Starting an Import Export Business

Be a Home Based Importer/Exporter

A lot of media hype places import export agency trading as the best home based business. The argument is that the business opportunity requires no investment in stock, can be run on a full or part time basis and does not need an office or other premises.

It is true to say that the import export business can be started as a home business and is capable of producing a very high revenue when developed well. But what is involved and would this business suit you?

Running an import export agency involves you finding suppliers and putting them in touch with buyers. This is not as straight forward as it seems otherwise all buyers would seek their own goods without the need for an agent. First you must decide on what area of goods to source and there are two distinct ways of doing this. First, if you have a very good idea of what commodity you want to deal in, you can search for manufacturers or other selling agents around the world. For example, if you wanted to develop a business importing fishing tackle, you might first decide on whether or not you want to import mass produced goods from China or high end quality equipment from the USA.

You therefore need to develop a knowledge of the product you want to represent, and pursuing a hobby interest can be an ideal starting point. Another way of deciding what goods to import is to scan the various trading opportunity advertsiements on web sites such as Alibaba where you will find 1000s of businesses all around the world with goods to sell. The benefit of visiting such a global trading link site is that you will be put in touch with organizations already wanting to send goods to you!

Once you have decided on a specialty product or a broader area of interest you will need to start putting your suppliers in touch with the buyers. Finding buyers is easier once you know the product you are selling. You must identify users of the product and begin to market to them using a combination of advertising material provided by the suppliers or material that you produce yourself that might include a catalog or introductory flier. You will most likely want to exploit the power of the world wide web and involve Internet marketing in your portfolio.

When you agree to act as an agent for a foreign supplier you will need to ensure that an agency agreement is drawn up. Some suppliers will be familiar with this process and others will need to be guided by you. The agency agreement is a legal document that will ensure that you receive the correct commission when a buyer pays for goods that it has found through your services. It is especially important if you are relying on a sole agency agreement that protects your area of opperation and ensures that the supplier does not recruit other agents in your area that will be competition. It is normal to seek a sole agency agreeement that gives you the right to find buyers in the whole of your country or state.

The potential revenue from agency sales is limitless. Typically you might earn between 5% and 15% on each deal you broker – and that includes repeat orders. One small deal worth £4,000 a month (which is nothing in the world of wholesale) could easily bring you an income of £600 a month. If you close six small deals like this in your first year and you would be earning £3,600 a month all through year two for doing very little!

An import expert agency can be a single individual or a global network of businesses. International arms dealers are import export agents! Like any business the success of import export will depend on:

1. Your research and understanding of both the import export process and the commodity that you decide to represent.

2. The effort and committment that your are prepared to put into the business.

3. Your preparedness to invest time and some financial resources.

There is no doubt that an import export agency is one of the best home based businesses that it is possible to start from home with limited resources. Taking it beyond a part time supplementary income source is a lot harder and needs investment and effort. It is possible though to start from scratch and build up a respectable business. Investing in a reputable and reasonably priced business package from an experienced import export consultant such as Wade World Trade will assist your learning curve as will a number of very readable books that are currently published either online or in print.

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