Starting a new business is an essential force to create new industry and also promote the revolution of a community. Selangor Information Technology and E-commerce Council (SITEC) has held a first gathering of Selangor Startups on July 10, to advocate new startups trend in the state.
The Selangor Startup workshop is a monthly gathering for entrepreneurs, in order to enable youths and adults to succeed through the exchange and learning of new information via courses amid the ever changing internet community. During the first gathering, SITEC invited the founder of Tableapp, Benson Chang as well as the founder of Youthstoday, Jazz Tan, to share their experiences throughout the journey of starting a new business.
Tableapp is a mobile application designed to cater to restaurant managers in managing online bookings and customer management 24 hours a day. The app was inspired when Chang was facing some issues in current restaurants, when they were either too busy to answer the booking phone calls, while using notes to keep booking records is not enough to having a good customers record management, hence the creation of a platform to solve all these problems.
“Our target customers are mainly from the mid-high end restaurants; after two years since the business was founded, our customer base has increased from 20 outlets to 300 outlets, including Eastin Hotel and JW Marriott.”
Despite this success, the journey that Chang has went through was not an easy one. Before Tableapp was created, he faced several failures in his entrepreneurial life. However, his refusal to give up and his drive to learn from mistakes have eventually brought the progress to fruition.
Before TABLEApp, Chang founded 24mall.my, an online shopping mall, but that was a flop as it faced product attractiveness issues. He then introduced some other e-commerce services such as the a ‘Join Me Lucky Draw’, a free-of-charge voucher giveaway feature, a QR Code system to promote customer loyalty through the ‘Join Me Loyalty Program’, and also food review platform ‘Join Me Food Review’. Sadly, they were all unsuccessful, and he concluded that the main reason was due to the immaturity of their business models at that time.
“We consumed a lot of time in developing new products, assuming that the products would be well-received once they were launched, but things did not go the way as we wished, mainly caused by the structure of our business model.” Thus, he points out that entrepreneurs must ‘make stuff that people want’ and also be able to solve issues that plague consumers.
Jazz Tan started her entrepreneurial journey when she was still a student in university. Her company, Youthstoday, is designed to assist youngsters that are organizing events in finding sponsors.
Jazz Tan says her venture into the entrepreneurial world was an honest mistake. “During my university time, there was a coursemate facing challenge in finding sponsorships from Uni to support an event that was organized by them. I suggested that they look for sponsorship outside campus, but the trick was that sponsors would only sponsor if there is a registered business to receive it, so i decided to create the company for this.”
Though their first effort in finding a sponsor they need to face the event where businesses refused to help, but she still managed to gather the amount that was needed for event, and an event a surplus of RM8000 after deducting all expenses. She realised that not only was this business model useful in helping youths organise events, but it is also profit-making, so she set up youth.jam and continued the journey of finding sponsorship for young people.
Nonetheless, she says there were several challenges throughout the journey, including retaining talents, capped business expansion due to limited resources and the finding a balance between studying and her business.
She expressed that it is a tough journey to finish her studies and now she is ready to focus on expanding the business. As of today, Youthstoday has collaboration with more than 60 colleges and universities across the nation, and she is eyeing to expand the business into regional and China market in the next few years. The company has also sponsored 1500 youth events and programs while revenue was recorded at RM700,000 in last year.
The host of the event, MyStartr CEO, Goh Boon Peng, says it is not an easy journey to start a new business, hence he encourages these entrepreneurs to show team spirit by collaborating and sharing experiences with each other, to ensure the space for growth and success.