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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 September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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