Dancing with Cucumbers in China

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My plate was doing the cha-cha, and regrettably, I was the next dance partner.

It looked like a slug's elegant cousin: a wiggly, slick boogie monster that starred in my childhood nightmares.

I was in Shenzhen (China), sitting in a restaurants lavish private dining room.

Mr. Li raised his glass for a toast, To new partnerships and friendships!. Clinking glasses echoed through the room, followed by a rapid pace of dishes being served.

There was Peking duck, sweet and sour pork, and steamed fish. But then to my surprise, a porcelain plate was laid before me with what looked like a gelatinous blob, moving ever so slightly, catching the soft glint of the overhead lights as it was doing its best rave moves on my plate.

Sea cucumber still kicking and screaming on my plate

Mr. Li chuckled softly, This is a local delicacy. Fresh sea cucumber, only slightly steamed so as to retain its freshness. Its known for its male sexual health benefits and is considered a sign of respect to offer to esteemed guests.

I took a deep breath to release my anxiety, and clumsily reached out my chopsticks, picking up a wobbly piece and placing it into my mouth.

Mr. Li, grinning, shared, In our world, diving into the culinary unknown shows respect. Food is our universal handshake.

By end of the evening, I had forged a new partnership with Mr. Li and his factory.

My next order went from 30% down, 70% upon shipment to 10% down, 90% 30 days after delivery to the USA. And suddenly my orders no longer took 4-5 weeks to manufacture, but were often ready in two weeks.

If you need an edge over your competitors, sometimes you've got to dance with the cucumbers in China!

P.S.

Be sure to read the book my buddy Steve Simonson, who has been sourcing in China for nearly 30 years, highly recommends: Poorly Made in China.

TURN ON THE INFO-FAUCET: HERE COMES A FULL PITCHER OF WISDOM
  • 兩抽色 Building your systems and teams

  • 劾麻$ is made in sourcing, not selling

  • Amazon has a problem with AI generated books

  • 荔 Turn GOD mode on with this human generator

  • 仁 The 3 metrics VITAL to your business you must know

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BILLION DOLLAR STRATEGIES what works to make moolah

One of the biggest differences you can make in your business is to go to the source. The money is made in sourcing, not selling.

You can do it on your own, or go with a group and get the benefit of expert guidance and masterminding while there too.

I personally have been on a trip to the Yiwu marketplace with Elena Saris, and twice to the Canton Fair via China Magic with Athena Severi.

Billion Dollar Dream 100 member Amy Wees also has an excellent trip this October, as does Steven Selikoff.

They all go to phases 2 and 3 of the Canton Fair in Guangzhou.

Each of the trips is more than just visiting the fair, but also include factory visits and masterminding with top level mentors.

Stevens trip has, among others, Paul Baron from Influx Catalysts joining him.

Athena has 8 expert mentors, including expert sourcer Kian Golzari, Dima Kubrak, Lyden Smithers and Norm Farrar.

Amy is also visiting Alibaba, which is arranging individualized factory tours, and she has Brandon Young stopping by and Yuliya & Sebastian from Zignify plus several more top notch mentors.

Here are just a few more reasons you should get your butt to China:

  1. Discover Genuine Community: Surround yourself with genuine people who sincerely want to help others succeed in their ventures.

  2. Hands-On Experience: Real-time sourcing in China, addressing sourcing issues firsthand and finding products for your brand.

  3. Understanding Chinese Culture: Better understand the Chinese culture, making sourcing smoother and more productive.

  4. Direct Factory Connections: Connect directly with factories to get products that you might not find anywhere else.

  5. Expert Guidance: Professionals guide you on the right questions to ask and help with negotiations.

  6. Building Strong Relationships: Participants build deep relationships with each other, leading to potential business collaborations.

  7. Factory Visits: Direct interactions with factory floors, product creation, and dinners with the bosses provide better negotiations.

  8. Infrastructure for Scaling: Despite diversification talks, China still offers the infrastructure needed to scale businesses.

While you are in China, you may see some of these kinds of Chinglish signs (the government has removed or fixed a lot of them, but some still exist).

STATS YOU SHOULD KNOW know your numbers, own your destiny

Online retail sales of physical goods as of February 2023

PRIME PICKS Amazons sandbox
  • Amazon earned $52.9 billion from its online sales in the second quarter. Additionally, it made $32.3 billion from marketplace transaction and fulfillment charges, and $10.6 billion from advertising. Together, the revenues coming from Amazon's online retail infrastructure services were 81% the size of Amazon's actual e-commerce sales.

    Over the past five years the growth of Amazon's online retail infrastructure business outpaced its online sales. If this growth trajectory persists, within two years the revenue from services provided to sellers and brands could exceed Amazon's online product sales.

  • AI-generated pseudo-books are spamming Amazon and other online bookstores, sometimes borrowing real authors' names to squat on their virtual real estate.

    Partly due to videos like this where some users claim they have made $1 million in four months using Chat GPT to write Kindle books.

    Amazon is estimated to control at least half of all U.S. book sales, and an even bigger share of the growing e-book market.

    Authors and booksellers are urging the US Justice Department to investigate Amazon, claiming Amazons power affects the free exchange of information.


    It doesnt help that Amazon search is increasingly turning up mediocre AI-generated titles filled with unreliable information and soggy prose.

    • Travel guides have become a key niche for this flood-the-zone-with-crud tactic, The New York Times has reported. Move over Rick Steves, Fodors and Lonely Planet. Mike Steves (an AI travel writer) has the best reviews!

    • AI-generated titles have also begun to infiltrate categories like cooking, programming, gardening, business, crafts, medicine, religion and mathematics, as well as self-help books and novels.

    • It's not always easy for buyers to distinguish these ersatz titles from human-written products.

    • Reviews can help but the reviews are beginning to fill up with AI-generated posts intended to skew the ratings.


    Additionally, concerns have arisen over AI-generated mushroom foraging and cook books found on Amazon.


    The foraging guides appear poorly researched and might pose health risks. Many of the books have repetitive content, likely generated using ChatGPT, and feature filler material with no real value. Some include mistakes, like omitting crucial ingredients.

SPARE CHANGE immediate impact tips
  • Most brands dont know the three metrics vital to any DTC business.


    They are:
    1. Customer lifetime value (LTV)
    2. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
    3. Contribution margin LTV

    You want to aim for a 3.0 ratio or higher. In other words, you may pay $50 to acquire a customer, but they bring you $150.

    The healthier your LTV/CAC ratio, the healthier your brandand the stronger your customer retention.

    Heres how to calculate the metrics:

    • LTV = your average order value (AOV) of customers per month + all purchases after the first purchase.

    • CAC = marketing and sales expenses divided by first-time customers.

    • Contribution margin LTV = LTV minus cost of goods sold (COGS) plus shipping/fulfillment expenses plus merchant fees.

FEATURED TOOLS and RESOURCES all the kool kids use these

Create hyperrealistic full-body photos of people in real time

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    Use it with your face or anybody elses on a generated body for an instant transformation. Coming soon: generate variations (like a person at different ages) as well as animations bringing your human to life.

LISTEN UP - Latest AM/PM Podcast episode

Yoni Kozminski, originally from Australia and now residing in Israel, with his co-founder Lippy, escalated an Amazon business from $2 million to $5 million in a year, leading to its acquisition by Thrasio.

This success resulted in the inception of MultiplyMii, which focuses on assisting sellers in recruiting suitable talent and systemizing their businesses.

Heres just a fraction of what youll learn in this jam-packed episode:

  • Importance of Systemizing Early:

    • It's essential to understand where you're spending time in your business and if it materially impacts growth.

    • Once tasks become repeatable, and the business starts scaling, documentation and systemization become vital.

    • Waiting too long to systemize creates complications and inefficiencies.

    • The goal should be to move from working "in" the business to working "on" the business.

    • Solo entrepreneurs might feel they can do tasks betterthemselves and may hesitate to delegate.

    • It's essential to recognize when to delegate tasks even if someone else can achieve 70-80% of what the founder can do.

MultiplyMii and VAs from the Philippines:

  • 95% of those working in the BPO (business process outsourcing) space have a college degree or higher.

  • The official educational language in the Philippines is English, making it a super westernized culture.

  • The cost of living is cheaper, allowing businesses to hire at a reduced rate without compromising on employee welfare.

  • Despite lower rates, the pay can be life-changing for Filipinos.

  • $10 an hour in the Philippines is equivalent to a decent wage in the US considering the cost of living differences.

  • They take pride in their work and can be conflict-averse.

  • Negative feedback without providing clear expectations can lead to misunderstandings or employees feeling demoralized.

  • A 13th month bonus given in December accrued monthly.

  • Letting someone go can be challenging depending on employment structure or restrictive employment contracts.

  • Some Filipino employees work night shifts to align with US hours.

PARTING SHOT

Do not correct a fool, or he will hate you. However, correct a wise man or woman, and he/she will appreciate you.

Thats a wrap - enjoy todays holiday if youre in the USA or Canada.

C U on Thursday

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