Dickson Lam of EFFYDESK: “Branding is everything”

Branding — “Branding is everything. What your company represents and how it makes people feel can sometimes be the deciding factor of if someone will buy your product or not. No one will buy from a company that is known to have poor customer service and only a slightly better product. People buy brand names because the […]

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Branding — “Branding is everything. What your company represents and how it makes people feel can sometimes be the deciding factor of if someone will buy your product or not. No one will buy from a company that is known to have poor customer service and only a slightly better product. People buy brand names because the company and the brand have a reputation and trust.”

As a part of my series called “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dickson Lam.

EFFYDESK believes people shouldn’t have to live with back pain and was created on the belief that your pursuit and practice of ergonomics shouldn’t break the bank. They are a Vancouver, BC based start-up that quickly grew to reach 7 figures in revenue within the first year of business and helped over 500 offices and thousands of individuals in Canada live that ergonomic lifestyle.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

“Since I was young, I had issues with my back which turned out to be caused by a herniated disk. Whenever I was sitting or standing for too long my lower back would start aching and it really affected me at work and at home. I struggled through life until three years ago at my office job, when we started using the table top version of standing desks and right away it was a game changer. The ability to switch between sitting and standing whenever I wanted helped me build a stronger healthier back and I wanted to help others who were suffering and struggling with the same issue as me. I then quit my job and started EFFYDESK and the rest is history.”

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

“Very early, in the start of my business, I received a call from a client who was overwhelmed and having trouble with the instructions and moving some pieces as they were heavier than she had expected. She was actually crying while on the phone with me and I did my best to help her out. I looked up her order and realized that she lived 20 minutes away from the office and since at the time we were still doing on-site installation, I offered this and she gladly accepted. 40 minutes later her desk was set up and installed and she was very grateful for the help. So grateful in fact that she referred our desks to her company who then ended up ordering over 50 desks the week after.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Starting your own business is extremely tough and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without all my friends who were able to lend a helping hand when I was just starting out. They helped me with installations and last minute deliveries when I had no one else. I thank them every day; I wouldn’t have gotten to this point without them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“One day or Day one”

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business but it was always just a future thought, a “one day, I’ll be my own boss”, “one day, I’ll have my own company”. We all have that thought at some time in our life and two years ago I thought “I’m going to make that ‘one day’ into ‘day one’” so I quit my office job, did my research and started EFFYDESK and here we are today!”

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?

“Balancing a healthy lifestyle and incorporating ergonomics into everyday life. Many people work that 9–5 job, in front of a computer, sitting at their desk 5 days a week. There has been study after study showing evidence of how detrimental this can be for our health. EFFYDESK strives to help counter this so we can stay healthy and enjoy life to its fullest.”

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

“Before starting our journey, we went out to each of our competitors and went through the purchasing process and build of each set up to see what worked well and what didn’t. We made sure to take the good points of each company and integrate and expand it into EFFYDESK. At EFFYDESK we will always try our best to ensure that each client is happy in the purchase which is why we offer a 30 day free trial, your satisfaction is guaranteed.”

When you first started the business, what drove you, what was your primary motivation?

“My belief in the many benefits of a standing desk is what motivated me and what still motivates me to grow my business. I first started ordering desks for my friends and family, some who had back or health issues and some that didn’t. Their responses and feedback was amazing and really showed me that I wasn’t the only one who was suffering and how a small change makes such a difference.”

What drives you now? Is it the same? Did it change? Can you explain what you mean?

“Our drive and goal is still the same as when we first started, we want to show everyone the importance of ergonomics and how it can help lead to a healthy lifestyle for the better. Reading the reviews that we get back from happy customers really shows that we’re on to something and we want everyone to know.”

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

“We are always thinking of new ways to improve and grow our business which leads to some really exciting ideas and projects. One such project that we are working on is improving our table tops and thinking about how we can do good for the environment, enter: 100% environmentally recycled table tops made completely out of recycled chopsticks. They are stronger and more durable than traditional solid wood or maple table tops with the added bonus of being made with recycled materials. We are working with a Vancouver local company who specializes in recycled chopsticks to put this idea together. We are really excited about this collaboration and understand that more and more people are environmentally aware and we want to do what we can to help.”

The topic of this series is ‘Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue’. Congratulations! Seven figures is really a huge milestone. In your experience what was the most difficult part of being able to hit your first million-dollars in sales revenue?

“Letting go of doing everything myself and understanding that I can’t be in two places at once let alone run a whole company alone. I want to make sure that everything is 100% perfect but I realized that I needed help to do that so I started recruiting and it has made such a difference. Our team is small but mighty and I was very fortunate to find some really good talent who can take on important roles and responsibilities and make EFFYDESK the awesome company it is today.”

Could you share the number one sales strategy that you found helpful to help you reach this milestone?

“Search Engine Optimization or SEO is our biggest sales strategy and one that most people starting out seem to forget or take too lightly. SEO helps connect you with clients easily and organically and is a big help to get your name and company out there.”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you or your team made during a sales process? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

“There was a time I accidentally approved some schematics of the pre-drilled holes of the table tops with the keypad on the opposite side of where it should be so the keypad side was on the same side of the grommet which makes absolutely no sense because the grommet side is the back of the table. We only found out when one of our influencers posted a YouTube review with this and they had been using it with a hole in the middle of the table top this whole time thinking it is normal. We had that fixed immediately.”

Does your company have a sales team? If yes, do you have any advice about how companies can create very high performing sales teams?

“Our company does not have a sales team.”

Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”. Please share a story or an example for each.

Research –“ Always be researching. Research what your competition is doing; Research how you can grow; Research what new keywords you can use to help elevate your company. Keep your finger on the pulse of market trends and don’t fall for fads; fidget spinners were all the rage but starting a business of fidget spinners now would not be the best idea.”

Product — “When it comes to your product you need to be asking yourself, “Is your product the best it can be? How is your packaging, your delivery”. Making sure all aspects of your product is optimized and the best it can be will keep you and your product at the top of your game. Just because it’s selling well now, doesn’t mean it will remain selling well if you are not striving to make your product the best.”

Branding — “Branding is everything. What your company represents and how it makes people feel can sometimes be the deciding factor of if someone will buy your product or not. No one will buy from a company that is known to have poor customer service and only a slightly better product. People buy brand names because the company and the brand have a reputation and trust.”

Customer Service — “If branding is your Face, customer service is your Heart. With the world going digital and everything being online, great customer service can be hard to find but is incredibly important. The difference between good customer service and great customer service can be the difference between one sale and five. When people are happy with the product and happy with the service, they will tell others and that is a fact.”

Execution — “Execution is the last and most important point for reaching 7 figures. Following through with your promises and making sure from start to finish everything runs smoothly is the goal. Don’t launch your business and start taking orders if you don’t even have the product in stock.”

What would you advise to another business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth or sales and “restart their engines”?

“Don’t be afraid to reach out and get an outside persons’ help, fresh eyes may be needed to see things you might have missed. Also don’t forget to try new things and explore different ideas; your body can’t grow if you do the same workout every day, you need to switch it up and get inspired.”

In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?

“The most effective way for us was to get real life testimonials and inspiration pictures. We offer an incentive to customers to send in their set-up after they have finished and we have used those to promote our desks which have proven to be quite successful. It’s nice to see the same product staged and set up in a variety of different places so people can see that our desks fit with anyone’s décor.”

Based on your experience, can you share a few strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?

“Your website is your storefront. Make sure you have a nice website for people to browse and understand what you’re trying to sell. Don’t over complicate things or make it difficult to navigate. As for customer service, always put your best foot forward even if it means losing a bit of money to make the customer happy.”

As you likely know, this HBR article demonstrates that studies have shown that retaining customers can be far more lucrative than finding new ones. Do you use any specific initiatives to limit customer attrition or customer churn? Can you share some of your advice from your experience about how to limit customer churn?

“An item like a standing desk is not normally bought more than once from a single person but still making sure every touch point from the beginning to end, including after the transaction, is dealt with to a high customer service standard will ensure that your product will be talked about. That one customer might not buy another desk right away but they will tell others and when it’s time to upgrade they will remember our company.”

Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final “meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

“I’m actually a big advocate of helping starting entrepreneurs. I want to see more and more people taking that leap and becoming entrepreneurs and doing what excites them.”

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

“Someone such as Bill Gates or Elon Musk, they aren’t afraid to think outside the box and they are always striving to do better, be better, it would be an honour to sit down and pick their brain.”

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!

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