Foreign trade SOHO is not for every business, judgement criteria here!

2024-05-10|8 views|Development skills

SOHO, as a low-threshold, low-cost entrepreneurial method, has been widely embraced by foreign trade practitioners. However, it's not suitable for everyone in the foreign trade industry.Even with low barriers and costs, there are inherent risks.

If you're considering SOHO just for the idea of flexible time or earning while doing little work, it's better to stick to a regular job. For foreign trade professionals genuinely interested in trying SOHO, here are some hurdles to consider to determine if you're truly prepared.

1. Suppliers/Clients
Putting suppliers and clients first is crucial, and their importance is widely understood. In business, having clients is paramount, as no clients mean no business. Similarly, even with clients, without reliable suppliers, it's not feasible. Finding a dependable supplier is often more challenging than acquiring clients.
In traditional foreign trade roles, companies usually designate individuals to communicate with suppliers, and in case of issues, the company's support is typically available. However, for SOHO ventures, the scenario is entirely different. Most suppliers won't prioritize you. If there are product issues, many suppliers might handle them passively, gradually wearing down you and your clients. A reliable supplier actively collaborates to identify and resolve issues.
If you have a reliable supplier, think twice before switching. Don't change suppliers easily for marginal profit gains. As long as profits remain steady, avoid unnecessary changes.
2. Products
Specialize rather than diversify. Avoid increasing product variety to boost order volume, as it'll only dilute your strengths. If you need multiple suppliers for various products, survival becomes challenging.
Avoid entering unfamiliar territories, as understanding a new domain requires significant time, a luxury in SOHO. Specialization is what attracts clients and where your strengths lie.
3. Identifying Entry Points
Do you understand why clients would choose you in a competitive market with similar products?
Today's market is more rational than a decade ago, emphasizing factors like price and quality. Many products are homogenous, so why would clients choose you? Is it quality, service, price, expertise, or another reason? Clarify why clients should choose you; this is your selling point and key to establishing yourself.
4. Finances and Determination
Though SOHO has low startup costs, daily expenses still exist, such as living costs, operational funds for orders, sample fees, etc. Estimate expenses at 1.5 times to ensure sufficient reserves.
Finances are only part of the equation; determination is equally vital. If you're committed to SOHO, don't easily give up or consider returning to a traditional role after failure. That's not an option because even if you return, you may struggle to readjust.
Of course, compared to SOHO, opportunities for roles like sales manager or marketing manager are worth considering. However, if the company stagnates and needs you to break through without offering a higher position, it's best to decline. Accepting such a role might just make you a tool for the company or even lead to being phased out, as I've experienced before.
5. Luck
While luck seems mysterious, it does exist. The key is to maintain effort and perseverance, believing that success will come eventually.
After all said and done, I'd like to conclude with a quote from a seasoned SOHO veteran: "Instead of complaining, it's better to use that time to work hard."

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