If one word is used to describe the foreign trade industry, then this word should be “busy”.
Foreign trade friends, whether newcomers or old birds, supervisors or bosses, eight out of ten, are in a very busy state.
But while getting busy, many people forget what they are doing, more orders and better customers. Or is it a bigger market?
Most people move forward like headless flies. As for strategy, not to mention, they all take one step at a time.
This article by “Julius Caesar” in the rice circle may enable you to find out your own position. He will help you to plan clearly what to do at any stage from the beginning to the end of your career.
Foreign trade is not a good path, it can only be a career. Only in this way can one be a career.
What I share with you today is: as a foreign trader, how should we plan our career development?
Can you plan your own development path with half the effort and do you have any reliable models or experiences?
Based on my experience, this article summarizes the six stages of foreign trade professionals’ career development, and shares the strategies I think are the most core in each stage. I hope that no matter at which stage of foreign trade we are in, we can be inspired. Here I will divide a normal foreign trade person’s career into six stages:
1) salesman stage
2) Business Manager Stage
3) boss stage 1-SOHO stage (initial stage of start-up)
4) boss stage 2- company development stage
5) boss stage 3- maturity of the company
6) boss stage 4- company plateau period (platform development) I believe that as a normal foreign trade person, as long as you grasp the key strategies at each stage, the road to foreign trade will be relatively smooth. The reason why many foreign traders did not develop smoothly was that they adopted strategies that did not belong to this stage at each stage, resulting in the mismatch between the stages and methods of development.
Salesman stage This stage is usually a few years before graduation, that is, a few years before entering the foreign trade industry. Almost all successful foreign trade personnel start from the salesman, have not experienced the stage of foreign trade salesman, have not had the most basic exploration, it is almost impossible to become a mature foreign trade personnel.
At the salesman stage, I think the most critical strategy is:
Through continuous learning, improve their business skills, and explore the corresponding industry, confirm whether the industry is suitable for long-term industry (including to start their own business in the future). It is also necessary to check whether one’s own is suitable for foreign trade industry and how much achievement one can create.
To put it bluntly, it is:
1) learn to improve yourself
2) Explore the industry suitable for your long-term employment.
3) Test whether you can become a successful foreign trader.
At the salesman stage, it is very important to learn to improve oneself, because many aspects of oneself are not fixed, including character, thinking mode, etc.
It is also very important to find out the industry suitable for one’s long-term employment. Many people are engaged in one industry for many years and then choose another industry. In fact, this wastes a lot of time and resources. It is best to choose the industry you want to be engaged in all your life at the salesman stage, so the accumulation of resources is very efficient. I suffered losses myself. I just graduated from the furniture industry, but it took me 4-5 years to find a bottleneck before I switched to the current automotive industry. This wasted 4-5 years of time, while looking for the right person at the salesman stage, accumulated 4-5 years more industry accumulation than me. At this stage, if you encounter an inappropriate industry, you must be decisive and not tangle. In order to avoid sinking cost is higher and higher.
Of course, there is one last point, which is to test your suitability for foreign trade. If you have worked for several years and your performance is still at the bottom of the company, at this time you have to ask yourself if you are really a foreign trade material. If it is not suitable, it is also a kind of success to find one’s own talented job as early as possible. The salesman phase, if the above three things are completed, can basically enter the second phase.
Business manager phase Many people succeed in starting a business directly from a salesman, but many others upgrade from a salesman to a business manager before starting a business.
Therefore, the business manager is also a necessary stage.
The core strategy at this stage is:
1) master the boss’s perspective
2) Improve management capability
3) Screening of future partners This stage is a transition from working to starting one’s own business in the future. Therefore, this stage has very important tasks and goals.
The first is to learn the boss’s perspective.
A lot of people often complain about their boss when they are working. When they become the boss, they find that they are not as good as their original boss. The boss is not good, so in the stage of being a business manager, one must learn to look at problems from the boss’s perspective.
To be a business manager is to stand at the boss’s point of view all the time, think about the company’s interests and find the best strategy for the company. Only by mastering this can you become a good boss. In addition, when you are a business manager, you must be “politically correct”, that is, you must consider the boss’s opinion. No matter whether the boss is reasonable or not, he is right. Of course, if the boss is indeed an asshole, he should change jobs in time and not sink deeper into the wrong platform.
The second point is to master certain management skills.
There are several business managers and normal staff. How to balance the relationship and interests of everyone and the interests of the boss and the salesman is a test of your emotional intelligence and management skills. As a business manager, emotional intelligence must not be low. At least one person who can consider everyone’s feelings, from the boss to the same level, from his salesman to the customer, should be able to do well.
The third is to screen your future partners, or the key resources on your way to starting a business.
This is a point that many people ignore. 80% of foreign traders will eventually embark on their own SOHO or start their own businesses. After all, the ceiling of the business manager is too obvious, with an income of hundreds of thousands at most. If you don’t accumulate resources, when you start a business, can you ensure that one person can do it? After deciding to start a business, a partner will be found temporarily? Of course not, when you are a salesman or business manager, you have to look for your future partner. I think the most suitable partner is your colleague when you were a business manager. Only after many years of communication can we know the root of the matter and have a deeper understanding of each other’s temper, family, methods of handling things and character. The “comrades” of your peers who fought side by side, your excellent salesmen, even your former customers or suppliers, may all become very important partners in your entrepreneurial journey.
SOHO phase After passing the stage of business manager, you will start your own business, SOHO! Very not easy to survive the working phase, finally found that can be the boss, can also bully people! However, I want to tell you that SOHO is the most difficult stage. 90% of the people stop here, either go back to work, or they can no longer reach the fourth stage.
SOHO is really too difficult! !
SOHO Stage Dilemma: No Customers, No Suppliers, No Money, No Team! Most importantly, I am the only one fighting! A person fighting will eventually feel extremely lonely and abandon himself. Therefore, I reminded you at the stage of business manager that it is very important to find a partner who can start his own business. A good partner will provide you with great spiritual support in SOHO phase, which is incomparable to how much money it costs!
In addition to partners, the most critical strategy in SOHO phase can protect you from death:
1) Find several customers who bring positive cash flow 2) Stabilizing several suppliers with stable quality and reliability 3) A cooperation system formed around you, such as agency company, design company, exhibition company, promotion company, etc.
The SOHO phase has no strategy. The only strategy is to live! ! Don’t wait for long-term customers, what you need is customers who pay cash immediately! Of course, the core ability of SOHO is your trading ability.
Trade ability includes your ability to engage with customers, that is, your ability to make customers believe you and pay you when you have nothing. Trade ability also includes your ability to engage in suppliers. When you have nothing, the suppliers are willing to trust you, give you an accounting period, or be willing to help you make goods conscientiously. Another thing is that you can organize a cooperation system around you, so that your goods can be successfully declared, exported, and reached the customer warehouse, and you can smoothly receive the money and pay your operating costs, as well as have surplus.
SOHO stage, the biggest dilemma is:
1) Cash flow is broken and hung up
2) Cash flow can be sustained, but if it is not enough, it will not earn much more than the business manager.
If we want to cross the third stage and enter the fourth stage, we must change from focusing on customers to focusing on products.
Boss-Development Stage To cross the SOHO stage and enter the rapid development period of the company, we must change our thinking from simple customer-centered to product-centered. The so-called SOHO stage trade actually means that you didn’t create much value, but only the existing products of your factory were sold to your customers with better relations. What you call value creation is actually just to transmit value and does not involve creating value. If you want to enter the rapid development period of the company, you must firmly take products as the center and begin to create your own unique value. On the other hand, in order to enter the fourth stage, the supply chain must enter an advanced mode instead of simply buying products from factories. In addition, the business team at this time is not a one-man fight, but upgraded to one in which you will lead a team.
Three key issues in the company’s development phase:
● Product as Core and Research and Development Strategy
● Construction of Advanced Supply Chain
● Establishment of business team Only with these three items can the company truly cross-domain SOHO (simple trade) stage and enter a company stage of development. Of course, at this stage, it is not simple for you to engage in customers yourself. You should have multi-faceted and multi-level capabilities to select better partners and employees. At the same time, you can enter the purchasing system of larger customers. The most important thing is that you can really create new value (through product research and development).
Here is a brief introduction to product development:
Why do you want to engage in product research and development:
1) Increase gross profit margin of products
2) Optimizing competition strategy
3) Improve the Irreplaceability of Customers
4) Create new customer value Determine the appropriate research
and development strategy:
1) dare to be the “queen” of the world, do not be original, but follow up the successful product concept of the market.
2) The new value of the customer comes from being familiar with accidents (the basic logic for the customer to choose a new product is to be familiar with accidents) 3)ID design should be free from spending money, not saving. It is better for foreigners to design it.
Major obstacles to R&D:
1) The failure rate is high and it is easy to attack the enthusiasm of research and development.
2) Persistence is required. The accumulation of deposits over the years cannot be speculative.
3) Market acceptance and customer acceptance must be taken into account during research and development. It is not allowed to work behind closed doors.
Boss-Mature Stage When the company has gone through the cross-domain development stage, the product formation system has been established, the business team has been formed, the supply chain has been very stable, and the company can make steady profits, then the company has entered the mature period. This is actually the time when you are most likely to get lost as a boss. Money, have; Start a business, also phased success. Is it time to relax and enjoy life? That would be a big mistake! At this time, whether your company can be in by going up one flight of stairs depends on you.
All in what? I think it’s a brand. At this stage, you have no respect for earning millions of dollars. You hope that the company has more long-term value and even value in the capital market. Should we continue to be OEM/ODM, continue to develop better products, or continue to expand market share? Neither is right. In my opinion, at the highest level of the company, only one thing needs to be sold, that is, the brand. Only by putting all the resources into the brand can the company’s value really be greatly improved.
Of course, the premise is that the product must be a consumer product. If it is a raw material product, it is not necessary to build a brand, but to use intel’s penetrating style of play. However, the misconception of many companies lies in the implementation of brand strategy in SOHO stage or enterprise development stage, which often has little effect or fails. The reason is very simple. It is difficult to succeed if the mismatched strategy is implemented at the wrong stage.
The investment in the brand stage is huge, even at any cost, and must be supported by a strong financial foundation. This is also the reason why most OEM enterprises will fail when they turn to brand names. Because brand investment is sometimes not measurable by ROI, brand itself is a process of craftsmanship. However, if the brand is not well established, the value of the enterprise will often be limited, no matter how big or good the OEM is.
You can tell by comparing Apple with Foxconn. If you can cross the domain to the fifth stage, then you are basically close to the top of the industry.
Boss-Platform Phase I think the last stage of the company’s development is platform. This is basically the way all companies with the highest market value in the world play, such as Alibaba, Tencent, FACEBOOK, Google and so on.
Platformized companies are generally people or companies that connect two ends and generate great value through network effects. For example, Alibaba connects e-commerce sellers and e-commerce consumers. FACEBOOK connects users of social media with advertisers. Google connects users and advertisers searching for information; Amazon connects e-commerce buyers and e-commerce sellers around the world. With the Internet as a tool, users at both ends can easily form a huge network through network effects. When the user base is large enough, the network will have great value.
As the middle platform company, it will make a lot of money. Judging from the foreign trade industry, it is not easy to form this platform company.
Of course, there is also a platform company, similar to Li & Fung, which integrates the whole industrial chain. The left hand is the upstream company of the industrial chain, such as garment fabric manufacturers, garment accessories manufacturers, garment garment manufacturers, etc. The right hand is the downstream retail company (GAP, etc.) to establish an assistance platform between retailers and the upstream industry. Of course, to become a platform company, the most need is luck.
Original Artical，Author：China Trade Agent，if repost，please give references ：https://offers-bg.com/foreign-trade-salesman-to-boss/