lower shared hosting price. Our service quickly became popular with developers and ‘techies’,” Peter asserts.
Formulating Strategies of Success
Peter advises that it is important to be aware of what one’s competitors are doing and as more competitors enter the market one needs to be conscious of pricing. He also emphasizes on the importance in ‘just being you’. Setting goals and culture is a vital part of Peter’s business strategies, and he advises to follow the same.
For RimuHosting one thing Peter and his team really focus on is doing whatever they can to help take the hassle out of their customers’ hosting. “We try to go above and beyond trying to troubleshoot problems, being pro-active about maintenance work, and we continually work under the covers to improve performance and reliability,” Peter expresses. He sees this effort being rewarded by customer loyalty, with many of his customers having hosting with his organization for a decade or more.
Peter loves the process of turning ideas into software, and at RimuHosting he uses that passion to develop software and services that help open up the Internet for others. RimuHosting’s goal is to make it easier for anyone to get on the Internet whether it is to improve their business or projects or simply to expand their knowledge.
Advising Emerging Entrepreneurs
Peter once spent nearly two years in a team of software developers creating a support tool. They used the application internally and kept polishing and perfecting it. When they finally launched it, they struggled to find paying customers.
Peter says that the team had spent too much time working on it. They would have been better off getting it in front of real users a lot earlier. That feedback would have seen them better identify the needs of customers and would likely have radically re-shaped what they built.
Peter would recommend the emerging entrepreneurs do their due diligence before launching a new business. “But before getting bogged down in the detail, get a minimal viable product out in front of potential customers. Even if that just means a page describing the product and a ‘sign me up for updates’ form,” he adds.