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4 Digital Solutions to carry you through to the future
Many businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many companies and brick and mortar stores finding ways to stay afloat in the midst of reduced business. In its second round of anti-epidemic funds, the Hong Kong government has launched a six-month “Distance Business Plan” (D-Biz) worth HKD500 Million. The plan aims to support businesses in setting up technologies intended for improving remote business operations. Not only would this benefit businesses now during the time of pandemic, but it will also prepare them for a more technologically advanced future.
The scheme would fund the purchase of required technologies, as well as the training necessary to adopt it. D-biz covers a wide range of digital solutions including:
- Online stores
- Remote document management
- Remote team management
- Virtual meeting software, etc.
As long as it is something that would facilitate remote business and make the process more efficient, it can be funded by the scheme.
Each program can be funded up to HKD100,000, with each company receiving a maximum of HKD300,000. Listed companies, statutory institutions, and non-governmental organizations that receive public funding are not eligible for the scheme.
As the scheme aims to respond to the current pandemic situation, the Hong Kong Government is adopting express approval measures to give businesses and companies the help they need as soon as possible. Applications have opened this May and only take around 10 working days to process.
This opens up a wealth of opportunities for businesses not only to adapt in the short run, but to begin a long-term investment in preparing for the future. In a city where online shopping, cashless payment, and other digital and mobile solutions are gaining popularity, it’s crucial to be ready to offer customers these options.
The scheme covers 12 categories of IT solutions for remote business activities. Wild is a referenced service provider (SP-075-619) under category 1 (online business) and category 3 (online customer services and engagement). Here are some options to consider:
- Set up or update your website
People search for local businesses through online search engines; studies show that 46% of Google searches are looking for specifically local information. This means that in order to be noticed by potential customers, you need a good website. A good website should be user-friendly, SEO-friendly, and mobile-friendly.
Evaluate your website according to these three criteria and see what changes can be made. If you don’t have a website for your business yet, now is the time to set one up. A website is a crucial place for you to have a centralised location for all your information, so customers can easily learn about your business.
- E-commerce platforms
If you are a retail business, moving your business online is imperative. Online shopping is on the rise as foot traffic to physical stores is decreasing in the time of the pandemic. An easily navigated archive of your products can give customers a pleasant shopping experience. There are many tools and website plugins like WooCommerce and Shopify available nowadays to effortlessly create a sleek and easy-to-use e-commerce store. It is also a great way for customers to keep up with your catalogue while they can’t visit your shop.
- Social Media Marketing
Social media usage has increased by 21% around the world as people are spending more time indoors and using the Internet to stay in touch with friends and family while social distancing. This means that your customers are spending more time scrolling through various platforms than ever before. In order to capture their attention, you need to establish a strong presence online. Develop a comprehensive social media marketing strategy to keep your business fresh and at the forefront of their minds.
Social media advertising is also an effective way to reach out to a wider audience and convert them into customers. Studies show that 45% of internet users are likely to buy from brands they see advertised. Take advantage of this time to use social media to develop a larger and loyal customer base.
- Search Engine Marketing
Another important route to be seen by customers is through search engine marketing. As previously mentioned, many people use search engines to research businesses so being on the first page of results can get you noticed by potential customers. This can be achieved in two ways: search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising. The former is a process to get your website onto the first page organically, while the latter is purchasing advertising space. This will help present yourself as a trustworthy and reliable business.
The D-biz Programme has also provided a reference list of service providers. However companies are free to approach other service providers, whether or not they are on this list.
Here are a few more things to note when making your application:
- If proposing multiple solutions they should not be interdependent with each other
Companies can apply for funding for more than one digital solution but they should be separate solutions independent from each other to qualify.
- Get price quotations from at least two service providers
The application requires you to submit two written price quotations with a detailed breakdown of costs, project duration, scope of work and deliverables from two providers. The contract should be rewarded to the Service provider with the lowest confirming price quotation.
- Training expenses will be capped at 10% of the full solution cost
For any training that is needed to adopt the technology, it should only constitute 10% or less of the overall project cost.
- Successful applicants will first receive 30% of the payment
The rest of the payment will be given upon completion of the project and after the acceptance of the final project report.
It’s a difficult time but with the right solution and a forward-thinking mindset, there are opportunities to be grasped. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or need help implementing your new digital solutions.