HOSTSEARCH: Could you please reveal a little about yourself and your role for BluGuy.com?
LORAND: I myself am a business manager by degree. In the past 5 years I've been working with several companies, most of them in the IT and entertainment industry. Seeing that the online market has also a huge potential, I focused more on this area in the past 2 years and doing it ever since.
Also, as the manager and marketing specialist in me saw the flaws on the market, mainly in the image chapter, I directed my attention to branding. I formed the Minyo Biz Branding Agency in conclusion to this. Since then all my contracts were branding and image consulting oriented.
As for Bluguy, my position with the company holding the brand is the one of Senior Manager.
HOSTSEARCH: Could you briefly share with us how BluGuy.com was found? What is your inspiration for starting in hosting business?
LORAND: Bluguy was created early in the summer of 2004 as a response to the dull tendency of the hosting market. My client, Creative Sell, needed something new to introduce to their customers, as well to the market. It's a totally new concept, of a personal assistant, a pseudo-human figure that is with you on every page of the site.
My inspiration in the hosting business? I can say it came as a total surprise. Oliver Warburton, the CEO of CreativeSell, owner of the BluGuy brand was my client. Minyo Biz created the brand for him. So far I've been dealing with quite a few hosting companies that were fully satisfied by my image consulting services. But none of them went further. But Oliver did. Seeing the fact that I not only can create a successful brand, but also manage it's development, he offered me 45% of his company and the Senior Manager position in order to supervise the development of the entire company.
As BluGuy was my first "brainchild", I accepted his offer and today I'm managing all aspects of the brand and hosting company, along with Oliver Warburton.
HOSTSEARCH: What is your best selling product/service of BluGuy.com?
LORAND: I would have to say that the reseller and windows hosting packages.
HOSTSEARCH: How do you promote your business and brand BluGuy.com?
LORAND: We use almost the same methods the next hosting company uses. Advertising campaigns, prize contests etc. Of course we also have a few strategies of our own that are making the difference. I'm sure you'll understand if I won't get into details about our own strategies. If every hosting company owner would know all the strategies needed to make a successful business, there won't be any real competition.
As for the brand, we created it in such manner that it promotes itself. Who wouldn't love a nice little blue fellow that guides you through the site?
Also, we are making minor adjustments to the image of BluGuy, in order to penetrate wider targets.
HOSTSEARCH: Could you please share us your marketing strategies? What is your strength for BluGuy, compare to your major competitors?
LORAND: Marketing online is not an easy task. That's the main reason why we also use offline techniques adapted to the online medium. As we're expanding gradually, we also use full offline tactics. The strength? Definitely the brand itself.
HOSTSEARCH: By locating in United Kingdom, how does your company market products/services in European market? Do you have plan to expand your market into US or globally?
LORAND: As I said, as we're expanding gradually, we have the opportunity to also use direct, offline marketing methods. As we enter the European and other markets as well, our main focus will be on online methods. As most of the online advertising tactics used online are not very effective and figures show it, we're constantly researching and implementing new ones. This, apart from being a plus for BluGuy, will help the company itself expand.
Of course our long term strategy is to enter the US market as well. Although saturated, the North American market has potential if something new is introduced. Here, the brand will speak for itself.
HOSTSEARCH: Since you are a branding agency, how branding is important and effective to hosting business? Can hosting companies become successful by only online advertising?
LORAND: Branding is definitely one of the most important things that one should consider when starting a hosting company, apart from the regular assests so to speak (support, technology etc). Of course it's effective. Just imagine two similar hosts, having the exact same prices and support. One of them has a well developed image, the other one has only a standard, template site. Which one will you choose?
HOSTSEARCH: What is the difference between branding and online advertising for hosting business?
LORAND: Thank you for asking this. Almost everyone confuses branding with advertising. Branding agencies create the image, while advertising ones just promote that image. Often, in the offline world, these two aspects are done by the same company. In my opinion, it's a huge mistake. One can't focus on both and develop and promote an image at the same time. Not unless you're Saatchi& Saatchi or another very large advertising agencies. That's also the main reason why they didn't penetrate the online medium with both services.
HOSTSEARCH: What is your best experience of working in this web hosting business?
LORAND: My best experience? It's really hard to tell. All my clients from the hosting industry were very pleased with Minyo Biz's concepts devised for their companies. That makes me feel fulfilled. But as BluGuy was my first brainchild and the brand with the best potential, I can clearly state "he" was my best experience.
HOSTSEARCH: In your opinion, what is the most challenge for working in web hosting business as well as branding agency? How do you cope with this?
LORAND: The most intriguing thing is the fact that many people don't know what branding really is. Most of them just ask to get more clients. That's not the fact. So that's the reason why I decided not to serve any more hosting companies with advertising tactics. Apart from being as it is a hard task to develop new brands for hosting companies, it would be a conflict of interest to do so, now that I'm managing myself a hosting company. So that's the main reason why my sole services for hosting companies, other than I manage, will be just image consulting.
It's also not easy to manage two businesses at the same time. Both of them are well established companies, with their own client base, so have to look after different problems of different clients. As for BluGuy, I have Oliver by my side, with whom I share the responsibility of management and for Minyo Biz Branding Agency I have a Senior Partner, my bride to be, that manages the aspects of the business on the upper level. If needed, in the near future, we'll be hiring more executive staff for Minyo Biz, as well as for CreativeSell, if needed.
HOSTSEARCH: What is your first advice for anyone who just starts online business? What is the most important factor that online business owner needs to focus for success?
LORAND: Tricky question. My first suggestion would be to consider all the aspects of his future online business. It's not easy to enter an almost saturated market without something new and very innovative. And I'm not talking only about hosting. This covers e-commerce, entertainment and so many other online businesses. One should take example on what is on the market at the present time. Explore the possibilities, seek out the flaws and develop your business without them.
Then get you know your target. Extremely well. They will be your clients and customers. So you need to find out their exact needs. I realize that not many newcomers can afford a market research, but anyone that wants to start a business knows at least the trends of the market.
HOSTSEARCH: What do you think about web hosting business in the next five years? And how do you see yourself and your company in the next five years?
LORAND: The hosting market as it is almost saturated, if not fully. Each and every day a new host arises, but without being backed by a superior management and decent investment, it's bound to fail. I'm mainly talking about the "kiddy-host" phenomenon. In the last years, I've met only two "kiddy-hosts" that developed quite nicely. The rest just died off.
The hosting market drastically needs something new. Otherwise it will remain stagnant, prices will drop and it won't be a business anymore. Not a profitable one anyway.
I have a few ideas what would be needed next and although the development of such novelties will be very cost-effective, I can't divulge that to the general public. Mainly because it would first create a general rush to develop and implement such things and this will create a drop in service quality at first and secondly because if poorly developed, it will die off instantly.
In the next 5 years I see BluGuy as a successful hosting business, fully charged with innovations and serving more and more satisfied clients.
Minyo Biz on the other hand has a different strategy. As the market changes quite often, we must adapt our services to it. As you can read further up, we now entered ourselves a market that we served. Our strategy is to penetrate more business areas gradually, mostly in the IT and connected industries. Also, we're planning to enter the entertainment industry as well, as our team has extensive experience in that field as well. But one can never know what the future has to bring.
I'm reluctant to say more about this issue at this point for the obvious reasons.
But I'll make sure you will be one of the first to know when something interesting and new will occur with Minyo Biz Branding Agency.