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DB Entrepreneur of the Month: Jean-Francois Harvey

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My business is mostly about global mobility, so Immigration and Citizenship by Investment. We also assist in relocating businesses and assets. In Discovery Bay, it’s a little different, we do mostly commercial and private client work including International Contract work and Wills. With lawyers from different jurisdictions, we are uniquely placed to help the multicultural community. My business is a success because we continue to adapt to a changing market. We have a ‘can do’ attitude as opposed to a ‘cannot’ attitude. When I opened the DB meeting facilities seven years ago, it was my ‘refuge,’ somewhere I could concentrate on special mandates away from the headquarters in Wanchai. It also allowed the firm to be more approachable to the local community which in turn made the business a success. The thing that interests me most about my business is the people we meet. Because of what we do, we meet successful businesspeople on a daily basis from every possible sphere. What’s special about our work in DB is that all profit generated goes back to the community – hence all the sponsorship and the Harvey Law Group Kart Race [being held on March 16 this year]. To succeed in business, you need to be very patient and you must never hesitate to question yourself. My advice for someone looking to start up a business is to keep it as simple as possible and to adjust to the reality of the business/ market on a regular basis. To start up my business I may have made too many sacrifices on the personal side but at least I learnt from that and I’m doing my very best not to repeat the same mistakes. The challenges I face are constant and on all fronts; the biggest is related to the fact that we are constantly dealing with government entities in over 25 countries – this calls for a lot of patience to put it mildly. My greatest achievement is growing HLG from a small Canadian law firm in 1992 to the international group it is today with 19 offices around the world. Despite this, I’ve found a way to balance business and family life. That is by far my best achievement. My plan for the future is to follow in my father’s footsteps. He retired as a judge at 79 years old, so I think that is the right age for retirement. When hiring staff, I ask why they chose HLG and what they know about us. If their answer is limited to what they can read on our website, the interview usually ends shortly after. The entrepreneurs I most admire have the courage to start a business. It’s not so much about whether they succeed or not, but the fact that they at least try. My favourite social media platform is none of them, nada. While I admit that social media is great for business (most of the time), I still think it is the worst invention ever when it comes to personal usage. My personal motto is to always manage based on the worst-case scenario. Let’s call it a variance of the old saying, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’


Harvey Law Group, www.harveylawcorporation.com


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