Tag Team Inc is a laser tag company that was established back in 2011. We sat down and chatted with cheery ex-banker, John Lim to find the secrets behind his success.
Tell us a little about yourself and what made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
I had been in the banking world for two years and got a little stifling. I am not your typical entrepreneur where I had a dream and converted it into business; it was more the result of an accidental idea and good timing. At the start, I hated the idea of “Laser Tag” and didn’t see its potential at that point in time. But here I am, after six years.
Why laser tag? What were the biggest hurdles to building your business? And how did you overcome them?
I grew to like the idea of Laser Tag after I did some research. It was safe and versatile, universal in that sense that everyone can participate. It doesn’t involve any mess; and that way I was able to create an experience for anyone, anywhere. There were countless hurdles to push through, but the number one for me was that I am new to this business. I had to work doubly hard to make it happen. It was a tedious process – calling authorities, studying the market, taking up driving lessons as well (because we were going mobile at first) Finally, I had to be very hands on, which took me a while to get used to especially as I was in the banking world for a period. It was challenging to establish credibility with corporate clients and I had to work hard to build a record and convince them about my experience and knowledge. But I did anyway!
Congratulations on getting awarded the Singapore Prestige Brand Award! Must have been big for you guys. What would say are the three key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Grit, perseverance and unwavering confidence that you will survive, that’s important. Two, never stop innovating, good is never good enough. Why this? Well, because it’s one thing to be different to exist as a startup but along the way, new competitors will come into the market, and for you to be different in the eyes of consumers, you have to keep innovating to add more value. That’s why Tag Team moved on to create the world’s first laser sword to our range of multi-equipment laser tag; to incorporating drones into our laser tag gameplay and now we are going to launch TagLearner coding programmes for children. Third, (as much as it’s contradiction to the second point), you must never over-analyse things. Many have to understand that the first product/time doesn’t have to be perfect. Only when you start talking to consumers and reaching out to people do you realise that there’s so much more to add and make your ultimate product. Wanting to keep perfecting your product will stop you from actually launching, and the vision of best will constantly change. The ability to do it and innovate later is important.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
In our parents’ generation, many could stay in jobs for ten of years. But now, that hardly happens. So to be realistic, cycles are getting shorter, and this industry may or may not survive the next tens years. However, I am confident on the fact that people will always want new and exciting things to experience and a way to connect with their friends. Personally, I think the need for humans to connect with one another will never change, regardless of time or technology advancements. We want to be at the forefront of technology and innovate to give people a better experience each time.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Do your homework. They say fortune favours the brave, but I believe fortune also favours the prepared. Cover all angles if possible with research – study your consumers, competition, products, future trends. Never be underprepared, but don’t be paralysed by your analysis!
Your desert island choices for:
Book: “Man’s search for Meaning.” by Viktar Frankl
Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind