Today's economy and society are based on the Internet. With the increase in the number of internet users, the number of ISPs has also increased. The network infrastructure market is crowded, but that doesn't deter new players from making an entry. If you have been thinking about starting an internet service provider business, the time can never be this right. The demand in the market is high and there are vast opportunities to succeed.
However, becoming an Internet Service Provider (ISP) requires plenty of preparation and dedication. It's important that you set up your ISP business with a planned approach, invest in quality equipment, keeping your service stable enough that it is ready to expand when the time comes.
Usually, ISPs are divided into three categories:
National ISPs: This type of ISP has multiple points of presence across the country. This allows unlimited internet connectivity for customers.
Regional ISPs: This ISP serves more than one locality with a customer base of more than 10K.
Local ISPs: Most ISPs are local. They serve one county or small geographic area.
To start an ISP business, our 10 steps will help you quickly get up to speed on what you need to do to get your idea to become a reality.
Decide your niche
In terms of global scope, the Internet Service Provider environment is still in its infancy stage. This presents numerous opportunities for new business owners to be competitive and carve a niche for themselves. To stay relevant in this hungry market, you need to research and pick a niche that will give you the leverage to achieve success. The common niches in this industry include:
- Providing wired narrowband internet access
- Providing wired broadband internet access
- Hardware and software consulting
- Providing internet backbone and carrier services
- Web hosting, etc.
Create a comprehensive business plan
You may think that many entrepreneurs have succeeded without a business plan. True. But you should know that their chances of failing were also high. A business plan doesn't guarantee a successful business, but it makes the path to success easier and worth your time and energy investments.
A business plan keeps you focused and helps you organize your goals and finances. A good business plan has the following essential elements:
- Your goals
- The money you'll need to start the business
- Employees you'll need to hire
- How you will provide service to customers
- How much will you charge for it
- How you will deal with problems like maintenance issues
Moreover, if you are looking at banks for funding your business, a good business plan can help you secure the funding.
Choose the most suitable business structure
There are numerous legal structures you can choose from. Decide whether you want to run the ISP business as a Sole Proprietor, LLC, Incorporation, etc. Make sure you research to figure out which business structure makes the most sense for the kind of products and services you offer.
Check your local regulations
Every country has its own set of regulations for setting up and operating a new Internet Service Provider business. Also, each city and state has its own guidelines. So make sure you visit your closest government office for advice or check online.
Get a business license
Get a business license from your government by either visiting the office or applying for it online. When applying for the license, you may need to list your business' name, what it does, and how it operates. It may take up to 1 to 2 months to receive your license.
Find your suppliers
The ISP market is highly unorganized and finding a supplier of wholesale bandwidth can be challenging. Do your research, and ask experts for help to understand who might be the right bandwidth supplier for you.
Estimate your costs
The bandwidth cost can be a major expense. Once you have negotiated the rate for bandwidth with the wholesale supplier, start noting all your estimated costs, including:
- Cost of area or room to keep data servers
- Cost of bulk bandwidth
- Cost of hardware/software
- Cost of marketing and sales
- Cost of service
Create a pricing plan
Based on your estimated users and demand of data, your pricing plan needs to be carefully thought through while considering your local competition and their pricing structures.
Market your service
When marketing your services, you need to note that most people might already have an internet connection. Through your marketing efforts, you'll be competing with these existing businesses. Some marketing ideas for your ISP business include:
- Buy ad space in magazines and newspapers
- Purchase ads on local TV
- Send flyers to customers near your relay towers
- Door-to-door marketing to explain your service offering
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Online presence
Invest in technology
Get field service management software to track and manage your ISP business. You'll need a good software partner to track data usage, send invoices, create work orders, optimize routes, and manage your customers and workers, at a click of a button.
Zuper is a comprehensive field service management software that can handle the challenging and time-consuming aspects of your ISP business operations. Sign up for a free trial to see how Zuper can make it easy to steer your ISP business to success.
Launching an internet service provider (ISP) business is not as challenging as many people might think. That said, it requires a significant amount of investment from you. Additionally, it also takes a lot of preparation and understanding of your target market and the entire internet industry. However, these steps in starting an internet service provider company can help you run a profitable business. To streamline your ISP business operations, try Zuper for free.