Friday, December 19, 2008

Are You Ready To Start An Importing Business?

Here are a few key questions to consider when thinking about
starting an importing business to help you learn if you are ready

1. How well are the products selling that you are considering

2. Do you have a market already established for those

3. If you do not have a market, i.e., buyers, how are you
going to get those buyers to first learn about your products,
then buy those products?

4. Do you have the expertise to deal with the foreign
languages of the countries you are thinking about importing

5. How will you pay or finance for those products?

6. Are your trusting enough (or naive enough) to send your
funds to a company you found on the Internet simply because
they have a nice looking web site and best of all, the lowest
prices you have found yet?

7. Have you ever heard of the term "due diligence" and do
you know how to perform it on potential suppliers?

8. Have you ever sold anything? Products or services via
any method of marketing?

The above list are just a few of the questions you must
answer to yourself when considering the start of just about
any business, but especially one that requires you send
your hard earned funds to someone in another country.

Consider this post a reality check. If some of the things
in this post upset you, good. I would rather give you a
reality check before it costs you any serious money.

Most people have more dream than they have experience or
willpower. They want the fast track to guaranteed success
and do not want to face the realities of business that
do not match their dreams.

If you have ever considered starting an import business,
you better have solid answers to the above questions.

The primary one - who are you going to sell to? Second,
do you have "any" business experience??

When someone calls me on the phone asking about starting
their own importing business, the first questions I ask
are those listed above.

Most answer that they do not have any business experience
or if they do, it does not involve the actual sale of the
products they are thinking about importing.

The recommendation I give them in such instances is as

If you do not have any experience and/or you do but
you do not have an established market - then start selling
stuff on eBay.

By stuff I mean the excess things you have personally
accumulated, that same stuff owned by your relatives and

Selling "stuff" like this teaches you the "how to" of
the largest marketplace in the world - eBay.

It also gives you an opportunity to experience the "thrills"
of doing business, such as

Experiencing a sale or no sale

Researching how to price your products (based on previous
sales of the same or similar products)

Setting up a no cost merchant account with eBay's paypal
service and joyously paying fees to both paypal and eBay.

Dealing with shipping and handling.

Dealing with customers, communications - customer service
if they are not happy with the "stuff" because you did not
write a thorough description or provide a photo that did
not detail every nook and cranny of the stuff.

Dealing with non-paying customers.

Not trying to scare you away from your dreams but simply
giving you a path to learn from that does not cost you
a lot of out of pocket funds.

Now for some resources that my experience and research
over the past 7-8 years has discovered to be the BEST
I personally have found -

If after reading the above you realize that you are
"not ready for prime time" in starting your own importing
business, then this first resource is a place you should
visit and take advantage of "every FREE resource" they
offer to help you decide if their paid service would
help you launch your business.

This first link will take you to a search engine like
facility within their service where you can search for
suppliers of various items to see how many they have in
their database system:

-- just enter the name of the product(s) in the search
engine space, submit and wait for the results - the
search results will bring up various listings, one
will say "Import Buys" that is the one to focus on -
see the number out to the right that is underlined,
that is the number of suppliers they have for the item
you searched for - click on that number to expand and
see further details.

If you see that their service would be beneficial to you,
then get it - if you are not finding enough suppliers to
make it worthwhile then two things - 1) do not get their
paid service or 2) realize that maybe there is a reason
for not finding the product(s) and change the name or
learn from this that maybe you cannot sell that product
because it has minimum requirements that you would not
be able to handle or there are exclusive distribution
rights that simply exclude others from selling it.

A bit of advice on products you are thinking about selling -
don't get so fixated on one or two products that you
spend all your time seeking to find a supplier for it.

Understand that MOST of the BIG BRAND NAME products
have "EXCLUSIVE" distribution agreements and you are
NOT going to the attention of a manufacturer since you
are just getting started. Once you have a market
base established, then you 'may' be able to get them
to answer your phone calls, but you better have a
huge market base.

Now once you have that market base established and you
feel financially successful enough to purchase a much
larger (maybe container load) of a product, then it is
time to beging considering Importing it yourself.

This is when you are ready for our Importing course
and should get it so you understand all the aspects
of importing before you even make your first foreign
inquiry. Here is a link to our course:
How To Start An Importing Business Course

Last, but certainly not least, getting back to selling
on eBay - I am going to give you the link to our web
page where you may download, for free, an ebook that
I purchased a few years ago and found to be extremely
helpful when I made my first foray onto eBay to sell
some of the "too much" stuff I had accumulated over
my lifetime. Go visit and download at:
Free Ebay Selling Auction Book

Now the most IMPORTANT thing that selling on eBay
provides you is learning how to take ACTION! Beyond
dreaming about starting a business, by actually selling
(or attempting to sell) your first "stuff" on eBay,
it causes you to take that ALL IMPORTANT FIRST STEP -

This brings me to close this post with something I
read recently that Walt Disney once said - it applies
to you feeling overwhelmed with all of the strategies
you want to try - some people (maybe you) get so
completely overwhelmed that they put off getting
started for far too long.

Walt Disney put it simply like this:

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
Walter Disney

Hope this post will help you decide to "BEGIN DOING".

Ron Coble
International Trade Marketing Services

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