I know I have been quiet the past few months. It is only because of my work commitment and a few life changing decisions that I have made. So here goes a few secrets behind my ‘missing in writing’.
The 3rd quarter of 2012, I registered my company with MATRADE (Malaysia External Trade Corporation) and participated in one of Malaysia’s biggest international trade fairs of the year; The International Trade Fairs 2012 “Energising Export Growth” (or better known as INTRADE 2012) which took place in MATRADE Tower, KL, Malaysia. That was awesome! Such a great exposure, an eye opener for exporting opportunities even for SME company like mine.
I enjoyed myself meeting new people, liaising with other inspiring international business owners and negotiating on potential exporting deals and projects, not to mention showcasing my products of course! (I shall write later on that *wink*). Many onlookers and international buyers were impressed with the quality of products Malaysian companies can produce and capable of making. I must admit, it is very difficult to gain investors or buyers trust especially when you are young and your company is still a baby. Nevertheless, I shall never give up. I know there’s a first time to everything in life that we attempt to do. And that INTRADE 2012 was my first attempt to open the window of exporting possibilities. That was a 3-day event from 27-29th NOV 2012.
MATRADE did a fantastic job for engaging Malaysian companies with international companies and buyers, and I witnessed it during 1-day 10am to 5pm business matching; a “buyer-seller” meetings. Uuuff, I tell you….brain numbing! numbers crunching! nerve wrecking! My first experience to a non-stop business meetings in a day. Surely I have had experience of non-stop meetings and appointments before but this is a totally different level of experience. I am talking about meeting all sort of people from all part of the world at 1 place in 1 time. We were given 45 minutes for each sessions to meet various group of companies who have acquired for Footwear Manufacturers/Traders (yes, I am in that category). I called this session “Business Speed-Dating”. It is like, “my face is cute, you are quite good looking, I kinda like you, you kinda like me, let’s move to next stage after this” session.
It was pretty intense as I had to speak fast, explain about my products within 45 minutes and at the same time answer the buyers’ questions. These buyers came from Africa, Europe, Middle-East, Asia Pacific, Australia and America regions. Those English speaking countries, I did not have problems communicating with. But oh lord, other countries, they had arranged translators prior to the meetings and that took longer time to discuss business opportunities.
My most memorable moments were when some of the countries started rubbing my shoes, throwing it on the table, and bending it to see the durability. Thank god, I know my products well and did not worry about its quality. Even some ladies buyer got a bit excited and tried them on their feet in public and paraded around! Quite amusing to see how a pair of handmade designer shoes can excite us ladies haha 🙂
There and then within the stipulated time, we discussed about minimum order quantity, logistic costs, market segmentation, product supply-chain management and all in all, I believe that both parties were trying to gauge whether the opposite party is a genuine trader or business owner. Tiring! But worth the time and effort my team and I had put in prior to the trade fair. Will definitely join the trade fair again this year, insyaAllah!
I am grateful for the help that I had during the period preparation towards the event and during the trade fair itself. I believe, without my helpers, I would not be able to run the show alone.
To date, I haven’t closed any deals to export out of Malaysia. But I am thankful for the exposure and experience gained throughout the period. Someday, insyaAllah I will and I shall grow with my business slowly, but surely.
But of course, my business in Malaysia is running as usual if not better 🙂