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12 Untold secrets of building a successful marketing agency in Hong Kong

Ranking 3rd globally in terms of ease of doing business and 5th fastest growing ecosystem, Hong Kong is one of the most attractive countries for doing business globally. Albin Lix, Founder of Digital Business Lab, came to Hong Kong 10 years ago and started his social media agency, which is now a 30-person team with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shenzhen.
Its strategic location, business-friendly policies, and free trade economy encourage entrepreneurs to have a business presence in Hong Kong. As the social media industry back then was unstructured in Hong Kong, Albin believed it was an excellent opportunity to set up an agency that could solve media problems and offer unique services.
If you plan to start a social media agency or already own one, this guide will help you understand the nitty-gritty of doing business in Hong Kong and Albin’s secrets to business growth.

Secrets to Business Growth in Hong Kong

Developing creative content and experience on social media for brands in Asia, Albin’s journey of starting a social media agency in Hong Kong has been exciting and rewarding. Here are some tips you should consider to grow your social media business in Hong Kong. 

1) Find a Niche: The advertising landscape is continuously evolving, and media companies now focus on digital and social media presence. Selecting a niche can help you cut through a cluttered social media landscape and meet clients’ customised/specific needs, establishing a unique selling point. It ensures you don’t have many competitors and earn profits quickly. 

2) Register your company: Although a small setup, always register your business. It enhances credibility, ensures compliance with tax requirements, and provides legal protection. Clients will prefer to work with an agency with a legitimate business identity. Also, have plenty of visiting cards and start meeting or networking with as many people as possible. Sleek can help you register a company in Hong Kong with a business account with much ease. 

Discover the secrets of building a successful brand agency in Hong Kong.

3) Set a Pricing Structure: Determining the cost structure for social media services is very important. But Albin suggested working backwards when defining a price for your service. Consider your operating expenses, employee compensation, supplier costs, and a percentage of profit you’d like to keep, and then charge your clients. However, give a price that clients are happy to pay to foster long-term customer relationships. 

4) Align Expenses with Revenue: A social media agency’s expenses can quickly increase, especially in a country like Hong Kong. Service-based companies are less scalable than product-focused startups. Hence, the key to sustainable and consistent growth for a social media agency is regulating expenses to revenue and adjusting strategies on the go. 

5) Leverage Emerging Technologies: Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning (ML) can help you with designs and mockups when pitching a new client. It can inspire, help generate new ideas, or offer a different creative angle. Learning or using AI can be your competitive edge. 

6) Don’t Put All Our Eggs in One Basket: Albin advises service agencies that the most significant client should not represent more than 25% of the overall revenue. This helps to ensure that the loss of a big client will not significantly impact the business income. 

7) Run Regular Audits: Albin emphasises his mistake of not having proper accounting and audit procedures in the initial years. Maintaining financial records of your business ensures smooth operations and compliance for companies in Hong Kong. But as a founder, you need to focus on business development and step aside from manual accounting tasks. Here, you can partner with external accounting services providers like Sleek to make your life easy as they manage everything required for accounting and audit compliance. 

8) Onboard a CFO: After reaching a good level of revenue, appoint a CFO to build a proper financial strategy for a proper roadmap to business growth. Without a road map, you are completely blind and might struggle to pay your bills. 

Discover the secrets of building a successful brand agency in Hong Kong.

9) Be Careful of Fixed Costs: Fixed costs like office leases can be expensive during the early stages of your agency. Likewise, you can keep fixed costs of employees low by hiring freelancers and getting tangible returns. 

10) Network and Socialise: While you might be investing days and nights in setting up your business, it is important to socialise and network (outside of business events) to gain personal referrals. Also, try to spend time with other budding entrepreneurs because they might face the same problem–two heads are better than one!

11) Take the Plunge: You will have thousands of reasons for not being ready to launch your agency. But, you will never be prepared–the earlier you do it, the better. Even if you lose, you have a valuable learning experience! It won’t be an easy journey, so 100% dedication and the right timing are critical. 

12) Remain Focused: Staying focused helped Albin and his company to be recognised and identified as the social media expert in town. Stick to your core niche services, develop your expertise, and ensure consistency.

Conclusion

While Hong Kong is a fantastic place to start a social media agency, you must be fully dedicated to grow and succeed. Besides, our experts at Sleek can help you with your business incorporation, accounting and taxation, payroll, and much more to let you focus on business scalability while staying compliant without the fuss. Get in touch with us and start your business in Hong Kong.

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