Visionary Interior: SME Excellence Business Award and Top Business Service and Quality Award 2022/2023

Visionary Interior understands the importance of creating a perfect cosy home that homeowners love. In every piece of design that they create, no matter the scale, they seek to create objects and spaces that resonate with the individual. Each project is custom crafted with rigour through a tedious process, creating upon the clients’ expectations. Visionary Interior was founded in 2016 and officially registered in 2017.

As the founder and director of Visionary Interior, Mr Mike Tan has long been in the interior design industry prior to starting the company. He started out working for another interior design firm as an interior designer before becoming a contractor the following year. Visionary Interior was then founded – wanting a legacy of his own by providing good service standard for clients. Being a visionary is to innovate and do things differently.

Founder of Visionary Interior, Mr Mike Tan

Prior to joining the interior design industry, Mike signed on with the Singapore Armed Forces for 5 years and that was when he realised the many underlying problems in the industry. Interior designers will typically need to compile and collate customer’s details and requirements while also managing the third-party contractors. This has proven to be very inefficient process that tends to get overwhelming for the interior designer. Visionary Interior is on a mission to revolutionise the way designers work by streamlining the process.

At Visionary Interior, their designers are more collaborative and willing to help one another. Mike has plans to completely streamline all the processes so that the designers can focus on providing their best designs for the clients. When there are too many things for them to handle, service tends to get compromised but once everything gets streamlined, they will be able to work much more efficiently.

When it comes to interior design, communication is one area that need major improvements. Clients tend to prefer communicating through WhatsApp which is convenient but prone to miscommunication. Hence, Mike urges his designers to conduct face to face meetings as much as possible to minimise the risk of miscommunication. However, miscommunication is not the only problem faced by designers, many clients who are first time home owners tend to have unrealistic expectations of the end product. When working on a resale flat for example, the space tend to be clustered with the previous owner’s belongings and this may cause the end result to be slightly different from what the client had in mind.

Despite the success Mike has achieved with Visionary Interior, it wasn’t a smooth journey from the start. Partnership with his co-founder ended in 2019, Mike took over the company as a sole director. He rebranded and restructured the company by setting up new departments such as human resource and marketing.

Starting out with only 5 employees, Mike leads Visionary Interior into a team of over 20 staffs. All the staffs in the company had to go through staff review before they officially become a part of the team. There are a few key characteristics that Mike look for in his staffs: a positive attitude, willing to learn and continuous improvement. Being audacious is another important trait that he looks for, it is important for an interior designer to be assertive and make the right calls without overthinking.

Covid-19 pandemic was another challenge for Mike as they had just moved into their new office (3 days before Circuit Breaker) As such recruitments had to be conducted online which led to staff having low morale. Even though they were working from home, Mike ensured his team stayed disciplined and followed a fixed routine to keep them focus. Discussion with clients had to be conducted over zoom and this made it challenging for clients to fully convey their thoughts. There was also a shortage of raw materials, delay in supply and logistic during pandemic, leading to an increase in company expense.

In order to ensure fair competition among the designers, Mike has built a culture where the designers are willing to help out each other’s individual projects even when they don’t get a share of the profit. This allows for a healthy relationship amongst the designers while maintaining a high standard of work. In order to be a part of the team, one will have to go through 2 rounds of interview, the first round will be conducted by the team leaders and the shortlisted candidates will then go for a second round of interview with Mike. This process provides the team sufficient time to assess the candidate’s character and skills deciding whether they are a right fit for the team.

As a business owner, there will definitely be times when things are rough, but what keeps Mike going in those tough times is knowing that he has to support the livelihoods of not only his staffs but also their family members. Mike believes in his team and their untapped potentials, he is confident Visionary Interior will be one of the leading interior design studios in Singapore.

Having been in business for over 5 years, Mike has some advice for young entrepreneurs who aspire to be like him:

– Be disciplined, stick to your commitments and push through

– Be understanding

Comprehension before communication

Commit your time and make personal sacrifices when needed

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