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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [bwain] [ In reply to ]
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bwain wrote:
The discs that were sold today, were they they ones with the foam in it to dampen the vibration noise?

Yes. All future FLO DISCs will be the new foam models. We stopped selling those in 2012.


Chris Thornham
Co-Founder And Previous Owner Of FLO Cycling
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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I say congrats to FLO for what they have done and are continuing to do. They have stuck to their business model since the beginning even though a lot of ST'rs not only know how high a seat needs to be, but how to exactly run a business from the start. I have been following the FLO process for awhile and plan on ordering some wheels in the next 6 months. Even if it's pre-order 10, I'll be waiting by the computer, refreshing the page every 10 seconds to get in on a set of 60/90, just like I did when I bought U2 tickets to the Dismantle tour years ago.

_____________________________________________

Why don't we take a 5 minute brake...?
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [j-hud] [ In reply to ]
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j-hud wrote:
The intensity of hedgefund's conviction had me curious, so I looked at the profile. I thought it was worth pointing out that this username was created yesterday and has 9 posts, half of which are in this thread. Take that for what you will.

Not to mention that even with the name Hedgefund, he doesn't know the difference between gross and net...
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Pooks] [ In reply to ]
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"It's a Zen thing ... Kinda like 'How many babies fit in a tire?'"

"Isn't RandMart the old punk rock dude who had the crazy ex? Then this post checks out"

Stop-Think-Consider-Do
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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I'm getting a 30, when is order 6?
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [AaronT] [ In reply to ]
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AaronT wrote:
I'm getting a 30, when is order 6?

Thanks for writing. Should be in June and there should be some (limited) 30s available. The FLO 30 production should ramp up quicker than our carbon wheels. The goal right now is to have 700 FLO 30s here by August :)

Let me know if you have any additional questions.


Chris Thornham
Co-Founder And Previous Owner Of FLO Cycling
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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I think it's great what you are doing. Sure, not EVERYONE is happy, but nobody ever is. Assuming you maintaining ownership, staying away from debt, and consistently building capital, you'll be able to ramp up production over time to meet demand. When you do, you'll still be lean, debt free and have plenty of cash. Under those circumstances, you're future should be solid. Good luck!
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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Chris,

What is the expected ship date of the pre-order today?

Thanks
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Norsedude] [ In reply to ]
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The only lesson FLO needs to learn is not to share their quite successful business model and plan far and wide.

Customer service, a great product, and clear communication are one thing. Sharing your gross/net/sales volume and business strategies are entirely different.
I enjoy being ejumacated for free but it's only common sense and hard work the keep the copy cats from jumping on the band wagon.
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [RobertFontaine] [ In reply to ]
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RobertFontaine wrote:
The only lesson FLO needs to learn is not to share their quite successful business model and plan far and wide.

Customer service, a great product, and clear communication are one thing. Sharing your gross/net/sales volume and business strategies are entirely different.
I enjoy being ejumacated for free but it's only common sense and hard work the keep the copy cats from jumping on the band wagon.

Yea, they are doing something right if they are selling out every order in one day. Keep it up. Business secret #1. Put the word out that you are struggling to make ends meet, and that you can't make a profit. Sing the blues publicy, drive a shitty car to work and rake in the cash privately. Don't flaunt it. *wink wink*
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [RobertFontaine] [ In reply to ]
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RobertFontaine wrote:
The only lesson FLO needs to learn is not to share their quite successful business model and plan far and wide.

Customer service, a great product, and clear communication are one thing. Sharing your gross/net/sales volume and business strategies are entirely different.

I'd like to make it clear that I did not share gross/net/sales numbers. Hedgefund made an assumption and it's that at best.

I enjoy being ejumacated for free but it's only common sense and hard work the keep the copy cats from jumping on the band wagon.



Chris Thornham
Co-Founder And Previous Owner Of FLO Cycling
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Norsedude] [ In reply to ]
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Norsedude wrote:
Chris,

What is the expected ship date of the pre-order today?

Thanks

The goal is to have all wheels shipped with about 7 days.


Chris Thornham
Co-Founder And Previous Owner Of FLO Cycling
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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Canadian wrote:
The goal is to have all wheels shipped with about 7 days.

Wow, you guys are gonna have one long and busy week. Keep the fat tire ale handy ... :^)

Advanced Aero TopTube Storage for Road, Gravel, & Tri...Direct-mount & ZeroSlip-mount, made in the USA.
DarkSpeedWorks.com....Reviews....Instagram....Facebook

.
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
Canadian wrote:
The goal is to have all wheels shipped with about 7 days.


Wow, you guys are gonna have one long and busy week. Keep the fat tire ale handy ... :^)

Yes... pre order weeks are long hauls, but we know how excited people are to get their products and we do our best to make that happen as quickly as possible.

Take care,


Chris Thornham
Co-Founder And Previous Owner Of FLO Cycling
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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Canadian wrote:
triracerboy wrote:
Personally this sales method has been really frustrating.
I leave a meeting and try to buy a disk.
They are in my shopping basket and and when i try to buy it is sold out?

My ability to buy was based on my internet speed and how fast i can type. Perhaps a lottery would be better? (that might help you get an idea of true demand also)


I'm really sorry about the frustration today. The DISCs were very popular today and were gone in about 4 minutes. There are many ways we could do things but it's impossible to please everyone. If we chose to use a lottery then people would be upset when they weren't selected but they were "first" to enter. Also, we get a very good idea of demand during these sales.

Again, I'm sorry for the frustration today.

What about the first to people who signed up for the "pre-order", errr, availability notification message? Same conclusion right? Also, how do you get "a good idea of demand during these sales" when you don't know how many people were unsuccessful with their purchase? Reading ST? I'm sure you are a really nice guy and obviously make a great product, but I do think you need some outside help. My $0.02. I'm not trying to be combative or ugly at all. Plenty of other choices for consumers. I work with small businesses daily and I can't help but see some red flags around your process. You can still do all of the things you mentioned above like controlling growth, keeping quality high, limiting outside investors, adding new wheel lines, etc, however your delivery to market strategy as it relates to the client experience is really flawed. At a minimum you need to allow for a true prepaid pre-order. I saw your response about this option. Most will wait if they know for certain that they will get the product by X date. Plenty of examples on this forum alone. I'm sure I was beat out today for a disc by a number of people who probably made a last minute decision to buy one when I was in line for weeks. I was traveling during the 4 minute window so I lose. Seems odd. Again, not the end of the world. HED makes a great disc too and it's already being shipped. I just find it odd that you are ok with the fact I would have given you $600 a month ago to ensure I could get one. As of now, had I not bought a HED, I would be waiting for the next 4 minute window. Does that sounds like good plan to you? If it does, see line two about getting outside help.
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [ZackCapets] [ In reply to ]
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ZackCapets wrote:

Best I can do is tree-fiddy

Now, don't you go givin' Flo no tree-fiddy.
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [3Aims] [ In reply to ]
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So for every 1000 wheels they sell, they have maybe 3 or 4 people pissed that they wanted to, but couldn't buy any... due to high demand. That's something like a 99.6% satisfaction rate... sounds like a pretty good business model to me!
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [3Aims] [ In reply to ]
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3Aims wrote:
Canadian wrote:
triracerboy wrote:
Personally this sales method has been really frustrating.
I leave a meeting and try to buy a disk.
They are in my shopping basket and and when i try to buy it is sold out?

My ability to buy was based on my internet speed and how fast i can type. Perhaps a lottery would be better? (that might help you get an idea of true demand also)


I'm really sorry about the frustration today. The DISCs were very popular today and were gone in about 4 minutes. There are many ways we could do things but it's impossible to please everyone. If we chose to use a lottery then people would be upset when they weren't selected but they were "first" to enter. Also, we get a very good idea of demand during these sales.

Again, I'm sorry for the frustration today.


What about the first to people who signed up for the "pre-order", errr, availability notification message? Same conclusion right? Also, how do you get "a good idea of demand during these sales" when you don't know how many people were unsuccessful with their purchase? Reading ST? I'm sure you are a really nice guy and obviously make a great product, but I do think you need some outside help. My $0.02. I'm not trying to be combative or ugly at all. Plenty of other choices for consumers. I work with small businesses daily and I can't help but see some red flags around your process. You can still do all of the things you mentioned above like controlling growth, keeping quality high, limiting outside investors, adding new wheel lines, etc, however your delivery to market strategy as it relates to the client experience is really flawed. At a minimum you need to allow for a true prepaid pre-order. I saw your response about this option. Most will wait if they know for certain that they will get the product by X date. Plenty of examples on this forum alone. I'm sure I was beat out today for a disc by a number of people who probably made a last minute decision to buy one when I was in line for weeks. I was traveling during the 4 minute window so I lose. Seems odd. Again, not the end of the world. HED makes a great disc too and it's already being shipped. I just find it odd that you are ok with the fact I would have given you $600 a month ago to ensure I could get one. As of now, had I not bought a HED, I would be waiting for the next 4 minute window. Does that sounds like good plan to you? If it does, see line two about getting outside help.

I feel that you are frustrated about your experience today and I'm sorry about that. It's honestly impossible to please everyone and we've clearly upset you. Here are my thoughts regarding what you've said....

Demand: There are many metrics that we see on the back end that give us a good idea of demand. Number of sign up, number of users on the site etc.

Pre Paying: We did this when we started the company and we had a ton of complaints. Here is what we heard...

Why do we have to wait so long?
Your lead times should be getting better.
If you're always taking peoples money in advance you must be having financial problems.
Your company clearly "needs help" if you can't cut down your lead times.
These guys just can't figure out production.

So what did we do? We cut our lead times down to a week. Fast forward a few months, and our demand is now higher than ever and people want to pre pay again. You said above that you find it odd that we are ok with the fact that you would have given us $600 a month ago to ensure you got a wheel AND as a result of not being able to do that you bought a HED wheel instead. Is that ideal? Of course not but what is the solution? Pre paying right? This sounds like a great idea. You get the opportunity to pre pay and get the wheels by X date. But what X date is acceptable? We had 997 people signed up for this pre order. If we allowed everyone to pre pay then some people would be waiting 6+ months for wheels. If you came to me two weeks ago and said "I want to pre pay for a wheel" and I told you that you'll likely get it in October/November would that have made you happy? I'm guessing it would not have. I'm guessing you would have posted that we need to figure out how to manage production or some other problem.

Now I'm not trying to be combative or ugly either, but things aren't as simple as they appear. Before I got into this business I would have been asking the same questions. The simple fact is our demand is high and we are already on schedule to triple production this year (that's about 4500 wheels). Everything has it's limit and factories are no exception. Growth requires a delicate balance and there is risk involved in every move you make. As business owners your job is to minimize that risk.

Finally, can things improve? Absolutely! If things were perfect I wouldn't be writing this message to you. You'd have been able to buy your FLO wheels today and you'd be a happy customer. But we are a very new business who is growing at a very quick rate and we are doing everything we can to keep up. In time, this will get better, we promise. We are very sorry for upsetting some people (including you) as we continue to grow. I promise that we will do everything we can to make as many people happy as possible.

I hope this makes sense,


Chris Thornham
Co-Founder And Previous Owner Of FLO Cycling
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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Chris, you and Jon keep what you are doing. I would much rather be the merchant with the line in front of the store than the one with sign in the front window that says 50% off and no one around. BTW my 60/90 set is sick! My wife is jealous so next order I need another set.

Best of luck. Your product is worth the wait!
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [3Aims] [ In reply to ]
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this is part of growing pain of a small business. What ever change they make will never make everyone happy. But at the end of the day, it does seems like they produce something that is in very high demand and the feedback from the users is extremely positive.

And as Chris mention, it s there business and there is a big risk management issue when you are this early into the life of a new company. i think that there cautious approach is smart at this time. Very few people will ever understand the complexity of production with asia, and the complexity of the relationship...... ramping up production isn't as easy as it sound.....and it takes lots of money to make money!

I myself miss on getting a pair today as i got caught in some phone call at 10am and after finishing those business call, the 90s were gone! a bit frustrating as i wanted some wheels to try for early races but, first come first serve.....that is very much the same in so many part of our industry. like you said, if you cant wait, there is other alternative.

my question to chris would be, do you guys kept a float of wheels for warranty purpose? how do you handle that part of the business?

.

Jonathan Caron

Jonnyo Coaching
Last edited by: jonnyo: Apr 25, 13 21:25
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [jonnyo] [ In reply to ]
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jonnyo wrote:
this is part of growing pain of a small business. What ever change they make will never make everyone happy. But at the end of the day, it does seems like they produce something that is in very high demand and the feedback from the users is extremely positive.

And as Chris mention, it s there business and there is a big risk management issue when you are this early into the life of a new company. i think that there cautious approach is smart at this time. Very few people will ever understand the complexity of production with asia, and the complexity of the relationship...... ramping up production isn't as easy as it sound.....and it takes lots of money to make money!

I myself miss on getting a pair today as i got caught in some phone call at 10am and after finishing those business call, the 90s were gone! a bit frustrating as i wanted some wheels to try for early races but, first come first serve.....that is very much the same in so many part of our industry. like you said, if you cant wait, there is other alternative.

my question to chris would be, do you guys kept a float of wheels for warranty purpose? how do you handle that part of the business?

.

Thanks jonnyo. To answer your question, we always keep a float of wheels for warranty purposes. To date, the warranty process has run pretty smoothly for us and we've been able to react quickly and keep customers happy.

Take care,


Chris Thornham
Co-Founder And Previous Owner Of FLO Cycling
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [3Aims] [ In reply to ]
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3Aims wrote:
Plenty of other choices for consumers.

I'd love to hear about the other similarly-priced and similarly aero choices.
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [ether] [ In reply to ]
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I guess I should chime in on my opinion since its friday and FINALLY nice weather here in Chicago so my mind is already out the door.

FLO is sure taking a lot of heat for the way they are going about their orders but in an economy where small businesses fold up just as fast as they open, lets give them a bit of credit. How many people on here that are cutting down their pre order process would lose a wink of sleep if they took some of the risks everyone is urging them to take and end up failing? In this day in age where anything less than instant gratification is flat out unacceptable, yes, its a drag that many of us keep missing the boat on placing an order after repeated attempts, but they are trying their best. This is money coming out of their own pockets, and as much as I am sure they would like to accommadate everyone (for those pockets to grow) they just can not make it happen at this time.

The more and more this process unfolds, these guys seem like they have an unbelievably solid business model. May not be the popular vote among those of us who are looking for new wheels NOW, but you gotta hand it to them, they are avoiding many pitfalls that gobble up small businesses every day.

Disclaimer- I have also attempted at getting a disk and failed multiple times so this message is not coming from someone who is on the sunny side of the predicament.

My brain hurts now....
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Yellek3] [ In reply to ]
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Yellek3 wrote:
FLO is sure taking a lot of heat for the way they are going about their orders but in an economy where small businesses fold up just as fast as they open, lets give them a bit of credit.

This is money coming out of their own pockets, and as much as I am sure they would like to accommadate everyone (for those pockets to grow) they just can not make it happen at this time.

The more and more this process unfolds, these guys seem like they have an unbelievably solid business model.

Solid business models generate sufficient profits to keep a business going. There is no need for solid business models to publicly discuss cash flow problems.

If Flo had profits, banks would loan them money to meet their cash flow needs. It is very cheap to borrow from banks. I don't understand the interest in venture capitalists.

I don't know much about their business model except to notice that their costs are mostly pre-production. It would be almost free to keep an inventory. (Reenforced by the comment that they keep an inventory for warrantee purposes.)

But it is the business model Flo has chosen. And some people will not like it.

---

I will correct you on your error. Money does not come out of Flo's pockets. It comes out of the pockets of their customers.

---

I am cheap. I ride on Shimano hubs and Mavic OpenPro rims - under $400 for a matched pair. So I am not a customer of Flo's.

Our tiny family business has run for 20 years, making more and more profit every year. Small businesses are not failing in this economy. Poorly run businesses are failing. Like they do in any economy.
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Re: At what point does a "pre-order" become just an order? [Canadian] [ In reply to ]
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Then why not adopt a hybrid approach that covers both ways people can purchase your products. You want to pre-order, great, but here are the specified ground rules. If you don't want to pre-order then you can wait for anything not spoken for in the production run and take your chances in the free-for-all.
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