Entrepreneur

Barely 23, This Uni Student’s Business Already Has Clients Like Maybank & Deloitte

  • ATAG is a Malaysian provider of archery tag co-founded and run by university student Arthur Woo that has locations around the Klang Valley region.
  • In addition to archery tag, ATAG also provides other fun teambuilding activities such as obstacle courses, yoga, flower-arranging, and soap-making among others.

For 23-year-old Arthur Woo, the determination to become financially independent has stuck with him ever since he completed SPM.

From working in sales at Poh Kong, to becoming a part-time lifeguard, and eventually also becoming a proficient swimming instructor at Swimin12.com, the entrepreneurial drive exhibited by the Actuarial Science major from Sunway University has led him to try out many things.

So in 2016, Arthur along with seven other partners were led to co-found ATAG—a centre providing archery tag games where groups of people play tactical matches using bows and arrows to achieve objectives.

“After experiencing first-hand the fun and excitement of archery tag, we decided to purchase some equipment and introduce the public to this fun game,” he said. “We then started ATAG as a learning platform to gain hands-on business experience.”

Image Credit: ATAG

Today, ATAG provides archery tag that’s available 24 hours at its three locations around the Klang Valley—at the PJ Palm Sports Centre, the PJ Futsal Centre, and at their latest premises located within Hutan Simpanan Bukit Sg. Puteh, which also houses a 5,000 square-foot space and an accompanying obstacle course.

“Archery tag is the cooler cousin of dodgeball, paintball, and laser tag,” Arthur explained. “Our USP is the idea of bonding through fun, and we aspire to outperform average teambuilding activities through the power of play.”

“We believe humans can bond better when they’re laughing and having fun together.”

Keeping Everyone Happy

While ATAG’s core attraction is archery tag, Arthur and his team are also able to organise many other team-building activities such as obstacle courses, yoga lessons, and even things such as soap-making and flower arrangements. Arthur says that the reason behind this is the aim of capturing more of the market—specifically those seeking out fun team-building activities.

“We’re striving to become a one-stop solution for schools and companies who are looking for new, creative, adventurous activities,” he said.

“That’s why we evolved from just being an archery tag provider to a team-building company that focuses on delivering a wide variety of fun activities.”

Arthur then also explained that for the offerings such as yoga, art-jamming, and flower arranging, ATAG personally handpicks trainers that are passionate and well-versed in their craft. ATAG practices a revenue-sharing policy that mutually benefits both parties—these trainers get to make an income and raise awareness of their services, and ATAG gets to provide more options to their clientele.

Image Credit: ATAG

At present, Arthur is quite happy to reveal that despite being relatively fresh in concept, ATAG’s list of clientele include both regular fun-seekers as well as high-profile corporations such as Petronas, Standard Chartered, Maybank, Deloitte, and PayPal just to name a few. Additionally, ATAG also sometimes organises games for orphanages at no cost.

“It’s undeniably challenging to meet the diverse needs of clients, but that keeps us constantly on our feet improving ourselves,” he said.

On the subject of profitability, Arthur explains that maintaining low overhead costs play a significant part in making ATAG sustainable despite them being somewhat reliant on large volumes.

“We keep a healthy margin by maintaining low overhead costs,” he offered. “For instance, PJ Palms Sports Centre generously allows us to use top-class facilities such as their futsal court and swimming pool on a pay-per-use basis.”

“On top of that, I’d also say that the ‘love at first play’ feeling that our customers get keeps them coming back for more.”

Nonstop Learning

While it does appear that Arthur has his operations figured out, he thinks that it’s really all about keeping up a fine balancing act between working and finishing up his studies.

“ATAG is still considered a ‘microenterprise’ with zero full time employees,” he said. “This means everything from washing masks and fixing bows to web design and accounting are done personally by me with the help of ATAG’s marshals.”

Recounting some of the more tedious tasks he’s had to deal with, Arthur recalls the time when he had to recreate the official ATAG website, which in turn has become the main generator for business leads.

“My journey as a full-time university student while building ATAG has been an exciting one,” he added. “While archery tag has become more popular, I still can’t afford to sacrifice my education, so I’m constantly staying optimistic and striving to strike a balance between the two.”

“I’m extremely blessed to have a team of marshals who are supportive of each other and are ready to step in when others need to study for exams.”

From his experiences thus far, Arthur says that one of the most important things he’s discovered is the simple satisfaction he receives from giving his marshals—youngsters very much like himself—opportunities to grow, make some money (ATAG pays its marshals RM10 per hour for junior marshals, and RM20 per hour for senior ones), and meet new people.

Arthur (behind, second from left) with some of ATAG’s part-time junior marshals / Image Credit: ATAG

“Business and entrepreneurship isn’t all about making big bucks,” he said firmly. “My greatest satisfaction comes from making a difference in young lives, just as my mentor EJ Yeap of Swimin12 did for me.”

“Although are marshals are 18 years and below, we never allow this to compromise the value and quality of services to our clients,” he added. “The moment one of my marshals thanked me personally for developing his public speaking skills and realising his potential to take up leadership positions in school was wonderful, and it continues to motivate me every day.”

More Targets To Hit

In terms of milestones, ATAG has so far served over 10,000 customers and over 250 organised events, with their brand already having very positive ratings on Google and TripAdvisor. And while he declined to share specifics with us, Arthur also admitted that business was good enough to allow him to pay off his university tuition fees without much worry.

But still, Arthur thinks that there’s still work to be done in terms of growing his business and believes that the best way forward is by ensuring that whatever the case, fun is always be at the centre of every experience.

“I believe the success of our sessions is reflected by the amount of laughter throughout the whole game,” he explained. “We want to ensure that every session is so memorable that our customers can’t wait to share us with their friends and family.”

“We’ve already established our presence in the Klang Valley, and we’re looking forward to spread the fun and expand our services to Penang and Johor in the next two years!”

Feature Image Credit: ATAG

 

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