July 29, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Last week I wrote a blog post that mentioned we added replacement parts to our shop online. I thought it may be helpful to have a video series that walked you through the steps if you had to replace any of those parts. Well, I made one.
Part One of the series shows how to replace the end caps on your FLO hubs. If you are in need of end caps you can find them in our shop online. Please enjoy the video below. If you have any questions about the process please let us know.
July 28, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Tuesday, July 28, 2015
A startup e-retailer’s journey to efficient fulfillment". Feel free to check it out here or read the full article below.
When you started your business, you likely devoted the majority of your efforts toward creating a product that would shake up the industry and prove all your naysayers wrong. And once the orders began to flood in, you probably thought the hard part was over.
But in putting so much focus on your physical product, you neglected to plan how you would actually deliver it to your customers.
When my brother and I first started shipping our product, we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. We handled everything ourselves, filling a two-bedroom apartment with bicycle wheels and boxes and personally packing and sending every order.
While we enjoyed the benefits of playing a direct role in sending our product out the door, this inefficient process came back to burn us as we grew.
In-house shipping works just fine for many companies, but an inefficient process may be wasting time and money. Here are three questions that will help determine whether your process is in need of streamlining:
How much time do you currently spend shipping?
At first glance, spending a lot of time fulfilling and shipping orders sounds like a pretty sweet problem to have. Congratulations — you run a successful business. But this is still a problem. If you’re spending all of your time shipping your product, who’s running the rest of your business? You don’t see Papa John delivering pizza.
Is your software holding you back?
My brother and I wasted countless hours manually entering shipping addresses and customer data into spreadsheets. Save yourself from this headache — some simple computer programming can turn days of work into minutes and those migraines into serenity.
Are you shipping fast enough?
On day one, my brother and I were able to fulfill about 80 orders per day. We knew this wasn’t nearly fast enough, so we rethought our process and tinkered with other methods. Eventually, we were able to boost our in-house shipping number to 330 orders per day.
If you’re not satisfied with your answers to these questions, it’s time to revamp your shipping process. A quick and efficient process allows your customers to swiftly receive their purchase — an essential part of the user experience that cannot be overstated. While patience is a virtue, they want to play with their new toys as quickly as possible.
Here are three tips that will help gear your shipping process toward efficiency:
1. Follow Henry Ford’s example.
Assembly lines are successful for good reason. My brother and I quickly learned that we wasted an enormous amount of time focusing on one order at a time. Instead, focus on one task at a time and carry it out on multiple orders. For example, instead of printing one shipping label for each package as it’s processed, print 800 labels and apply them to boxes ahead of time.
2. Let computers work for you.
My brother and I wasted too much time hand-entering data into spreadsheets. We knew there had to be a better way to do this, so we hired a computer programmer to help us find it. A few hundred dollars later, a day’s worth of work magically turned into one simple click of a button. Computers should make you more efficient; they shouldn’t slow you down.
3. Consider outsourcing.
Even after maximizing the efficiency of your in-house methods, you may still feel like you’re devoting too much of your personal time toward shipping. This happened to us: We fell behind on running our business, and it started to show. Since then, we’ve hired a fulfillment center that specializes in receiving, storing, and shipping product, leaving us free to refocus on being entrepreneurs, not shippers. Finding the right fulfillment center for your business can provide enormous benefits.
Fulfilling orders shouldn’t be a headache; it should be the most exciting part of your business. Free yourself up and please your customers with speedy delivery by fixing your shipping process.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please leave your comments and questions below.
July 24, 2015
Now that we have been selling wheels for more than three years, we've started getting request for replacement parts. Someone loses a skewer, dings a hub end cap while traveling, or wants new bearings. To make things easy, we've added a number of new items to the accessories section of our store. If you ever find yourself in need of replacement parts, this article may come in handy.
A bad crash, significant impact, or improper Allen key usage can crack an axle. The picture below shows a cracked axle.
|Cracked Axle from Improper Allen Key Usage|
While this looks terrible it's nothing a little work can't fix. You can find replacement hub axles in our store.
|FLO Hub Axle|
I'm not sure if bending quick release skewers from crashing or loosing one is more common. Regardless, it's one of the most sought after replacement parts for a FLO wheel. You can find replacement quick release skewers in our store.
|FLO Quick Release Skewer|
Springs and Pawls
Springs and pawls can break if the free hub is installed improperly after cleaning, can fall on your garage floor and never be found again, or can simply wear out. The picture below shows a broken spring caused by improper free hub installation. If you have questions about springs and pawls, please be sure to let us know. You can find replacement springs and pawls in our shop.
|Broken Spring from Improper Freehub Installation|
|FLO Springs and Pawls|
Hub End Caps
Hub end caps can be damaged during shipping if they are not packed correctly. The end cap is normally the first point of contact and if hit hard enough can be deformed into a mushroom shape. If it's bad enough the skewer will not fit through. Luckily the end caps are replaceable and it's an easy job. If you are ever shipping a wheel make sure you use the plastic end cap protectors. They are actually very helpful when shipping wheels. You can find replacement hub end caps in our shop.
|Mushroomed End Cap from Improper Packing|
|FLO Hub End Cap|
10 Speed Spacers
We ship 10 speed spacers with all of our FLO Wheels. This allows for easy conversion from 10 to 11 speed or vice versa. If you misplace yours or find yourself wanting to go back to 10 speed you can find replacement 10 speed spacers in our shop.
|FLO 10 Speed Spacer|
All good things come to an end, and bearings are no exception. Over time bearing will wear out. They can also fail prematurely if the seals are removed for greasing and water gets inside the bearing. Please note you should not remove the seals of your FLO bearings to add grease. These bearings are meant stay sealed for their lifetime. If you find yourself in need of new bearings, you can find replacement bearings in our shop.
Replacement parts are for parts that are lost, damaged or worn out. Please know that if you have a warranty issue we will take care of it. If you are questioning if something is covered under warranty, please reach out to us and we can discuss it. If you want to check out our warranty policy please do so.
If you need help installing your replacement parts you can always visit our How To page, read our Owner's Manual, or as always, just ask us. We will be happy to walk you through the process.
July 21, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Tuesday, July 21, 2015
5 Entrepreneurial Lessons I Learned From Failing Fast In My First Venture". Feel free to check it out here or read the full article below.
You have a brilliant idea for a new business. You love it, and you think other people will, too. So you take the plunge headfirst, right? Not so fast.
My brother Jon and I started our first company with a similar mind-set, and it failed in a matter of months. We created Painting With Purpose, a charitable organization that sold digital copies of paintings created by children with special needs. Unfortunately, not many people came to our site or bought our prints, and our business fell flat.
I gleaned a few valuable lessons from the experience, and we used those to grow our next business, FLO Cycling, into a success. Here’s the advice I’d give any starry-eyed entrepreneur:
1. Find Where Your Passion and Consumer Demand Intersect.
Jon and I were extremely passionate about Painting with Purpose, but that didn’t mean our audience felt the same enthusiasm. We should have settled on a product or service that aligned with our passions and appealed to consumers.
If you’re passionate about your work, it won’t feel like work. FLO Cycling has allowed me to use my passions and outlook on life in my career, and I’m happier for it.
2. Gather as Much Feedback as Possible.
Because Painting with Purpose was a completely new product and market, potential customers had no idea what we were selling. Trying to teach every prospect about a new market was extremely challenging, and many people didn’t take the time to figure it out. We didn’t gauge market demand from the start, and that set us up for failure.
Before launching your product, you need to involve your audience. When Jon and I started FLO Cycling, we let potential customers play a part in the product development process to build demand and loyalty from the beginning.
You should also talk about your product or service. Join a few online forums, and seek out opinions from potential users. Do everything possible to feel out customer interest before investing your life savings in a venture.
3. Do Every Job Before You Hire.
Many entrepreneurs hire too early. As a business owner, you need to fully understand the ins and outs of each position before bringing on new team members. You’ll learn about challenges, work to improve efficiency, and gain a better understanding of how your business operates. And that knowledge is priceless.
Obviously, you’ll need to hire experts when necessary. Invest in attorneys for legal advice and other crucial technical roles. But always read up on the position or industry to ensure you understand the role and hire the right person for the job.
4. Invest Time and Money In Marketing.
Jon and I thought our first business idea was so ingenious that it would spread like wildfire. But anything worthwhile doesn’t come easy.
Before we started FLO Cycling, we spent countless hours researching marketing because, as engineers, we really know nothing about it. We’ve dedicated most of our time to marketing, and though it’s been difficult, the effort has paid off tremendously.
No matter how revolutionary your idea, potential customers won’t know about your company unless you tell them. Make marketing a priority so you can gain traction and start forging relationships.
5. Stay Humble and Motivated.
Just because you own the business doesn’t mean you need a $5,000 cherry desk and a luxury car. Reinvest money into your business in the early years to spur grow.
Jon and I hit so many unexpected roadblocks in the beginning. Building desks out of two-by-fours and having a little extra cash in the bank has saved us more than once. The money won’t expire. If you’re still successful in a few years, you can spend it or, better yet, invest it.
Many of my friends started businesses and thought they could work four hours a week from a beach because they delegated or outsourced most tasks. But every business needs a highly driven, passionate person at the helm, especially in the beginning. You might be able to step back from the day-to-day operations eventually, but you need to first invest in building the business right.
There’s no perfect startup formula; every business has its hiccups. But by aligning your passion with consumer demand, communicating with your audience from the get-go, building out an extensive marketing strategy, and working relentlessly to manage and lead your business, you’ll stand a fighting chance to achieve entrepreneurial bliss.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please leave your comments and questions below.
July 14, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Tuesday, July 14, 2015
4 Reasons To Take A Day Off During Business Travels". Feel free to check it out here or read the full article below.
Think of your day like Newton’s first law of motion. Your body will stay at rest if there aren’t any outside forces acting upon it (your alarm clock, your kids, your job, etc.). But it’s important to remember that the opposite is also true.
You’ll never get a moment of rest and relaxation unless you act. Business trips have especially full schedules and rarely provide time to unwind. Add jet lag to the equation, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
But giving yourself a day off has benefits to your mental and physical health, and it could even improve the way you do business because:
1.It clears your mind. Stepping away from a busy schedule lets you think without looming deadlines clouding your thought process.
2.It’s beneficial to your health. Without the requirement to rush out of bed, you won’t feel that jet lag burnout, and you’ll be able think on your feet more often.
3.It allows you to be thankful. If you run your own business, it’s easy to lose sight of why you work for yourself. When you create a day for yourself, you’ll quickly remember why you started your own business instead of driving a desk for someone else.
4.It gives you leads. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new people who are potential customers, partners, or friends.
Traveling for business is rarely synonymous with “vacation.” However, if you put a little extra effort into planning your trip, you can enjoy all the benefits of a mini-vacation. The best way to do this is by giving your employees or yourself a day to explore the area.
Claim Your Free Day
When planning a day of R & R during a business trip, I take into account who I know in the area or if the locale has an attraction I can mark off my bucket list.
If you do know a client in the area, this is a perfect opportunity to get to know him or her outside of a business setting. Business relationships are more fruitful when there’s strong rapport, and enjoying a city together is a great start.
Otherwise, exploring on your own is never a bad idea, and taking time to see something new will make a difference in how you perceive your business.
Taking a break and allowing your employees to do the same shows your human side, and it will set a good example for your company culture.
Set the Standard
R & R doesn’t have to happen on the road. It can be as simple as taking an extra hour at lunch to reset, having your next company meeting in a fun setting, or peeling out of the office an hour early once a week so employees can spend extra time with family.
Today, the well-oiled office archetype doesn’t have to be a strict 9-to-5 schedule. Responsible employees will get the job done when it needs to be done and understand that some days require 15 hours while others only require two.
At the end of the day, we’re all human. Relaxation is as vital to productivity as a can-do attitude. By ensuring you have a company culture that embraces a healthy balance between work and R & R, your employees will go above and beyond — and explore the world while they’re at it.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please leave your comments and questions below.
July 9, 2015
Order 21 - All of the Details!
There's good news. Our shipment is ahead of schedule. Order 21 will begin Thursday, July 16th at 10:00am PDT. We will be selling FLO 30s, 60s, 90s, DISCS and FLO 30 rims. There are currently 1,159 people signed up for the 700 wheels available during Order 21. Please know popular wheels may sell our very quickly during Order 21. Popular wheels can sell out in less than 2 minutes. We are not trying to be pushy we just want to be honest.
Every wheel purchased within the first hour will receive a FREE Silca Valve Extender (FLO 60's and 90's) or a free Continental tube (FLO 30's and DISCS). The best way to get ready for Order 21 is to read the "General Information" and FAQ below. We can't thank you enough for your support and patience. If you have any questions about Order 21 please let us know.
- Order 21 begins July 16, 2015 at 10:00am PDT. Access the store here. You will need a store account to checkout. We recommend creating your account here before the order starts to save time.
- On July 16, 2015 the "Store" page will feature a countdown timer. When it hits 00:00:00:00 refresh your page to begin shopping.
- 700 wheels will be available during Order 21.
- We will have FLO 30s, 60s, 90s, DISCS and FLO 30 rims available.
- Wheels are estimated to ship by July 30th.
- There are currently 1,159 people signed up for Order 21.
- All sales are on a first-come-first-serve basis. We are working hard to eventually have stock. For more information, please read this blog article.
- Orders tend to sell out quickly. Popular wheels can sell out in less than five minutes. We suggest being online at 9:55am PDT if you are interested in buying wheels.
- Order 22 is scheduled to take place in late mid August 2015 and is estimated to have approximately 700 wheels.
- You are not guaranteed a wheel when adding it to the cart. You must check out to confirm your order.
Questions About Order 21
Q1. How and where do I place my order?
A1. The store opens at 10:00am PDT. On the morning of the order, the store page will have a count down timer on it. When the count down timer hits 00:00:00:00, refresh your page to access the store and begin shopping!
Note* You will need to create an account to shop in our online store. We highly recommend creating an account before next Thursday to save time during Order 21. You can create your account here.
Q2. Do we have live up to date inventory on our site?
A2. That’s sort of a yes and no question. When you select the product you will see how many are available under the “Bearings or Bearing/Build” pull down menus (The “Sticker Color” pull down does not show how many wheels are in stock.). If there is one left and you add it to your cart it does not mean you have secured the wheel. You must make it all the way through the cart before the wheel is yours. If someone else has bought the wheel in that amount of time, you will receive an out of stock warning when you hit the confirm order button.
Q3. My page is really slow. What should I do? (We hope this doesn’t happen!)
A3. We have done all we can to beef up the server to prevent crashing. That said there are no guarantees. When you click to add a wheel to your cart it may take a second or two to load. Please do NOT hit the "Add to Cart" button multiple times. If you do you will add more then one wheel to your shopping cart. If there are any technical difficulties during the sale, please be patient, we will be working to correct them as soon as humanly possible. If you page is slow after hitting “confirm order” PLEASE DO NOT HIT REFRESH or your card may be charged twice. If you do hit refresh by mistake and are double charged, please let us know and we will be sure to refund your second order.
Q4. About the Silca Valve Extenders and Continental Tubes?
A4. A FREE Silca Valve extender will be given for each FLO 60 and 90 and a free tube will be given for each FLO 30 and FLO DISC. Please see the pictures below.
Q5. When will the wheels ship to me?
A5. Wheels are estimated to ship by July 30th.
Q6. How much are ceramic bearings?
A6. Ceramic wheels are an additional $100 per wheel. Ceramic bearings support our Bike for a Kid Program and have excellent durability. Learn more about our Bike for a Kid Program.
Q7. Do you offer Shimano 11 speed hub bodies?
A7. All of our wheels ship with 9/10/11 speed compatible hub bodies. The wheels also ship with 10 speed spacers for people running 9 or 10 speed cassettes.
Q8. What payment methods do you accept?
A8. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. We do not accept PayPal.
We hope that this answers your questions about the upcoming pre-order. If we have left anything out please let us know.
Thanks again for your patience and support.
Jon and Chris
July 8, 2015
If you've ever found yourself with something in your wheel, the rattle you get has likely driven you close to insanity. After four years of dealing with wheels, I've retrieved countless things from the mysterious internal structure of a cycling wheel. In the video below, I show the inside of a wheel and walk you through the best approach to getting a valve extender out of wheel. The total time to remove the extender that I dropped into the wheel in the video below was less that five minutes. I hope you find the steps in this video useful if you ever find yourself with something stuck in your wheel.
If you get frustrated during the process please give me a call and I will do what I can to help you out. Patience is the number one thing you need when getting something out of a wheel.