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I was born in a remote mountain village in Hubei Province, and my parents have been working outside for as long as I can remember. There are two children in my family, my sister and I grew up with my grandparents. In my childhood memory, there is no mother or father. At that time, I was the king of children in my village and everyone knew I had a very strange temper, so no one dared to mess with me. Even my brothers and sisters didn’t dare to mess with me. I lived in that small mountain village for 18 years and never saw a bus, never saw a mobile phone. I had to walk 2 hours in the mountain to school every day. When I was a child, I was very happy, although the living conditions were difficult. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I walked out of there for the first time. It was 2003, and my parents were working in Shenzhen, which had just been set up as China’s first special economic zone and was experiencing rapid economic growth. My parents caught up with the boom and saved some money.
In the summer of 2003, when I graduated from high school, my parents invited me to visit Shenzhen. I fell in love with the city the first time I came here for a simple reason. No one in Shenzhen’s TV station asked for songs. At 7:30 p.m., after the news broadcast, two commercials were put on, and my favorite TV series began. In the TV station of my hometown, people order songs for their friends, elders or girlfriends every day. At night, the TV repeats those old songs, most of which is Teresa Teng’s song “Sweet Honey”. A lot of people ask for songs every day, and the show doesn’t start until the song is finished. I often wait until one or two in the morning to watch the TV series.
In Shenzhen, I saw a bus for the first time. It was amazing. There were countless buses shuttling around every corner of Shenzhen. In order to be able to watch TV smoothly, I encouraged my father to say ‘let’s buy a house in Shenzhen “, my father said “you know what a fart ah”, my good fantasy so shattered. To know that Shenzhen will become what it is today, an international metropolis, I must have forced my father to buy a house in Shenzhen at that time.
Since that experience when I was 18, the seed of coming to Shenzhen has been planted in my heart. When I was applying for the college entrance examination, I had planned to apply for the university in Shenzhen. There are only two good universities in Shenzhen, “Shenzhen University” and “Southern University of Science and Technology”, both of which score around 600 points, but I only got 520 points in the exam. I just missed Shenzhen.
I’m a person who likes challenges and doesn’t want to stay too close to home. Since can’t go to the south “Shenzhen”, then go to the north! So I took a train one day and one night to Jilin Province in northern China to study international economics and trade.
It was after 3 o ‘clock when I got to school. I put down my luggage and immediately ran to the nearest shopping mall to buy daily necessities. But when I arrived at the mall after half an hour by bus, I found it was dark. Shopping malls are few people, businesses are ready to close. Can you imagine that? It will be dark at three o ‘clock in the afternoon!!
When I returned to the dormitory after buying daily necessities, I found my roommates had started to wash and get ready for bed. Oh, my God, what the hell is this place?
At this time my father called me, “Hey, dad, I have arrived at school, just went to buy daily supplies, ready to take a bath and sleep”.
Dad: “What, you go to bed at four o ‘clock?”
Me: “It’s getting dark here. The shopping malls are closing.”
My father: “I told you not to go so far away from home by yourself. You see how good your classmates are at school in Wuhan. It’s close to home. It’s only four o ‘clock, others are still in class, and you’re asleep.”
Me: “Don’t care too much about my life, Are you bored?”
Dad: “Good guy, you get impatient with my words. How many people are your roommates? Where are they from?”
Me: “Why do you ask so much? Five people, all from Jilin and Heilongjiang.
Dad: “You see, there is no one to speak a dialect with you.”
Me: “ah, all right, I’m going to sleep.”
Dad: “OK, then you pay attention to safety, keep a good relationship with roommates ah.”
Then I took a shower and fell asleep.
As a “Southerner”, life in the north simply turned my imagination upside down. First of all, it’s the time of the north. We go to bed at three or four in the evening. Do you know what time our class starts? 4:00 in the morning! It was daylight a little after three in the morning.. Our morning study starts at four o’clock in the morning.
The second point is the weather in the north. Jilin province is adjacent to South Korea, and the weather is very cold. Even in June and July, it’s 10-20 degrees. At its coldest, it’s 40 degrees below zero, and you’re stuck in a heated room. Anything liquid will freeze as soon as it leaves the heating room. But one of my favorite things about our school’s gym class was taking us skiing in the park, which was my favorite pastime in college.
The third point is the northern people’s diet, the northern people like to eat scallions, regardless of the male and female. And that scallion is not cut, directly a whole, washed straight to eat, more fastidious students may be dipped in sauce. To tell the truth, looking at a particularly beautiful girl with a green onion to eat, the image really let me this southerner difficult to accept. People in the north eat scallions just as we eat fruit.
The last thing is the Northerner takes a bath. School dormitories in the north do not have separate bathrooms, only public bathhouses. There is only a big bathhouse in our school, can accommodate a lot of people, boys and girls share one, at least the use of different time. Monday, Wednesday, Friday the baths are open to girls, Tuesday and Thursday to boys. I remember the first time I went to the bathhouse to take a shower. I was completely naked when I walked in. It was really embarrassing. I haven’t been to the bathhouse since then.
I have not given up the desire to go to Shenzhen in 4 years. I knew I had to make money if I wanted to stay in Shenzhen. That’s why I spent four years of college working on money. I happen to study international economy and trade, so I chose the direction of international trade. In the first three years of college, I finished learning all the books about economics and trade in the school library. After the final examination in the first semester of my senior year, I had finished all the certificates that I should have taken at that time, “Cet-6” Customs broker card” and so on, and I have self-taught all the university books, grades have been in our class top. At that time, I felt that I had all the necessary conditions for starting a business. I applied with a counselor to withdraw from school. I bought a train ticket and was ready to go to Qingdao. I was ready to go to Shenzhen for a week before starting my business. The counselor didn’t want me to drop out, but he couldn’t beat me. After a week in Qingdao, I thought a lot, and finally, I figured it out. I bought a ticket back to school, and stayed for more than six months, of course, I have been reading for the past six months. It wasn’t until 2007 that I officially graduated and left school.
After graduation, I came to Shenzhen immediately. It was July 2008, I was alone with my luggage when I came to Shenzhen to live with my aunt. I wanted to start a business, but I didn’t have the money to start it, and I lacked social experience. I decided to get a job, earn money and gain work experience. I thought I was an undergraduate, but with all kinds of certificates, find a job is not a problem. But I found that my advantage in this reality of society is not worth mentioning, the job search process is not smooth. I shuttle every day in Shenzhen’s various talent markets, when the network is not developed, there is no various recruitment platform, job search can only go to the talent market or directly to the company one after another to ask. In this way after half a month, with a few good classmates to talk on the phone, found that they have been at work. And I have been academic performance better than them, but still struggling in the job market. My parents and aunt ask me about my job search every day, and I’m really embarrassed. On July 20, I made up my mind to settle down my job today. I thought to myself, “No matter how good the job is, I’ll go if someone wants me.”
That morning I interviewed a freight forwarding company, after the interview they let me go home and wait for the results. I was ready to go to another company interview in the afternoon. On the way, I received a phone call from the freight forwarding company, which informed me that I had passed their interview and asked me when I could start work. I said excitedly, “Tomorrow will be fine.”
And so my working life began. That freight forwarding company is called Huanfaxintong (Tianjin) International Freight Forwarding Co. , Ltd. . My position is freight forwarding salesman. My main job is to develop customers and find trade companies to cooperate with our company. At that time, we had two kinds of customers, one was a foreign trade factory, the other was a trading company. It was the first time that I was really exposed to international trade. I found out that in addition to factories, there were also trading companies doing business with foreigners. Our company is located in Shenzhen International Trade Centre Building in Luohu District. It is located in the center of the city. But the real factories are in the suburbs. The factory is so far away from the city that it is out of reach of the average freight forwarder. Most freight forwarders are rushing to develop trading companies in the city. The advantage of developing a trading company is that the cost of communication is low, but the competition is too strong. So our company set up a new department, to the outskirts of the industrial area to develop those other freight forwarders can not reach the real factory, the company decided that this is a golden zone.
I joined with three other kids. After joining the company, we went through seven days of intensive training at our downtown office on port and port-to-port transit times in different parts of the world. After seven days of training, the company rented a house for four of us in the suburbs, and we started business development. We spent every day walking around various industrial areas, going door to door and talking to factories, hoping that they would cooperate with us. I went to at least 30 factories a day, and every day I wnt back, my feet were chafed. The hardest part was that the entrance to each industrial area was guarded by security guards who wouldn’t let us in. We can only reason with them in so many ways.
During this period I found that many factories in the industrial zone do not do foreign trade at all. They did not have their own sales teams. They just produce and sell to domestic trading companies. So they didn’t need freight forwarders at all, which was the biggest problem I had at the time.
Of course, some changes have taken place in the past few years, and these factories have started to face the domestic consumers directly through channels such as Taobao and Doddo. No longer just pure production. Over the years, with respect to intellectual property rights and fierce market competition, the whole pattern has changed a little. Many companies began to take the road of branding and specialization, investing money to do some research and development or to optimize and improve the well-known brand goods of foreign trade. At the same time, the selling price of the product was greatly raised, and the profit was very objective.
However, the production is still the same, smart professional buyers still like to work with some small factories, because they have a better price. A product, everyone’s raw materials are the same, quality control and so on are almost the same, the difference is only the price. A number of companies have emerged that are good at marketing and research and development and improvement. Of course, most of them are still unknown or even unable to be found. They are all capable of production without differentiation, but one is they are not good at marketing, and second they has no funds and strength to invest in research and development.
My first job lasted only two months, during which time I became good friends with three other colleagues who joined me. Two of them, like me, had just graduated from college. The other had been working for four or five years. He had worked on construction sites, so the job wasn’t too hard for him. The three of us are tired to death when we go back to the dormitory every night. He is the only one still full of energy. I remember when it was the most relaxed time, the four of us lying in bed at night, talking about their day’s news, then fell asleep. In the second month, the three of us couldn’t take it anymore, so we decided to leave. Finally, after the second month’s pay, the three of us left, and only one of us stayed.
It’s kind of funny what finally got me to leave. At that time I was shuttling in various factories every day, some factories also have foreign trade salesman. In this process, I got to know some foreign trade salesman. In my conversation with them, I found that their English level is not as high as mine, at least I have Cet-6, some of them did not even go to college.
And they master the skills such as doing forms, customs clearance and so on, this I can also! But I was so hard every day, to run around, but also in front of the factory yes-man. How cool it is to be a salesman, just sitting in the office and chatting with foreigners every day. And the salary of foreign trade salesman is about 6000 CNY, there are commissions, and I only 2000 CNY a month. So I resolutely resigned and decided to set foot on my road of foreign trade salesman.
The job as a freight forwarding salesman didn’t make me any money, but dealing with factories every day for the past two months has given me a deeper understanding of the foreign trade industry. The real factories tend to be focused on production, and the foreign customers really reach out to the trading companies.
With a certain amount of social experience, I quickly found a second job. The second job was as a foreign trade salesman in Hyd Electronics Co., Ltd. . The salary has doubled. The company has its own factory and trade department in Longhua District of Shenzhen. The trade sector is also divided into domestic trade and international trade. The company is committed to the solar chargers, solar backpack products R & D and production. Our factory and office are next to each other, in the same building, so I often go to the factory to see the workshop production. The production department of our factory is about 50 people. The production supervisor used to work for Foxconn.
Staff turnover in the workshop is high, with people leaving almost every week.
Our products are of low technical content, and the key positions of internal staff are all relatives or fellow townsmen of the boss. Of course, this is a very common situation in Chinese factories.
Chinese people attach great importance to “relationship”, which leads to the company’s chaotic management and low production efficiency. For example, our company has five foreign trade salesmen, and one of them is a relative of the boss, so the factory often gives priority to the production of his orders.
The operation of the production industry is very difficult, as long as one link goes wrong, the whole thing will be lost. So the factory’s product quality is also difficult to guarantee.There are many reasons for this, of course.
First, the market competition is too big, the price can not be raised, resulting in low factory profits. At that time, it was free for suppliers to register Alibaba account, and there was no bidding ranking. Only you knew English, and if you had the supply of goods, you could open an Alibaba account to do foreign trade without any cost. And at that time, China had a lot of labor force, so the production cost was much cheaper than other countries. It was a very fashionable thing to import from China, and foreign buyers were very eager to import from China. In those days, transportation was not as developed as it is today, and only wealthy big sellers could travel to China to find suppliers or set up branch offices. With abundant suppliers, Alibaba has become the best channel for small and medium-sized buyers to find suppliers from China. Chinese suppliers, on the other hand, have to sell at low prices in order to win customers and capture a larger market share.
Second, the factory control ability is poor. In many cases, it is not that salesmen do not want to deliver quality goods to customers, but that factories have to purchase inferior raw materials in order to save costs. And the factory workers and quality inspectors are very backward thinking, they think that as long as the product is barely passable, it will work anyway. They don’t talk to the customer, so they don’t think from the customer’s point of view. For the people in the workshop, the most important thing is to finish the task on time every day and get paid.
Here’s a look at some of the drama I encountered while working at Hyd, the series of events that led me to leave after three months.
Half a month into the job, I had some potential clients. One of our customers, Aron, happened to come to Hong Kong to attend an exhibition, so I invited him to visit our company and take a look at the samples of the products he was interested in. The client readily agreed, and I was very excited at that time, thinking that I could talk freely with foreigners in a suit, just like the white-collar elite in the TV series. Although I got good grades in English at college, it was the first time that I actually communicated with foreigners. I’m afraid I can’t understand what foreigners say, that would be ugly.
I was both excited and nervous for a few days, thinking that I must do well to win the client so that my living expenses will be covered. I often went to the workshop to watch the production process of this product. In the evening, I listened to English radio stations to practice my listening skills.
Finally, the day came when the client came from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. The boss drove his Honda car with me to the Luohu port to receive customers. It was still hot in Shenzhen, and I was wearing a white t-shirt, black jeans and a pair of casual shoes. That was the best suit I had at the time.
When I set up an appointment with Aron, Aron had already sent me a picture of him, so I saw him in the crowd at once. Aron isn’t as dressed up as I thought he would be, and he’s wearing a t-shirt and slacks. Aron was German. He was tall and thin. I still remember those dark eyes. Watching Aron in the crowd, I worked up the courage to shout “Hi, Aron”. Aron came over immediately and shook hands with me warmly. Then I introduced him to our boss and drove him to our company.
First, I showed him around our workshop. I introduced him to the basic situation of our factory and the products being produced on the production line. I remember at that time Aron’s facial expression is still quite satisfied with our factory, I secretly elated. Then we went to the sample room to look at the samples.
Our sample room displays dozens of samples, Aron is interested in more than a dozen products. Our engineer then shows Aron how each of these products is used. And that’s when the accident happened. When demonstrating a solar charger, we can’t charge it anyway. It was so embarrassing. “It should be a defective sample, we will show a quality sample to you.”But the foreigner is not a fool, think we will not show the defective sample to him. There was still a small chance in my mind that the client might not have noticed. The rest of the session passed without incident. However, after the customer finally returned to China, he did not say that he wanted to place an order.
The second thing that happened was that two months after I started my job, a client ordered 1,000 units of products from me. However, after the factory delivery, customers complained that nearly 30% of the products are unable to charge and other issues. The customer asked us to replace the qualified goods for him, I also feel very guilty, think we should compensate the customer. But the factory is only willing to repair, not promised to exchange new products to customers. If we fix it, we’ll have to take the product apart, and we’ll lose a lot of money. In short, the factory does not actively cooperate with processing, let me in a very awkward situation.
The third thing is that the customer orders a batch of knapsacks. Soon after the customer received the goods, there was a serious quality problem and the factory could not solve it properly. This time the factory said that the products were normal when they left the factory, and the problems that occurred after the customers received the goods were beyond the factory’s responsibility. I am a small salesman can not compete with the factory.
Through this series of events, I am very dissatisfied with the company’s handling of the way. The company is focused on its own interests and has no intention of creating value for its customers by solving their problems. In this way, it is difficult for me to explain to the customer that I failed to live up to the customer’s information, so I decided to resign.After assisting these customers to deal with the follow-up problems, I left Hyd Company.
This job made me realize that the future of international trade is very promising. If I can take root in this way, I will get rich one day.
I didn’t stop after I left Hyd Electronics Co. Ltd. On the third day, I found a third job, still a foreign trade salesman. This time I came to the electronic products world of Shenzhen – Huaqiangbei. Shenzhen HYEC Co., Ltd is a trading company with no factory of its own. The main export of MP3, MP4, U disk and other electronic products, procurement channels are 100% from China’s first street Huaqiang North.
Our boss, Jam, was a middle-aged man in his 40s, extremely sophisticated. All the key positions in our company are related to the boss. The company mainly has two big departments, the Foreign Trade Service Department and the purchasing department. The Ministry of Foreign Trade has a maximum of five personnel. The 2 purchasers are the boss’s relatives, one is the boss’s cousin. Corporate relationships are complicated.
On the one hand, because the market demand is exuberant, on the other hand, the market competition is also big, the company does not honestly do business, all kinds of cheating routine fly everywhere. A common approach is to upgrade your software and replace it with a better one, even outright scams, such as mp3s sent to customers with only one shell and no internal parts, make them completely unusable. The value of the company is very distorted, the boss is only focused on the short-term profit, he doesn’t expect the customer will buy again, so he cheats the customer.
Business talks are almost always about price. Prices always have a bottom line, especially MP3, MP4, U disk and other products chip costs, this piece of price control is not in the hands of wholesalers, traders or even factories. The so-called factory’s duty is only to assemble the chips, which are all decided by the manufacturers in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, at the same time, also according to the abundance of goods in the market, and even the tightness of the customs, etc. .
Often clients think they are talking about a price that has been cut to perfection, so they place a large order for, say, $50,000 or $100,000. This price may be far below the normal cost of the chip, as well as the cost of shell materials and assembly costs, so what to do?
The company will deliver upgrades or even shoddy ones.
Does the salesman know?
She knows, but the company encouraged her to do so, the boss will even personally come over to the salesman transmission experience, of course, such a customer will only clinch a deal once.
So this company has a very high turnover rate. When I arrived at this company, the last salesman just left, I took over all her chat accounts, such as Yahoo, MSN, Ali wang-wang and so on, and a lot of mailing lists.
I thought it was nice to have a customer base that I could use instead of having to develop my own. As soon as I said hello to these customers, I realized it was wrong.
The clients seemed angry as if I had done something wrong. I felt very strange, but I had to confess to the client that I was new here and I had just taken over Alan’s account. Clients would come to me and say, “You’re a fraud company. I’m going to sue you for my loss. If you have any conscience, you should leave this company at once.”
As a recent college graduate, this is my third job, and I didn’t have enough money to leave right away. So I decided to see if I could talk about some normal quality goods.
Through persistence and strong demand, I was able to land an Indian client very quickly. The customer is very knowledgeable, and the price is very low. After a few emails, the client was so interested that he flew directly from India to Hong Kong and said he wanted to come to the company for a meeting to finalize the order.
First, of course, take the customer to the factory inspection. We are a foreign trade company, so the factory must be owned by someone else. In fact, it was the first time for me to visit this factory, so I was accompanied by people from the factory during the whole journey, which made me seem familiar with this factory. All relationships in the factory, the boss and colleagues have been coordinated and communicated. I don’t need to worry, I just need to translate the customer’s question, then convey it to the factory, and then answer the customer.
After the customer inspection factory, very satisfied with our factory, my heart of the stone is finally landed. Back at our office downtown, we began formal negotiations on the details. My colleague told me that Indian clients are very good at undercutting prices, and I was encouraged. I thought how to drive down the price, can not be lower than the cost price, after all, I can not sell upgrade in any case to cheat customers.
During the negotiation, the client told me that the competition in the Indian market was fierce. Secondly, the cost of passing the customs would be greatly increased and it would take a long time, so the highest price could only be given so much. Finally, after I consulted with my boss, he decided that the price was OK and could be fixed. When the customer returned to India, he placed the order immediately. I have checked and found that the normal profit is more than RMB 5 million, which is not bad. Thought everything was going well,
One month later, the purchaser notified me that the goods were ready, and let me inspect the goods. I saw that the situation was not right, and a 200M file could not be opened when it was put into a 512M U disk. Only then did I understand that these U disks were upgraded. The buyer explained various explanations, saying that the delivery time was too tight, and this batch of goods was temporarily adjusted. I said that temporary adjustments can’t reduce the quality so drastically, it’s not a thing at all.
Finally, the buyer said let me ask the boss. I think it is necessary to talk to the boss about such a big thing and then knocked on the door of the boss. The boss’s statement is similar to purchaser’s, but I can’t explain it.
“I think it’s too unprincipled to do this. I will go to talk to the customer to allow some time, and we can re-require the factory to make qualified goods.” But the boss disagreed, saying that the customer’s delivery time should be met. In this way, who will bear the loss of the unqualified goods and so on?
Then I told the boss, that way, I can’t keep up with this customer, the boss immediately called the business manager to the office (this is actually a very rude act of contradictory.) The boss said that I don’t need to deal with this customer and the business manager will take over.
I sent a QQ blog, said I want to start my own business, then I can control everything. The next day my boss probably saw my blog and asked me if I wanted to start a business. I said” yes, that’s what I want.” If my boss tells me to quit, I’m fired. I asked when I would be paid. He said he’d send it to me by the end of the month. By the end of the month, he still hadn’t given it to me. I was working at another company, and I was too busy to deal with such a disgusting person, so I let it go.
What this experience has taught me is that it’s really hard to find a company that fits your values and does business for a long time. Most trading companies only focus on the interests of the moment, can not give customers to maintain a long-term partnership. Factory or foreign trade companies, to provide customers with qualified products and quality service is kingcraft!
In 2009, I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I borrowed 10,000 CNY from my parents to start my own business. I worked in Huaqiang North for a while and know a lot about electronics. And at that time the mobile phone just began to rise in China, I saw this wind, decided to do the mobile phone trade at home. In fact, my ideal is to do international trade, but at that time I was fledgling, coupled with insufficient funds, I decided to start from domestic trade.
I persuaded a friend to start a business with me. We rented a peasant house in the Luohu District of Shenzhen. That kind of house is very close together, the windows are blocked by other houses, the daytime without lights is as dark as night. Fortunately, the monthly rent is cheap, only 500 CNY a month. The house is both our office and our dormitory. The layout is very simple, only a computer, a mobile phone and a table, and then a bunk bed shelf. We started our business in that little house.
Our plan is to buy mobile phones from Huaqiangbei Wholesale Market. We then hired someone to build a website using a template as a sales channel and started selling phones. It is such a simple business model, so I was surprised to receive a lot of orders every day. The web order is actually okay, there are several orders every day. Because we didn’t understand the potential of the internet at the time, we wanted to expand offline channels.
So I started to develop my business at mobile phone retail stores in remote counties in other cities, leaving my friend in charge of online orders. Because manpower is limited, he is not only responsible for the purchase, but also responsible for the website, phone calls, shipping and other matters, slowly a lot of business on this side of the website too late to deal with.
But I just found out that offline channels are harder. At that time, I was too young to be determined and gave up when the offline business was not going well. My friend and I went our separate ways and started looking for jobs. My first business lasted six months and ended in failure.
Although the first business did not succeed, but this let me know the hardships of entrepreneurship. It’s really not easy to start a business by doing everything yourself. If you go to work, you can take time off. If you start a business, you work all the time. If you don’t work for a few days, everything stops. And work income is not stable, all the funds are invested in the stock above, the money earned every month is not enough next month stock.
Once, there was a buyer from Fushun, Liaoning Province in the northeast, who bought three machines directly from our website. It says on our website that we will give free gifts such as TF card, but my friend forgot to put the free gifts when packing. So, after the buyer receives the machine, contact us to say that did not receive the gift, ask us to send it again. My friend answered the phone. Maybe we were under a lot of pressure. My friend was a little agitated. We quarreled with each other and the buyer said we were dishonest.
This incident makes me feel that misunderstanding between the seller and the customer is very easy to happen. Building trust and sticking to customers first is a matter of consensus. A team can only succeed if it adheres to the value of putting customers first. The promise to the customer must be able to do, only satisfied customers will return the order, the business can be long. When the market situation is good, not paying attention to integrity is a very dangerous thing. Such a business was not destined to last.
It was 2009 when Taobao became popular. I am a veteran Taobao fan. I have been shopping from Taobao since 2004 in college. At that time, we were not using smartphones, Taobao was still a website, there was no APP. I was the first one in our school to shop from Taobao. I remember I had to cross the whole city of Changchun to get the first Taobao express. At that time, there was only one express station in the whole city. Later, there were more and more express points, which were closer and closer to me. By the time we graduate, our school will have a delivery station. I have witnessed the development of Taobao all the way.
In 2009, I was browsing Taobao in my rented room to buy a few pairs of socks. Accidentally saw a product – heating pads. When I was a student in Changchun, I used to feel like ice when I went to class. There is no central heating in my hometown, which makes it even colder in winter. And heating pads baby solves this problem, if you can stick heating pads to go to class or sleep, it must be very comfortable. I predict that this product will be a hot seller. I immediately started doing my homework to learn more about the product. After studying it, I found that there were many vendors selling baby warmers on Taobao, and the prices were uneven. I couldn’t tell the difference between the product and the supplier. JD.com and Dangdang also sell warm babies, which are a little more expensive than Taobao, but the platforms guarantee that they can be returned if they are not of good quality. To be on the safe side, I decided to buy from JD and Dangdang. I purchased 3 boxes of heating pads from Jingdong and Dangdang respectively to test the market.
At that time, there was no chat software like WeChat. My strategy was to let the other person call us with a phone number, and I would give a free tablet of heating pads for free trial. I want customers to experience the value of my products in advance and start buying them after they know the benefits of my products. My way of publicity is to distribute leaflets, and I designed a poster by myself. The front side of the poster is the product’s picture introduction and my contact information, and the backside is the use scene of the product. I designed a total of four use scenes, one is the bride wearing a wedding dress, one is a girl in the menstrual period, one is the old grandmother, one is a child with chilblains.
This strategy has been very successful. The six boxes sold out quickly, and I was ready to take the project to the next level, so I asked two friends to join me. The second time I think do a big job, considering the online buyers are also wholesalers, which increased a lot of intermediary fees. So I found a reliable heating pads factory on the website and bought 100,000 pieces. Heating pads’s purchase price is 50 cents a piece, the retail price 3 CNY, the profit space is very big.
This product has just been put on the market and is quite a novelty. Therefore, many people are not familiar with using it. Although we have been emphasizing the use method of it to customers, some old ladies still stick the product directly on their skin after buying it, causing low-temperature scald. Therefore, in the early stage, we need to spend a lot of time to promote this product and cultivate the market.
We get some calls from time to time every day, but the sales are still not up. After a month, there are still more than 70,000 of the 100,000 pieces of warm baby.
We still lack input in personnel and organization. With 100,000 pieces, there was only a sales force of 3 people. What’s more, all 3 of us have no marketing experience. We only know how to distribute leaflets on the street, but we don’t know how to expand sales channels. After spring, the heating pads sales season has passed, and our sales are very poor. We didn’t stick with it, and the project ended in failure.
Later I looked back on the incident and realized how naive I had been. To sum up experience, we must know how to use intermediate channels, such as various retail stores, snack bars, convenience stores. We sell wholesale to them, and then we charge them money after they sell out. The retail price is 3.0 CNY, and we add 0.2 CNY to sell to them. Then we split the profits with them so that they can make a profit, and our sales will increase dramatically.
If we had done that, it would have been a very successful project.
In the end, due to other projects, time and other reasons, nearly 5,000 pieces were sold, and the rest was stacked at home and expired.
I’m sorry to hear that.
Now, the manufacturer that supplied me with heating pads has become a big national brand, which proves that I was not wrong at that time. This product is really promising, but unfortunately I did not stick to it.
The time came to 2010, after the previous heating pads project failed, I still did not give up, perhaps because of young and reckless, or perhaps because of the persistence of the entrepreneurial dream.
I believe that every entrepreneur has this experience, that is, after failure, more eager to succeed. And more determined to get something done. So after two small businesses, I mature a lot and learn a lot. Not as young as I was.
I gradually began to explore the business opportunities around me, but I couldn’t come up with any good ideas. On a hot afternoon in June 2010, I accidentally walked into an Internet cafe. Seeing that the cafe was full of people, I calmly walked to the front desk, threw my ID card at the boss and said loudly, “Please open a computer for me and bring me a drink.”
The boss kept quiet, turned on my computer and handed me a drink. I looked for a computer in the corner and sat down, turned it on, and said curses to myself “What a stupid computer. It’s running so slow.”
When open the computer that moment, depressed mood moment for a long time much better, feel back to the state of work, then I opened the music website played “in the spring”. I woke up with a start when I heard the lyrics, “No credit card and no her.”
Instantly, I associate the computer wall of the Internet cafe with the products I sold before because the computer wallpaper of the Internet cafe is the system’s own, and the desktop of the computer is clean and tidy, without any items. I think if every computer wallpaper was replaced with my ads, there would be millions of people seeing my ads every day.
At this time, I was pleased and felt that this project must have great prospects for development. Because to an Internet cafe, change a piece of wallpaper, or post advertisement on the desktop, do not increase any cost almost, and still can increase his income. So I immediately opened the browser to search the county how many Internet cafes and how to design wallpaper, etc.
After some searching and investigation, I had a general idea of what was going on, and I went ahead with it. I came to the internet cafe, find the internet cafe administrator, with him after a brief chat about my ideas. He seems to understand but simply said an “I can not make decisions, you go to the boss to talk.”. So I perfunctorily answered a” ok”!
At this time, I left the Internet cafe in a hurry and made statistics of all the internet cafes in the county seat, and then talked about cooperation one by one. Unfortunately, most Internet cafes refused me immediately after I said I wanted to cooperate with him in a project, without giving me any chance to listen to what I said. But I continued to visit various Internet cafes until I came across one called Crystal Love. The administrator of the Internet cafe surnamed Yuan, a single name of a “hao” word, known as “Hao brother”. He was very interested in the project I talked about and immediately invited me to an independent office for a detailed discussion. During the discussion, he told me that he knew all the owners of Internet cafes in the whole county and that he could easily deal with all the owners and that I did not need to continue to visit other Internet cafes.
At this point, I was more confident in the project, thinking that if he could get all the owners of these Internet cafes done, the whole thing would be half a success. So I to this matter is lax, after returning home, I sent the plan book of the whole project to Hao brother, but he did not respond tardily. So I went to the Internet bar again to talk to him about these details, such as how to implement it, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. But when I went to the internet cafe, I found that he had resigned. At this point, I was completely devastated. Feeling that everything and people around are not satisfactory, are not reliable. Always depend on yourself.
From then on, I learned that you should take action first to do anything. You may encounter unexpected opportunities along the way. Someone or a resource can greatly improve your efficiency, but never rely on others to solve a problem.
After a few struggles, my savings, including the 10,000 CNY I had borrowed from my parents, were gone. Instead, I’m in debt for 10,000 CNY. I began to look for a job, is still a foreign trade salesman. I found Shenzhen X-World Technology Co.Ltd this tim.
X-word is a small company, also in Huaqiangbei, in the heart of Shenzhen. It is clearly a trading company. I have to say that the company name is really strong, it is surprising that this is actually a small company.
There are 8 people in the company. The boss is a purchaser, less than 30 years old; the proprietress is a business manager, also very young; there is a purchaser is the boss’s brother-in-law; there is a boy responsible for packing. There are 4 salesmen. 4 of them are girls. The boss and his wife feel that the scope of the office is a little depressed, and are all girls, so they want to recruit a man to do business supervisor, can activate the atmosphere. With a better company atmosphere, the performance will be better. So I became the business director of the company.
The company’s main products are accessories for iPhone, Samsung popular models, as well as iPad, such as protective shell, screen protection stickers and so on. The product is relatively simple, good quality is known at a glance. I don’t want to try any more products with too many scams. the Chinese “Wisdom” is a bit strong.
After coming to the company for a week, I soon got to know everyone. They told me that the woman who had just left my job was Samia and that she had started a business with my boss. Now she is leaving the company because she has prepared her own entrepreneurial journey. In fact, the operation of a trading company is very simple. 30,000 CNY a year can be used to open an Alibaba international account, and then several buyers can be hired to take goods from the Huaqiangbei market, with a monthly salary of 5,000 CNY. Equip yourself with a computer, a network cable can be immediately open for business. The goods are delivered directly to the freight forwarding company, very simple.
It’s even easier if you still have some loyal old customers who are willing to go with you. Of course, starting a business means that everything must be done by oneself, and there is still a threshold to be crossed in my heart. In short, there are many opportunities. The other 4 colleagues are Sally, Annie, Chole and Monica.
Monica said she really admire Samia, and she wants to start her own business.
The foreign trade trend in those years was really good, and it was easy to get customers to make deals with them. The company has assigned me the account of Alibaba, so I just need to maintain the account simply. I received the sample order very quickly. Because we do not produce products, we just go to the market to get spot products, so high efficiency, reliable quality. I won the order very quickly and my income went up very quickly. I used to think it was very difficult to maintain a monthly income of more than 3,000 yuan, but I was surprised to break through soon. Income is basically more than 10 thousand a month.
Since then, the performance has been relatively stable. I live under great pressure every day, but I am very motivated. I’m motivated every day to go to work and achieve better results. I said in my heart, find the right product, the right channel, the right mode things will become relatively simple. When I have more money in hand, I can go out and do my own foreign trade company.
After about half a year, I thought it was time to jump out and do it myself. After a general discussion with colleagues in the company, two colleagues unexpectedly said they were ready to leave the company long ago. They put me in line and left last.
After Monica left, she started her own business immediately. She even talked to our colleague who was in charge of packaging and asked him if he would like to join her.
After a month, another colleague, Chole, also left and set up a trading company by herself. That is to say after I came to the company, the whole company left three colleagues, and then all of them started their own businesses, and all of them were trade companies. Later I understood the whole development of the trading company in Shenzhen is such, a person does a salesman he can open a trading company by himself if he succeeds a little! That’s why there are so many trade companies in Shenzhen
Shenzhen’s industrial development chain is very successful, which means that as long as you do a certain link well, the upstream and downstream can be done by others.
For example, in trade companies, you only need to be responsible for finding customers, and other procurement and logistics have special companies responsible for. So it is very easy to establish a trading company. As for finding customers, you only need to pay 30,000 CNY to Alibaba or Global Resources to start your own business.
During this period of work, I experienced a particularly big thing that inspired me.
While working on X-word, I met a client, Milo. His office is directly above our company, so he often asked me to come over to communicate something. He’s a Croats, he’s been in Shenzhen for years. He’s found a lot of big foreign buyers, so he wants to set up a purchasing team in Shenzhen to fill these orders.
We happened to have a contact at work, and he often purchased some accessories from our company. So he approached me and asked if I was interested in joining. Because it is not clear whether this project is reliable, so we communicated about the salary in the early stage. Then I started helping him part-time, outside of my job at X-World, I started helping him find suppliers and develop products. The products are quite miscellaneous. After seeing the customer’s purchase target price, I found that the price difference is still very large and the profit is very considerable, which further confirmed my idea of opening a foreign trade company.
A lot of buyers don’t fully realize that the real Chinese suppliers are really cheap. After working together like this for some time, I found it difficult to both. I don’t sleep until 1-2 in the morning every day. I’m so tired. So I introduced other friends to join Milo.
Then I took into consideration that Milo’s products are very mixed, and many of them are not sourced in Shenzhen or even Guangdong, so it would be a waste of time to travel all over the country. Choose something simple and cumulative, so I finally considered passing up the opportunity.
I decided to continue working at X-world for a while and then start my own business when the time was right.
During this work, I found many foreigners who had set up purchasing offices in China and hired local Chinese to do the sourcing. But in most cases, these buyers are not professional, they are only English-speaking assistants. They didn’t clearly know the factory production process and cost control because they spend most of their time in the office, they had never even been to the factory.
This makes me firmly believe that foreign trade is a promising industry that can create great value. After the previous experience, I summarize the following points:
1. Can not become a dishonest trading company. Companies that don’t create value for their customers are doomed to fail;
2. Manufacturing is very difficult. If one link is not well controlled, everything will be lost.
3. The prospect of the foreign trade industry is very considerable, but we must adhere to the customer first.
After working in X-word for 6 months, I have fully mastered the skills and experience needed to establish a foreign trade company, and have a certain understanding of freight and purchasing. I saved tens of thousands of CNY and started my own business again. This time I was ready and confident about the future. At the same time, I also have the determination to stick it out.
In 2012, I registered my own trading company vv cheng Limited began to deal in electronic products. My business model is simple. I registered an Alibaba account to develop customers, and I also accumulated some old customers before. After receiving the order, my wife went to Huaqiang North to purchase it. With my previous entrepreneurial and working experience, my entrepreneurial journey this time was particularly smooth. Although it has only one Alibaba account, there is never a shortage of customers. By 2014, the company had grown from two people to more than 20. Annual sales have continued to grow to more than ￥40 million. In 2016, the company’s performance was in an outbreak period. The annual sales volume was as high as 50 million, which is generally 30 million or 40 million for a factory with 50 or 60 employees.
Of course, I also experienced some setbacks in these four years. The worst one was being cheated by a supplier, which cost me hundreds of thousands of CNY. The story is like this. At that time, we did not sign the purchase contract when purchasing from the factory. We just called the supplier to place the order. Once we needed to purchase 100,000 data cables, so we called the supplier directly to order them. One month later, the goods were delivered to our warehouse for delivery. After receiving the goods, we found in the process of quality inspection that these data cables are fundamentally inferior and more than half of them have quality problems. So we went to the supplier right away. Unexpectedly, this supplier did not recognize the mistake and said there was no problem with the products they gave us. The supplier didn’t admit it was his problem at all, and our whole company depressed. We wanted to take legal action, but we didn’t sign the purchase contract when we placed the order. There’s no way. We have no proof. Finally, we had to scrap this batch of goods and spent hundreds of thousands of CNY to purchase 100,000 data cables from other factories.
Having explored the foreign trade industry for many years, I know that this situation often happens in the industry. Local Chinese can be cheated by suppliers, not to mention foreign buyers. Since that incident, I have become more and more cautious. Especially the part of “finding suppliers”.I found that working with a reliable factory not only saves time and hassles but also saves a lot of purchasing costs. I rigorously evaluated every vendor we worked with, and my business became more smooth.
However, I often hear some complaints from customers, “The quality of products from Chinese suppliers is completely different from that of samples” and “Why did the supplier not deliver the goods when I paid in Alibaba? ” “What should I do if the supplier keeps delaying the delivery and I miss the sales season?” “Why are your prices so different from those of other suppliers? Are you frauds?”
I found that this series of problems originated in the process of “finding suppliers”. As long as we find a really reliable factory, these problems will be solved. For foreign buyers, it’s hard to evaluate a Chinese supplier. Cultural differences, language differences, geographical distances, and time differences are all factors that prevent foreign buyers from understanding suppliers. Most importantly, no one has yet told foreign buyers how to choose suppliers!
So I came up with a bold idea, I hope to spread our experience and knowledge over the years to more buyers so that buyers can buy freely from China. At the end of 2016, I made a big decision — to close vv Cheng Limited. After more than a year of deliberation and preparation, in 2018, I launched JustChinit and decided to take our team’s decades of sourcing experience and spread it to more people to help overseas buyers avoid being deceived by poor quality suppliers. Let them affordable and reliable manufacturers in China.