Yesterday the founder of TOMOON (Smart Watch), Wang Wei was invited by 12th Floor Weifenxiang to share his experience of starting his business, especially the pains he has suffered that are extremely precious for people who are starting their business.
I majored in Electronics when I studied in university. I worked in the TV station before I found a job in the telecommunication industry, and I have always interested in electronic products. I started my own business in 2004, and the TOMOON was founded in the year 2011. Before the SmartWatch, TOMOON manufactured many products that all related to mobile phones, such as earphones, sound box, Multi-screen interactive, portable source. At the beginning of the year 2012, I decided to produce SmartWatch with the inspiration came from two of my friends. Friend A said why do you make a terminal that could control the devices easier than a mobile? Friend B makes golf APPs, therefore he wanted me to make the fitting parts that could trace the swing posture. As a result, watch was selected naturally.
At that time, lots of products have not been coming up to people’s mind. Instead, making profit is the crucial thing --- international top-brands will not beat our products, our production and sales could be handled with ease. We ended up with lots of problems turning up, for example, our accumulation for software and hardware tended to be insufficient, the processing factories run short of resources, lack of understanding of the industrial design, and etc.
The company aimed to be a consumer electronics brand when it was founded in 2011. Two of my close friends invested as soon as they knew I was initiating my business. We didn’t know any concepts of capital operation. Four of us put together 3 million RMB in total, with two of my friends and I contributed 900 thousands RMB, 300 thousands from my classmate TWO MAN.
We reckoned that as soon as we could work hard, the company could grow up within two years. Obviously, we were over-confident about it. We actually run out of money in 8 months by consuming the experience and accumulations we had in the past. No one was willing to invest any more when we had a discussion. The partners all believed the industry chain was much too long than we anticipated, so no one wanted to continue injecting money in it.
It was hard to transfer staff and money because my own company located in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing during that time. One of my partners could lend me 500 thousands RMB as the result of discussion, with condition that the lose will be counted on my account if the investment is not successful. When this amount of money arrived, I used it to pay for the goods and the rest of it only supported the company for two months. You will find your pocket has been burnt a hole as soon as the money goes into the production line. What really mattered was the sales did not go smoothly, deposit must be paid, suppliers wanted cash, I closed the my companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen and used my own money for the turnover. The capital consumption was huge as we were developing 5 or 6 products simultaneously.
The curved surface includes glass and TP, glass gets curved through mass production. Grinding was also a serious problem that we tended to many factories and could deal with this problem. In the end, we solved this problem by using the injection glass and molding technology. In addition, TP was another work that is of high difficulty because the traditional ITO could not make it bend.
My idea was I will commit suicide if Foxconn company could not solve the problem. I was really desperate after turning to TPK later, ( young enterprise as I was, how could I persuade Foxconn?) Luckily, I had a two hours conversation with the senior executive of Foxconn. I dumped all my ideas about the SmartWatch, and he asked lots of questions as well. I had no idea how senior his position was, so there was nothing to fear. I thought he was touched by my passion.
We underestimated the difficulty in production, and we didn’t save BUFFER for ourselves. We were completely at a loss when the factory met problems. Actually it is quite normal that factories have problems in the chain. Neither did Foxconn anticipate there were so many difficulties contained in such a little gadget. I also made big mistake, I apologized to the marketing department yesterday. I have always believed that I can deliver the goods on time only if I work hard. However, the condition of hardware also influences what you can do. If the yield is not high, there would be meaningless even if you put a knife on your staff’s throats. Yes, we lack of experience in mass production.
Presell is totally a new staff for us, we were not ready and time and promise put us under great pressure. I am not a guy who is willing to compromise. But on the product, I compromised for too many things. Such as the degree of curve, thickness, battery and etc. We finally produced the products for three days and nights, but we met big problem for the customer support. These are all the mistakes caused by lack of experience.
For the closed-loop process of customer service, any professional customer service needs a complete closed loop. We thought the work finishes when we send out the email and text message, we didn’t follow up until our customers made their final response. In fact, email rejected, message been blocked, and due to the negligence of our contact staff, there will be a great risk if the loop does not close up. Satisfaction survey is the last thing to do.