How to Start an Import-Export Business

The world of imports and exports can be an exciting, profitable opportunity for just about anyone with a computer, phone, and the willingness to do the work. Import/export agents are the connection between manufacturers and the worldwide market.

Becoming an import/export agent requires basic sales skills, strong organization skills, and attention to details. Most of your efforts revolve around building solid business relationships with manufacturers and distributors domestically and overseas. The typical commission is around 10% of what you broker, so the more you move, the better you’ll do. Though there is quite a bit of competition in the business, there are hundreds of manufacturers looking to broaden their geographic scope of distribution and millions of products to deal with — everything from cheap plastic toys to clothing to stereo equipment moves through import-export agents.

Like any other startup, there is a lot to do to before the money starts rolling in. You will need to identify potential companies to work with and introduce yourself (and your new company) to them. Ask manufacturers for samples and catalogs, statistics on their current foreign distribution, and the demand for their product in their own country. Ask distributors or retailers for the basics of their operations — who covers what territories, what products they deal in, what products they are looking for, anything that will help you determine what they buy and what they sell.

Once you have selected the type of products you plan to focus on, do your homework on the industry. Learn the history of demand for those types of products (Affected by the economy? Social trends? Who is the end user?). Review a variety of sources including newspapers, trade journals, business magazines, websites, trade association statistics, even financial statements for related companies. If you are new to the business, filling in your knowledge gaps will take some time and effort. If you are experienced in the field, you still need to put in the effort to ensure you are on the right track.

You will need an experienced international banker to help you set up your banking needs. An excellent credit score will make the process much easier, as you will be able to get started without much cash up front. You will also need a competent attorney to draft contracts between you and your manufacturers. Usually, you will be able to use the same contract for later deals by simply changing the name of the other party. You will need to secure a freight forwarder as well to handle the actual merchandise from manufacturer to final destination.

Starting an import/export business can be an excellent option for taking control of your own work life. It takes time and a good amount of concerted effort, but the payoff can be significant over time. Like any other business, it is essential that you master the fundamentals of business ownership as well as the customary operations of the field before launching. For the right person, with the right set of skills, the import/export business can be an exciting, profitable opportunity.

Building a Profitable Import Export Business From Home

Have you ever wondered how the imported products you are using reach your country? From jackets, mobile phones, DVDs and more, there must be somebody who has made a profitable business out of bringing in all these items from the different countries all over the world. These are profit that comes in because of the need to meet a demand in your country. This presents an excellent opportunity for you to make money. Although the import export business may not be the first thought that comes to mind when you think about home based business, the world’s oldest trade can be a lucrative home business opportunity. To find out if this business is right for you, here are some considerations:

1. See if you can find contacts. Contacts are essential for both getting good products and selling them. Determine if you have enough contacts of suppliers and customers who are the most essential players in this business. The internet provides several sources of information as well as venues for selling products that you can explore.

2. Are you a very detailed person. Going into the import export business requires that you take care of customers and be able to serve their needs.

3. Create a business plan for your import export business. This will be your roadmap on what you want to achieve and how you will be doing it. Some of the questions that need to be taken into consideration are: Will I go full time or part time? Do I need outside help? From which countries should I source from? Should I attend import export training courses or will an import export eBook suffice? If I go into this business, where will I get suppliers and how will I ship the goods? These are just a few questions that you need to take into account when you make your business plan.

4. Decide on whether you want to be a sole trader or if you have partners and need to form a partnership or limited company.

A home-based import export business is lucrative and easy to set up. Being located in the home means that you need very little to start the business and do not need a lot of overhead to keep it running. It oftentimes requires just coordination efforts and building up of relationships with suppliers and distributors. These next steps will get you going on this opportunity.

First, find niche markets for products that may be difficult to find in your country and perhaps other countries. Fill that niche by finding suppliers that can supply you with products for a price that you can comfortably sell with a margin. Then find out what your area and other areas need and fill that need.

Importing and exporting does not necessarily mean just from one country to another, it can also be from one state to another or one city to another.

Do extensive research. It will also help you determine what products will help you corner the market, help you find reputable suppliers, distributors, purchase and selling prices. In short, research will give you all the necessary information and prevent you from making too many mistakes in your import export business.

Profitable import export business is highly possible in a home based environment but it should be combined with diligence in searching for products and market, persistence in finding new opportunities and hard work.

Is an Import Export Business For You?

Many people want to start a business of their own. To find a suitable business they search through business startup manuals. One day they read about how to start a restaurant, next how to start a cleaning business, after that they happen to come across an import export business.

They want to know what is a hot product to import and make a lot of money with. They go to the library, search on Google, talk to their friends and everyone has an idea.

They hear importing for the Third World is a way to go. They read about all these countries they vaguely before ever heard of not to mention have an idea where they are, much less a clue what importing from there would really entail.

They read they should import a product that is closely related with people’s daily life, and that it should be popular. But what is popular?

Jewelry is popular, women will always buy it, but there is a problem, they discover, there is too much jewelry already, too much competition. Jewelry is not it.

Their mind races on. They discuss importing outdoor equipment, anti-theft devices, how about furniture? But if they are honest with themselves they should realize they have no sense of style, their house is a mess and they have no eye for design.

They look around and see the world is full of business deals. They hear the cliché, Find a need and fill it! Indeed, one approach is realizing that a problem of one person offers an opportunity for another person to find a solution for that person’s problem. Easy said but difficult to find the right answer for.

Deciding what kind of business to start most people focus too much on the income potential of the business and typically pay little attention to what the daily operation of the business will entail, and whether they may actually enjoy that kind of business.

When deciding on what kind of business is for you, you should not start by focusing on the business itself, its nature and income potential but on what type of lifestyle you really want! Chances are you will discover your lifestyle business and start an import export business.

Thus you need to start with a vision of a life you see yourself living. But unfortunately most people do not clearly know what they want. They will say they want to make more money, buy a new car and pay off their bills. But in reality they will always have more bills and their life continues in the same rut.

Paint a clear vision of what you want your life to be, and you shall find the business to start.