5 ways digitalisation in procurement benefits your company

Procurement is the process where a company sources for and purchases products or services for internal or external uses. Depending on the company’s size and procurement flow setup, the procurement process can be as simple as comparing several stationery shops to decide on which one to buy printing papers from, to buying printing paper in bulk from a manufacturer, which could involve multiple approval stages before the process could be completed. By digitalising the procurement process through the implementation of an e-procurement platform, companies can manage procurement more efficiently.



Save time with no paperwork – digital documents and software integration

For large companies, manually compiling the purchasing needs of multiple departments and branches via paperwork and Excel sheets can prove extremely time-consuming. This method of handling large quantities of data also makes the procurement process more prone to human errors. Here’s how an e-procurement platform removes the need for paperwork in the procurement process:

  • Each department or branch has access to the same e-procurement account while the company management still maintains control through the approval of purchases on the platform.
  • From purchase orders to invoices, all documents are digitalised and clearly laid out on the e-procurement platform, making it easy for the accounting department to make payment.
  • The integration of an e-procurement platform and accounting software further reduces processing errors and makes data entry redundant since all purchases are automatically recorded into the company’s accounting system.



Save cost through consolidating purchases – right price with the right suppliers

With multiple departments or branches, there is a high probability where the same products or services are needed such as office supplies, cleaning services, and pantry items. Through consolidating purchases on an e-procurement platform, the company gets negotiation power for making bulk purchases, besides avoiding the accounting disaster of having the same item being bought at different prices for the same company.

It is convenient for the company to have a list of suppliers for different purchases needed so that sourcing does not need to be done over and over again. Moreover, having a good relationship with the suppliers through consistently buying a good volume helps obtain a better offer in the long run as well.



Get better spending visibility – know what your company is buying

An e-procurement platform provides spending analysis which helps companies to understand procurement patterns in terms of what has been bought, when it was bought, how frequently it was bought, who bought, how much was spent, who was the supplier, etc. This allows the company to:

  • Create reports on the spending patterns of departments or branches for future reference.
  • Identify cost-saving opportunities such as costs to cut and price negotiation.
  • Make better-informed procurement decisions based on data analysis.



Improve budget and procurement compliance

In order to optimise procurement, compliance is needed to ensure that each purchase made is reasonable and can be fulfilled within the fixed time frame. These are some common rules that can be easily achieved using an e-procurement platform:

  • Pricing comparison – Multiple quotations can be generated with a click to compare pricing of different vendors at a glance.
  • Supplier check – The company can keep an optimal number of suppliers in the e-procurement platform to avoid the risk of shortage and delays which could incur higher costs.
  • Budget control – The decsion-maker of the company can approve or reject each purchase request from departments or branches according to the budget limit and needs.
  • Purchase Order (PO) cycle duration – With digital approval processes, time taken to place a PO is reduced so that the products or services needed can be obtained as soon as possible.



Manage multiple suppliers on one platform

Through an e-procurement platform, the company can manage suppliers all in one place without having to go to various channels like emails, phone calls, or even fax which can cause ordering errors. Each supplier can be categorised using the Kraljic Matrix as follows:

  • Leverage items – Items that are essential for business with plenty of supplies in the market.
  • Strategic items – Items with high-profit impact with not many suppliers supplying these items.
  • Non-critical items – Items with low-profit impact with many suppliers in the market.
  • Bottleneck items – Items with low-profit impact with not many suppliers supplying these items.


With an e-procurement platform that is linked to a marketplace, payment can even be made once without having to pay multiple vendors at the same time, reducing cash payments.


Leaving procurement unmanaged can hurt your company’s finances indirectly as it leaches cash unnoticeably over time. Setting up an e-procurement process may seem like a hassle at the beginning, but as soon as the process is set in motion, steps from sourcing to invoicing approval will come together in an organised way that makes procurement efficient in your company.



Special thanks to Supplycart for the content collaboration on this article. Supplycart is an e-procurement platform integrated with a B2B marketplace that simplifies procurement for businesses through a single platform.

4 ways F&B businesses can adapt to the new norm

With the Movement Control Order (MCO) having started in March 2020, followed by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), food delivery has become part of our daily life. Getting food with just a swipe of finger just feels so natural that now most people opt for food delivery even though we are now free to dine in at restaurants. This has changed how F&B businesses operate as the revenue stream of dine-in today is not as stable as it used to be. Here's how you can adapt your F&B business to the new norm, featuring some real-life examples of what other F&B businesses have done during MCO while adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs).


1. Leverage upon online exposure with partnership

As people spend more time on the internet, yearning for the days when they can finally go out again, promoting your F&B business through social media builds up the craving for good food, especially when there is an existing loyal customer base. This effect can be further amplified by partnering with other online presences which have their own circle of followers. The need for a good meal is always there in spite of the situation a country is in, F&B businesses just need to think out of the box to entice customers.


Yamatatsu and social media channels

Yamatatsu has been featured by several food-focused social media channels for its Japanese and Taiwanese cuisines during the RMCO. As F&B businesses that capitalise on their unique selling proposition have the potential to go viral easily, being the topic of conversation among social media users is a good way to cultivate interest which can eventually convert a group audience into customers. Online presence is the storefront of your F&B business on the internet.


myBurgerLab and Yellow Brick Road

myBurgerLab has started serving breakfast with pancakes from Yellow Brick Road during the MCO period as they couldn't hit their sales target due to bad weather and short operation hours. This cross-promotion benefits both F&B businesses as they each have their own audience, who can now enjoy food from two different brands at the same time. While there is the concern of competition with other F&B brands by joining forces, it could produce positive results too!


2. Digitalise operation with F&B technologies

Whether you are focusing on dine-in or food delivery services for your F&B business, streamlining the operation through digitalisation could save costs in the long run, aside from providing customers with a seamless experience from ordering and making payment, to receiving the food. Besides the food delivery apps that we are familiar with, there are other F&B technologies that can be implemented for contactless dine-in food ordering and online payment.



Launched in 2019, Aliments provides a POS system for F&B businesses which integrates table QR code ordering, e-wallet payments and food delivery app.


Beep Delivery

StoreHub launched Beep Delivery, a POS-integrated food delivery app for F&B businesses, within 24 hours after the MCO was announced in March 2020.



In 2014, Oddle was started by a group of restaurateurs in Singapore as an all-in-one F&B business management system that is currently being used in more than 10 countries.


3. Prioritise customer relationships

Food delivery might be a new revenue stream for many existing F&B businesses that pick it up with the purpose of adapting to the new trend. As there is often a third party delivery partner, things could go wrong due to various reasons. Hence, it is important to prioritise customer relationships by making sure the customers understand the situation to reduce frustration and disappointment when things go awry. Most customers can understand the situation with proper communication.


#GonDelivery campaign by BarBQ Plaza Malaysia

BarBQ Plaza launched its food delivery option for the first time during the RMCO under the #GonDelivery campaign in Klang Valley, where customers can have barbeques that they used to have in the restaurant at their own home. Even though there were some hiccups about missing items, they managed to solve these issues by working together with their delivery partner, Aliments, to ensure customer satisfaction.


Suki-Ya Delivery

When getting groceries is a hassle during the MCO period due to long queues, Suki-Ya has offered to deliver their hotpot menu to their customers. People are delighted that they can have hotpot at home but at the same time, people's preference in the ingredient choices could be different from what was shown in the menu. Requests to exchange menu items were taken care of to make sure customers have a pleasant experience with the available delivery options.


4. Expand revenue channels

Even with the dine-in restriction lifted, social distancing rules have limited the number of customers allowed to dine in at one time, reducing the revenue that a restaurant can earn for a day. Besides exploring food delivery opportunities, there are other revenue channels that are proven to be doable for F&B businesses such as selling vouchers in advance, offering weekly or monthly meal subscriptions, and even frozen ready-to-cook meals.


Ready-To-Eat meals by PichaEats

As one of the PichaEats' main revenue streams is food catering, social distancing rules have significantly affected the business. Hence, they have introduced Ready-To-Eat Meals in bundles so that their refugee chefs can continue to cook and provide delicious Arabic food delivered to customers. This helps sustain both the business and the livelihood of their chefs without relying on the option of food delivery alone.


Gift Wrap - KGB

KGB - Killer Gourmet Burgers has introduced Gift Wrap where customers can order their loved ones a burger which comes with a preloaded gift card. While food delivery is fairly common these days, ordering food for someone else the way we order flowers is quite new in the F&B industry. This indirectly promotes the gift cards without direct selling, which could slowly become a revenue stream for the F&B business.


Compared to other types of businesses, F&B businesses have been quick to adapt to the new norm of bringing the business online. There are many successful case studies of how F&B businesses thrive using good strategies such as those stated above. Plan accordingly and implement wisely, F&B businesses are here to stay for the foreseeable future.


4 ways F&B businesses can adapt to the new norm - Infographic



Special thanks to Aliments for the content collaboration on this article. Aliments empowers next-gen F&B businesses with an ultimate dining experience and a revenue-generating system to grow and scale. Foundingbird's clients can enjoy 90 days free when subscribing to Aliments' services.

3 reasons to adopt electronic signatures in your business

Be it a scanned handwritten signature or a computer-generated one, any symbol and character is considered as an electronic signature as intended by the person signing the document, according to the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA) 2006. Despite the fact that electronic signature is legally recognised in Malaysia (except for a few scenarios stated in the Schedule of ECA 2006), it is not widely used in businesses where printing, signing, scanning, and emailing a document or meeting up for an official document signing is more commonly done. To clear the doubt on the usage of electronic signatures in businesses, here's why electronic signatures work better than traditional signatures.



Proven consent by signers

Written evidence

An electronic signature request is often accompanied by an email trail between two parties where the intention of the document signing is stated. This eliminates the possible fraud of one party signing the documents without knowing what he has gotten himself into.


Confirmed signer identity

Documents are sent to specific email addresses for electronic signing; hence, no one can sign on behalf of the other person unless permission is granted which would be recorded in the audit trail of the signed document.


High security


To identify the authenticity of a handwritten signature, at least 10 or 20 signatures are required as samples, as suggested by Ordway Hilton in his book named Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents. Unlike traditional signatures, the audit trail tracks each action done on the document, from viewing to signing, according to timestamp and IP address in which the action was done. With this, we will be able to determine if the document is tampered with.

Sample Esignature Audit Trail



Since permission or login credentials are required to access the document whether for viewing or signing due to encryption, only the signers and persons-in-charge have access to the document.




Without the need for printing, in-person appointments for signing, scanning, and dispatching of a physical document, electronic signatures save a lot of time especially when a large number of documents are required to be processed regularly. Under ECA 2006, electronic signatures are applicable for the following documents:



Accessible through email, signers do not have to travel just to spend a few minutes on signing the documents. This is very useful for signers who stay abroad. Although oversea postage is an option, it can easily take more than 2 weeks to send and receive the signed documents, with a risk of documents goning missing. There are many electronic signature provider platforms such as PandaDoc, DocuSign, and AdobeSign that charge a monthly fee for unlimited documents signed.


You may have come across the term 'digital signature' when exploring the option of electronic signatures. Governed under the Digital Signature Act 1997, a digital signature is a type of electronic signature where the signature is encrypted by an asymmetric cryptosystem, allowing for the signer's identity to be accurately determined through the signer's public key and for any alteration on the signed document to be detected. Even though digital signatures offer higher security, both electronic and digital signatures are legally recognised in commercial transactions and fulfilment of legal requirements without contradicting other laws and regulations in Malaysia.

CSR in Malaysia: 6 ways for businesses to make a difference

The "do good, feel good" phenomenon — we've all experienced that warm feeling from acts of altruism and charity at some point in our lives. Successful business leaders not only realise the importance of giving back to society, but they also consider the social and environmental responsibilities of their business with the ultimate goal of sustainable global development. This concept of business operations grounded in economic performance with a simultaneous consideration for the bigger picture is stylised as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), an idea which has been gaining traction and recognition in Malaysia. There have been more Malaysian businesses adopting a socially conscious approach in the form of CSR initiatives and philanthropic efforts in recent years. Clearly, CSR is not a passing fad and is here to stay.


Perks of Implementing CSR

A properly executed CSR strategy offers a plethora of benefits to businesses:


Offers a competitive advantage in sales

Thanks to the era of information technology, the modern consumer is plenty capable of well-informed decisions when it comes to making a purchase. Unsurprisingly, a business' personal mission statement and ethical stance are factored into their final decision when choosing. According to a study done by Cone Communications in 2017, 87% of consumers said they would be willing to buy a product or service based on a business’s advocacy concerning a social matter.


Aids in talent recruitment

By implementing CSR, your business stands a chance of attracting like-minded talent. Employees are much more likely to work for a socially responsible business that aligns with their personal beliefs. Moreover, CSR reduces the employee turnover rate by a staggering 50%.


Results in tax deductions

Businesses can benefit from tax deductions by donating to recognised organisations or by making contributions to Digital Social Responsibility (DSR). As per the recently announced National Budget 2020, efforts towards the efficient use of digital resources by Malaysian businesses also yields tax deductions and/or exemptions.


Improves overall workplace performance

Last but not least, a well-thought-out CSR program can give your business a sense of purpose, serving as the driving force that keeps your employees motivated. Businesses actively engaging in CSR have seen spikes in productivity and employee engagement.



Sounds great. How can my business make a difference?

There are a vast array of causes to support as a business, ranging from human rights to eco-efficiency; the challenge lies in finding one that matches your business's purpose and values. Finding a cause that aligns with your passion is a great place to start. Here are some ideas for SMEs and startups to kickstart their CSR program, as exemplified by selected socially responsible Malaysian businesses.


1) Volunteering

Contrary to popular belief, CSR does not always come at the expense of taking a hefty chunk out of your business’s budget. Volunteering at your local old folks home or soup kitchen is an amazing way to give back at virtually no cost. You'll find that volunteering is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a team, cultivating a sense of teamwork and solidarity amongst your colleagues. How's that for establishing good working culture?


Example of volunteering activity as CSR

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) – Huluran Kasih Volunteer Programme


2) Socially and environmentally conscious donations

Besides the aforementioned benefit of tax deductibles, charitable giving is also a way to network and build alliances with other organisations. By donating to a charity of your choice, your business stands to gain invaluable connections and future opportunities for collaboration. Looking for alternatives to direct donations? Other charitable avenues to consider include charitable trusts, gift annuities and pooled-income funds. Note: donations must be made to a government-approved charitable organisation or directly to the government in order to qualify for tax deductions.


Example of socially conscious donation as CSR

Star Foundation – Wheelchair Programme


3) Providing academic/research scholarships to disadvantaged students

Ever wanted to help a budding scholar out? A corporate scholarship program might just be the answer to your business's CSR needs. Take a page from Google's books by offering merit or need-based scholarships to university students; not only will your business be doing a good deed, but it also stands to nurture and empower a new generation of talent through educational opportunities. A suggestion would be to take this a step further by supplementing your scholarship program with a mentor support system for your scholars, so as to provide them with career guidance and better prepare them for their entry into the workforce. Another CSR initiative worth considering is funding research projects or making socially conscious investments.


Example of providing academic scholarships to disadvantaged students as CSR

CIMB – ASEAN Scholarship


4) Collaborating with relevant NGOs to spearhead a particular initiative

Another viable approach to CSR is through collaborations with other NGOs. This involves the exchanging of resources, information and expertise between two or more organisations to jointly achieve an agreed-upon outcome, such as providing homes for the less fortunate. Startups and smaller businesses can benefit especially from a strategic alliance as the combination of manpower and capital would definitely yield a greater impact than that from the work of a single organisation. All in all, businesses ought to embrace partnerships with other organisations as some of the most innovative solutions are dreamed up from collaborating minds.


Example of collaborating with relevant NGOs to spearhead a particular initiative as CSR

Dell in collaboration with the Lonely Whale Foundation (LWF) – NextWave Plastics


5) Hosting workshops on digital literacy

A relatively burgeoning trend in the realm of business operations, Digital Social Responsibility (DSR) is a form of CSR with an emphasis on the efficient entrepreneurial use of digital resources for positive change. More accurately, our Finance Minister defines DSR as "the commitment by businesses to contribute to digital economic development while improving the digital skills of the future workforce with initiatives such as technology scholarships, training and upskilling for digital skills for communities in need". As a 21st century business, what better way to give back than to tap into the digital resources available at the tips of our fingers? A simple way of doing so would be hosting workshops with the aim of providing the public with digital skills needed in the workforce.


Example of hosting workshops on digital literacy as CSR

Microsoft – Pop-Up Digital Skills Hub


6) Advocacy via social media marketing

Perhaps one of the most controversial techniques for demonstrating social responsibility, social media marketing can nevertheless prove to be a powerful tool if used correctly. The advantage of using social media platforms to raise social, environmental and political consciousness is as such — it gives your business a sense of transparency as customers are led to believe that businesses have more on their agenda than simply making a profit. The multimodality of platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn further drives home the message your business aims to impart; including behind the scenes clips of your business's sustainable production line, for example, really gives a good impression. Bonus: social media is one of the best ways to engage with your customers and glean insight on pressing causes to support.


Example of advocacy via social media marketing as CSR

LUSH – Social Media Campaign


Much like a marketing campaign, your business' approach to CSR requires much thoughtful consideration and careful planning in order to succeed. The key to this is tailoring your CSR actions and activities to suit your business specifically; narrow the scope by identifying your business' purpose, values and skills prior to selecting CSR projects so as to avoid making commitments that do not fit your business' core attributes and your stakeholders' expectations. Pay close attention to the issues that your customers are interested in and the impact your business can make at a community and global level.

Fortunately, the diverse range of approaches towards social responsibility means that every business can make an impactful difference regardless of size or budget limitations. At the end of the day, it's the privilege of being able to mobilise social change that should drive your business towards social responsibility. By employing a few of these ideas, your business is well on its way to being the voice that influences public opinion for the better.

Top 3 coworking spaces recommended by the StartupMamak community

With a rising demand for coworking spaces in recent years, coworking spaces have become increasingly significant within the startup ecosystem of Malaysia. The shift towards globalisation in the 21st century has seen major changes in working culture; coworking spaces are no longer just a trend but a full-blown industry. With over 170 coworking spaces in Klang Valley alone competing in pricing, facilities, accessibility, complimentary services and other features, it can be difficult to select one that suits you and your team. To narrow your search for the coworking space of your dreams, we asked the StartupMamak community in a poll to recommend their top picks. Here are the 3 coworking spaces that stood out to them in 2019!


Common Ground

Starting with its first coworking space in Damansara Heights in March 2017, Common Ground currently has over 14 branches in Malaysia, expanding overseas to Philippines and Thailand since 2018. Common Ground at Damansara Heights is also one of the Malaysia Digital Hubs.


Accessibility of Common Ground

Most Common Ground coworking spaces are accessible through public transportation. Their memberships allow global access to any of their coworking spaces located in Southeast Asia.


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Petaling Jaya, Malaysia


Penang, Malaysia

George Town


Bangkok, Thailand

G Tower


Manila, Philippines


Perks of Common Ground

Apart from providing business support services such as accounting, legal advice, courier services, graphic designing, etc. with a members-only rate, Common Ground has partnered up with businesses to offer special lifestyle deals such as discounts on gym memberships, travelling and more, exclusively for Common Ground members.


Memberships of Common Ground

Pricing varies according to the location of the coworking space.



First launching in TTDI in March 2017, WORQ was backed by funding from Malaysia’s Cradle FundSpace Matrix Group (SMG), 500 Startups and other private investors. WORQ at TTDI is also one of the Malaysia Digital Hubs.


Accessibility of WORQ

All the WORQ coworking spaces are accessible through public transportation. WORQ provides Hot Desk Passport and Passport Premium (under Dedicated Desk and Private Suite) memberships at RM550/month and +RM100/month respectively for access to all WORQ coworking spaces in Malaysia.


Kuala Lumpur


Petaling Jaya

UOA Business Park, Subang


Perks of WORQ

WORQ is one of the few coworking spaces that provide nursing room and napping pods in some of their locations. If a space to work in is not something you are looking for, WORQ offers a Lite Membership where you can have access to the community events and network without being tied down with a seat there for RM60/year.


Memberships of WORQ

The pricing varies according to the locations of the coworking spaces.



What started as a merge between Collision8 and Ground in Singapore saw the eventual establishment of Found8 in early 2019. With 5 coworking spaces in Singapore, Found8 has opened its first coworking space overseas in Malaysia in October 2019. Found8 at KL Sentral is also home to StartupMamak.


Accessibility of Found8

The one and only Found8 coworking space in Malaysia at the moment is located in the largest transit hub in Malaysia � KL Sentral, which is easily accessible by buses, LRT, MRT, KLIA Express, and Monorail. Their Hot Desk Unlimited membership allows access to all the coworking spaces; hence, it is ideal for entrepreneurs who travel frequently between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.



KL Sentral




Perks of Found8

Found8 is focused on offering business growth support in the form of consultation, its incubator and innovation programme, as well as investments for all members under Hotdesk Unlimited membership and above. Don’t think you’d be at the coworking space on most days? Their Hotdesk Lite membership grants you access to a specific coworking space at one of their outlets for 10 days a month at just RM390/month.


Memberships of Found8


Entrepreneurs ought to not only look for a space with comprehensive facilities to work in, but also one that houses communities that can support each other’s businesses. Aside from enhancing the quality of facilities and services provided, coworking spaces have been working hard on building close ties within communities through events and networking sessions. Working closely with various partners including government agencies such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC)coworking spaces play a great role in facilitating the growth of the overall business ecosystem in Malaysia. Each coworking space has its unique community and environment to offer; hence, it would be a great idea to explore each space through the open-door events that they organise regularly before making your decision. But hey, whoever said that you can only sign up for one?

6 steps to appointing a new company secretary for your Sdn Bhd

Much like other professional service providers such as accountants and lawyers, the company secretary industry is competitive, with over 16,000 licensed company secretaries in Malaysia according to the SSM Annual Report 2017. Hence, appointing an experienced company secretary to take on various responsibilities for your company is crucial to ensure that your company's governance is in order and in compliance with the Companies Act 2016. Here's an overview of the process of appointing a new company secretary for your existing Sdn Bhd.


1. Provide essential information about your company.

Unlike an employee who is hired to carry out tasks as stated in the job description, an appointed company secretary is personally liable towards your company. Hence, they are required to carry out due diligence before making the decision of whether or not to be appointed as the company secretary of your company. The required documents might vary based on the company secretary's request. These are some of the information and documents needed:


It is ideal that your company has paid off compound if there is any, has filed Annual Return and Financial Statements accordingly in previous years, and the directors are not declared bankrupt.


2. Verify identity for directors and shareholders.

Identity verification, commonly known as KYC (Know Your Customer) among industries, is a mandatory step for the company secretary to ensure that the directors and shareholders are the people they claim to be. This is crucial to prevent fraud and falsification of identity.

Traditionally, it is done through an in-person appointment where the person comes to the office and presents his identity document such as an IC or passport. A digital company secretarial firm may carry out e-KYC for identity verification purposes of directors and shareholders using e-KYC software with the following combination of authentication factors:


3. Confirm the appointment of the new company secretary and the resignation of the existing company secretary.

Once the company secretary has accepted the appointment to be the new company secretary of your company, they will send you and your existing company secretary a notice to confirm the appointment.

Depending on the terms of the appointment, there may be a notice period for the company secretary who resigns. Upon clearing all pending payment(s) to the existing company secretary, you may request for their resignation by issuing a termination letter. The existing company secretary will lodge their resignation and reassignment of the company secretary that indicates who will be the new company secretary to the SSM.


4. Sign the necessary board resolutions for the appointment and resignation.

The new company secretary will prepare some documents to be signed by directors regarding the decision of changing the company secretary. These can be signed electronically.


5. Make payment for the monthly company secretarial fee.

Charges vary across different company secretarial firms. There may be a processing fee for the change of company secretary but most of the firms charge only the monthly company secretarial fee. This step may happen earlier or later depending on the payment term of the company secretarial firm.


6. Sign the board resolution for the change of registered address.

Once the SSM has approved the reassignment of the company secretary, your new company secretary will send you an email to confirm the change. Then, you will sign a board resolution for the change of registered address to change your registered office from the previous company secretary's address to the current one. A registered office is the company secretary's office where all official notices will be sent. Your previous company secretary will also hand over all the company documents to your new company secretary.


Infographic about the appointment of a company secretary for an existing Sdn Bhd.


The process of changing the company secretary for your existing company is more complicated compared to incorporating a new company because there are existing company information that has to be updated and documents to be moved from the previous company secretary office to the current one. The entire process can take several weeks; hence, it is important to keep your statutory documents and company files in order to ensure a smooth company secretary appointment process.

How these businesses in MY & SG built their brands using PR

Public relations (PR) is one of the least understood aspects of a business when it comes to marketing. You might think that it is something costly that exists solely to create hype for your business. The truth is, PR is all about communication and persuasion through mainstream and online media to reach and engage with your potential customers. Here are 5 reasons why you should do PR for your business, with real-life success stories from Malaysian and Singaporean brands.


Establish your business as a thought leader

Customers' loyalty often goes to businesses that they trust and recognise. One way to cultivate this trust is to portray your business as an expert in the industry who is able to walk the talk , figuratively speaking. As PR consistently highlights your brand in a positive context, especially through the mainstream media, potential customers come to trust your business through these credible media that they have been following.


Myeongdong Toppoki leads the F&B industry

Starting out as a small kiosk in Sunway Pyramid in the year 2014, Myeongdong Toppoki (MDT) has expanded to 40 outlets nationwide within 6 years. They have consistently leveraged on PR to spread their brand story and initiatives. Just to name a few:


Besides attracting a wealth of customers to their Korean food business, MDT has established itself as a thought leader within the Korean food industry, positioning themselves in a favourable position for future partnerships and investments.


Build connections with your customers

Getting discovered by customers is just the first step in gaining their loyalty. Building a long-lasting relationship with your customers is the key to making them stay with your business. Customers want to be heard, they like businesses that listen to their needs. Effective use of PR not only engages your customers but also shows that your business is on the same page as them.


GSC kept their customers close despite the lockdown

Despite the pandemic that resulted in the closing of cinemas countrywide in early 2020, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) managed to keep their customers engaged through social media by resonating with their feelings as one of them, who was also affected by the lockdown, through jokes and memes. Their iconic "Hello. Cannot." has since gone viral, they have even started selling merchandises with the social distancing and MCO theme. PR is a way to get close to your customers even in a situation where they are not able to engage in business with you.


Manage communication crisis at the forefront

Social media and the internet have enabled businesses to convey information easier but, like a double-edged sword, they also make issues spread like wildfire as it gets shared and becomes a hot topic among netizens. Issues about your business could start as a small complaint on the Facebook due to a misunderstanding. If left unattended or mishandled, it could spiral down quickly as the initially small complaint gets exaggerated and twisted along the way. PR initiatives help your business to communicate clearly and manage the crisis in a timely manner.


The dead lizard crisis in the packet of Irvin Singapore

Getting attention on the internet due to complaints of unhygienic food products could be a disaster to the entire business. Irvin Singapore faced a similar crisis when a customer discovered a dead lizard in their salted egg fish skin packet. The business apologised publicly and took matters into their own hands by carrying out an investigation immediately, besides offering refunds for customers who are not comfortable with consuming the snacks that they bought. This unfortunate incident was turned into good publicity, thanks to a good PR response.


Tell your story to influence others

There are millions of businesses out there vying for customers' attention, this influx of information could potentially drown out your business' voice. PR helps craft the story of your business from the most engaging angle that customers can relate to. It is often the story that makes people remember your business, not how well your product or service performs.


The nostalgic salted peanuts of Malaysia Airlines

With the international travel ban due to the pandemic in place, Malaysia Airlines reminded its customers the good old times of flying with them by selling their signature salted peanuts on their online store. The nostalgia of travelling on an airplane and memories of receiving good services from Malaysia Airlines had prompted its customers to share their experiences with Malaysia Airlines on social media, amplifying the organic buzz and word-of-mouth that has drawn more people to their business.


Save on advertising costs

Traditionally, the visibility of your business depends heavily on how much you are willing to spend on advertisements. Due to the expensive cost of advertising, the narration and copy of the advertisement are often straight to the point and appear hard-salesy, which can deter your audience. Unlike advertising, PR is about earned media that gets people to talk about your business without paying advertising fees.


A comparison between advertising costs and PR costs

The cost of getting featured in traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV, varies from RM10,000 to RM45,000 per feature, depending on the length and segment of the publication. For out-of-home advertising, more commonly known as outdoor advertising, costs at least 5 to 6 figures a month. These are usually one-off initiatives where once you stop paying, your visibility goes down as well.

The cost of a PR project can range from RM18,000 to 25,000, depending on the PR agency. A PR project is done with the aim to get a lasting impact on your brand visibility through unbiased feature and focuses on educating and informing the public. The scope of work usually includes:


Reasons to do PR for businesses in Malaysia


"Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for," said Helen Woodward, the first female advertising executive in the US. PR is not just about press releases, press conferences, engagement through influencers, online campaigns, or physical events. It is a channel that when used wisely, can result in exponential growth and increased brand recognition among your potential customers. Hence, it is recommended to work with a PR agency that has good track record to navigate the media landscape in Malaysia and get the most out of your PR efforts.



Special thanks to Elliot & Co for the content collaboration in this article. Elliot & Co is a PR agency that is devoted to telling the untold stories of their clients, bringing founders and businesses the recognition they deserve.

Differences between Enterprise & Sdn Bhd for business owners

A commonly asked question among entrepreneurs who want to start a new business for the first time is whether to register an enterprise or to incorporate a Sdn Bhd. In practice, it is common for many entrepreneurs to start their business using an enterprise before deciding to set up a Sdn Bhd several years later. Let’s say you have started your business as an enterprise and you are unsure of the advantages a Sdn Bhd can offer. Here’s what you need to know:

Laws and regulations

From a legal structure point of view, an enterprise is regulated under the Registration of Business Act 1956. It has no legal status, whereby the owner and the business are considered as one entity. Thus, you will be personally liable for debts incurred by your business.

On the other hand, a Sdn Bhd is regulated under the Companies Act 2016, whereby the Sdn Bhd is considered as a separate legal individual with limited liability and is capable of earning incomes, owning properties, signing contracts, as well as suing and getting sued, which separates your liabilities from the Sdn Bhd’s.

Compliance with laws and regulations

An enterprise requires regular renewal with the Registrar of Business to keep the business running. No renewal is required for a Sdn Bhd, but there are more compliance requirements from the SSM, such as:

Other than that, both enterprise and Sdn Bhd are required to adhere to the regulatory requirements of governmental authorities such as business licence application, EPF and SOCSO registration for employees, tax filing, etc.

Ownership and management

For an enterprise, you can either own and manage a Sole Proprietorship on your own or share the ownership and responsibilities of the Partnership with up to 20 business partners. Other than the business owners, you can hire employees to manage the business under the enterprise.

A Sdn Bhd is owned by shareholders who contribute to the paid-up capital of the company and is managed by directors. You can be the sole shareholder and director of a Sdn Bhd without a business partner. The maximum number of shareholders a Sdn Bhd can have is 50. This shareholders limit can be increased by converting the Sdn Bhd structure into public company status i.e. a Berhad.

Signing of agreement

While you may be the authorised person who signs the agreement (regardless of whether you are running an enterprise or a Sdn Bhd), you enter into an agreement in your personal capacity for an enterprise. However, for a Sdn Bhd, you sign the agreement on behalf of the Sdn Bhd. Your Sdn Bhd will bear the legal liability of the agreement, as a Sdn Bhd is a separate legal entity and is separated from its owner; hence, the Sdn Bhd can enter into agreements in its own personal capacity.

Strictly speaking, due to the separate legal personality of a company, every agreement that is signed by a director or a representative of the company must be sanctioned and approved by the board of directors. In other words, the directors must pass a board resolution approving the entering of such agreement and authorising a specific person in the company i.e. a director, CEO and so on to sign off the agreement. In practice, the board may delegate the powers to certain roles like the CEO or manager (usually known as the limit of authority) so that the board may not have to convene every single time an agreement needs to be signed by the company.

However, for an enterprise, there is no legal identity; hence, in case of a breach of agreement, you are held personally liable.

Business income and personal income

All profits earned from a Sole Proprietorship or share of a Partnership will form part of your personal income.

A Sdn Bhd is an entity by itself. The income of the company stays within itself and the company pays its own taxes. Directors of the company can be remunerated via director’s remuneration while shareholders of the company receive dividends as declared by the board of directors of the company based on the profits such as retained earnings available.

Personal income tax and corporate tax

Since a Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership is not a separate legal entity from its owner(s), profits earned by the business will be taxed together with your personal income.

On the other hand, since a Sdn Bhd is an entity on its own, it will pay corporate taxes based on the profits it earns. Director’s remuneration received from the company is considered as personal income to the directors and will be taxed as part of the directors’ personal income. You do not have to pay personal income tax for dividends you receive as a shareholder because dividends are distributed based on its retained earnings which have already been taxed under corporate tax.

While running your business as a Sdn Bhd has its benefits, it is totally fine to start your business as a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership before transitioning it to a Sdn Bhd when you are ready to fully commit to growing your business. Understanding the differences between enterprise and Sdn Bhd helps you make the decision that suits your business most.

Considering to join an accelerator programme? Please don't.

Starting a business for the first time is a brand new journey in your life. With such a steep learning curve to overcome and so much at stake, it's only natural to feel anxious when things do not seem to be going your way. You decide that you need support and an accelerator programme seems like a reputable and reliable choice. However, an accelerator programme might not be the right choice for you for several reasons. Here's when you should think twice before joining an accelerator programme:

You are not keen to do whatever it takes to reach profitability

Starting a business of selling quality handmade products might have been your ambition for many years. This begs the following question, are you willing to make changes and pivot the business if the business model is not scalable, even after trying it out in several markets? The journey towards profitability requires a persevering attitude and a willingness to test and validate your customers' needs, as well as adjust your business model accordingly to make sure that you are selling a product that is in demand in the market. It also means that you might need to pivot your business if things do not work out the way you intended.

Notable businesses that became successful after pivoting

You are just looking for funding

An accelerator is a bootcamp conducted between 3 to 6 months that provides startups with education, mentorship, seed funding, and opportunities to build traction in the market. After your application has been accepted along with other startups in the same cohort, you will go through a series of activities that will help you and your team in building your minimal viable product (MVP), leading up to the demo day when you and other startups will pitch to a group of investors. In short, you can expect the following from an accelerator programme:

More than just monetary support

Different accelerators offer different perks that can give your business a headstart upon launching. For example, Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator allows you to run pilot tests under Sunway Group's diverse business ecosystem which ranges from properties, education, medical to 10 other business units. As a participant in this accelerator programme, you can also acquire talent for your business directly through Sunway University and their new coding school, 42KL.

Nevertheless, participating in an accelerator programme is a huge commitment. If you are just looking for a business fund to mitigate your initial cash flow issue when getting your business started, you should consider to look for bank loans, equity crowdfunding (ECF), peer-to-peer financing (P2P), or angel investors with low touchpoints and commitment requirement.

The four institutions that support startups - image by HBR.ORG

You don't intend to share the equity of your company

Accelerators are essentially businesses that create a suitable environment for startups that facilitate their growth through mentorship, networking, and funding. You do not pay an accelerator in cash, but in return for the assistance and seed funding they provide in growing your business, you give them some equity of your company. An accelerator that holds equity in your company has skin in the game to support your company's growth beyond the fixed term of the accelerator programme.

How much equity will you have to give up?

An accelerator typically acquires 5% to 7% of equity from your company, depending on the stage your business is in. These are some examples of deals renowned accelerators offer:

Equity dilution, where your company issues new shares, does not only happen when you onboard a co-founder, but also when investors invest in your company. If you do not plan to share the equity of your company with an investor, accelerator programmes are not for you. You can opt for bootstrapping in growing your business instead.

You want to be the only founder of your business

As the adage goes, two heads are better than one. Accelerators believe that having at least one co-founder greatly benefits your business in the following ways:

The formula for a good founding team

Tomasz Tunguz, a Venture Capitalist at Redpoint, has shared a few key observations from 30 successful startups, one of them being the average founding team has 2.4 founders where 70% of the startups have at least one technical founder. Apple Inc. is a good example of a great founding team combination — it was founded by Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind the premium design and craftsmanship of Apple, and Steve Wozniak, the technical creator who built each first-generation Apple computer by hand. It also couldn't have happened without Ronald Wayne who provided administrative oversight and documentation for the new venture.

Nonetheless, being a solo founder is not a deal-breaker. Even at Y Combinator, at least 10% of companies funded in each cohort are run by solo founders. You may not have a co-founder when you participate in an accelerator programme, but many startup founders eventually get a co-founder down the line of running the business.

You believe that joining an accelerator guarantees success

An accelerator can provide the seed funding and facilities you need to kickstart your business idea but at the end of the day, you are still the one who is accountable and has to do all the heavy lifting. In an accelerator programme, you learn about how to grow a successful business, get advice from mentors who have been in your shoes, and even receive seed funding to launch your business. These benefits do not automatically translate into success; you'll have to put in the hard work yourself to guarantee your own success. As an entrepreneur, you are expected to come out with ideas and execute them in a timely manner.

Accelerators do not take away the factors of why startups fail

The hard truth is this — the failure rate of venture-backed startups is 75%, according to the Startup Failure Rate: Ultimate Report. Among all the common reasons that lead to a startup failure, the lack of product-market fit is the greatest factor that causes downfall. Despite having all the resources you need, a product that the consumers do not want can hardly succeed; hence, it is your responsibility to validate your product and pivot accordingly if needed. The accelerator can guide you through the decision you make, but it does not ensure that the decision brings success with certainty.

Reasons to not join an accelerator programme

While joining a renowned international accelerator programme may seem far-fetched, there are several accelerator programmes in Malaysia with unique value propositions that might suit the pace you are looking for in growing your startup. Similar to applying for college, it is best to compare different accelerator programmes before deciding on one that you think can help you most. An accelerator programme could be a good launching pad to turn your business idea into reality, but it is up to you to make it happen.

Special thanks to Jeremy from Sunway iLabs for this content collaboration! Launched in 2017, Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs) aims to foster entrepreneurship and stimulate market-driven innovations, to help entrepreneurs become more competitive in this rapidly changing environment. It is structured as a unique, non-profit, smart partnership between Sunway Group, Sunway Ventures/SunSea Capital and Sunway University.

Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator is a 1+3 months accelerator programme designed to take your startup to the next level. Selected startups will have access to markets, mentors, and money. Top 30 startups will be selected for a 1-month pre-accelerator, of which only the Top 5 will qualify for the investment and pilot projects with Sunway through the next 3-months accelerator.

Form 9? S17? - Know the statutory forms of your Sdn Bhd

Whether you are opening a business bank account or applying for a payment gateway service for your e-commerce website, you will be required to provide some statutory documents of your company. The required documents are usually given a 'code word' - F9, F13, F24, F32A, etc. that might not make sense to the general public. In fact, if your company has been incorporated after the year 2016, these document names that start with the letter 'F' are not relevant to your company as per the updates in the Companies Act 2016.

The SSM has published a detailed explanation in the introduction of the Companies Act 2016. You can check out the clarifications on the old and new statutory documents which are listed in Schedule A, B, and C together with attached sample documents. Here's a summary of some essential statutory documents of your company that you should know.

Application for Registration (Superform) - S14

Previously known as Form 24, Form 44, and Form 49.

The Application for Registration, more commonly known as the Superform, is issued right after your company has been incorporated. This document states all basic information of the company such as:

Please bear in mind that since this document is only issued once, the information stated will not be updated; hence, you might need to provide additional supporting documents if there are changes in the information since the date of incorporation.

If you need the latest information on the company, it might be best to obtain the company profile from the MyDATA or e-Info portal.

Notice of Registration - S15

Did not exist previously.

Upon the approval of your company incorporation, the SSM will inform the person who submitted the company incorporation application (who is also known as the 'lodger'), whether it is yourself or your company secretary, through an email. This email is known as the Notice of Registration.

The Notice of Registration is the official notice from the SSM on successful company incorporation.

Certificate of Incorporation - S17

Previously known as Form 9.

The Certificate of Incorporation will not be issued automatically after your company is incorporated, the SSM will email you the Notice of Registration (S15) instead. However, this document is still a requirement for many organisations such as banks and financial service providers as proof of incorporation.

You can purchase this document through the MyDATA or e-Info portal.

Declaration by Person before Appointment as Director - S201

Previously known as Form 48A.

The Declaration by Person before Appointment as Director is signed individually by all directors before the company incorporation application is submitted to declare that they have met the requirements to act as director and have given consent to the appointment.

Notification of Appointment of First Company Secretary - S58&236(2)

Was previously included in Form 49.

Notification of Appointment of First Company Secretary is only submitted once when the first company secretary is appointed within 30 days of the company incorporation. It is to confirm the appointment of the first company secretary for your company.

Lodgement of Constitution - S32

Previously known as Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A).

The adoption of a constitution is not mandatory for Sdn Bhd since the provisions of the Companies Act 2016 and the Third Schedule can be adopted in place of the constitution. Despite this, there are still organisations that request this document to ensure that the company's, shareholders', and directors' power are documented. In such cases, you will need to explain to them that your company does not adopt a constitution.

Even though the adoption of a constitution is no longer mandatory for private limited companies, you are still advised to adopt one under certain situations to grant your company more flexibility in terms of decision making and governance.

Notification of Change in the Register of Members - S51

Was previously part of Form 24.

S51 is a document that shows the changes to the shareholding of the company. It is submitted by the company secretary whenever there are changes towards the shareholding of the company. As such, there can be many S51 documents throughout the lifespan of your company.

However, if there are no changes in shareholders since the company incorporation, your company will not have this document. You can provide the Superform to show the shareholders information. On the other hand, if there are changes in shareholders, this document should be provided alongside the Superform even though only the Superform is requested.

Return for Allotment of Shares - S78

Previously known as Form 24.

S78 is issued once new shares are allotted. It states the information of the new shareholder, the type and class of share issued, and the number of shares issued with its price. After this document is submitted, the company secretary will submit the Notification of change in the Register of Members (S51).

Notification of Change in the Register of Directors, Managers, and Secretaries - S58

Previously known as Form 49.

Each time there are changes in managers, directors or company secretaries of the company, S58 should be submitted to the SSM. Similar to the Notification of Change in the Register of Members, your company can have many S58 documents throughout its lifespan; hence, they should be provided alongside the Superform even though only the Superform is requested.

Instrument of Transfer of Shares - S105

Previously known as Form 32A.

This is an agreement between the transferor and transferee regarding the transfer of shares in the company. It lays out the number of shares, price of the shares, and other details. Once signed, this document is stamped at the LHDN.

Once the shares have been transferred, the company secretary will submit the Notification of Change in the Register of Members (S51) to update the latest shareholding of the company.

Sample documents attached in this article have been taken from the SSM website as well as the MyDATA portal. Except for the Notification of Registration and Certificate of Incorporation that are issued by the SSM, other statutory documents should be prepared by the company secretary and submitted to the SSM. Once the SSM has accepted and approved the documents, they will be uploaded onto the MyDATA and e-Info portals. So, you can either purchase the statutory documents from those portals in the form of digitally certified true copies (CTCs) or request for them to be provided and certified by your company secretary. Since some of the statutory documents might require other supportive documents to be valid, it is best to inform your company secretary of the reasons for requesting the documents so that they can provide the complete set of statutory documents that you need.