When Wilson Low began his professional career, he never saw himself as a founder of a startup, let alone an IT company. “I was a regular guy with a 9-5 job, but the urge to grow beyond led me to where I am today. It happened spontaneously, without a thorough plan,” he said.
Wilson had applied his strong work ethic throughout his career as an operations manager at Cubinet Interactive Sdn Bhd for nearly a decade. It was when he met Ernie Tan who is a tech-savvy that sparked the idea to launch Wilstech Sdn Bhd.
“Wilstech was founded in 2016 while we both were still working full-time. We did it as a passion project and it happened that a friend of mine needed our help to supply him with hardware. The company commenced without a solid plan and we just went the flow – and the rest is history.”
Wilstech, the mobiliser in IT industry
In the early days of Wilstech, they did IT hardware trading and eventually expanded to also do customised software development including web, mobile applications, ERP, CRM and HR solutions.
Wilson and Ernie noticed that IT has a huge potential to grow further. In just one year of operation, their customers doubled and they received a lot of enquiries and offers in software development. “Most of our customers voiced out regarding the lack of companies that do complete software development services. They needed someone who could guide them and provide a complete solution. So, with our skills and solid background in IT, we thought why not us?”
Acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses
An interview with both founder and co-founder of Wilstech Sdn Bhd was something that I could interpret as having a lot of surprising elements. In the middle of the interview, Wilson revealed his weakness which I didn’t expect at all.
“Would you believe if I told you I don’t have any knowledge in IT? It’s funny because I have an IT company, but honestly, I’m not an IT guy (laughed).” The meeting room then burst into laughter. He then continued, “Sure, I worked in an IT company before, but I’m not an IT geek. My position was in business development. He is an IT guy,” while pointing to Ernie Tan.
But, for Ernie Tan, regardless of Wilson’s lack of IT knowledge, it didn’t deter them from building Wilstech. “We work well as a team. He knows the business development, so he knows how to run a company, and for me, I can support him in IT. So we complement each other.”
Creating solutions for customers
Despite being a small company and relatively speaking, new in the business, Wilstech proved their credibility by having a strong portfolio and having worked with numerous clients. One of their biggest achievements was in early 2017 when they helped a client combat their registration issue.
“The client told me that exhibition visitors needed to queue to manually register themselves and that takes a long time. So people were complaining about the long queues and the need to queue several times for different counters. So we combined our IT experience and created a QR code based system – where visitors could register online and simply scan the QR code for entry as well as for redemptions among other things. I would say we were one of the early adopters of such technology for such a system. These days, a lot of exhibitors follow it and it’s good to set an example for someone out there,” Wilson said.
Past experiences taught them how to best help SMEs
Given the fact that Wilson has limited knowledge in IT, he knew how to tackle IT like a pro. It had always been a problem to convince customers when he couldn’t speak the lingo. “As an entrepreneur, you must know how to win their heart. So every time I have a meeting with a client back in the early days, I would bring my wife with me (laughed). She’s an IT person, so she speaks fluent IT. It’s easier to have someone who knows all the technical jargon to explain to the client. Slowly but surely, I picked up the knowledge and learned from both Ernie and my wife.”
Wilstech aims to assist SMEs by providing cost effective software solutions. Being a startup taught them about the obstacles faced by business owners and one of it is the limited budget. “For Wilstech, we provide free consultation and we try our best to help them on getting the best solution rather than spending on unnecessary features. Normally, IT companies would give you a quotation on the service that you ask for. They wouldn’t customise it or even try to understand what you actually need. So, we are from a different perspective.”
Talking about their plan and strategy to stay ahead in the competitive market, Ernie said that they have to innovate. He believes that Wilstech needs to find a good product that could sell in the market. “Currently, we are focusing on providing an integrated system that encompasses all levels of a business operation. This system has several key pointers such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relations Management, Project Management and also Human Resource. With this new system, it can benefit every business owner.”
Wilson added that they aim to go international. With his past connections from his previous job, he would be able to utilise them to grow further. He is planning to penetrate the Taiwanese market and is currently working on it. They both ended the interview by sharing a few tips and advice for entrepreneurs.
“It’s crucial to get mentorship from people in the industry. As an entrepreneur, you have to stay focused and stay hungry. I’ve seen that many entrepreneurs tend to have a lot of things on their plate. That’s not good though, because eventually, they will lose focus. Rather than taking on a lot of things at once, you should focus on one thing at a time and grow from there.”