I have been running a small business since 1997. First a computer shop, then a web design company that became a web-based application service provider because of the demand. Competition made prices go down, and development time shorter. Companies were killing each other in the market in the Philippines. Concentrated only in Metro Manila, and with so many web design and development companies around, the work was just too much already for the amount of money received. Many people started to concentrate on receiving off-shore outsourced projects trying to compete with India who is known to be the highest ranked in sales of these kinds of IT projects.
I took a different route, with a my company, I decided to go to the US. Working at a company doing the same thing I have always been doing, making websites. And still maintaining the business I run after working hours.
Being in the business world since 1997, I have faced basically all the challenges a business encounters. But since this is a small business, the problems I encountered were at a small scale. I already know the challenges of growing too fast, and not growing at all. Sometimes it is more comfortable growing just at the right rate.
Right now, I am growing at a faster rate than I expected. This is a good problem though since more earnings are coming in, but I still have a little fear of not being able to deliver all the responsibilities I may have. But I have already learned my lessons in the past.
And from these lessons, as a counter measure, I decided to stop selling anything. And I need to streamline all operations, from billing, project management, customer support, sales, everything. But if the clients come to us, we do not turn them down. It is still a manageable amount of clients. But we only do passive selling, only selling to those who come to us and not going and seeking clients. And so far we are still selling based on client referrals alone.
My server was a home to less than 30 websites when I came here to the US in July 2004 and I have been in the business on serious web hosting starting 1999. Today I have more than 90 websites hosted on the server when I started selling in Dec of 2004. It is not even one year yet, and my clients have already tripled. I decided to sell hosting actively when I did a server upgrade last September of 2004. Both sales in the Philippines and US picked up. 2/3 of the earnings are still from the Philippines and 1/3 from the US.
I advised the company to stop selling in August 2005 so we can streamline all operation processes. Right now there is no serious problem. But once 3, 4, 5 or even more clients need customer support all at the same minute and are the impatient type who may have some temper on the phone, this will be a big problem already.
Since last Friday, September 9, 2005, I have been having less sleep just doing some damage control. Fixing everything there is to fix before the real action comes. I am currently fearing the potentiality of events that are not even happening yet, but I have experienced similar situations in the past and I never liked that situation. So I am trying to build up my sand bags before the flood comes. The earlier I start, the better, the faster and harder I do, the more comfort I will get when it becomes hard.
I do back ups more often now than before. Information management is also a must process. I really got a lot of data to manage that look totally unmanageable, but I am slowly getting there. Just a little more time, things will be ready.
Many thanks to my all around office manager, sales manager, assistant web support, customer support, billing, accounting, everything assistant Amor Lopez. She gets many task out of the way.
Thanks to my wife who has been doing good as a presenter of out business. Just like a pro IT professional.
Thanks to my backup people, Mike Lopez, excellent backend skills, good logical thinking. LAMP opensource advocate. John Kelly, who is helping out in a design right now.
Thanks most of all to my clients who believe in my business as I work very hard to give you the best service possible. Thanks for referring even more clients.
Now it is back to work for me. Less sleep again and let’s get all of these things done. And have a good night sleep again a week after.