5 Key Tips for Starting an Import Export Business

  In today’s tough economic climate, more people are opting to leave the corporate world and begin their own company. Due in large part to the ease of communication and global business technology, one of the most profitable endeavours today lies in the import-export business arena. We have listed 8 good reasons for starting an import-export business here
The good news is that it doesn’t require a great deal of experience or a lot of money to get started in this industry.  
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You just need a solid plan and know where to find the resources. However, it does take research, hard work, and the confidence to keep going – even when things look like they may not go your way.

How Does the Import Export Business Work?
The import-export business basically matches foreign and domestic buyers and sellers of various products and commodities. One of the key benefits of starting this type of business is that it has a very low overhead expense. In fact, in most cases, all you really need in order to get started is a phone and a lot of determination. The potential profit that can be made, however, is substantial. On average, an export representative can earn a 10% commission on the products that are shipped. With that in mind, if you are shipping a deal that is worth $1 million or $2 million in products - your cut of the profits can be quite significant. Some of the crucial elements that you will need to concentrate on up front as you begin your business is on the building up of relationships with product manufacturers and sellers. Marketing will also be essential. You will also need to pay close attention to all of the legal issues in the local areas where you will be working. While there isn’t a definitive import-export business start-up guide that will teach you each and every step you should take when getting started, there are several criteria that you can follow that can help to ensure your success.

1) Choose a great product.
Certainly, one of the biggest keys to your success comes in choosing the right product. In doing so, you will need to keep a couple of important factors in mind. First, be sure that the product is easy to ship. This means taking into consideration the size of the product, as well as whether or not it can be shipped in large quantities to you. If so, you may just have a winner. You should also consider how unique the item is in relation to other products that are being offered in the market. If, for instance, you have something that everyone else is offering too, you aren’t likely to make many sales – unless, of course, you are undercutting on price. Therefore, be sure to offer something that is different and that also creates customer demand. In addition, if the product is something that you like, that will be even better. Having a passion for what you are selling is apt to keep you motivated – and motivation can actually be contagious. When others see your love for the item, they too may be more likely to at least try it. However, in our course, we show you that the incorrect approach to finding a product is not to simply to have a 'good idea' of what might sell. As stated by Jim Belosic, co-founder and CEO of Pancake Laboratories:
'You may think your product is perfect, but your clients won’t. Listen to user feedback: Your opinion may not be the best one.'
In our course, we show you how to research data of real buying customers, of products already selling like hotcakes to ensure you choose a successful product.

2) Evaluate your target market.
In addition to having a great product, you will also need to ensure that you have a viable target market. This is because no matter how great your product is if there is nobody out there to buy it, your business won’t be very profitable. Statistical data is essential when doing your market evaluation. Therefore, if you are zeroing in on a certain demographic area, be sure that you really dig deep into the numbers and data. When selecting a specific market, you will need to assess your target customers, as well as examine any potential competitors that you may already have in the area. It is essential to establish your target market early in the process. Just saying that you serve "everyone" is much too broad - and it is likely to lead you to failure very quickly. Instead, narrow down your target as precisely as you possibly can. You can do this by geographic location, by product need, or by various other factors through which to segment. This will make it much easier to narrow down the needs of your contacts - and in turn, to make connections with your potential clients. Then, as you begin to contact each of your potential clients, you will be able to offer them that much more value. Do you really want to get your feet wet? Then jump on an aeroplane and make a live visit to your potential target market. Let’s say you want to know how to start an import-export business in Australia. If so, after studying up on the market and surrounding area, make a live visit, personally talk with potential customers, and get a true feel for the actual geography and market conditions. There is no better way to truly get into the customers’ shoes.

3) Build your network.
To get a truly good start, an import-export business should also be affiliated with a strong network. There are always many participants who will play essential roles in the importing and exporting operations. For those who are just starting, import-export business techniques can be tricky at times. With this in mind, jot down a list of all of the services that you need to be provided for your import and export activities. This should help you to determine the “team” members you will need to have on board. You may even want to develop a list titled, “Building an Import Export Business pdf” in order to keep track of all of the various functions, as well as who may make for a good fit in each.

4) Stay focused on your customers and your market.
While “everyone” says they are focused on their customers, it is essential to win – and to keep – customers by truly offering better service. This entails providing them with a quality product, as well as knowledge, problem-solving, and cordiality. In learning how to start your own import-export business, you formed a team of people who all filled an important role in the company’s heritage. Over time, this has likely grown into the company’s “brand.” No matter how long your company stays in business, though, always remember to refer often to your “Start Your Own Import Export Business pdf” document that you created back in the beginning. It may help to serve as a reminder of where – and why – your business began, and the true heart and soul of the company.

5) If you fail to plan, then you’ve planned to fail.
business course image Check out our Import Export Course[/caption] If you really want to learn how to set up an import-export business, then you must plan, plan, plan! Otherwise, it really won’t matter what you do, the business won’t be likely to succeed. You’ve probably heard the phrase that says, “If you’ve failed to plan, then you’ve planned to fail.” Nowhere is this truer than in business. If there were such thing as an “import-export for dummies,” this would likely be stated on page one. Government websites also off help as well to increase your success in establishing a sound start in this venture. In any case, in order to really succeed in the import-export business, a good solid plan is key, along with a winning product, a viable target market, and a motivated team of individuals who want to see the company move forward. Before You Dive In Once you have completed the above tasks and you are ready to move full steam ahead with your import-export business, there are some additional items that you will need to complete in order to make your business official. These will include the following:
  • Registering Your Company - You will need to be sure to register your Import business. For example, in Australia, you should register either as a  partnership, a company, or a sole proprietorship - depending on the type of legal structure that you choose to go with. The structure will typically play a part in how your profits and your income is taxed. We go through this process step by step in our course.
  • Obtain the Proper Licensing - While In Australia you do not require licensing for exporting or importing of most products, the exporting of products on Australia's "Restricted Commerce Control List" will require that you obtain a special license. So, be sure that you understand which types of products will and will not require you to have a license before moving forward.
  • Create Your Marketing Plan - You will also want to make sure that you have created an in-depth marketing plan. While you may have a good idea of who your target market is and what they may need, you have to have a step-by-step plan for getting yourself to them. For example, how are you going to contact them, how are you going to differentiate your company from all of the other import-export companies that are also contacting them, and what is your overall business process going to be when a contact says "yes"? In general, a marketing plan should include which country (or countries) you plan to operate in (as well as the reasons why these areas are viable). It should also include market research data. In addition, your plan needs to have sales information, such as pricing details, annual sales forecasts, your fee structure, and expected profits. Likewise, your marketing plan must also include any marketing and/or promotions that you will be doing for the products that you plan to represent.
Even after getting your import export business started, it will be important to ensure that you remain up-to-date on industry regulations, compliance, and other issues that may come up. One of the best ways of ensuring this is to regularly read industry publications and to make sure that you (and any employees that you may have in your company) take any of the necessary compliance and/or other continuing education courses that are necessary.

The Bottom Line on Getting Started with an Import Export Business
Any business endeavour that is worth starting is certainly worth starting right. That means taking some time to truly understand the ins and outs of what it takes to create your company's foundation. While you can enter into the import-export business without a great deal of expense, there is a great deal of profit that can be made - provided that you put in the work and the effort to attract the right manufacturers, suppliers, and clients. Once you have built up your client list, the import-export business can provide you with a very nice living - along with additional perks, such as tax-advantaged trips to foreign places.