Stay calm and carry on. Managing risk in abnormal times

We are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. Hong Kong in particular more so since summer 2019 than ever before. From a global trade war through to social unrest, along with a recession and now the Coronavirus, Hong Kong businesses are now adapting faster than ever before to a series of fast changing events that affect our businesses.  What should Hong Kong SMEs be doing today to protect our businesses and ensure our long-term survival?

There are a few simple measures for SMEs to future-proof our businesses in these abnormal times, ensuring  our businesses continue to be of value into the distant future and not becoming obsolete.

These days, trying to win new contracts and secure new revenues may not be so easy. Retaining customers and minimising any lost sales is very important. With current events, now is a good time to review our costs and identify costs which are no longer required, or which can be temporarily suspended, without decreasing good customer service. These can include and of course not limited to:

  • Negotiate with landlords and see if we can secure a temporary rent reduction
  • Review subscription fees and identify and software licences we are paying for, but not using
  • Reducing international travel costs and making the most of technology for meetings and calls
  • Reviewing contracts and agreements with suppliers to see if we can negotiate fees and change of scope for services
  • Review marketing costs. Do we need to spend as much as we have been
  • Review insurances in relation to the business. We all need insurance, however, now is a good time if we can find or negotiate better rates
Review insurances in relation to the business. We all need insurance, however, now is a good time if we can find or negotiate better rates
Negotiate with landlords and see if we can secure a temporary rent reduction
Review subscription fees and identify and software licences we are paying for, but not using
Reviewing contracts and agreements with suppliers to see if we can negotiate fees and change of scope for services
Reducing international travel costs and making the most of technology for meetings and calls
Review marketing costs. Do we need to spend as much as we have been
Review insurances in relation to the business. We all need insurance, however, now is a good time if we can find or negotiate better rates
Negotiate with landlords and see if we can secure a temporary rent reduction

Negotiate with landlords and see if we can secure a temporary rent reduction

We should consider setting a budget and forecast for the financial year ahead. It may be difficult to predict our revenues. We can, however identify all our costs and ascertain what revenue we need to achieve to break-even and what incremental revenue is needed to achieved a desired profit margin.

Flexible Management Accounting

Having the flexibility in place is important. Fresh Accounting is a dynamic management accounting practice and consultancy with offices in Hong Kong & Singapore. Fresh believes accountants should do more than just report on how your business is doing in which they identify opportunities and strategies to improve your business and support you in improving performance and profitability. Fresh provides three distinct services:

  • Monthly accounting services
  • CFO & Advisory
  • Implementation of cloud based accounting solutions

CFO

Employing a full-time Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can prove expensive for a small or medium sized business and you may not have the requirement for a full time professional, especially in these difficult times. 

Having said that, you still need an experienced set of eyes to help you grow your business or even maintain business through the current economic climate. A flexible arrangement with clients where we work closely with you to become a valuable resource.

A CFO will work with you to understand your business and put systems in place to provide a framework that will deliver meaningful information, allowing you to maximise business performance through informed decisions.

You need an experienced set of eyes to help you grow your business or even maintain business through the current economic climate

Digital transformation and cloud based accounting solutions powered by Xero

Xero allows you to automate many of the essential, but time-consuming, accounting tasks. With Xero’s help, Fresh can take care of everything for you, so you can get on with what you’re good at. Fresh is to support business growth with Xero at the helm.

Fresh Accounting is one of Asia’s fastest growing Xero specialist and a Platinum Partners. Xero is cloud based, which means you can access your accounts anywhere, from your office to the comfort of your sofa at home at any-time of the day. There is no need to back up information or rely on one computer to access your accounting software. The interface is slick, easy to navigate and use. Bank feeds with HSBC, DBS and Hang Seng allow bank information to flow into Xero seamlessly.

Xero is cloud based, which means you can access your accounts anywhere, from your office to the comfort of your sofa at home at any-time of the day

There are numerous add-ons to Xero, from expense management, inventory management to project management allowing you to build and customise your own integrated cloud based software solutions.

This blog is written by Fresh Accounting team and also posted on Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs.

For more information, please click on on www.freshaccounting.biz or email hello@freshaccounting.biz

Meditation for Troubled Times

Our modern world shivers as if we are collapsing into anarchy. Wildfires are burning out of control. Governments are refusing to listen to their people. There are stories of neighbors turning on neighbors. Families being torn apart.

Nowhere are those divisions more on display than in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was once a vibrant stop on the maritime silk road which formed the backbone of international trade. Fast forward to now and we can see that same impressive legacy shining full force. The meeting of cultures. The intersection of worlds. People care passionately about what happens to Hong Kong, and each person has a different point of view.

That is the sign of a true cultural center.

If the problem is chaos and varying points of view all striving to be heard, then what is the solution?

Yoga and meditation.

Yoga for Troubled Times

Yoga and meditation have been developed over thousands of years to help us communicate clearly

To help us understand and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds. Yoga helps us to be the very best we can be – and then to use that energy and strength to work with others toward common goals.

Yoga generally focuses on the body. It is critical that we get ample sleep, maintain our immune system, and foster strong health. Our body is our vessel which moves us about in our world. Without that stable base beneath us, it becomes nearly impossible to communicate well and to expend our energy fruitfully to reach our dreams.

Meditation lifts our spiritual strength. It allows us to think clearly, find solutions to problems, and empathize with our fellow human beings. Through meditation we find the basis through which we all share goals and inspirations. Meditation allows us to understand where another person is coming from. To forge a path which will join us together in harmony.

Meditation for Troubled Times

It is nearly impossible for a person deluged with stress to handle challenges to the best of their ability

Anxiety and worry interfere with the brain’s thought processes. Yoga and meditation help to relieve stress and foster relaxation. Through that regular practice, the mind and body are able to focus, attenuate, and draw energy toward their chosen goals.

Breathing exercises, or pranayama, can be a critical additional component to these routines, because the breathing exercises can be done anywhere at any time. Even if a person is waiting in line, or sitting in an office, the pranayama can allow them to regain calm and focus with which to tackle the challenges ahead.

The key is to begin. To invest even five minutes today in a short yoga stretch. In a brief mindfulness meditation. In a simple breathing exercise. For every new beginning is a chance to engage with a new path.

Yesterday is a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore to this day.

 

Credit and Appreciation
This blog is written by Organic Yoga Girl team and also posted on Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs.

Top 5 Free & Useful Video Conferencing Tools for Online Classes, Workshops, Seminars & Meetings

During the recent outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, a large number of tours, events and activities that require physical interaction have been cancelled. Inevitably, this has negatively affected the economy, particularly in Hong Kong, after the first impact during the 6-month social movement happened in June 2019. 

GoBuddy recommends the possibilities of getting some classes and workshops online, and we would like to share our insights and research in this area. We have identified 5 online video conferencing software, which we think are suitable for application in different scenarios. 

Here is a summary: 

ProductSubscription MethodDescription
1ZoomFree for first 40 minSuitable for interactive activities & meetings for up to 100 people. Shareable link, and sometimes may require download zoom app or the software to continue successfully. 
2SkypeFree for up to 50 pplSuitable for interactive activities & meetings without time limit. Embedded in the browser and do not necessarily need the app and software to be downloaded to connect. 
3Google Hangouts Free without limit Suitable for interactive activities without time limit. But it requires users to be connected with Google Calendar. 
4YouTube LiveFree without limit Suitable for minimal interaction to focus on the host, and the guests can just leave comments. 
5RemoPaid plan Suitable for large activities and conferences with rooms simulation, enabling interactive sessions and networking. It’s basically exactly the same as those networking sessions and conferences, but things are brought online. 

Setting Up Zoom 

Zoom is a video conferencing based software that was designed to promote collaboration via an innovative integrated system featuring web conference, group messaging and online meetings.

Setting Up Skype

Skype is a software application, which comes with powerful text, voice and video tools, providing users with a simple way to share experiences with others, no matter their location.

Setting Up Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communication software product developed by Google. Originally a feature of Google+, Hangouts became a stand-alone product in 2013, when Google also began integrating features from Google+ Messenger and Google Talk into Hangouts.

Setting Up YouTube Live

YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your audience in real time. Whether you’re streaming a video game, hosting a live Q&A, or teaching a class, our tools will help you manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time. There are a few ways you can live stream on YouTube.

Setting Up Remo

Made by a remote team, Remo makes it dead simple to create a delightful, immersive virtual space that empowers people to communicate, connect, and collaborate with each other just like they would in real life.

When you enter a space in Remo, you will see a top-down, 2-D map view of an event venue, virtual office, conference, or school, full of interactive “rooms.” Each room hosts an always-on video chat for occupants of a room, making it easy for collaborators to pop in and out of conversations with ease.

To summarize, we recommend Skype > Zoom > Google Hangouts for simple workshops and classes that you wish to bring online.

References:
1. https://hc.services/zoom-meetings/difference-google-hangouts-zoom-meetings/

4 Great Things in Hong Kong’s 1980s

#1 Hawker Culture

Hong Kong has its unique food culture in 1980s. There were lots of roadside food stalls and people ate those snacks on the street. Due to an immature economy structure and rapid growth of population, Hong Kong citizens could only make a living by their talents. Therefore, they have to run their business by setting up in the street to sell their food or handicrafts. Street food hawkers usually sell food like fishball, fake shark fin soup and bubble waffle. This becomes a unique culture of Hong Kong 1980s.

#2 1980s’ Fashion

In 1980s, due to several Japanese Fashion shop setting up in Hong Kong, Japanese pop culture becomes a new trend. Therefore, Major style of Hong Kong’s fashion were likely to be Japanese style. Most of the cuts are comfortable and simple, while major styles included loose tops with padded shoulders, baggy trousers, balloon capri pants and straight leg trousers or long culottes. The fitness craze also had an impact on fashion, jeans and sneakers were very popular and denim came in a host of designs. Pastel sports suits were favourite outfits.

#3 Entertainment — The Arcade

In 1980s, Hong Kong’s entertainment is still in a developing stage. Entertainment was most likely to be simple and classic like GamesRadar, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Not like today, people need to go to the game store for gaming. Children could spend a whole day inside the game store.

#4 Pop Music Culture

In 1980s, Hong Kong’s music was expanded rapidly. It was named as Canto-pop. The music scene was dominated by pop icons like Leslie Cheung, Anita Mui, Alan Tam, and Danny Chan. Due to the popularity of pop music, it was widely used in all kinds of entertainment productions like films and TV shows.

Reference:

Click to access Fashion_Attitude-Fashion_History.pdf

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ln.edu.hk/mcsln/25th_issue/feature_01.shtml