Houston entrepreneur and president and CEO of eSigns.com Robert Marsh kicked off the cPanel Conference in New Orleans on Tuesday with a trip down memory lane, reflecting on his career in hosting and offering some lessons for business owners today.
Known for brands like Everyone’s Internet, RackShack and EV1Servers, Marsh had many stories to tell during his 30-minute keynote presentation. All of the anecdotes he shared revolved around one central message: to be successful, you must not only believe in yourself and your team, but also your customers and your vendors.
One of the events, a data center explosion in 2008, offered a lesson around the power of believing in customers. The new data center, purchased a year before the explosion, lost power after a transformer exploded. Marsh, who lived 40 minutes away from the data center at the time, drove there in record time (19 minutes, he says), and immediately began communicating to customers on what he knew, and what clients could expect. It was this transparency that Marsh says was a testament to being open, honest and straightforward.
During the aftermath of the explosion, Marsh says EV1Servers lost only 2 clients, and in the following months, sales grew at a higher rate than prior to the explosion.
“If you believe in your clients, they will believe in you,” he says.
In a separate instance, Marsh says he went ahead an installed a new hosting appliance that ran on Linux without requiring any knowledge of Linux, despite the advice of his technical partner, who was a “Windows guy.” Once Marsh installed the appliance, the company began selling hosting on it quickly.
“Believe in yourself, dig deep and find those opportunities,” Marsh says. “If someone tells you no, it’s a good sign you’re onto something good.”
On believing in your team, Marsh says to always make sure you’re not the smartest person in the room, or the most ambitious. Build your team out with those people who have the type of knowledge and ambition to make the company successful.
“The team that surrounded me had knowledge that I could never hope to have,” he says. “I had the ability to create a vision and a pathway but it was the people around me that were able to implement that vision and go forward. Always hire people who are way smarter than you.”
Finally, believe in your suppliers. Suppliers will fail you, Marsh says, but believing in them and working with them in a partnership will help make it stronger for when things go wrong.
“Believing in them when you have every reason not to believe builds a relationship that can’t be broken when tough times come around,” Marsh says.
Forgiveness is important as there will be many failures on the road to success.
“When you are able to forgive quickly and concentrate on solutions, that forgiveness builds a relationship that is impenetrable,” he says. “They will double down and they will work harder for you.”