Be Youth: Growing a Business by Embracing Change
In order for a business to survive, they must be able to embrace change and understand that everyday is a new challenge. However, not all change is easy and sometimes, requires one to make bold decisions.
As a business owner and entrepreneur, Josephine perfectly understands and epitomizes this mindset. Taking this perspective in stride, Josephine founded Be Youth in 2015. As a Hong Kong based beauty group, Josephine aims to leave her own mark on the Hong Kong beauty industry – a feat that can only be achieved through flexibility and being receptive to change.
Growth and Embracing Technology
Prior to founding Be Youth, Josephine had extensive experience in the beauty industry, having spent 14 years helping beauty companies grow their businesses. From setting up ad campaigns to opening stores, Josephine had done it all. Realizing that there were gaps in the beauty industry, specifically in regards to the lack of dark spot laser removal services in Hong Kong, Josephine founded Be Youth in 2015.
Originally a team of two individuals, Be Youth focused on providing personalized services. The business became extremely popular and soon developed a dedicated client base of more than 1,000 individuals. As this success and growth continued, Josephine realized that she needed to further develop Be Youth’s accounting infrastructure to keep pace with the business’ rapid growth.
“Originally, we used desktop accounting software to handle all our bookkeeping,” Josephine explained. This was a nightmare in regards to efficiency because Be Youth’s office was the only place where their bookkeeping related tasks could be handled. The rigidity of this set-up and the inefficiencies related to inputting data manually meant that Josephine was “spending 1-2 days a week just handling the accounting.” After being recommended to Xero by a close friend, Josephine approached FastLane for assistance in adopting and transitioning to this new cloud-based accounting system.
When asked what made her want to adopt Xero, Josephine responded that, “we needed flexibility and efficiency. It didn’t make sense to spend so long handling accounting after I learnt that Xero could automate all our work in 2 hours.” But most importantly, it was the flexibility that Xero offered that appealed to her. “In the past I could only do our accounting work at the office, but now I can work on it everywhere.”
An Accounting System that can Adapt
With her business flourishing and a new accounting system in place, Josephine found herself well situated to continue with Be Youth’s growth. However, this success couldn’t exempt Josephine from the external issues plaguing her business.
“COVID-19 is the biggest challenge in the beauty industry since I first joined,” Josephine claimed. “In addition to being hit by the social movement last year and this year, we were forced to close our store for almost a month due to social distancing rules.” It didn’t take long for Josephine to notice that as a result of these closures, some of her closest competitors had to close down their businesses.
Instead of giving up or waiting, Josephine took the initiative to adjust her business model and find new sources of revenue. “Entrepreneurs must be proactive and must always think of solutions,” she said. I decided to set-up an e-commerce store to sell beauty products. We had to find a way to generate income even though our store is closed.”
Need for a Flexible System
“We were lucky that Xero could facilitate our change in business model,” Josephine said. As Be Youth’s closed their storefront, clients no longer began paying through their typical sales channels and instead transitioned to online payments. Much like how Be Youth had to adapt to changing circumstances, Xero needed to change needs as well.
According to Josephine, it was Xero’s degree of flexibility that proved vital during Be Youth’s challenging months during COVID. As their storefront was closed and Be Youth started engaging in e-commerce, Josephine had to make sure Xero could accommodate these changes.
“I was worried that I would have to pay for new platforms to accommodate my e-commerce sales,” Josephine said. Luckily, it wasn’t necessary with Xero. With a large amount of third party applications that could integrate with Xero, Josephine didn’t need to make large adjustments to her accounting system.
By updating her Xero platform to accommodate a new POS system, Be Youth did not have to go through a difficult stage of transition. While her competitors were waiting for the business environment to improve, Josephine was able to capitalize on an opportunity she saw, and Be Youth benefited from it.
Running a business isn’t easy and requires business owners to be proactive. Like Josephine said, entrepreneurs should always be looking for solutions. However, just thinking of solutions is not always enough. As evident through Be Youth, for a business to find success through adapting, they must have developed systems in place that will allow them to do so effectively.