While there are plenty of great business ideas, if you’re thinking of starting an import or export business, you probably want to be a little more productive with the steps you take.
Here’s all there is to know for an import/export entrepreneur to-be. These ideas—ranging from how-tos to practical tools and inspiration, will get your venture off the ground!
Make a decision on whether to go the import or export route. What would your focus be? Decide if you are prepared for the risk involved and the hassle of dealing with manufacturers, agents, freight companies, and customs.
Having decided that, do you have the needed entrepreneurial skills to succeed? Or the sources to raise venture fund? These are questions you need to answer before deciding if the business is for you.
Get the basic skills and tools
As a prospective importer or exporter, you’ve got to acquire the basic knowledge and intricacies of running an import or export business. You need to be skilled in negotiating, finding manufacturers, establishing solid connections , and meeting consumers demand of products.
All you may need is a reliable phone line, as well as a high-speed internet connection for email and other over-the-web correspondence. You will also need a PC for keeping crucial business files. You will need a printer and copier as well.
Select your target goods
You must first consider what your target goods is/are before even pondering on how to start an import export business. This is where the need for a feasibility study comes in. You must ascertain the hottest imported or exported goods in Nigeria or whatever country.
Should you wish to transact with a certain country, you should know the items selling well there and know your target clients of those goods prior to buying them.
You need a business plan
If you really want to succeed in the import/export business, then you definitely need a business plan. This will help you strategize, plan, minimize mistakes, and prove to investors that you have done your homework well. In fact, no bank will finance your transaction without a business plan.
Incorporate your business
Though you can start importing or exporting goods from the comfort of your home, but to boost your image or credibility, you need to incorporate a business. This will portray you as a serious entrepreneur and get you support from banks.
Have a good relationship with different business establishment in different countries, embassies, Chamber of commerce, business directories and trade associations to get information regarding foreign distributors and manufacturers.
You will be given a list of manufacturers and industries that can help you start an import export business. Always communicate with the consulate in these countries as preparation for importing.
Get the necessary license and clearance
Contact the bureau on tax in Nigeria and get a registration number from them. Know what the requirements for a license are to manage such business in Nigeria. You also need to check with the Nigerian Customs Service and Chamber of commerce too to ensure that trade barriers and embargoes are not present in the countries you wish to do business with.
Find manufacturers or buyers for your import/export Business
Finding contacts from relatives or friends in foreign countries maybe a good starting point.
Foreign consulates in your country also have links with businesses that might want to distribute their product offerings in your Nigeria or vice versa.
You can also establish contacts by searching the web with relevant queries. Sometimes, you can find buyers and manufacturers on the same platform.
Market your Business
Another important thing to remember when starting an import export business is to begin a mailing campaign so that you can market your business to your foreign contacts.
Get names of potential clients, speak to them regarding marketing their products. Tell them about trade shows you wish to join as well as your meetings with distributors and sales representatives. Your clients would therefore build their confidence and trust in your import export company.