Quality is an important factor. You can always get into the "PRICE WAR" but in the end quality & service matters
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Nothing too specific but here are some general things I look for.
1. Find your niche.
Doesn't matter if your a budget host, a premium host or whatever. Research your target market and adjust to fit.
2. Focus on the long term.
If you want to make a quick buck fast forget it. Realize that it can take years to build up a solid record and rep. Having a solid realistic business plan helps. Realize that it costs less to keep current customers happy then to get new ones. Treat them as you want yourself treated.
3. Have a clear and simple message and stick to it.
I clump everything here from a clean website, clear terms, simple rules. I add that you should be honest and fair BUT when push comes to shove STICK TO YOUR RULES. Consistency rules.
4. If you can't provide a great service and support for the money then re-think your plan. There are $10/mo hosts out there that are a good buy and there are $50/mo hosts that are also a good buy. They offer very difference services but at their price points what they offer is what makes the difference.
5. Be active and proactive.
Keep engaging your customers and potential customers, be it a forum or blog or here in WHT. Be out there and let people know you are engaged. Be proactive and take care of issues in an upfront and transparent manner. Downtime happens to everyone more important is how you handle them. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!