In a world that’s getting smaller every day, it seems counterintuitive but it holds true, nevertheless, that it seems like it’s getting more difficult to find skilled craftsmen (and women) who are willing and able to work with you. This has been further exacerbated by the fact that people are, if nothing else, creatures of habit and we do what we know – the old, “this is how we’ve always done it and it’s worked so far, so why should we think of changing it” mentality. The same holds true for small business owners – I daresay more so for the small business owner than most folks, given the fact that they’re putting it all on the line every time they trust someone to help them with something. After all, this is their livelihood that they’re working with.
So where’s this going? Mostly I want to talk about something good and very out of the ordinary which happened and helped us get out of a tight spot. Surprisingly, it didn’t cost us an arm and a leg and we ended up with something much better than we had previously. The individual who helped us (another small business owner) didn’t seem to think that what he did was anything special, which makes it even better because it’s totally genuine. I’d like to take a few minutes out of my (very busy) day because of that and tell anyone who happens to read this about something that could save your online bacon one day.
Meet Budd Grant: family man extraordinaire and web hosting god. (I totally lifted this pic from his Facebook page)
So what did Budd do that’s so awesome? Budd made it better and easier. For the past few months, we’ve been tearing our hair out at ALP over email issues. We’d email people from our business accounts and they either wouldn’t receive them at all or they’d end up in their spam folders or show up very late about half of the time. Any business owner will tell you that communication is key to a successful business and with clients complaining that they never received our emails, we were doing a lot of damage control. Since our clients are so awesome, they understood that this was due to circumstances beyond our control, especially when we would forward our emails to them using another account. Coupled with our email issue was an issue that we’d noticed with our site’s performance. Now, we’d been pretty happy with our host but it’s a big box host that everyone knows and they have a business model that’s all about the bottom line. We can’t fault them for that. After all, it’s business and we read all of the documentation. We knew what could happen. But when it came to the point that we were looking at a minimum of $500 per year for our hosting alone and really what was being pushed was the $1700 per year package, we had to take stock of things. Immediately. I knew Budd was in the hosting business from a closed group I’m a member of, so I contacted him out of the blue – he didn’t know me from Adam. Budd was gracious enough to answer my numerous and very focused questions with no guarantee that he’d get anything out of his time. Another thing that business owners hate is having their time wasted by window shoppers, so Budd’s flexibility was notable. Budd showed me how to check on our shared hosting email spamminess (link) and to my horror (but not surprise) we scored a zero out of ten every time I tested it, with the service telling us that our email would never see the light of an inbox. To compare, our Gmail accounts scored 8.5 out of ten. So that answered that question.
This still left us with the question of hosting – what to do, what to do? After all, our site was pretty well established and had gotten fairly complex. The thought of what we would need to do for our main site, let alone our subdomains, was daunting. Budd very patiently helped with every step of the way and ensured that all of our content was put in place exactly the way we left it and the performance is better than what we had previously.
Budd’s business is, well … Budd. He’s a one man show, with a life of his own. This means that we’re not always going to be able to get him on the line at all times in any of our “emergencies” that may pop up. But we’re ok with that. Budd is nothing if not transparent about everything he does and the quality of service he delivers is second to none. Couple that with his expertise in the hosting arena and you’ve got a massively winning combination when it comes to reliable, quality hosting and email for your business. I have to say that I find it personally very satisfying to have a definite individual that we can say we’re doing business with for anything, rather than a faceless, big box type of company. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great for certain things but for us, Budd’s business was the best fit this time.
Something else I’d like to point out about using Budd as a hosting provider and the fact that he’s a one man band – he’s always going to be the guy you talk to, so you don’t need to explain your situation to him every time because you spoke with him previously and he has that scary memory that all of us nerds have (we remember FAR more than you might realize). It’s very gratifying to have someone as invested in your success as you are, as well.
So if you’re in the market or you’re having issues like we described, check him out (his site is here)! I promise you won’t be sorry that you did. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, our email score is a perfect ten, now. Cheers, Budd!