Just Do it - First eCommerce Event in Ipoh & Future Plans
Apologize for the break in blogging from the last blog. In between, we celebrate Hari Raya holiday, and I need to make few critical decisions on how we move forward.
It all started when Bryan from eBay gave me a call on 14th May. He just said: "I am coming to Ipoh on 1st June. On?" We were only a little more than two weeks. I paused for a while. Then I replied "Let's Just Do It!". I did not even think about letting go of this golden opportunity due to short of time.
But it didn't just happens like that out of a blue moon.
Why did Bryan call me? Before that, I had been joining events in Malaysia all around. I had met Bryan roughly more than one year before. After that we met numerous times on different occasions, and we discussed eBay progress. In times I bought Ipoh sellers to meet with him. Each time I tried my best to beg for him to come. The most recent event was KL Jom! eBay event. After attending the event, I wrote a blog about Jom! eBay and shared it with Malaysia eCommerce Industries. And finally Bryan replied to my request after more than a year effort!
Of course, I am worried from the start about the attendances due to such short notice. But yet somehow I felt confident. I had dreamed of organizing this Ipoh eCommerce event since I started in Ipoh eCommerce. After an event in Ipoh which few only came, I found that attendance was a crucial roadblock for eCommerce Industry key player to go to Ipoh. Due to this, I started a Facebook page on Ipoh eCommerce Community call KK Ecommerce. Additionally, I learned how to create a website and begin publishing blogs regarding my tips and experience in selling online. By sharing, I started to connect with readers and fans in Ipoh.
LET JUST DO IT!
The result: After we announced this event, within 24 hours, our first batch of 40 tickets was taken! Thank you Ipohans!!! We gladly worked with the Hotel to Increase the capacity to 100 pax.
After breaking this roadblock with 2 weeks more remaining, I started to think of the impossible. Why don't we add value to this event by bringing Malaysia eCommerce Key Industry people to Ipoh？ I just needed to ask right? And that's what I did, and AMAZINGLY, everyone of them just said yes without further thought!
Yet again it didn't just happens like that out of a blue moon.
In the past one year, whenever I met a knowledgeable and influential eCommerce person, I would also beg for them to come to Ipoh to share their experiences with Ipoh eCommerce members. So basically people like Adrian (ecInsider Founder), Mr. Ng (LWE Founder), Carol (MDEC） maybe had enough of my begging. Finally, this time when I called them, they accepted it! All these speakers accepted the invitation immediately (Carol can confirm only when we get MDEC approval). Amazingly this was done roughly one week before the event day. I thought that if I am lucky, I might get one guest speakers, and who had guessed that all of them agreed!
But where I got to know these great people? At the start as other, I am also not familiar with Malaysia eCommerce Industry. Then I joined this great Facebook group name MECA. From here I could identify some of the key people. MDEC and Carol was a good source of contacts. Thus if possible, I tried to participate in all MDEC events. After attending, I shared my photos, experiences thru blog and postings on MECA and other relevant groups facebooks. I tried my best to build a track record and consistency in Malaysia eCommerce Industry. Once people saw you frequently, they remembered you. Once they recognized you, you can starts making friends and share your passion with others.
So if you are planning similar events, from my real experience, be brave, be consistent, be the super thick face, and make yourself visible in a right way in the community. Accept any criticism openly and don't take it personally. I had even had my face laugh at when I posted a blog with me on this network. Just continue sincerely, and you will start to make friends.
Still this event was far from perfect. These were my reflections:
a) I didn't think about drop out rate. At the end we counted around 70-80 pax, having a 20% more drop out rate from our registration. In future, perhaps there is no need to place any restriction of the attendees for such event.
b) No immediate followup execution after event. We should had built the momentum after events, by executing more on-boarding programs immediately after the event. . But in this case, we had not prepare well. Thus this last 3 week, we were having further discussion with eBay on moving forward. Rest assure that we will be rolling out continuous programs to push eCommerce more aggressively in the coming months.
One of the unexpected surprise is that Adrian from ecInsider bought his team to Ipoh to had an interview with me. This was extremely good for us, and I am very grateful for his kindness. This will increased our reputation and help us in convincing others to try out in eCommerce. However the thing was that he wanted to do it in the middle of the event! as they were going back to KL afterwards. How can I say no? So I had to apologize to other speaker not available in the event during my interview. I am very sorry!
This was my first interview and I am very nervous haha. After 4 years in eCommerce industry, I did learn something and had some successful experience. I had been sharing this experience on my blog. BUT I AM NOT SIFU！. I still do not know a lot of stuffs, and still learning! I couldn't make a person rich and earn millions in a week! But I had work hard with sellers to improve their business and achieve some result.
After the event, during reflection, I had to make some critical decision in moving forward.
It again all started with Bryan. In the event, Bryan invited us, KK eCommerce to bring Ipoh Product to eBay International in the US, UK, Australia and more!
A lot of sellers in Malaysia usually imported products from China and other markets to sell in Malaysia. Like it or not, all these products reached Ipoh market thru eCommerce. My previous blogs and efforts were mostly helping these sellers in Malaysia selling China products in Malaysia and International market.
However, in my heart, I believed that this is also an excellent opportunity for Ipoh and Perak Manufacturers to export their product worldwide! If I can do it, I can help not just eCommerce Sellers, I can add value to the whole manufacturing industry in Ipoh and Perak! The amount of people who will benefit from this effort are much much more.
Again, I had no experience in doing it. But I had been doing stuff which I had no experience all this while. After a while, I get to believe that it is the WILL and the SINCERITY of doing it which determine it success possibility. Past experiences helped, but it might be a hindrance in times preventing you from moving out of the comfort zone.
I am now retaking a brave step moving out of my comfort zone.
Thus over this few weeks, I had re-align my priorities, respectfully seeking understanding from some seller seeking my help, that I cannot service them further. For business which I had stake holding, I pass some of the responsibilities back to the sellers.
My target audience now is Malaysia Product Manufacturer and Online Sellers who wants to sell their products online INTERNATIONALLY!
One of the obstacles we had seen is manufacturers will find it difficult to achieve this on their own. What we need is a collaboration between different stakeholders in Ipoh. We need to utilize all our resources and expertise to compete Internationally. Only by collaborating, we will be then able to compete with international players. Thus having this vision and mission, I am aware that I cannot be a full-time online seller at the moment. At times, I so wanted to be a seller, and get rich from selling. But from my observation, once you are a seller, your energy and focus will be on the company and the products. Reasonably you can network, but you cannot go into detail of others business problems and issues, help them troubleshoot it and improve their business.
And yet I cannot just be a service provider, and not being a seller myself. Humbly I believe if you are not doing it, then you won't be aware of the real pain points of running the business.
Thus I will also be a part-time Malaysia seller, selling Ipoh and Perak Products internationally.
It is evident in my mind that my full-time is to collaborate with others to bring Ipoh and Perak Products to compete Internationally. Again I will like to continue to beg for eBay and Mdec and other stakeholders and experts to provide their support if possible.
Have no Fear. Doing this will be a fun Journey! So help me GOD :)