As a startup businessperson, you need to explore every aspect of your business before you fully spread your wings. This is even more important when starting an import/export company. International trade regulations, different currencies and many other factors require that you do your homework on time. On the other hand, thanks to the Internet, international trade can be very profitable and rewarding. Here is what you should know.
Select a product to trade
With international trade, you cannot cater to all the customers out there. You need to select a product that has the suitable qualities for import or export. There are hundreds of Australian manufacturers with limited distribution looking for an overseas market, and you could start by exporting their goods. You would handle the sale, paperwork, money, shipping, customs and foreign distributions, and the manufacturers would in return provide the quotation – with your fees on top of that. For manufacturers, it means an increase in sales, a broader market and more profit, and for you, it means establishing your business and a commission on the cost of the goods.
Find the market
After you have chosen the product to sell, you must find a place to sell it. Your ability to follow the trends or even spot the ones that are yet to become popular will get you far ahead of the competition. Touching the ground first and importing or exporting a product before it becomes hugely popular in the country can be your ticket to the stars. The World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and global Edge’s ‘Market Potential Index’ are the two services that can help you start your foreign market research. Also, you might want to check with your local government officials to determine the right sources for international market research. Australian Trade and Investment Commission helps Australian businesses and citizens develop international markets and win productive foreign direct investments.
Set up a website and blog
Having your own website will help you develop your online presence and grow your business. It serves as a hub for your online communications and your web-based store. Start by registering your business name with a reputable web host because your domain name is what potential customers will use to find you and your business. Sites like Network Solutions, Go Daddy, Intuit and Verio offer domain name registrations and affordable website hosting packages. A blog, on the other hand, allows for a continuous flow of engaging communications. Blogger, Typepad and WordPress are services that enable you to create a blog within minutes, which will also include great designs, reliable hosting and tech-support.
Price your product
There are two critical elements that determine your import/export business model. These are the volume, or the number of units sold, and the commission on that volume. You want to achieve the product price so that your commission doesn’t exceed the amount your customers are willing to pay, but still brings you good profit. It is typical for importers and exporters to take a 10% or 15% markup over cost.
Transport your products
Your next step is finding the best means of transporting your product to where you will be selling it. You need a global freight forwarding company that has a strong network of relationships with transport companies, and you also need the company to be able to offer warehouse storage in all metropolitan and regional centres, as well as handle your customs clearance procedures. Their service can save you a lot of time, effort and stress for a reasonable fee.
Starting an import/export business is an exciting endeavour. The most important piece of advice is to research everything, as your success depends on many different factors. Keeping up to date on all industry news will create lucrative opportunities that you don’t want to miss.