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7 Tips to Make Sure Your First Visit to the Canton Fair is a Success

7 Tips to Make Sure Your First Visit to the Canton Fair is a Success

Twice a year – in the fall and in the spring, the Canton Fair is held at the China Import and Export Fair Complex in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou. It has been occurring annually since its’ conception in 1957. The last session (the 119th session to date) had over 185,596 international buyers in attendance. Over 24,514 exhibitors showcased their products. There was a recorded 60,233 booths on display.

If those figures don’t paint the magnitude of the extravagant Canton Fair, nothing will.

We know how technologically advanced China is – which is why anybody who’s serious about developing their image on an international level… is losing money by not attending. Doing so lets you see, first hand, how China manages the foreign trade market, and gives a wide-eyed look into how China dominates its trade connections with the world.

Since the Canton Fair showcases the largest selection of products, from an extravagantly huge number of vendors, visitors, and companies… it is the largest trade fair in China. The on-going 120th Canton Fair is being held in 3-phases, from 15th October to 4th November 2016 for different product lines. Suppliers from the leading industries of electronics, home decor, textiles, food, and hardware (and more) make their way to China for this incredible, amazing event.

It is essential for any importer who is serious about buying products (or looking for product ideas) to attend. With all those suppliers in their respective trades, it is impossible to attend the fair and not get bitten by “the bug” of flurries, blurs, and excitement.

We have to talk about some things first: where are you going to stay? How will you make the most of this experience? What will you do to make sure your “vacation” goes off without a hitch?

Read on to find out.

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1. Where Will You Sleep?

First things first, you need a Visa. It’s advisable to get one from Hong Kong. Then, it’s simply a matter of flying into Hong Kong Island airport. Luckily, there is a “Visa agency” parked smack-dab in the center of arrivals – so you have no qualms about where to go in this new, foreign country.

Booking a room in a luxurious, comfy hotel near the Fair is ideal.

The next step is to apply to the nearest Chinese embassy (in your country) to make sure you have a passport. You can even pre-register on the Canton Fair website for information on acquiring an “overseas buyer’s badge”. The directions from there, on the site, are pretty straight forward.

Moving on! Here is a checklist you should double-check of things you should have

  • Your passport + additional copies
  • 3 passport photos (you can never be too careful)
  • 200 RMB (Renminbi) for door entry

In all likelihood, you’ll need to stay in Hong Kong overnight. Some fun hotels you can check into are the Shangri -La, or the China Hotel, among a lot of other five-star choices.

This is a fantastic pre-game warm-up to meet other like-minded individuals, entrepreneurs, and business people. Throw back a couple drinks, eat some delicious food, and have a good time.

2. Have A Good Mindset

“People say you need a lot of passion for what you do, and it’s so true. Because any rational person would give up.” – Steve Jobs

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In business and life, your mindset (more often than not) determines your reality. A lot of successful entrepreneurs (who have made millions of dollars) equate a large part of their wealth to… you guessed it… their mindset.

Now is the time to expand your horizons about what human beings are capable of – and “upgrade” your thoughts to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible.

3. Business or Pleasure? Both!

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

All business and no pleasure robs you of the experience of being in a new country for the first time. Widening your breadth of humanity makes you a better marketer – as this “boot camp experience in networking” gives you the “cheat codes” towards connecting better with people. (i.e, your customers.)

Some pit stops you’ll want to gander about once you’ve “taken off your suit tie” are the Canton Tower, Shamian Island, or Baiyun Mountain.

4. Pack Light

Remember the #1 rule of going somewhere new: packing light keeps you on your flight!

It’s easy to pick up souvenirs – especially since every single booth will try to give you something. This is classic marketing: give something away for free to ensure repeat business. The business people you meet at the Canton Fair will, to put it bluntly, leave you feeling “stuffed.”

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Be sure to bring a backpack, separate, for these souvenirs, brochures, and interesting literature.

5. Navigating The Fair

Great! You’ve made it! Now, what?

Shortly after checking into your hotel room is the perfect time for planning the fair. Find out the latest exhibition site plans, so you know where all the products that you want.. No, need… are, so you won’t be scrambling around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Keep this in mind: even with the many golf car shuttles readily available, freely maneuvering the site is tricky work. Doable, but tricky.

It’s best to network and “get out there” by stopping at booths (the ones you want) and sparking up a conversation. Lack some serious conversational skills? Amazon and YouTube are great resources for learning how to speak eloquently in conversation.

It will also help you to talk with some qualified, exceptional salespeople – as the right salesman knows how to strike up any conversation (with anyone!) and “tune in” to the essence of whoever they’re talking to.

Part of working the scene and getting a feel for the companies surrounding you involves a bit of structure. Some things you can do to maximize your chances of blasting every “meeting” out of the park include…

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  • Eating a healthy breakfast, nourishing breakfast. A glass of milk, a 4-egg omelet, some toast with lettuce and tomatoes, maybe some bacon… and you’re all set! (Isn’t that just a BLT? Yep! Good ol’ fashioned healthy BLT.) Sure, some foods may taste better when it’s fast food… but it sends you to the grave quicker.
  • Drink water. Lots of it. (You know you need more water in your system anyway.)
  • Don’t collect each and every catalog/brochure/flyer you see. Chances are most of these will be discarded in the recycling bin anyway.
  • We live in the digital age! Take photos, record vlogs, post Twitter updates (and hashtag important businesses after meeting them – doing this doubles the chances of a business remembering you later on down the line).

6. Don’t Miss Electronic And Home Appliances Zone

You may think of IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, Germany) and CES (Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, USA) when speaking about electronics show, but do you know that Canton Fair is actually bigger than these famous international exhibitions?

The Canton Fair attracts about 2500 “electronic & home appliance” exhibitors each year, which is 1.5 times of IFA with a large number of manufacturers & top brands from all over the world. You will be able to see popular global technology trends and may find good suppliers with better quality & prices.

7. Talk With Manufacturers

This is a trade show – there are going to be manufacturers who are more than willing to talk about their line of products. (It’s in our selfish blood – we love talking about ourselves.)

Plus, maybe you can even squeeze out a sweet discount – something the poor saps who didn’t come… won’t get! (Be sure to bring a local translator just in case.)

Last Thoughts

This is an experience. Being willing to go behind the scenes, do things you haven’t done before, and engage with new people, using their new products… is a gift not many savvy business people take advantage of.

Use this time to make the most of your product line, and ultimately your bottom line.

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

Reference

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