It’s no secret that importing goods has become an extremely profitable business venture. Not only can this practice help you reduce costs while maximizing value, but it can establish you as a leader in your local industry. However, as profitable as it can be, the import/export business isn’t for everyone. There are a few factors you should consider before taking the plunge into importing materials from around the globe. With that in mind, here are five questions to ask yourself before you start importing goods from other countries:
1. Do You Have Solid Financing Arranged Yet?
Import financing is the first thing you need to arrange before you consider getting into importing or exporting. Gathering goods worldwide can be a pricey business, with costly factors like transportation and customs clearance always coming into play. That’s not to mention that the simple act of researching your goods and purchasing your inventory can rack up expenses before you even have a chance to make a profit. Dependable import financing will help you get the funds you need quickly and give you the time to get your business off the ground before you need to worry about your finances.
2. Do You Have a Niche?
It’s best not to get into importing goods without having a clear and focused plan in mind. It’s always a good move to start your importing business the same way you would with any professional venture: identify a core audience and target its needs with your products. Once you’ve done that, you can research which imported goods can best help you serve your target demographic. You should only start your business after identifying a core set of goods that you need to import to satisfy a gap in the market.
3. Have You Found Reliable Suppliers?
You can’t have a reliable importing business without a solid set of suppliers that you can trust. Once you’ve decided the niche that your business will focus on, you should research the industry to find the most reputable suppliers. From sporting goods to tech and medical supplies like surgical masks, you can typically find suppliers on sites like Alibaba and Global Sources.
4. Are You Considering the Logistics?
Importing products from abroad requires plenty of logistical considerations, such as transporting the goods and marketing them in your desired area. While it varies depending on which country you’re importing from, you’ll usually need to budget for freight carriers or planes to get your goods to your target destination. So, you should make sure you’re planning for these logistics ahead of time.
5. Are You Prepared For Customs Clearance?
Depending on where you are in the world, you’ll need to ensure your imported goods can pass your country’s security requirements. The customs clearance process varies from country to country, so depending on which nation you plan to start importing from, you may need to provide documents such as invoices and merchants’ licenses to your local trade officials.
The seller does handle customs clearance in many cases, but it’s the buyer’s responsibility in others. Considering that, it’s always important to be aware of your country’s specific requirements and the support offered by your chosen supplier. You may need to get help from a local broker or international trade expert for the most detailed and accurate information about your clearance requirements.
Before getting into the import business, it’s essential to make sure you can truly reach your goals. By answering these five questions, you can develop confidence that you’re ready to start importing goods from the international marketplace.
Image Credits: Belinda Cave