Thinking to start an import and export business? Would you rather have the view from your home office or the one you have from your office now? While many people in the UK are still struggling with their 9-5 jobs, or dealing with the consequences of the flood of February, many individuals have learned to take advantage of globalization, started their import and export business, and today are waking up every day to the limitless new opportunities.
In my previous articles, I reviewed why exporting can help your business. The U.S. has changed his historical economic role of manufacturer or producer, and has become the major importer of manufactured goods in the world, opening opportunities for individuals and companies to help source and distribute the products that meet the endless needs of the American consumer. Just in 2012 the U.S. imported over $2.35 trillion primarily in the agricultural products, industrial supplies, high technology, and consumer goods industry segments. During the same time it exported over $1.6 trillion in almost exactly the same industries, creating a $4 trillion-dollar opportunity for import/export companies.
Do you want to be part of that $4 trillion-dollar yr. market opportunity?
Taking advantage of globalization to develop your own business or professional service opportunities is not more difficult than just doing some of the same things you do on your day-to-day job. From data entry, delivery, and back office, to sales and market research, your current skills can help you move into your next career opportunity, or into your own business. Now a word of caution, as with any other business, it is actually work, you will need to have the discipline to wake up every day and go to work. If you don’t have the discipline and the desire to grow beyond your 8-5 office job, then having a business with relatively low overhead, and almost unlimited profits may not be the right path to you.
If you are interested in becoming part of the import/export business there are several steps that you need to consider:
Do you want to be in the import and export business?
While they may seem the same and in principle they actually are, there is a fundamental difference between importing and exporting the direction of the movement of goods/services.
Importing: In importing the individual or business will bring the products and services into their country. Importing may be the easiest business to start with the advent of the internet, and it may be as easy as sourcing the latest IPhone cover for your kids’ school fundraising (not sure if someone has tried that before but they do sell Boy Scout cookies so why not cell phone covers).
Exporting: In exporting, the individual or business will send the goods or services to other countries for sale. While exporting may be more complicated than importing from the standpoint that you actually need someone in another country that need those products or services, on the other hand exporting generally receives more support from your country government (every single country is interested in increasing their export capabilities since it helps the local economy).
Do you have a product or service that can be part of the import and export business?
The next step is determining if you have a product or service, or can find a product or service that can be successfully imported/exported to/from your current country or location. While this may seem a difficult task let’s break it down into some more manageable topics:
If you know how to do some basic market research you could very quickly be in the import business market. You can start by just looking at your own needs, what products you buy, or you will like to buy if they were available. You can ask your family, your friends, and your co-workers for ideas, and find out if the local markets can provide it for them. If not, then look on the internet and see if those products are somehow available from any online vendors, find their prices, and if you could source those products overseas at a better price you could right away be on the import business. While it may look like a very risky proposition, if you look at eBay, Amazon Stores, and many other internet shops, the overwhelming majority of those are run by individuals out of their laptops, and with the modern internet and outsourced logistics services, they could be sipping their piña coladas in Aruba while everybody else is freezing in the northeast.
Some of the additional services that you can offer as an importer are:
- Becoming a manufacturer or services sales representative, and help the foreign company find new customers in your country.
- Becoming an intermediary for the foreign company, and help import and distribute the products to other business into your country.
- Becoming a full importer, purchasing the products directly from the foreign manufacturer, and selling them directly to the end users (EBay, Amazon, etc.).
Every single government will try to help their country manufacturers and business export, as a source of economic growth, and trade balance. An export company primarily function is to help other companies find overseas clients for their products or services, and to help the local companies export their product. In order to do that you do not necessarily need to be overseas or to have a multinational organization, every individual with friends or family in another country could in principle become an export agent, and help his/her local companies increase their sales by finding more customers overseas. The same concepts that apply to the import business apply to the export, and you only need to help find, or train individuals that will like to be importers in the other country.
Some of the services that you can offer as an exporter are:
- Becoming a manufacturer or services sales representative, and help your local business find new customers in other countries.
- Becoming an intermediary for your local business, and help export and distribute the products to business in other countries.
- Becoming a full exporter, purchasing the products directly from business in your country, and selling them directly to end users (individuals, companies, or governmental organizations) in other countries.
Export courtesy of Inloso