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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 May 15, 2019

10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

Apart from making crucial decisions for their own businesses, entrepreneurs innovate and grow their ideas. Albeit there being no cookie-cutter answer that fits everyone’s experiences, taking a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs today, you might spot some similar traits and characteristics.

Starting and nurturing a business entails a great amount of hard work and commitment. However, for aspiring entrepreneurs who are prepared to dedicate themselves to their vision, here are 10 most successful entrepreneurs you can learn from:

1. Melanie Perkins: Know Your Worth and Keep Trying

    Melanie Perkins founded Canva, a Sydney-based business valued at $1Billion having successfully raised a number of rounds of successful funding and boasting more than 10 Million users in 179 countries.[1]

    She told BBC that one of the biggest challenges she faced getting into the business was talking about her company’s accomplishments when she first got to Silicon Valley. She attributed this difficulty to a cultural difference where Australians tend to ‘talk down’ their achievements and this would slow down her fundraising progress for a few years.

    Despite hundreds of rejections, Melanie emerged three years later with a much clearer strategy and stronger investor pitch that prompted a series of fundraising rounds netting the company $82Million of funding in total.[2]

    2. Bill Gates: Keep Learning and Exploring

      If you don’t know Bill Gates, you likely know the company he founded – Microsoft.

      Bill Gates’ story is a prime example of nurturing an idea that might seem out of this world but make sense in the future. One of the most successful entrepreneurs in history did not complete his degree at Harvard University to pursue a vision that the technology would soon become the future.

      He told a white lie to Altair, saying that he had made a computer program for them, therefore pushing himself to create a system that would change modern history.

      “The most important speed issue is convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on moving as fast as possible.”

      Gates’ success is built on self-improvement and the seeds of an idea.

      3. Elon Musk: Never Stop Innovating

        Traditional thinking suggests that in order to become a successful entrepreneur, one must focus in a single field or industry.

        Elon Musk, however, breaks that rule.

        Today, the multifaceted tech entrepreneur, investor, and engineer advocates for the diversification of skills and businesses by delving into various fields of interest.

        When done right, skills in a single domain can be carried over then applied into contrasting industries to create something new the world might need. Musk owes his accomplishments to a constant thirst for knowledge.

        Having birthed Tesla and a myriad of products across the arenas of aeronautics and software design, Musk continues to evolve as an entrepreneur and plans to innovate for the long haul.

        4. Richard Branson: Develop People First

          British entrepreneur Richard Branson founded Virgin Records in the early 1970s. Virgin Records has since grown into the Virgin Group, today responsible for over 400 companies.

          The billionaire is strongly particular about working with a team that shares his core values and aspirations.

          Branson believes that managing a business can become taxing, thus he acknowledges his employees for putting in the effort that they have.

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          A good leader knows how to raise morale for positive productivity. Utilising emotional intelligence and compassion is a game changer in seeing results within a team.

          Branson’s supports the idea of nurturing a positive work environment, with the belief that credentials must go hand-in-hand with an enthusiasm for work.

          5. Jeff Bezos: A Relentless Focus on Customer Satisfaction

            Having founded Amazon, Jeff Bezos is known to be one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. The e-commerce pioneer fixates himself on angry customers with the belief that a business’s loopholes are found in the experiences of unsatisfied customers.

            For the 8th year in a row, customers have ranked Amazon as the number one in customer service (according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index).

            While numerous companies ignore unhappy customers, Bezos found success in learning from reviews and surveys. By focusing on customer service, Amazon shows they care, both for their customers and for rising above their competitors.

            While praise and recognition are signs that a business is accelerating, criticism is an opportunity to improve a product or a service.

            6. Mark Zuckerberg: Start Small, Think Big

              Valued at over 55 billion dollars today, Mark Zuckerberg built the first version of what would become a social networking giant in his Harvard University dorm room. As one of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs, Zuckerberg undoubtedly took countless calculated risks to get his brilliant idea to its current status with 2.38 billion active monthly users.

              “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

              He’s always daring to explore with a fearless mindset.

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              The young tech entrepreneur never shied away from innovating outside of the box. Soon after Facebook became a hit to users and advertisers, big corporations took interest in buying Facebook from Zuckerberg.

              However, he took the risk and decided to stay with his creation. Turning down billions of dollars offered by Yahoo CEO, Terry Semel, he envisioned turning his brainchild into something much bigger than what it already was then.

              7. Steve Jobs: Live Your Own Dreams

                Steve Jobs lived a rocky path all his life and an aspect of which is a tumultuous career.

                The founder of Apple endorsed his beliefs on the temporality of life and limitations of time. He preached about the importance of working on the very legacies people wish to leave behind, an achievement he’s undoubtedly etched into the the archives of human history.

                Never one to hide under someone’s shadow, Jobs did not live by anybody else’s principles so he formed his own. He tirelessly dedicated himself to building a unique brand of products that became the benchmark for contemporary technology.

                After his highs and lows through his brief battle with cancer, Jobs concludes with yet another lesson to takeaway from his remarkable life. “No matter how much money you have, even the richest man can’t buy time.”

                8. Warren Buffett: Balance is Essential to Success

                  Despite being the third wealthiest person in the world, Warrant Buffett sported a frugal lifestyle for most of his life.

                  After buying a house in Omaha, Nebraska for just above 31,000 dollars, he has lived there since 1958. As a leading investor and a founder at Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett believes in setting aside an amount to save and spend only on necessities.

                  With a long term goal as a top priority in mind always, treating oneself can be sustainable once in a while. He advices to save money by deciding first and foremost what aspects to scrimp on and what aspects to splurge on to ensure a happy and balanced lifestyle.

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                  9. Jack Ma: Never Give up

                    On every journey to success, everybody stumbles and arrives at roadblocks. Some more than most, like Jack Ma, who survived countless rejections and failures only to get back up and brave every storm.

                    Ma is the founder of multinational technology conglomerate Alibaba Group. Despite being rejected to Harvard after every one of his 10 applications, Ma was never defeated.

                    His grit and tenacity is a fine testament to the fact that grades do not determine a future. While qualifications on paper are important, the development of skills and an attitude is just as helpful in making a recipe for success.

                    Despite finding himself in the verge of bankruptcy in the 1990s, Jack Ma possessed the resilience to put one foot in front of the other until he finally made it. “It’s important to have patience,” he says.

                    10. Tan Min Liang: Passion Can Pay Off

                      Tan Min Liang is the founder of the leading high-performance gaming hardware, Razer. Always on the look out for new opportunities to connect and scale his business, Tan has been bold in making many of his life’s decisions.

                      Having deviated from a traditional path set by a family that consists of doctors and lawyers, Tan was to find his life’s work and passion while gaming with his older brother.

                      The idea was simple: there were so many games out there to play, however, there were hardly any gaming equipment to match this.

                      So he dropped out of law and began going a different direction, into creating solutions in the gaming industry. At the start of 2019, Tan wrote to tech luminary Elon Musk to which Musk’s reply suggested of a joint venture between two of the most successful entrepreneurs today.

                      Final Thoughts

                      In today’s cutthroat world, the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur is a long and arduous process trailed with ups and downs. A valuable lesson that a good hand of entrepreneurs would love to convey to aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep the spirit of innovation and to explore uncharted waters.

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                      Learning from experience and failure is one direction to a desired end goal. Exhibiting the same dedication and grit so many entrepreneurs have through their unexpected careers – today’s budding visionaries ought to hang on their dreams and leave room for improvement along the way.

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                      Featured photo credit: Patrick Tomasso via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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