1997’s last quarter could be the worst period of business activity in Indonesia. Many banks closed the business and sharp decrease of rupiah value against dollar made foreign investors run away.
Amidst the bankruptcy of Indonesia banking and chaos situation, CEO SUITE was founded. What made the new company dare to take the risk when others downsized their business is because of the type of service it offered: Instant Office. CEO SUITE offers Physical and Virtual instant Office which enable clients to have their own phone number and phone answering under client’s company name. In physical office (200 companies are registered as client, 99 % of them are foreign companies), the clients rent office space with complete furniture, while in virtual office (100 clients, half of them are expatriate); the clients rent only CEO’s address, which located in Jakarta’s Central Business District. Both services have access to secretarial service.
According to Jenny, irector of Sales & Marketing, instant office business can always run whether the economic situation is good or bad. If economic situation worsen, a lot of companies downsize their business to minimize their expenses, while the situation is good, foreign investors come and open their representative office. Many of them will choose instant office.
This has been proven by the expansion of CEO SUITE. After JSX Office, it opened another branch in GKBI Building in Jakarta. The third branch was opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
One cannot talk about CEO SUITE without mentioning Mee Kim, the founder and president of CEO SUITE. Formerly she worked for an Australian instant office provider which was closed down during the crisis. According to Mee Kim, the Australian company entered Asian market with Australian concept of management. “I saw a wide gap between their expectation and concept that could not be combined. When I opened my own business, I was determined to build a company who understands Asia’s mind and condition,”.
She admitted the difficulty of building a company in the crisis, many who doubted it would last. “We invested over 1 million US dollars when the valuewas still Rp. 2000 per 1 USD,” She realized the profit would take a long time to obtain, but she was optimistic. Normally the profit would be gained within 2-3 years. In the crisis, it would take 7-8 years. Nowadays, the annual gross revenue of CEO SUITE reached US$ 5 millions. With 30 employees in Jakarta and 10 persons in Kuala Lumpur, such a small team is productive and efficient. Besides challenges, CEO employees received training and education on how to behave in international environment because most of the clients are top international companies.
Feng shui and high technology
In order to survive, CEO SUITE has its own way. For Mee Kim, the most important of all that CEO SUITE offer is customer satisfaction. “Client is everything,” she said. Another CEO’s main attraction, Jenny added, is personalized service.
Mee Kim considered price reduction was not always effective. Other competitors reduced the price to attract more clients, but it was unsuccessful and some even went to bankrupt.
CEO SUITE built its office with feng shui design. With office arrangement and design that based on feng shui rules, it was expected that the productivity would increase.
CEO developed its own technology like telephone software, virtual office and accounting. “We believe in high technology. Therefore we continually developed our infrastructure. This is the key to a long run business,” Mee Kim explained. By hiring an IT specialist, the service is better and faster. To improve its service, CEO SUITE cooperates with Telkom and Indosat in serving videoconference facility. With those advantages, Mee Kim sees no other company can compete CEO SUITE. “I have no doubt, CEO SUITE is the market leader”.
Today CEO SUITE affiliates with several serviced office in New York, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Makati City and Singapore. All affiliates aim to offer similar quality of services and facilities.
Their expansion plan in the near future includes Singapore, Makati City, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai.