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Whether you are a new or an early stage company, which wants to operate in the wireless networking space offering Wi-Fi solutions, we hope you will find the following suggestions very useful.

 

how to start a business offering Wi-Fi solutionsTarget small clients

To begin with, start building client relationships based on your target.  First, it is recommended to engage with small businesses at a local level, such as bars and restaurants nearby your place, as it is easier to directly interact with its owners. Furthermore, establishing a relationship with smaller clients can help you to reach bigger customers more easily. On the contrary, to start by targeting larger business, such as big hotels, would not give you the opportunity to enter in direct contact with business owners. Accordingly, focus on bigger clients once you have reached a good number of customers in the lower end of the market.

 

Use low-cost access points

Being at the entry-level of your business, it is advisable not to immediately rely on enterprise-class products, being that these are overpriced compared to what they offer. What is more, contracts related to these kinds of products do not allow you to change vendor, which also means that lock-in costs have to be incurred.

Opt instead for affordable Wi-Fi products. Low-cost access points can help you minimizing hardware costs by still providing you with good performances. You can choose among many options in the low-cost Wi-Fi market: for instance, one of the main contenders supported by Tanaza is Tp-Link, a provider of SOHO & SMB networking products and WLAN products at global level. You could opt for TP-Link TL-WA901N/ND or TP-Link TL-WR941N/ND, two access points having basic performance suitable for SMB at an affordable price. Should the performances of these devices not be enough, you can rely on a more powerful class of devices belonging to Ubiquiti, a vendor providing various networking products and solutions for service providers and enterprises. For instance, the company’s UniFi UAP and UniFi UAP-LR devices are a valid option to consider.

 

Target locations with 1-2 access points

It is recommended to start targeting locations with 1 or max 2 access points, as the installation process becomes more difficult with the more devices you add. Typical examples of locations where only 1 or 2 devices are needed are small coffee shops, Airbnb apartments and small shops. Furthermore, when choosing the right location, remember to minimize wireless interference as much as possible. For instance, avoid installing your wireless network where physical obstacles can interfere with your wireless signals, such as trees, walls (concrete and steel in particular), water and reflective glass.

 

Indoor access points are easier to install

Considering that you target small clients, indoor devices are preferred to outdoor devices, at least at the beginning. This is because indoor access points are less expensive than their outdoor equivalent, as their installation process is easier. Indoor APs do not need have particular requirements to protect them from weather exposure (i.e. being waterproof), nor special installation skills, such as the need for antennas for wireless coverage and range. There are many indoor devices on the market: Tanaza can help you to choose among a wide range of indoor supported access points.

 

Target clients that already have an internet connection

Focusing on clients already offering a password-protected internet connection, and locations that already have connectivity i.e. through ADSL or fiber, enhances your chances to convince them to buy from you, as they do not consider broadband connectivity costs as a further expense to cover the add-on solution you are offering. Furthermore, you can improve your customers’ networks in different ways, for instance, if they are tired of giving their Wi-Fi password to each single customer you can offer your high-performance Wi-Fi captive portal. Furthermore, you can introduce innovative ways for data capture and user authentication based on social login, which enables users to log in with their favorite social network. In this respect, businesses providing Wi-Fi access using passwords, like bars, could benefit from such captive portal.  The captive portal offered by Tanaza can be used as a marketing tool to collect user data with an easy-to-setup and easy-to-use Wi-Fi authentication splash page.

 

Offer a simple login method

Start by offering a simple login method for your clients i.e. Facebook login, as a way to boost your social visibility. Build an intuitive splash page with basic elements i.e. a background, a logo and a login button. Then, based on the amount of users connecting to the Wi-Fi and their feedback, the login process can be improved with further actions. For instance, the Tanaza’s Wi-Fi authentication splash page includes social login actions such as Facebook Like or/and Check-in.

 

Keep revenue streams separated

Instead of directly offering an all-inclusive package, maximize your revenue streams by dividing your service offering as follows:

  • One time hardware cost for each single access point
  • Monthly or annual maintenance costs: the annual option is more convenient and safer, as it avoids possible earlier clients’ withdrawals from the service
  • Management costs related to features – i.e. captive portals – applied to each access point, which would include Tanaza’s licenses for each managed AP. You can rely on the prices suggested by Tanaza if you are a Tanaza Authorized Partner
  • Support costs, which is recommendable to limit based on a determined number of hours or opened tickets, and preferably offered only remotely / through e-mail and not by phone 24/7/365.
  • Installation and hardware costs, meaning adding a percentage related to your provided installation service to the incurred hardware costs.

If you want to learn more about how to set prices for your Wi-Fi project, read this post about cost and competition-based methods and this article about value-based pricing and room-based pricing (for hotels and B&Bs).

 

Keep potential upsells for a second phase

Last but not least, in order to make profitable margins by minimizing costs, it is better not to sell your services as an all-in-one solution, but rather keep potential up-sell features in a second step. For instance, start by configuring the device, the dashboard and the splash page on behalf of your clients and, should they need to view the users connecting to their network, add data capture and analytics tools to the services provided, to further increase your profits on those clients. Tanaza provides you with the right business model, helping you to create a profitable business in the social Wi-Fi space.

 

 




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