Hong Kong Small Business - How to Survive in Hard Times?

HK Business Survival Guide

Hong Kong small businesses need to prepare for the worst, such as an economic downturn that is happening in the local market. Let’s go through the hard time survival guide for small businesses with the following approaches.

  • Video Conferencing

  • To-do-lists

  • Low Budget Marketing

  • Cutting Operational Cost

  • Go Out of the Box

  • Review the Basics

  • Connect with Peers

Video Conferencing

Set up video conferencing software to improve communications while working remotely.

During the Coronavirus epidemic, all company staffs should reduce direct face-to-face interaction among one another. One practice is to work remotely. But even when everyone works from home with their computers / laptops, you will still have to interact and communicate with other team members and/or clients.

Emails, Whatsapps, phone calls, etc are available for you to do the communication, but they are not quite the same as how you could have interacted before. You basically cannot see one another’s faces i.e. No gesture, no facial expression. This is no good practice in effective communication.

Fortunately, you can hold meetings with multiple participates through a video conference. Video conferences can easily be set up by using video conference software such as Google Hangouts (i.e. Google Meet), Webex, Skype, or more.

Simple technologies are very likely your best tools.


While spending a large portion of time working remotely from home, employees may be distracted by their own domestic issues. It depends. Some employees may be more productive because they work alone from home. But many others may be sitting in small apartments with their children also studying online from home.

But this can be resolved with definite weekly or even daily targets. Targets are end goals, and should first be transformed into a daily or weekly to-do-list. Each employee should create his/her own to-do-list for the week, and have the tasks broken down into daily lists. This can help many employees maintained their productivity.

Low Budget Marketing

Small companies should always utilize the low budget marketing methods, especially when all businesses are facing hard times due to economic downturn.

Many companies are so used to pay large amount of advertising fees when they buy advertising on Facebook, Google, and other online advertising platforms. This approach is more than okay when your business is facing considerably upward growth each quarter. Unfortunately, spending big advertising budget is not long lasting.

Besides improving the quality of your overall business (in services and products), it is the approach to low budget marketing that will help you big time in the long run. One effective online channel to acquire new business (and/or new customers) is SEO (search engine optimization). With SEO, you will have to optimize your website including most of its web pages, the content, the meta data, and more. Both on-page and off-page SEO tactics will have to be applied and all the tiny details must be done right.

This is the strategy on how you should do Local SEO for Hong Kong's websites.

Cutting Operational Cost

An example may include some subscription based services (that are soon going to expire) and your team rarely use such subscriptions anyway. This may include some cloud-based software/applications that you may not need to use anymore.

Another example is to avoid signing new advertising deals.

One area that employers may be able to cut big cost is when they lay off employees, especially employees who have been showing relatively low productivity. This type of cost reduction is tempting. But in best practices, you should not lay out employees until the very last minute. When this is not done smoothly, it may backfire and employers may end up spending more cost in the next 6 months.

Cost cutting must be decided and implemented in the most precise manner.

Go Out of the Box

In hard times, a business may think when the economy is the main problem, nothing else can be done from a small business. But often it is not like that. This is the time when entrepreneurs have to think outside the box, and go out of their usual path.

Your usual market may be Hong Kong when selling your services or products. Of course, not all businesses are the same. Now it is time to evaluate whether your business (including your services and/or products) can fit the requirements of other markets. Other markets may be those immediate neighbor regions including Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, or more. Your products may even fit further west in the European countries. Certainly, you and your team will have to first do a detailed market research for regions outside of Hong Kong before putting resources into new and/or unknown markets.

Review the Basics

When you have no extra budget or resources to go out-of-the-box, or explore new market opportunities, you still have other another option. During most busy seasons, your team were usually too busy developing the products or selling them, but never had time to review the basics. While sales are down for most businesses at this time, why not go back to review all the important details of your products and/or your most important service process? If you spot any issues, this is the appropriate time to get them fixed.

Connect with Peers

Before active entrepreneurs (of each industry) may be participants in offline events or conferences that require face-to-face interactions. But there are alternatives. Why not using LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a social network site (or app) for professionals. Professionals who already have signed up for a LinkedIn account can find other professionals who are relevant to their industries and business scopes. Start connecting and contacting other professionals with topics that are related to what has recently happened to your industry. Build from there, and you may discovery new opportunities for win-win. Building good relationship with your peers in your industry is usually a long term project.

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