5 Things You Need to Start an Import/Export Business

Starting an import/export business can be incredibly hard but rewarding work. There’s always money in importing and exporting but, in a crowded market, you have to make your business stand out from the crowd. However, before you even get to this stage, you need to ensure that your business is built upon solid foundations. Here are five things you need to do as you start your business

A Target Market and Unique Selling Point

Firstly, you must ask yourself: “exactly what will my business import and export?”  And,  “who is my target audience for this?” Only when you can confidently answer these questions can you be certain that you have a valid business idea.

You should be able to target your idea via a USP (unique selling point). This is something that your business has but your competitors do not. This will then draw customers to your business.

This will largely be dictated by whether you become an EMC, ETC or an import/export merchant. There’s a great guide to these on entrepreneur.com.


Finance for Start Up Costs

Once your idea is solidified, you’ll have to calculate a budget.  Running a business comes with many costs, including but not exclusive to: staff, premises, advertising, and stock.

In the importing and exporting business, you have a number of additional costs, too, including tariffs, shipping costs, travel, and passports.  And remember that the cost of getting goods from your supplier to you or your dropshipper may be more than expected.  Most often, you’ll be dealing with LTL shipments, meaning it’s less than a full load.  If not handled efficiently, that can end up costing you more.  You’ll want to learn how ship LTL to your advantage.

In short, before you begin your business, you must plan your costs. Only then will you know if you can afford to start the business and its profit potential.

Register Your Business

Once you’ve decided on your business and you’ve determined whether starting it is financially possible, you’ll need to register it. This is a straightforward process, depending on where you live.   For example, if you live in the U.K.,  you can do it on this link. Then, you’re ready to start doing business.

Know the Rules

However, before you take your first order, you have to ensure that you know your country’s  importing and exporting rules. TNT has put together a handy guide that covers the basics of importing to the UK, but you’ll have to ensure that you know the importing and exporting rules for each individual country. Otherwise, you may end up losing money and stock if it gets trapped at customs, unable to pass through.

Build Your Contacts

Finally, once you’ve begun trading, you need to expand  your ‘little black book’. Importing and exporting is all about contacts. They can help you find new business, lower your shipping costs and help you find quicker routes. So invest some of  your time networking as part of your business routine.

import connections Import/Export

Follow these 5 rules and you’ll be on your way to owning and  running a successful importing and exporting business.