Month: November 2018

Wechat Advertising

Most of us knows that Wechat is the most popular chat app in China right now. In it there is the Moments section, which acts a bit like Facebook. Imagine Google Wallet, Whatsapp and Facebook all in one app – that is Wechat. Over the past few years there are more and more people doing business in Wechat, which works for people in China, be it the locals or the foreigners living there.

For people like me, who has very friends in China and even lesser business contacts there, Wechat advertising has been a failed attempt years ago. I did not bother trying much anymore until recently, when I advertised out of a random feel. I had created an Instagram account, where I advertised in a half-fucked manner. My namecard even has my Instagram information there. Surprisingly, Wechat had more response than I expected and Instagram is still the expected bots liking my posts. But I think I will give up on Instagram again. It is just not suitable for me.

My Wechat posts had garnered a few likes each time I posted something, but had no sales. As my main business mainly deals with Singaporeans who use Wechat, I thought maybe why not give it a further push? I had long ago identified my target market as Singaporeans living in Singapore, and what better than to use my existing customer base for my next business? So I began advertising for my second business and other side business. It was in Wechat I got my first painting project from an old customer.

Subsequent advertisements did yield questions from customers, but had closed no other sales so far. I had learn from another person that when people look at our posts, they did not want to just see you selling them stuffs. They want to see interesting things. That is why I have also begun to post unrelated funny things to get people interested in what I am posting up.

Hopefully through this experiment I will be able to get more customers and sales. My main business which will collapse sooner or later now has become a tool for me to expand my customer base for as long as I can, and of course for the extra income it brings in in the meantime. To be honest, my backup plan is still far from stable and is currently only a fraction of what my main business can bring me in terms of income. But I know that time is running out and I have to do something to bring it to the next level.

Well, for me, Wechat is somewhat effective now. Hopefully as time goes by I will find my niche in the Singapore market which uses Wechat.

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Supply Crunch Again

Recently I suffered the same supply issue as last time. My new supplier whom I thought is somewhat reliable has no stock all of a sudden. There was the 11.11 Single’s Day sales earlier, which is basically now the world’s biggest shopping sale.

2 of my businesses suffered. The old one was already low on stock, but coupled with the 11.11 sales, I had more demand than supply. As a result I had to turn away a few customers, which meant money which was almost mine flew to other people.

The new business which I am also building to replace the old one also suffered. As it is still a new business, I am hesitant to import large numbers of stocks for fear that I could not sell well. I imported only a few stocks of each variety to test it out. Well it did sold out and I am out of stock. Good bye to more money which I could earn. I have heard, but could not verify elsewhere, that if my product is out of stock it will be bad for my store. The system will somewhat read it as a non-suitable product and for me to get back my old traction again, a lot of effort has to be put in.

I am now trying to find another interim supplier. Previously I had a customer who needs to sell his goods, and his goods happened to be my supply which I need. While we had a business relationship once, we did not manage to get through a pricing agreement later on, and subsequently did not proceed with the transactions we were having. I texted him today, with the intention of compromising to his pricing because I was already desperate. However the reply I got was one which asked who I am. It was surprising because although we did not manage to come to an agreement on pricing and hence the deals were called off, I did not expect him to delete my number away.

I did not proceed to introduce myself further and he replied that he had changed his phone but forgot to import the numbers. That to me is the standard cliche excuse which anyone would have memorized. It seems that from my profile picture he gathered who I am. But still I did not reply him because to be honest I was quite disappointed. But this is reality and businesses always show you an ugly side of reality.

I rejected him partly because of ego issues. And now I have more issues finding the next supplier.

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Painting Projects

I had my house painted for a relatively cheap amount. It was an unexpected bargain. My house was doing upgrading works, supported by the Government. I privately paid one of the foreign workers who were doing the works to do a side job for me for $30. He told his friend about it, who later approached me regarding painting my house for me. The house upgrading was only for the toilets and the refuse system and excludes painting.

At first the deal did not go through, because I thought I could paint the house on my own and it felt just a little expensive. My house has a horrible colour left behind by the previous tenant. Then he reduced the price further, which attracted me. So I agreed with the deal and they spent one day painting my house. I was there supervising the works for almost one whole day and saw for myself that the quality was good. I was immensely satisfied.

Then an idea struck me. Not everyone knows these workers. But I have them willing to paint at a cheap price. So I advertised the painting services and had 2 people asking, 1 of which eventually went through today. I had a bit of apprehension, firstly because painting is totally out of my area of expertise. Due to my unfamiliarity with the whole business, I worry that I may screw something up. I also do not know enough painters to have a backup. Then comes the issue of me not being able to work extra jobs or having businesses at the side. My job does not allow me to do that. So far all was ok because I hid behind the veil of anonymity, using the internet to conduct my business.

But for this case I have to go down to the site personally. While the chances of meeting someone is rare, there is always that one chance which is enough to strike me out. All it takes is for one person who saw me and decided to sink me. Of course, apprehension remained as it is, and I have decided to risk it and go ahead with it. It was a calculated risk.

For my first deal I thought I offered the worker a slightly higher price than I could bargain for. My friend told me that the price I quoted was a little on the low side too. I had to quote a low price to the customer because I need to establish myself first, and if it is the same price as the market, there is no incentive to come to me. I quoted a little on the high side for the painters because, well it was a small mistake.

The quote should have been lower and for him to bargain. It does irks me a little but I am trying not to be too affected as these painters really have a hard time trying to make a living in Singapore. I do also earn a bit at the side, just maybe not as much as I would like to. Either way for a first deal I thought it was pretty not bad.

It does remind me as a human that although the deal meets my expectations somewhat, I am still not satisfied fully knowing that I could have gotten more out of it. This is sinful thought. I am a Christian by the way, not that it is related to what I am posting.

So tomorrow I will be going down to site for a recce. It was something unexpected for me too, that a site inspection would be good. I learnt another new thing today. But for now, what I need to learn most is to see a house and decide how much I should charge and how much I should pay the workers.

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The Business World Is Competitive

I was preparing my shop for the upcoming 11.11 (11 November) sales. For those who do not know, 11.11 is the sales event created by Taobao to mark the Single’s Day. Long story short, they created a day out of nowhere and made it into a sales event. Now that South East Asia has become the next battleground for ecommerce, Singapore is also positively impacted as well.

My shop is also affected by the 11.11 mood, and there is a need to stock up for the event. If you ask me, this is my first time joining this thing too, and have no idea how it will turn out. I took a bit of risk, and imported a bit more goods. My shop has only 5 goods – A, B, C, D, E, all of which I got from different suppliers.

Yesterday the supplier of A rightly guessed (although I did not really confirmed that) that I also buy B and C, as they are related goods. He offered a good price to me, which made me hesitate whether to get from him next time or not. On one hand, not concentrating your goods into one supplier will diversify out the risk. What I learnt from my previous lesson was that relying heavily on one supplier will cause a great deal of trouble if the supplier abandons you. Yet concentrating on one supplier will save you a lot of trouble and you are able to get additional perks such as discount or credit.

That being said, the supplier this time is more easily replaceable than my other business, which makes it less risky. Such is business. Everyone is trying to steal customers from each other. And on my side I will have to weigh the risks of each decision.

As for me, I am always constantly poaching customers from rival businesses. People are also poaching my customers.

Back to the topic about supplier A, he approached me 2 days later to follow up. Given his enthusiasm to do my business and his repeated assurance about the quality of his products and the services he provide, I thought I might just throw all B and C’s business to him. The cost savings far outweigh the risks.

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