Matt is the founder and CEO of Domainmonster.com, which was acquired by the Host Europe Group in May 2012. On joining the Group Matt was appointed ‘Head of Domain Strategy’ and is now responsible for managing its international domain portfolio and strategic development.
When Matt founded Domainmonster.com in 2006, he had a vision for a registrar that could offer exceptional pricing, whilst still delivering old fashioned superior no wait customer support. Prior to founding Domainmonster.com, Matt held various Senior Technical Marketing roles in marketing and technology companies including Adobe, Quark & Vertis.
Mansell’s initial interest in domains came when working for Adobe in 2001. For Mansell, it was striking that domains were never considered core business for Hosting providers, something that presented an enormous opportunity. ‘Having a domain is imperative, especially when developing a brand. A domain allows the consumer to feel connected.’
For anyone looking to start their own businesses, it is Mansell’s assessment that having the right domain is decisive. No matter how great your design is, or how effective your offline marketing may be, Mansell believes that you are fighting a losing battle if you do not have the most appropriate domain to deliver your brand.
‘When I began, it was a difficult process of acquiring what we started to call the Monopoly set of domains. We started by registering the available Meshdigital.net. We then purchased Meshdigital.com and then added the .co.uk with a successful backorder. Over the years, we then acquired, or caught via backorders, various uses of the brand Domainmonster and international extensions of it. Despite this process being costly in the short term, it allowed us to establish a real brand which has been pivotal to the continued success of Mesh.’
With that being the case, it may seem somewhat daunting for a novice to know what domains are right for their business, a point Mansell is more than happy to offer his advice on. ‘The three most important TLD’s are always:com, .net, .org and of course your local TLD, in my case, .uk.. If you see your business expanding into Asia or Europe, make sure you purchase the top level domains of those countries most important to your business. Of course, the .com is hugely important but local TLD’s are pivotal to any business, as are emerging domains that have been very successful like .co and .me. I would encourage anyone with aspirations of starting their own business to invest in the future and acquire the right domains as soon as you can and most importantly while you can.’
When Mansell started Domainmonster.com, many may felt that the domain market was saturated, and that a new entrant couldn’t compete in the space, but Mansell does not believe that should dissuade anyone with a business idea. ‘There are two ways to make money, be it niche or mass market, but better than that– we ended up being both as Domainmonster.com’.’
Any entrepreneur who decides to sell their business clearly makes one of the toughest decisions of their career. It may have been easier for Mansell to stick with Mesh but his reasons for selling were clear. ‘Selling Mesh to make money was never my plan. After eight years, the decision to sell was difficult, but every business has its lifecycle – its own natural progression. I was once told that any business needs about ten years to mature before becoming successful – so I was happy to achieve it in 8!’
When talking with Mansell you quickly glean that this was the right sale. The selling of Mesh to the Host Europe Group provided Mansell an opportunity to return to big business but also to stay connected with the IP he created at Mesh in his new role as Head of Group Domain strategy. ‘I wanted to return to big business. In a strange sort of way, I wanted to get back into the politics and challenges that a big business throws at you. The sale of Mesh afforded Mesh access to the faster growth and infrastructure of the wider Host Europe Group business and put me back in the hot seat of big business’
Mansell’s commitment to his job is phenomenal. Those who have worked with him will testify to his total commitment and passion for what he does, something Mansell believes can be accredited to his own personal success. ‘Without doubt, passion is part of it. I have never seen myself as having to do a job, because it has never been a chore for me. Every day’s a holiday and always has been. I can’t wait to go to work on a Monday.
‘Your greatest resource is your own hard work. If you do not know something about how to improve your business, go out and learn it. You are the resource! If you think that you can come into the office at nine and leave at five, you will never be successful. You need to slog it out and make the most of the opportunity for that day. That often means late nights, early starts and an ability to turn stress into action.’
As Mansell alluded to, the day to day running of business is something an entrepreneur should thrive on. ‘The best piece of advice given to me was to get away from the admin. You can’t get bogged down with it. The only way you will be successful during the day is to be doing business. Sending emails all day is not a valuable use of time, sometimes this simply has to be done out of hours or you’ll sink and never reach your destination. The nine to five working day has to be about doing business with whatever tools work for that day – you should never lose sight of this.’
So what about ideas that haven’t taken off? In Mansell’s view, it is extremely important to be open and honest with yourself, especially if you are a one man band. ‘Everyone in business will make mistakes, but you must learn from them. The single worst thing you can do is be blind to reality. Not every idea you have will be the best in the world, sometimes you have to take it on the chin and move on.’
Being acutely aware of how to manage your business in the most effective way is the reason Mansell believes entrepreneurs are ultimately successful. So what final advice would Mansell give to somebody wanting to set up their own business? ‘Make sure you manage money effectively, manage, protect and create intellectual property and of course, actively acquire, defend and develop your brand with your domain portfolio.’