‘Keep going. Keep growing.’ Chapter 3: Chalkapoint’s ambition in helping SMBs in HK digitalise

This article was done in collaboration with Facebook.

In our last episode, we heard from Vicky Lau, founder of Four Seasons Teahouse, and Danny Lau, business development manager of Four Seasons Teahouse, on the challenges small businesses face. 

However, amid all of the difficulties, there are still many coming forward to help. One such player is Hong Kong-based agency Chalkapoint, which now supports more than 100 SMBs with their business.

Run by director Chloe Chan, the agency prides itself on being able to stretch the marketing dollar for its clients through effective marketing. In fact, Chan herself has worked across numerous SMBs prior to her time at Chalkapoint. This has helped open her eyes to the many difficulties SMBs face. 

She shares that one massive issue SMBs in Hong Kong face when it comes to digitisation is knowing where to begin and dealing with the complexities. 

In fact, her view is supported by a quarterly survey conducted by the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) which was produced earlier this year. 

In the last quarter of 2019, even before the pandemic hit, 86% of surveyed SMEs agreed digital technology deployment was a business development trend. However, the same SMEs also said they were not able to clearly identify their needs or do not have enough capabilities and resources to go digital. 

A previous HKPC quarterly survey conducted in the second quarter of 2020 during the heart of the pandemic, revealed that 84% of the surveyed SMEs wished to receive government support for digital technology deployment as many knew digitisation is here to stay. 

Chan explained the pandemic didn’t make managing this situation any easier. 

“COVID-19 has been tough on some of our clients,” she said. “And our agency’s success depends on our client’s success.”

Running a small agency herself, she shared that she feels deeply for her clients struggling to hire talent that are equipped with digital skills. 

“Luckily, I have found co-workers that are smart and passionate, and we continue to look for more people who fit our team culture and share common goals with us,” she said, clearly demonstrating her wish to elevate digital skills in the Hong Kong SMB community. 

When working with SMBs, Chan and her team have a very specific goal in mind – to help clients by increasing their revenue. Knowing that not all SMBs are well-versed with the ways of digital marketing, nor carry with them large budgets, she ensures that she and her team keep their service charge to a minimum and focuses on performance-based marketing to ensure the right amount of advertising budget is spent. 

She added that while building a digital presence can really help SMBs succeed, the process is fraught with complications, but SMEs must keep their eye on the prize.

“My advice is to stay open minded, be patient and keep persevering. It is never too late to begin,” she added. 

Currently, there are also a number of funding schemes related to technological adoption that are currently available to SMEs in Hong Kong, including the Technology Voucher Programme and the Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme under the smart city initiative. There are also grants targeted towards selected industries such as retail, logistics, travel and construction for technology adoption. 

Learn more about the tools and resources to help SMBs here.