Ah Boy to Boss: How One Singaporean Millennial Single-Handedly Started An Interior Design Company Without Prior Education

Rising to the harsh sound of his alarm clock at 5:30 am, Dalton Wang, like many other Singaporean boys, begrudgingly accepted the realities of his mandatory military service. However, amidst the early morning chaos, he saw an opportunity to shape his future. As the days counted down to his release, Dalton contemplated his aspirations, character, and personal growth during his time in the National Service (NS). Little did he know that this period of self-discovery would lead him to establish his interior design firm, Zoro Interior.

Dalton Wang’s transformative journey from a dedicated soldier to an accomplished interior design entrepreneur is a testament to the power of determination, resourcefulness, and a commitment to excellence. His story exemplifies the possibilities that await those who seize growth opportunities, even in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Attermen was allowed to speak with Dalton about his experiences, shedding light on the challenges he overcame and the valuable lessons he learned along the way.

Motivations Behind Starting Zoro Interior Despite No Prior Education

During Dalton’s time in the army, he came across newspaper articles that highlighted the numerous HDB developments taking place in Singapore. Intrigued by the idea of entering the world of interior design, Dalton embarked on this path despite his limited knowledge in the field. His first experience with interior design work ignited a passion within him as he relished the opportunity to learn, solve problems, and collaborate with contractors from different disciplines.

Dalton’s decision to pursue a career in the interior design industry initially surprised his family and friends, considering his lack of prior knowledge in the field. However, their initial surprise quickly transformed into encouragement and admiration for his bold career change. They were impressed by Dalton’s determination and wholeheartedly supported him in his new venture.

As time passed, Dalton’s determination grew stronger, and he aimed to provide cost-effective solutions to clients. To achieve this, he invested in an in-house team of professionals, including electricians, painters, hackers, partition experts, and carpenters. Dalton recognized the rising costs of renovations and sought to help clients achieve their goals within a more budget-friendly framework.

Challenges Faced When Starting Up a Company

In 2016, Dalton entered the industry with limited experience and no portfolio, driven by an unwavering determination. Understanding the importance of continuous learning in a field that heavily relies on expertise, he eagerly absorbed knowledge from various contractors, recognizing its crucial role in overcoming obstacles. Initially starting with a modest rented desk, Dalton’s expertise and business flourished, eventually leading him to establish his own small office. Each success propelled him forward, ultimately culminating in the creation of a 3,500 sqft showroom.

Throughout his journey, Dalton confronted challenges directly by identifying and addressing his weaknesses. He acknowledged the importance of comprehending essential aspects such as standard operating procedures, marketing, and human resources. By adopting a holistic approach to his business, Dalton pinpointed areas for improvement and took decisive actions.

Despite encountering difficulties and facing moments of temptation to quit, Dalton’s relentless focus and determination propelled him onward. He firmly believed in the value of commitment and striving for excellence in his chosen endeavor. Challenges were embraced as opportunities for personal growth, as each hurdle conquered fortified his resilience.

Dalton’s goals remained a constant source of motivation throughout his journey. Despite the demanding process, he remained driven by the envisioned rewards that awaited him. The fruitful outcomes he foresaw fueled his determination to persevere, understanding that despite the toughness of the journey, it would ultimately prove worthwhile.

Recently, Dalton and his team accomplished another significant milestone by relocating to a brand new showroom covering approximately 7,000 sqft, accompanied by a 3,500 sqft carpentry workshop.

Managing Customer’s Satisfaction and Expectations

Effective communication plays a crucial role in the success of any project, as each client comes with unique requests and requirements. Dalton emphasizes the significance of expertise in this field and highlights the importance of having a reliable team to support project operations. This is precisely why Zoro Interior has built its dedicated team of workers, capable of handling projects of a certain turnover value. The ability to provide tailored solutions is also paramount. Understanding how to propose alternative options that consider aesthetics, budget constraints, and timely delivery is key to meeting client requirements and ensuring customer satisfaction.

During a previous encounter, Dalton faced a challenging situation with a customer who held high expectations and expressed dissatisfaction with a project. However, rather than responding defensively, Dalton chose to maintain his composure and attentively listen to their concerns. Dalton communicated transparently with the customer as he presented alternative solutions and collaborated closely with his team to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. By prioritizing professionalism and providing excellent customer service, they successfully resolved the issue to the customer’s satisfaction. This particular experience served as a valuable reminder of the significance of patience, active listening, and effective communication when navigating difficult customer situations.

“Never give up on doing the things you love doing, you will not see success in the short term, however when you put in the effort, the rewards will come, concentrate, and strive till the end, I always believe that if you put all your 100% ONE thing, you will succeed one day. Never change your goal along the way, and once you have chosen the path work your way to become the best in the market.” – Dalton’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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