Import and export trade is one of the world’s oldest professions, but it’s never been easier than it is today. With the rise of the internet and a more connected world than ever before in history, you won’t have to worry about dangerous trade routes or unreliable communication like the merchants of old. The digital age nonetheless poses unique challenges for the budding entrepreneur, which makes it essential that you know exactly what you’re doing before you get started. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you successfully start your import/export business.
Starting any business can be expensive work at first, and that’s certainly true when it comes to international trade. Before you open up shop, it’s critical that you have a rock-solid understanding of import finance and the other factors that will underpin your activities. You’ll need to understand international currency exchange rates as well as more complex considerations like the most efficient and cost-effective way to transport products around the world while making a profit. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of a professional if you’re not confident in your ability to absorb all this information quickly and thoroughly.
Once you have a solid understanding of the logistics that come with importing and exporting, it’s time to decide what you’re going to sell. If you have a few ideas in mind, now is the time to streamline your list and pick your niche. You can consult governmental and educational databases to get a feel for the state of the international import/export trade. Picking your niche ahead of time is a critical step to make sure your venture doesn’t suffer from unnecessary expenses.
Now that you’ve found your niche, it’s time to figure out how you’ll get the inventory you need. This is where the internet proves its worth. Sourcing inventory can be as easy as a simple Google search to find reputable vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers for your product. Online marketplaces like Alibaba, Thomas Register, and Global Sources are generally regarded as the web’s best places for finding import and export providers.
As important as it is to have a great product, none of that matters if you don’t know who you’re selling to. Investigate the target demographics for your product and develop outreach and marketing strategies that let them know about your work. Leverage the internet at this stage. You’ll need to set up an appealing website that attracts your preferred clientele and perform search engine optimization that makes your business easy to find.
Now that you’ve made your preparations, it’s time to figure out how much you’ll charge. Pricing your import and export products is a unique process compared to wholesale vending. Not only will you have to consider how much your customers are willing to pay, but you’ll also need to take your own commission into account. Typically, a 10-15% increase from the wholesale price is considered a sufficient commission to make a decent profit without making your product too pricey. It’s critical that your commission doesn’t exceed what your customers are willing to pay.
Running an import/export business is a venture that rewards those who pace themselves and never stop learning. The digital age may have made international trade easier than ever, but importing and exporting rewards methodical preparation and planning. If you take time to ensure you understand the logistics of targeting a demographic and selling your product, then you’re on the right path for success.