Making Your Investment in Indonesia Work

Making Your Investment in Indonesia Work
Photo by Nico Wijaya on Unsplash.

Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have once said, “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” We agree and that’s why we like to share what we’re learning so our clients and partners can better navigate potentially troublesome waters.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

We were having one of our regular think-tank sessions the other day and one of the team asked, “is investment a science or an art?”

That’s an interesting question.

Turns out, it should actually be a bit of both.

It’s science, because you need data, research, strategy and models.

And its an art, because of the conceptual aspects of insight, intuition and creativity.

Finding a balance and joining the dots

Savvy investors know this and find balance between the science and the art. In many senses they’re able to perceive things most folk would miss and then join apparently unrelated dots together. But that requires the knowledge to think that way and that’s where learning comes in. Thanks Ben.

On the surface being in lockdown doesn’t sound too attractive. Most would agree it’s not. But lockdown doesn’t mean the world has stopped spinning. Things may have slowed down and changed some but business is still happening and investments are still being made (and lost.) Some would even argue this current situation is an opportunity like never before.

Positive mindsets matter

At Seven Stones Indonesia we believe in being creative. We believe in the power of a positive mindset. We believe in helping our clients, partners and communities create a better world and to focus on what matters most to them. We deliver peace-of-mind solutions and help businesses grow, which is why we encourage our partners to use these extraordinary times to determine what can be done more efficiently to best prepare for the future.

One way we’re doing this is to look at facts and use our insights and intuition.

It’s a fact that Bali’s primary investment opportunities have been in the tourism industry.

It’s a fact that Bali is perceived as one of the best places in the world to visit; the culture is unique, the people super friendly, the weather fabulous, the F&B scene is taking off, infrastructure is improving and the cost of living is cheaper than most places, including Jakarta.

It’s also a fact that recent changes to the rules and regulations surrounding Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are having a positive impact on Indonesia’s ease of doing business index and one of these changes applies to visas, which have improved dramatically in recent months. That’s why it pays to know where you stand and what options are now open.

There’s no time like the present

Our intuition is leading us to encourage our clients to use this time to clarify their brands and consolidate their investments, to streamline and restructure and look at smarter ways to organize their businesses.

But how do you do that?

Most people are familiar with the idea that thinking outside the box relates to being creative, but a couple of years ago I saw a video that changed my thinking, prompting me to start working on a self-help business book based around the idea of thinking inside the box.

Here’s the story …

Thinking inside the box

A Creative Director of an Ad Agency is meeting with his team. They’re exploring ideas for a new restaurant. The team are throwing out restaurant concepts but they’re all pretty much the same old thing: Greek, BBQ, French Fusion, Indonesian Rijstaffel, Italian home cooking. The Creative Director is nodding (and yawning) but nothing his team has suggested has piqued his interest. Not yet. Not until someone at the back of the room shouts out “how about a restaurant that doesn’t serve food?”

Everyone looks at the guy at the back of the room and the Creative Director raises his hand. “Interesting! ” he says. “Very interesting!! So, team, how are we gonna do that? How are we gonna create a restaurant that doesn’t serve food?”

That’s when the ideas began to flow.

“People bring their own food and it’s like a buffet.”

“We only serve wine and beer.”

“Why not use it as a film set, like they do in Hollywood.”

“We could order from nearby places.”

“We don’t serve food. We serve experiences.”

The Creative Director nodded and smiled. He liked what he was hearing.

“The ‘box’, he said “is your environment, your situation. It is what it is and your limited by it. But it’s a positive thing because it forces you to be creative within it.”

And that’s the point.

We’re living in a time that’s very different to what we’re used to. But that doesn’t mean we just stop. We just have to find creative and positive ways to use the situation to our advantage.

Energising hospitality in Bali

So, here’s how we do that.

If you own a villa resort or hotel in Bali you’re probably suffering from a lack of guests and quite possibly seeing your investment struggling to survive let alone turn a profit. We’ve seen many operations here close permanently and nearly all of them downsize staff. The impact this has had on businesses and the local community has been punishing.

Another side to this box is people’s ability to travel.

Rapid tests, quarantine and expensive flights are clearly having a negative impact on the numbers. And even if you can travel you can’t just arrive and get your 30-day Visa on Arrival anymore. Those days have gone and are unlikely to ever return.

But here’s where we see a silver lining.

The situation is what it is, right? We can’t change that just because we want to. So we’re seeing a positive way to legally combine issuing visas, with long-term villa/ hotel stays.

We think this would not only energise Bali’s tourism industry but also offer a viable alternative to people suffering through awfully Draconian lockdown headaches across the world.

Sponsoring visas makes business sense

We start by asking our clients if their villa resort or boutique hotel is owned by a PT PMA (a foreign owned company) or a PT PMDN (a locally owned company.)

You’d be surprised at how many are not but still think it’s OK to operate. For those that aren’t we suggest they create one.

Why?

Because if your villa resort or hotel is owned by a PT PMA or PT PMDN, you’re now able legally sponsor your guests for a business visa, which is now possible to process as the newly launched e-visa.

And if you’re the sponsor for a visa you can offer that service to your guests. Eureka!

We’re noticing those foreign visitors who have decided to come to Bali during Covid are not here for short-term stays anymore. This makes sense. It’s simply not worth it to travel half way across the world to possibly spend 14-days in quarantine once you arrive. Long-term stays of 6-months or more makes much more sense.

So, if you’re the sponsor for your guests’ visas you’d be able to package these incredible rates with the costs associated with issuing a visa and you’re best long-term stay rates right?

Win-Win-Wins all round!

We see that as finding the balance between the science and art of investing and we believe it’s a win-win-win.

Your villa resort or hotel now has guests. And that means you can re-hire staff. And that means they have money to put food on the table. And your guests also have the opportunity to enjoy a possible extended period of time in one of the world’s most loved tourist destinations. And that has benefits for you, your business and your community.

If your business needs some help and positive advice on how to use lockdowns in ways that combine the science and art of investment, let us know how we can help.

Send us an email at: hello@sevenstonesindonesia.com

This is an updated version of an article that was first published in Indonesia Expat.

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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.