Starting a business is a challenge for anybody but for women in Hong Kong there are unique challenges and opportunities. This an expensive city and the market is very competitive. Two thirds of Hong Kong managers and administrators are still male according to the 2016 census report.  And this environmental background can make things difficult for women trying to establish themselves in business management, let alone ownership or as entrepreneurs. According to a study by the Women’s Foundation

At the same time networking and connectedness opens doors and allows people who might struggle somewhere else to succeed here. The important thing is knowing what type of business do you want to start, who is your target market, and how to differentiate yourself from the competition.

To help you find an answer to all these questions and make a business plan, we reached out to women in Hong Kong who have started or operate their own companies and asked them:

What is your top advice for women that want to start and lead a profitable business in Hong Kong?

We are glad to share their insights with you, our readers. Each person has given valuable advice out of their own personal experiences, the very best kind.

Many different areas of advice were given, but certain themese are certainly evident.  A quarter of the participants specified Passion as a key ingredeient to success, with the Networking a joint top ranking area of advice.

Coming in in joint second place were the advice to Ask questions, to Believe in yourself, and to do a lot of Research to truely understand your situation before commencing a business.

Other notable themese included being persistent, getting other people to do things you can’t do yourself, knowing your own strengths and expanding beyond HK.

%

Passion

%

Networking

%

Ask questions

%

Believe in yourself

%

Research

  • being persistent 11%
  • getting other people to do things 11%
  • knowing your own strengths 11%
  • expanding beyond HK 11%

Read through to the bottom for the details of these and 16 other themes of advice.  Then contribute your own thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

Don’t forget to share this great information with your network!

Running your own business can be tough and lonely. It’s easy to get bogged down in day to day tasks and forget the big stuff, or as one friend puts it “chopping carrots while the kitchen burns.” How do you overcome these hurdles? Find like-minded people and create a group you can meet with on a regular basis. It is important to have people with whom you can brainstorm and explore new ideas. Friends that celebrate your successes and commiserate your failures while keeping you on point. Members can be drawn from all sorts of business. You’d be surprised how similar the challenges are whether you’re running a service company or selling a product. Your group can also help you to see your business from the customer’s viewpoint.

How do you find your group? Get out there and attend one of the many events for small businesses. There are also many FB support groups filled with generous business owners who share their experience and act as a sounding board. Don’t go it alone. Go find yourself a tribe. Share you knowledge and learn from others. And remember “’Can’t’ means you don’t want to try.” A direct quote from my grandmother!

Laurie Lemmlie-Leung

Co-Founder & Creative Director, Breganwood Organics

Don’t get paralyzed by not knowing it all.

Part of building a successful business is surrounding yourself with people who can do things better than you.

This may be in the form of hiring people who are skilled in areas you aren’t or if you aren’t at the point where you can hire, then seek out people in your network and ask questions rather than feeling that you should already know the answers. It is okay to not have all the answers.

But if you don’t know the answers you need to be resourceful enough to know where to find them quickly so you aren’t spending time away from your business feeling paralyzed by not knowing. I have found that one of the key drivers in building a great business is to always ask the questions and know who to be asking them to whether it is internally or externally.

Maura Thompson

Co-founder, Sassy Media Group

Becoming an entrepreneur was the best life school and business school program I ever embarked upon.

My primary advice is: I believe in doing as much yourself as possible in the beginning. If you outsource everything, which is tempting, you will not know your business and you will not understand the nuances of running it, which will leave you vulnerable: to others taking advantage of you, to lower quality and standards, to poor decisions when building products/services and so much more.

Remember, no one knows cares about your business as much as you do. Since starting my businesses, I have become an expert in publishing, digital marketing, SEO, software development, big data, event management, branding strategy, eco journalism… among many other topics.

This would not be the case if I hadn’t rolled up my sleeves and gotten down in the trenches from Day 1.

Sonalie Figueiras
CEO, Ekowarehouse and Green Queen

Be focused yet flexible. When you’re starting out you want to say ‘yes’ to everything, especially if you need the money, however, doing so can cause you to lose focus on your business goals. Consider all opportunities carefully, whether it is a client asking for something or someone approaching you to collaborate on a project.

You want to be flexible with clients, and chances are you’ll tweak your business idea as you work with more clients – realistically, you need to be able to pivot and adapt to create what your clients want. However, being distracted by new ideas outside of your business goals can make you look scattered, unprofessional and unreliable.

Before you get excited about these ‘shiny new objects’, ask yourself whether or not the new thing aligns with your business goals.

If it’s not related to improving your services, can it raise your profile and set you apart from others? Will it allow you to shine a light on your business and your expertise? Can you do this as well as serve your clients? These questions will help you keep your focus, while still being open to the right opportunities. Good luck!

Nicole Graham

Founder, Bauhinia Solutions

For me, to be successful in what you do starts with having a passion for what you’re doing. This is particularly important for the business you’re starting because it’s going to be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs from the beginning, and nothing will drive you and keep you motivated but the passion for your job.

Keep your goals, short and long term, within your vision and reach, do all you can to achieve these goals.

Persistence is key. Believe in yourself. Find a good team and spend time with them. Balance overhead and efficiency, keep overhead as low as possible while maintaining optimum efficiency. Network often to seek out opportunities and possibilities.

On top of all this, leave downtime for yourself to sleep, unwind, relax, work out, spend time with family and friends. Last, of all, don’t forget to have fun!

Vivien Liu

Director, Studio UNIT

I mentor and advise many women who want to be their own boss.

The first thing you need to succeed is a belief in yourself and a belief in your dreams. Don’t let fear stand in your way.

It is your biggest enemy.

Examine your strengths and weaknesses and be realistic about both. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit that you don’t know something.

Build a strong support network around you, both professionally and personally. This includes strong friendships and ties with family members. Call on your individual team members’ strengths to help you through difficult times and decisions. Work with them as a collective. If you are weak in an area look to your support network for answers.

One of my favorite quotes is “My friends have made the story of my life.” (Helen Keller). Your friends and family make you stronger and able to with stand the lows along to path to success. Don’t take the path alone.

Lesley Lewis

Director, Culture3Counsel

The first thing I tell all would-be entrepreneurs is to make sure they have enough funding behind them.

Most new businesses fail. But they don’t fail because the business idea is flawed, they fail because they run out of cash before it can really take off.

There are plenty of places to find money, but do it before you launch, not afterward. Be prepared to lose money for at least a year and make sure you have the funds to cover that. Keep costs low and don’t expect to draw a salary anytime soon!

Freya Simpson Giles

Owner, Giles Publications

My advice for women to start and lead a profitable business in Hong Kong:

Follow your passion in your business or service, your passion for your work speaks louder than any marketing campaign and advertisement.

Ask yourself, why you wanted to start this business and keep that motivation, belief in your work going regardless of how difficult it could be making sales or connect with your clients.

Look at your time, effort and investment in your work and have the confidence to charge or put up cost on your business and service.

Have the confidence to charge fairly for your business and services. As a woman, we are multitasking with roles of mother, wife, house keeper, daughter and running our businesses with various hats as entrepreneurs, so prioritize on where and how much energy you will like to invest in your each role. The way I look at it is if I had 100volt battery energy to invest each day, where will I like to invest it and say NO to things which don’t fit on your priority list.

Lastly, but most important – be kind to nurture yourself and invest in your well-being while dedicating your life to fulfilling all personal and professional roles.

Angie Tourani

Instructor, BodyTalk Hong Kong

If you are thinking of starting a business, the best advice I can offer is to find what you are naturally good at, specialize in that area and do your research in how you can create a product or service that the public wants or needs. 

After you identify what you excel in, find out what kind of training you may need. Of course, there are university degrees but I’m going to assume that you have some additional education or experience that is now leading you to consider opening up your own business. Perhaps you are in the midst of a career change. 

Depending on your situation, you could pursue an online course that you can attend anywhere in the world while you are still working your current job or sending the youngest child to school. Online programs often have flexible hours with the possibility of one or more live trainings. This helps to cut costs and saves time and money while not uprooting yourself or your family. 

Finding something you are good at can be tricky because you might not realize that you are gifted or excel in an area because it comes so naturally to you that it can seem effortless. This is different from following your passion or your dreams.

When you do something you are naturally good at, it does not feel like “work”. Often, when you are good at something, you enjoy doing it, and you don’t procrastinate. 

Next, you need to do your research to see if someone would pay you for what you choose to do. With social media and the Internet, you can do your own research.

Is there a product or service that seems to be lacking in Hong Kong? Crunch the numbers and see if you can offer this product or service while paying for your expenses, overheads and paying yourself. 

Start with what you can do and then grow from there. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re really organized, handy with tools and you like to put things in order. You’re visual and it shows in how you can arrange anything in your surrounds that looks pleasing to the eye. You find out that everyone complains that they have a closet that is too small and everything is crammed, wrinkled and they are often late because they can’t find anything in their closest. 

While you might not be ready to be a home designer, you might find that you can open up a business that offers house calls where you assess the condition, give some options with quotes and tell them what you can do for them to make their life easier. Now, if you say you are not handy with tools, then no problem. You can find a reasonable contractor or take a DIY course. This sounds like a good plan to me because there is very little overhead. No rent or office staff as you grow, and there are very little costs.

Caroline Rhodes

Owner, The Body Group

I see a lot of business advantage in Hong Kong from its size and diversity. Everything is close by and people gather at pretty much the same places. This gives us a lot of opportunities to meet people from different walks of life. You’re bound to meet a friend’s friend who runs a weird-but-awesome business, or someone in your line of everyday work with an awesome-but-weird personality. I say embrace that and try to come up with something creative to work together on!

So, my advice to entrepreneurs living in HK is to go ahead with as “crazy” of collaborations that you can logically manage.

They don’t always have to make perfect sense to work! HK is always looking and waiting for something fresh. Collaborations are an amazing way to extend your clientele, as well as to tap into new markets that you’ve never thought of before. A point to remember, however, is that not all fantasies turn into reality. So don’t lose hope if your initial ideas don’t work out. That’s exactly the spirit of entrepreneurship!

Fern Koh

Founder, Fernberry

I believe that to start a successful business in Hong Kong as a women entrepreneur, the first thing is to be prepared to come out of your comfort zone! In the R&D process, don’t put something off as “too difficult”. Challenge yourself and your team to build something that seems impossible. In networking events, push yourself to ask questions and talk about yourself to others. You never know, your newest partnership may form over some finger food and champagne. How will you know what you’re capable of if you always play it safe?  More than anything, do not over emphasize gender issues and the glass ceiling. As much as these terms exist, the more we believe they exist, the more we will set a limit for ourselves. Everyone should be seen equally based on their ability and potential, and I believe that all women (and men) should be confident that your hard work and talent will shed light on you eventually, which leads to the last advice. 

Build a team full of energy and synergy. Even the most successful female business women have a support team. 

Keep in mind that everyone should be given a chance to reach their full potential when she builds her team. I don’t put boundaries on roles/positions but emphasizes the importance of team meetings, brainstorm sessions, and overall communication. Women as a minority in tech only means we can stand out easily in the industry if we manage to build a team that shares our passion and belief that we can succeed.

Serena Pau

Startup founder, Ozmo

Follow your passion, be ready for hard work, know and acknowledge the competition in your field but don’t be intimidated by it.

Always be friendly, kind and authentic, and give more than your clients or audience expect of your service. Be client/customer centered and listen, listen, listen. By listening to yourself and your market, you will find your path.

It is of course very important to come across as professional and competent in your chosen field but it is also vitally important to be able to be trusted for what you are offering to the marketplace and to work with complete integrity.

Hong Kong is a very open and free place to do business, networking is key, word of mouth recommendation is a strong referral vehicle.

Many new businesses sink quickly, you need stamina, resourcefulness, belief in your abilities, and to be able to deliver with honesty and commitment.

You don’t need to know everything before you start, you will learn so much during the process of your business growing. Be flexible and stay aware of what your clients or customers really need from you, it may change over time, be willing to change with it.

Deborah Royce

Certified Professional Coach, Coaching with Deborah

It’s no small feat to start a company in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

My top advice is to be sure to have a compelling reason as to why that may be in your favor.

Paying multiples more for HK-skewed rent, payroll and general overheads surely do not become your competitive advantage.

Rather, is it that you’re building a B2B business to lean into the concentration of corporate clients here, or prototyping a product that specializes in hardware or fabric production due to proximity to Shenzhen, or a tool that helps professional services like banks and law firms to optimize their work due to density of such firms in the city.

Having tax savings alone is not attractive enough to start a business sporting an inflated P&L. It can be of course extremely efficient and rewarding if this city’s strengths do align with your core competency.

Jen Loong

Founder, WanderSnap

In the song ‘What a Feeling’ by Irene Cara (Flash Dance Movie) there is a line that says “Take Your Passion and Make it Happen!”

That is a really good place to start with any business. If you find something you are passionate about, you are probably really good at it too!

If you can make this your work, and something you love doing, then you could be on the way to building a successful business.

An important first move would be to check out the competition. Is there room for your business in the current market.

Then the location, rental costs and start up fees for a new business would need to be well researched. If it is to be a partnership, be clear on the roles each partner will play in the development of the business.

In the Central area where our shop Ozzie Cozzie is, we see small, ground level, retail businesses opening and closing week after week, month after month, because of the crazy rental costs.

It seems some people get carried away by their dreams and don’t really do their homework into whether they can afford to stay in a prime retail area; with no previous experience or good customer database, they end up closing after a short time.

It was once said, people may not remember what they bought or even the location, but they will always remember the way you made them feel. In selling swimwear this is very important as people are very sensitive and not often confident about their bodies. Our business is based on good products with a caring personal service. Satisfied customers who then promote your company by word of mouth, give the best form of advertising there is.

If the business starts off well and is growing we would also recommend to take things steady, not get excited and over extend financially by trying to grow the business too fast.

Dori Dainton

Director, Ozzie Cozzie

If you want to start and lead a successful business, you need to value who you are and what you’re offering. So, that leads to the question …who are you? 

Getting to know who we are is about seeing your uniqueness. Just as no two diamonds are alike, you are like no-one else on the planet. Of course, you’re like everyone else in that you have your gifts, strengths, dreams. However, they way you are put together, all the facets of who you are, is unique. 

The next question is … what makes you want to create a business? 

What d’you feel passionate about; and what d’you think your purpose is in life? 

What are you offering? 

Next, you want to uncover any limiting thoughts that might get in the way of success. You can be passionate, committed, focused and still not achieve what you want. Often within our unconscious, there is a mindset that has us hesitate.

 Finally, you want to ask yourself what does ‘profitable’, what does ‘successful’ look like to you, what does it mean? 

Knowing who you are and what you feel called to do allows you to appreciate the value you are offering in your business. If you can’t claim your value, why would people be attracted to what you are offering?

Glynis Stevens

Founder, Freedom Coaching

Hong Kong is the place to START, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the place that you have to stay. The city has some very influential people, that you have the luxury of meeting and networking with fairly quickly with the amount of events and meetings going on.

However, don’t continue to run in the same circles.

Expand in different areas, regions, and countries, the world is your oyster, not just Hong Kong.

Keep good relationships with the people you meet and keep meeting even more.

Profit comes where passion starts if you don’t have an intense passion for your business, it will be tough to succeed in the saturated start-up market within the city. Stop now if you don’t have that burning passion, and pursue the one thing that you truly do have it for.

Sarah Richard

Blogger, Girls that Scuba

My parents gave me the best advice for starting a new business.

The key to enjoying your life is to find something you enjoy doing every day and then find a way to get paid for it.

Having my own business was my dream for as long as I can remember. When I was 13 years old, I started designing and making prom dresses for my big sister and her friends. By the time I went off to university I had my first business underway. Of course, I made a lot of business mistakes along the way but I was lucky, my overheads were covered by my parents. I didn’t need to worry about cash flows, expenses or finding customers. I had a school full of girls needing prom dresses.

After graduating from Parsons in fashion design I joined my sister and we had a business called, “Annie Had A Baby” making maternity wear. We were very successful at the beginning but then hit a snag and had to close down. It was painful but a huge learning opportunity and I decided I would try again later.

Working for other companies gave me the chance to learn from the masters. I couldn’t have been luckier than to get a job designing for Allan Zeman for 13 years. Allan and his wife Charmaine treated me as if I was family. Not only is Allan a genius entrepreneur, he was a very generous teacher to me. Watching him run his business and build it was the best education.

In 2000 I started my company Savvy Style, designing clothes for business women and uniforms. Colour Me Beautiful was added in 2001 and my business morphed into an Image Consultancy. We have now trained over 125 consultants offering image, color, style, fashion and makeup consultations all over Asia.

When you are ready to start your own business you will know. You need to have something that is needed and wanted, not just what you want to do. Cash flow is number 1. It is important to be earning money immediately, keeping your costs low and income high.

A Business Plan is necessary; don’t expect things to just happen. Be realistic and think about your expenses against your actual income. Ask yourself every time you spend money whether it is really necessary. Treat your clients well, they are your best source of income.

Market, market and then market some more. Use Social Media. There are many competitors out there, you have to make your business seen and heard every day. There is never an end or limit to the amount of marketing and promotion you need to do.

Recognize your strengths. If you aren’t good at something, get someone else to do it and use your time doing what you love to bring in income. I still consider myself lucky; I get to do something I love every day.

Eve Roth Lindsay

Founder, Savvy Style

My best advice is to budget wisely.

I see so many new businesses where the company has to close after a year because all the funds have already dried up.

Luckily, today, we have co-working spaces, numerous freelancers you can source out work to, as well as social media to replace expensive marketing campaigns. Keep cost down and use all these wonderful tools available to you.

My other tip is to remain flexible and adapt quickly to changes in the market. Yes, you do have to stay true to your vision, but you also have to be able to change your approach if you see that things aren’t working. There’s no point in holding on to an outdated idea if the consumer’s needs have completely changed. There’s only one thing constant in life, and that is change. So be quick and reinvent with it.

Vivienne Tang

Founder and Editor in chief, Destination Deluxe

I would offer my thoughts to other women and ask – what it is that you truly love and are passionate about and would spend your time doing not matter what? Stay open to ideas, people, and opportunities coming in ways that you would not imagine.

Believe you can achieve your goal, stay focused, listen to your inner voice, talk to people and let them know what you are doing.

When you do, you will have someone give you lots of advice and ideas that you may not have thought about come to you or connect you with someone that moves your idea along. Helping each other along the way brings so many more rewards and will make you feel so grateful. Being grateful brings more to you.

Perseverance is the key. Stay focused on your goal but every step you take is part of your success so honor the journey along the way to the outcome and you will enjoy the rewards, the hard work, the people you meet and the people you will inspire. There is no competition with anyone else, there is room for all to succeed. And never give up, smile and have fun.

Sandra Roe

Blogger, WeGoTwo Travel

It starts with a dream, a passion, and a vision. Yet lies beyond these three, is the self-commitment and courage of not easily give up what you are about to achieve.

Dream and passion lead to visualization.

Put your visuals into action, and start talking. Tell your friends, people you know, your world, everyone, what your vision is, gather their advice and opinions for improvements.

Action in Visualization leads to Opportunities. Don’t just seek for it, create your own when the time has come. A successful woman needs to be more than just a taker.

The concept of making a profit from your dream though sounds and does look beautiful, you’ll need to be ready for the downfall. Building a start up can be way difficult and tough than you would have imagined.

Unless you have a strong mentality, else there will be moments of self-doubt, feeling lost and uncertain.

This is when you need to have a break, drink some wine, talk to your friends, ask advice from people around you and even better, experts of the field. You will be surprised on the affection of these little conversations, how they suddenly click and inspired you in keeping you motivated.

Keep talking, keep believing, keep moving on. Open for options and opinions. Never give up, and your day, your moment will come.

Visala Wong

Photographer and Designer, v-for-visala.com

Like in all start-up businesses, you need a burning passion, tenacity, and perseverance to sustain you through. 

Hong Kong is a very competitive marketplace, so you need to have a good idea of your target market and a robust business model, so you know how to position your product to the target market and will be able to garner your resources and scale up the business.

One must also look outwards, beyond the Hong Kong marketplace into greater China and internationally. Hong Kong can serve as your pilot or test market but will not provide sufficient growth for your business to reach its full potential.

Flora Pong

iKotton

Globally, women are doing what they could to break the glass ceiling to be successful in their careers, there is no scientific formula for us to work on. As the saying goes, “She who would lead, must first be willing to serve”.

Passion – Pursue what you love, take determination and focus

Research and Planning – Do your homework before you start up business, understand your market, know your competitor well and set your goal.

Look at big picture, planning for long term goal instead of short term

Communication – Regardless of your education, talent or training, becoming a successful businesswoman depends heavily on how well you work with others.

Believe in yourself, trust your guts and play the odds.

Learn from every experience and circumstance, whether good or bad. Allow yourself to be taught by every person your encounter and listen more than you speak.

Denice Wai

Founder, 6 Senses Cooking Studio

I created “The Hive Bulk Foods” out of necessity, we could not find in Hong Kong or other Asian countries unprocessed, organic bulk (non packaged food) as well as eco-friendly products.

I decided to create The Hive with the profound desire to make it affordable for everyone, there is this misconception that eating organic is very expensive.

It is obviously more expensive but if generic organic and keeping our margins low, everyone can afford organic products.

We offer sustainable solutions like compostable bamboo toothbrushes, unpackaged locally made organic shampoos & soaps, menstrual cups, stainless steel straws…

Our staff is mainly composed of women, including a UNHRC Afghan refugee and an autistic employee.

The company motto is everyone has a place and can contribute to our society and our dollar votes.

Every time we purchase a product we encourage their company policy so best to purchase from a company with a strong sense of ethic.

Claire Sancelot

Director, The Hive

Depending on the type of business she’s starting, always think of expanding in other markets. My #1 Market since launching last year has consistently been US, UK, India, and Australia.

Depending on the type of business, Hong Kong can be a very small market and even smaller if the business or blog is in English.

My blog is very successful, but less than 10% of my users are from Hong Kong.

Christina Antonyan

Founder, Confident Lovers

My message to young designers, emerging entrepreneurs, and those looking to make it in an industry that they are passionate about is to do what you believe in and then the business will flourish. 

Remember, you have a solution to a problem and believe in your mission and purpose keeps you wanting to succeed.

It’s important to not be afraid of making mistakes if you have a clear focus and a dynamic vision.

Quality relationships will help build your business if you are willing to listen and learn. Do not be shy to get advice from people who have success, you may find a mentor.  

Ask questions from those that you admire and have paved the way. Communicate to everyone involved in your business, from the inside and outside, what makes you unique. Most importantly, follow your heart.

Dora Lau

Founder, Curvy Couture

Identify what your strength and weakness are. When you are able to identify your strength and weaknesses as a leader/boss you are able to better communicate with your staff and build a strong team. Leading a business is like paddling a canoe. You all need each other. If one slacks off, you start to feel a drag or your canoe starts to feel harder to steer. It takes a great team to bring a vision to life.

Another important thing is to identify your core customer and really know who they are.

Understanding that as your core customer grows and changes, you too must look out for new and fresh ideas to keep the business fresh.

Jacinta Yu

Founder, Complete Deelite

Hong Kong is an incredible city to start something of your own, the city itself lends a very powerful feeling. 

It’s fast paced energy can easily bring out your inner entrepreneur, if you allow it. Take risks, connect with people, ask questions, seek advice and most importantly be patient. Start small, invest time and passion, keep your expectations at a level you can feel positive about achieving.

Use any opportunity to travel, Hong Kong is the most transient and assessable city, use that and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to travel and make connections around Asia.

Morgan Guth

Founder, The Well Dressed Workout

There’s always been a bit of an unbalance in terms of gender within the photography industry. When I first started in the industry, there were only a few women; especially those who were wedding photographers. It was hard to find recognizable female wedding photographers who are good at their craft as well as able to take on the physical labors of being a wedding photographer.

Perhaps because I studied art at college and perhaps because I look at artistry in a different way to most people, gender wasn’t a really big deal to me and I certainly didn’t think it should affect the way I did my work. Therefore, I forged my way within the wedding photography industry with as much courage as I could possibly find.

I still remember my very first wedding job – probably over a decade back now; it was an unforgettable experience, both in terms of being my first paid job but also the schedule of the day and I admit that I found it very exhausting. I had never shot a wedding for a full day before and looking back on it now, at the time, it was probably the most exhausted I had ever been in my life. I have kept the photographs from that wedding – I still have an album for my own archives. Each time I look back on the photographs, I remember exactly what happened when I took the shot. I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to step out on this new career path of mine – as before I became a wedding photographer, I was working as a music lecturer at a university. It may still be part of the arts curriculum, but learning how to become a professional photographer was quite a big step for me – more so when I decided to concentrate on being one for the rest of my life.

For those who want to start and lead a profitable business in Hong Kong, I would probably advise them to be courageous.

It takes a lot of determination and hard work to become successful, this is in business as well as life.

When you decide to start on that journey, there will be a lot of setbacks, a lot of hardships – and definitely a lot of unknowns – but self-belief and determination go a long way into helping you along that road. I can’t really say that I’m that successful for the moment, but I have been lucky enough to be a professional wedding photographer in this very competitive industry for over a decade now, with over two thousand weddings under my belt. Each wedding is memorable in its own right and I am always learning. My biggest motivation is that my clients will look at the photographs I give them and remember the moments that occurred with great fondness.

My hope is that with each photograph I take, I get to change the world’s perspective a little bit. I absolutely love my job – and I hope that I’ll be taking photographs until I can’t anymore.

Susan Ng

Principal photographer, Johnny Productions

Top advice for women that want to start and lead a profitable business in Hong Kong: Network! Network! Network!

How easy do you think it is for a woman, in hong kong, to start a business and make it successful: Easy

Why starting a business as a woman is easier in hong kong than in other countries from asia, europe or the US?:  Existing network of successful female entrepreneurs who one can take mentorship from

Sunhera Cariappa

Founder, The Ultimate Toolkit

Top advice for women that want to start and lead a profitable business in Hong Kong: No different than what I would give a man – find a niche that you a) are good at b) is in demand and c) can be served profitably and then go for it.

How easy do you think it is for a woman, in hong kong, to start a business and make it successful: No harder than for anyone else..

Why starting a business as a woman is easier in hong kong than in other countries from asia, europe or the US?: I don’t believe it is. No easier. No harder.

Sarah Fairhurst

Founder, The Lantau Group

Top advice for women that want to start and lead a profitable business in Hong Kong: Be patient, be flexible, network

How easy do you think it is for a woman, in hong kong, to start a business and make it successful: As easy as for anyone else

Why starting a business as a woman is easier in hong kong than in other countries from asia, europe or the US?:  Setting up a business in HK is quite easy. Making it work and profitable is the magic.

Angela Watkins

Founder, RED DOOR

Starting a successful company involves doing research, a lot of research.  It is essential that you understand your target market.  Doing market research, and paying attention to what it says can make or break your company.

That means doing initial research, understanding your competition and what people are doing in other countries. The initial results from launching a product are themselves a sort of market research, and it is important to quickly take in any feedback and adjust your plans accordingly. Online research tools now make it possible to do market research at a speed and for a budget that would have been impossible just a few years ago. Don’t miss those chances!

A few thousand spend on some investigational Facebook ads, or paying for some user testing of an app or website could save you hundreds of thousands in waste.

Then be prepared with an online presence that will scale, cross sell, and leverage your other marketing efforts so that they all reflect and magnify each other!  Not every product launch will go viral, but if you prepare properly then you can increase your chances of getting that “free” advertising.

Remember that “luck comes to those who are prepared”.

Winnie Tsoi

Founder, WL Media HK

Decide whether you want to build a genuine business or have an interesting hobby – both are great, but my personal definition of a successful business is one that can financially support you and your family, and it’s important to know how much time, energy, and money you’re willing to invest in your startup idea.

Do your market research thoroughly, find your niche (make sure you know yourself why your product or service is different from the others out there because if you don’t nobody else will), be prepared to work very hard for a long time, believe in yourself, and network network network.

Joanna Hotung

Founder, KG GROUP

Thank you so much to all the participants that contributed to this expert roundup! It has been fascinating to read all the many thoughts, some in wide agreement but also many variations. There are many setbacks and risks in starting a business but with passion, perseverance, and hard work you can achieve your goals. As you can see there many different possible paths to success for any business.

Do you have your own business or are you thinking about starting one? Share with us your experiences in the comments below!

Research and editing by: Minuca Elena

Minuca is a freelance writer specialized in creating expert roundup blog articles. Her articles provide quality content, bring huge traffic and get backlinks. She also helps bloggers connect with influencers. You can contact her at her blog, MinucaElena.com

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