Check out the interview:
What got you interested in starting your own web hosting company, specifically for Nigeria?
Sammie originally studied computer science and engineering in Nigeria, at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology before migrating to the UK to study Business Information Systems. Whilst studying BIS, he was also studying different Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) courses since it was the latest thing in town after Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE)
The first website he developed on a commercial level was that of a UK Lottery system, that allows the registered members to play online lottery and thunder ball as syndicate. This he did for a while until he completed his studies.
Not long, he began developing and maintaining websites for corporate organisations like Dixons, PC World, Water Stones and at the same time undertaking freelance website development projects. After years of studying and contributing to the Open Source Matters, Sammie ended up working as a system administrator at Host Europe Group and 1 & 1 Internet.
Working at the two of the largest web hosting companies in the UK was an eye opener. He quickly realised the gap in the Nigeria web hosting market, being an active member of many webmasters communities.
Sammie met Tracie Bright at Anglia Ruskin University, a Business Management Graduate, an entrepreneur and co-founder of HostNigeria, they became friends that always bounce business ideas and from there HostNigeria.com.ng was born.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a hosting company?
There were three major challenges, getting the customers in the first place and gaining there trusts, accepting online payment was really challenging. Also, people in Nigeria, Africa generally will rather host with a known foreign web hosting companies than the local ones due to lack of trust towards Nigeria web hosts generally, making it more challenging to convince people that there is nothing a foreign web host can do that Host Nigeria cannot do, considering the staff collective years of experience and knowledge in the industry.
How have you gone about finding new clients?
Finding clients is one of the most challenging aspects of any business, especially when the business is completely new. Worse in this case because Technology is not particularly great in Nigeria and Africa, not a lot of people really understand the concept of having an online presence. Lack of constant electricity, slow broadband connection all contribute to the challenges of getting clients in Nigeria.
But the HostNigeria team managed to go out there and explain to potential webmasters and the general public the benefit of bringing their businesses online, including leaflet distributions, banners postings and words of mouth. The company constantly offer promotions and there is an affiliate program underway that aims to allow people to earn extra buck for referring their families, friends and anyone to HostNigeria’s products and services.
The staffs are friendly and always online, participating in various technology related discussions groups and communities, they are always helping out with web related topics or problems in other communities and social websites, designs, programing and developing.
One of the factors that really championed it for the company was that HostNigeria offered monthly payment terms to their clients. At this point in time, HostNigeria offers the fastest response time to client’s submitted tickets. The company has a fair amount of marketing budget that allow the company to promote it web hosting business in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. The company also have advertisement going on bill boards; local newspapers etc. and the staff always engage potential clients via a variety of social network.
What makes your company unique compared to other services that offer web hosting?
HostNigeria’s services is based on International standards, with the experiences gained from 2 of the most popular web hosting companies in the UK. HostNigeria is one of the cheapest web hosting companies in the world considering it’s based in Africa. It’s the most technical minded web hosting company in Nigeria that offers 100% 24/7 customer support.
The company also boasts to have the best customer services in Nigeria, regardless of the industry, this is something you won’t readily get in Nigeria. And unlike the few hard working web hosting companies in Nigeria, HostNigeria is the first and only Nigeria web hosting company that offers monthly payment term instead of a yearly term like the competing companies.
What are your future plans for 2015 and beyond?
Apart from the great web hosting services and customer satisfaction, HostNigeria’s first objective for the year 2015 is to continue working hard keeping the tempo of the customer services. Secondly, the company aims to launch a community forum where new and existing clients can meet up with other webmasters, sharing and exchanging ideas, including discussing web technology related topics.
Beyond that, we aim to launch a bigger campaign in Ghana and South Africa. We also want to partner with other online payment processing companies. By the end of 2015, we aim to achieve 8,000 clients and finally to acquire new staff and datacentres.