#Smallbizchat is a weekly conversation where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss. Each month different experts join the discussion, and the August 2019 #Smallbizchat LIVE was all about how world entrepreneurship is impacting your small business.
Please join us live on Twitter every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET. Here’s how: follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter and follow the hashtag #Smallbizchat and click here for directions to join the weekly conversation.
This week on the August 2019 #Smallbizchat LIVE, our show featured three guests: How to Sell in the Chinese Market with Laurel Delaney, @laureldelaney, Impact Funding in International Markets with Thelma Ekiyor, @ThelmaEkiyor, and How to Get to 7 Figures in Your Small Business with Steve Dailey, @KumuKupuna.
I pulled three of the best questions from each of them to share with you. Every third Wednesday of the month, Smallbizchat LIVE is broadcast on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and on Twitter @SmallBizLady.
Laurel J. Delaney is founder and president of GlobeTrade.com, a management consulting company that helps small businesses go global and Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global™, a nonprofit that educates women business owners on how to go global. She is also the author of Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably. For more information, visit www.globetrade.com.
SmallbizLady: What’s the best way to enter the Chinese Market?
Laurel Delaney: The best way to enter China is to know someone – someone who has boots on the ground and can assist you with entry issues with the people and the opportunities. But before you do that, make sure you understand access demand, supply, data, deliveries, and the complexities of the market. Then establish your top 3 China goals, determine how you will get there, and outline what steps to take immediately to achieve success. Just know, it’s no walk in the park to sell in China.
One option is China-based Alibaba. The online platform has opened up its marketplace to U.S. small businesses so they can sell their products to Chinese consumers. There is a fee involved to build an online store on Alibaba.com; nevertheless, it still presents a huge opportunity for SMEs to sell to countries served by Alibaba, including India, Brazil, and Canada. Another interesting twist and point here: U.S. merchants, previously only able to buy on Alibaba.com, can now also sell to other U.S.-based businesses on the marketplace too.
Another interesting method of entry is to connect with a ‘daigous,’ a person who buys products internationally for friends, family, or friends of friends and makes his or her money by charging a small fee to the people in China buying the products. Think of them as an agent.
At Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global, a nonprofit I run, we educate female entrepreneurs and business owners worldwide on how to go global, we offer lots of resources and insights on exporting.
SmallbizLady: How can you capture customers in China, and what might be some popular products to sell?
Laurel Delaney: The best way to capture Chinese customers is to go where they are. The old way used to be to accept Union Pay, develop an online presence in China, hire a Chinese translator, and partner with people on the ground. The current way is to leverage WeChat, a multi-purpose messaging app, and integrated e-commerce platform. There you utilize WeChat Pay to conduct business. Also look into Weibo, a Twitter-like service, and promote your WeChat account. It also helps enormously to know Mandarin Chinese! You will then be able to interact with customers directly and send deal and event notifications. It is very important to coordinate your branding and promotional efforts to big events in China, such as the Chinese New Year, Singles’ Day, Children’s Day, and the Autumn Moon Festival. Children’s products, nutritional products (vitamins, skincare, and cosmetics), luxury fashion items such as handbags, jewelry, and branded clothing all sell well in China.
SmallbizLady: What are 3 things small businesses should be careful of on the legal front when exporting to China?
Laurel Delaney: I checked in with Dan Harris, Partner at Harris Bricken and a leading authority on legal matters related to doing business in China. Here’s what he said:
- “They [small businesses] should be certain to apply for a China trademark for their brand name before selling anything in China, because if they don’t do this, the odds are good someone else will register their brand name as their own in China and then be able to block that company from using its brand name in China.
- They should also be sure they are set up (the business) properly both to get paid and to get their money out of the country. If selling on a reputable platform like Alibaba, this is not an issue, but otherwise, it certainly can be.
- Be sure that what they are selling is legal to sell in China and their representations about their product are legal in China as well. “
Building a large presence in China requires exporting top-quality products that are affordable to the masses. Small businesses that might not have the deep financial pockets that big companies do need to be extra careful on how they approach entering the Chinese market. Hopefully, the above provides a starting point and a thoughtful road map.
Thelma Ekiyor is a seasoned social entrepreneur, impact investor, and international development expert. She is the Founder of the Funding Space and The Ebi Fund in Nigeria. The Funding Space is a training, mentoring, and access to finance platform for Social Entrepreneurship in West Africa. Ebi Fund is a women’s impact fund dedicated to helping small and medium-sized women’s businesses access local and international markets. She has experience working in over 22 African countries. Learn more at www.thefundingspace.com
SmallbizLady: What is the current financing landscape for women businesses?
Thelma Ekiyor: Globally, there has been an increase of women-focused and/or women-led investment funds. However, women still get only 2-3% of venture capital funds. This means that there needs to be a concerted effort to level the financial playing field. This will take a while, but the promising development is that women are not waiting for men to finance them…women are now raising capital and putting their wealth in “women-only” funds.
SmallbizLady: How can women entrepreneurs prepare for financing?
Thelma Ekiyor: Entrepreneurship is not a job; it is a vocation. Being entrepreneurial is a mindset. Many women want to start businesses to have additional income but not to be full-time entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs identify an opportunity and develop a solution to capitalize on it. The starting point is not financing. The starting point is the opportunity and the solution. It is only then that women…or any entrepreneur can start to identify how to locate the right kind of financing to commercialize their solution.
SmallbizLady: How can communities of women entrepreneurs be linked globally?
Thelma Ekiyor: Any time women connect across borders on any issue, the impact is powerful. My background is in peacebuilding. It was women’s global advocacy that brought attention to the plight of women and girls in conflict situations and brought about significant changes. I recognized that entrepreneurship and financial literacy are a way out of conflict.
Women entrepreneurs and investors need to identify and establish linkages with other women beyond their communities and countries. I have met and become “sisters” with some many women, including Melinda Emerson. We support each other. We advise each other. We promote each other. This is a potent force that if harnessed, can break the barriers that keep women in poverty in many countries across the world. I have a responsibility to be a successful entrepreneur. I know if I do it right, some woman, somewhere will say, “I can do it also.”
Steve Dailey is a pioneer in the business coaching business serving thousands of clients for over 30 years. His focus and specialty is guiding seasoned Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners to lifetime best income while structuring their business to work as well WITHOUT them as it does with them. He is a lifelong advocate of personal challenge, adventure and pushing limits to achieve optimum wealth, health, connection, and influence. He is the Founder or AchievementBridge, inc, the Entrepreneur Excellence Alliance – a community of inspired small business owners, and a contributor to over 10 best selling books on business success. Learn more at www.achievementbridge.com.
SmallbizLady: Is a 7 figure business truly attainable to any small business regardless of what business you’re in?
Steve Dailey: Yes! Every business has 7 figure potential – it simply depends on how the business is structured. If a business owner structures their business based on transactions vs relationships, only sells products and services but doesn’t sell knowledge as well, or if the business is dependent on too few clients or customers for survival – all of these scenarios will limit or become obstacles to attaining 7 figure production and impact. But turn it around: if your business embraces the notion of the lifetime value of a customer – then more people will spend more money with you. When you find ways to sell what you know as well as what you do…that opens the potential for revenue generation massively. And if you are sure to diversify your client base so that you are generating – for example – $1 by serving 1000 clients vs serving only 1 client paying you $1000 then you change the upside for your business dramatically.
SmallbizLady: What would you say is the very first step necessary to building a million-dollar business?
Steve Dailey: First, and critical, is to adopt the mindset of abundance and believe that you can do it. Now, this isn’t simply positive thinking hocus pocus! Everything we do is defined by everything we think. You might have a million-dollar potential right under your nose right now, but if you don’t believe it’s possible, you won’t see the opportunity. But this goes a bit deeper too: you have to “do the math”. What I mean by that is, to make a million-dollar business believable to you, you need to get your calculator and work the math – how many customers, buying how much volume, at what level of frequency adds up to $million? What is the array of products or services I can sell to contribute to the total? How many different areas or ways can I serve people so that I generate more income from people that love me? Money in our society is an expression of appreciation for value received. When you want to generate more money, simply look for ways to give people value.
SmallbizLady: Is there a formula for building a 7 figure business?
Steve Dailey: Actually it turns out that there is. As you’ve pointed out, I’ve been working with Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners for over 30 years…and in the last 10 or more years, I’ve consciously reflected on the biggest success stories in looking for consistent areas of focus that can predict a spike in business. I’ve narrowed it down to just 7 areas of focus – or what I call “Triggers”. I’ve built a framework around this called The 7 Triggers to 7 Figures. Each one of the Triggers creates a catalyst for opening up new potential and sparking new growth. [And I can elaborate on the framework as time allows.]
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz
Now that you’ve caught up with the August 2019 #Smallbizchat LIVE – would you like to be a guest on the next #Smallbizchat?
If you are a small business owner, author, or subject matter expert, we’d love to have you appear as a guest on #Smallbizchat. This chat is focused on educating our business community. Once your topic is selected, you will be required to submit 12 questions and answers in paragraph form to demonstrate your expertise. For details on how to submit your information to be a guest on #Smallbizchat click here.