Entrepreneur Highlight – Sam Sio: Help Your Customers to Help Your Business

Self Photos / Files - Sam-Sio

From film cameras to digital cameras, the ways to record memories keep evolving, so is the industry. In this Entrepreneur Highlight, we are delighted to invite one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the photography, creative media and marketing industry – Mr Sam Sio, founder of PhotoGIFT (HK) Limited, Come Know (Asia) Limited and SME Lab, to share his invaluable experience with us.


Start of the entrepreneurial voyage

At the time when digital cameras started prevailing, Sam started his career as a photographer. He noticed a change in customer behaviour - customers preferred digital photos over printed copies, and that was the time the film printing business needed a revolution. Sam studied the market and decided to start his first business with his discernment of customer needs. His first idea was to produce personalised image-related products such as photo books and photo puzzles.


"Each photo is unique and is a precious gift that captures a particular moment. This is why my first business is called PhotoGIFT," shared by Sam. Seeing a need in the market, Sam decided to make use of this good timing to expand their service - transforming its service into a more comprehensive and streamlined one. This led to his establishment of COME KNOW which helps companies to transform their ideas into reality by providing marketing solutions and creative support.


More than just doing a business

Sam believes that it is important for every individual and business to do good for the society, instead of just focusing on monetary interests. His life motto to live by is - '扶人達己, 互利共生', which means that helping others to fulfill their expectations and needs leads to achieving your goals which benefits both parties as a win-win situation.


Along the way, Sam discovered some challenges commonly faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such as funding, operation, sales and marketing and legal issues. SME Lab was therefore founded as a platform to share knowledge and educate entrepreneurial mindset, which created shared benefits as in Sam's motto. SME Lab always invites experienced entrepreneurs, substantial experts and professionals to offer talks for SMEs. With the help of SME Lab, Sam hopes the companies can acquire sufficient knowledge and run sustainably. By growing the ecosystem and with collective effort, every party would achieve more. Just within one year, this SME Lab had already organised over 80 talks, shared 280 articles for equipping SMEs with soft and hard skills for running their business.


Practical advice for aspiring youths

To young people who wish to kick-start their own business in the future, Sam has the following tips to share with you -


Firstly, be sufficiently prepared before you start your own business. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Understanding the market trend, acquiring industry knowledge and skills, as well as accumulating industry experience would greatly help to increase the survival rate of your company. Taking an internship or working in the industry you are interested in can be your first step to earn the capital, build social network and gain valuable resources.


Secondly, pay attention to the global trends, so as to have a wider horizon and perspective to understand the surroundings. The world is changing daily, keeping an eye on what is happening around the world would provide you a good and unique insight to your own idea / business.


Thirdly, equip yourself with a profession/ expertise and be prepared to fail. "Only 1% of start-ups are able to survive for more than 3 years. Always find yourself a backup plan." When you acquire a profession/ expertise in the industry, customers tend to trust you more among the competition, it will also open more doors for you in case you fail.


Suggestions to SMEs in this difficult time

Apart from some tips for aspiring youths, Sam also shared some suggestions for SMEs in this challenging time.


If you have spare resources, you can offer some enhanced services or special discount to boost your business. Supporting each other within the community with some collaborations will help establish a good rapport and generate more brand exposure. In addition, SMEs can try to obtain some funding from the government, or rent waiver from landlord to lighten the financial burden or even consider exploring the overseas market which may give you an unexpected surprise.


If you wish to know more about Sam's businesses, visit their websites below:

PhotoGIFT: www.photogift.hk

COME KNOW: www.comeknow.com.hk

SME Lab: smelab.com.hk