My Road to Entrepreneurship PART I
Category : Business
I have a habit of never stop believing in polishing myself, meaning I always look out for rooms to improve myself in terms of knowledge, professional skills, sports, fashion, I mean, all aspects of my life.
Education may stops but learning never stop, yeah, that’s me. Since I always explore things outside of my comfort zone, I have met a lot of new people, great people, throughout my life in Singapore Strangely enough, there were online friends too through twitter most of the time, but the strangest part was that, I never thought I was going to do business with someone I only knew online.
Yeah, I did. I made my first step of doing business (considerable amount of money in USD) with the one I met through LinkedIn. He was Regional Sales Director of E-Blue (http://e-3lue.com/int/index.html) products from Taiwan.
So, long story short, after we exchanged several emails, and after going through all the risks I have (I am not rich by the way, I am just average pay check IT professionals), I thought, yes, I will give it a shot and regardless of profit or lost I am sure I will learn something.
I was right, I did learn more than I can chew J, I meant it in a good way.
The grand plan was simple one, I thought, by getting samples order from China factory and shipped to Yangon , Myanmar, full stop, for the first round.
Nope, it wasn’t that easy, here are the list of things I have done during 6 months time frame.
- For any kind of products import/export from oversea, you have 3 price list, FOB factory price, distributor price and retail price. With that said, I need to make sure I put reasonable profit margin for my distributor as well as for my retailer
- Margin percentage. You need to calculate correctly and need to make sure, at that end of the day all 3 parties are happy (me, my distributor and my retailer)
- Minimum requried order. I need to order at least the base line of minimum orders defined by supplier
- I need to decide the shipping method, to make sure it does not cost me much since I am ordering only minimum for testing.
- Transfering of payment to oversea account. I’ve never done anything about it. So it was a bit overcharged, because there were hidden charges from banks (receiving bank and sending bank.)
- Clearance of Customs at Yangon, Myanmar. This is where my big headache is. If you don’t have any proper license for import/export goods to Myanmar, your goods will stay forever in Customs. Since this is the small amount of orders, I thought Customs will leave me alone. Well, never work on assumption, TRT, never.
- Talking to distributors and selling to retailers. Never easy. Luckily my in laws have some good connections and I can manage to my products put on the displays of one the retail shop, technically, ONE.
Yeah, that’s it, here is what I gained.
- Devil is in Details, please learn the market first, please learn the process first and make sure every specific details are not on assumption but on facts, purely facts.
- I learned about banking process on overseas account and how they charged exchange rate, private banking service etc.
- I learned how the logistics works , well, at least for computer accessories, and what are the alternate route for logistics, for example, cross border trades are much much cheaper than DHL and shipping.
- I learned even if it is a small amount of products list and just 2 digits calculation, when it comes to profit and loss, you have to work you ass out for getting profit in a right way (win-win).
- This would be one of my best learning experience of all time, as I won’t forget the feel and reel of the moments.