Beginning a Profitable Import Business from Home

The import/export business may be your answer to finding a good way to build up a successful business from nothing and have fun doing it. It can offer the prestige of working with clients from around the world, and only requires a little financial investment to start.

You don’t need experience in the field to begin your business, but you should have a good head for organizing. A successful import/export business requires constant attention to little details. If you have the ability to sell, and a bit of diplomacy, the import/export business might be the right business for you. With desire and determination, you can make it work.

You’ll need a freight forwarder to handle shipments. You’ll need to create solid contacts and strong relationships with reliable suppliers. Before long, you can be well on your way to making a profit in the import business.

The biggest advantage is the money you’ll make. Once you get the business gets going, the commission for setting up sales is profitable. Once you’ve established and maintained a number of exclusive accounts, you’ll find the time you spend worth it.

How the Import Business Works

An import is anything that is manufactured outside the country and brought in for sale. It seems obvious that all manufacturers would want a worldwide market, but it isn’t easy for a company that is limited in its scope and abilities.

An import/export agent is the matchmaker. Domestic manufacturers are looking foreign distribution, and foreign manufacturers want a United States market. As an import/export agent, you need to find them, make connections, and build a business relationship with these companies.

The agent’s commission is usually about 10 percent. The amounts are large, however, so the commission can be large as well. The market is unlimited and there are hundreds of manufacturers looking for foreign distribution. Anything can be readily imported or exported if there is a consumer demand and you can get the products.

Beginning Basics

You can start with a telephone and build your import/export business. You’ll need a good filing system, business cards, and a machine or answering service to answer the phone calls. You’ll want to have a classy letterhead. It is your letterhead that represents you until you establish personal contacts. Make it look professional, possibly embossed, two-color, or gold leafed. For airmail correspondence, have it printed on light-weight paper. Don’t have airmail envelopes printed, because you’ll have a lot of domestic correspondence too.

Making the Contacts

The most important step beginning your business is finding the contacts. A person who keeps well-informed in the business world can do well. You may have relatives in a foreign country, visited and established business relationships in a country, or just have a feeling for what will sell where. You can find contacts by checking with the following places:

  • Foreign consulates located in the United States
  • The United States embassies abroad
  • The Chambers of Commerce of every city you are aiming for

Analyzing the Market

Read everything you can find about world trade and stay informed. Look at trade publications, international newspapers, news magazines, and financial reports. Having goods to sell is great, but you have to know where they will sell. Finding the right market is as important as making deals and selling goods.

Where To Find Help

Local bank that handle international business will be a good place to start. Your personal banker will follow through on the foreign transactions, and helps keep your credit going. Other than office supplies, correspondence, or possible business trips, don’t need personal cash. You just need is good credit and a good reputation.

Making Connections

Build up a good rapport with the representatives of foreign companies. Find a few good companies, maybe in the same territory, and pin down their exact needs. Find a few products that have the highest demand.

You need to consider their methods of distribution. If possible, work directly with a wholesaler of an overseas importing company. This may lower your commission, but you won’t need to handle as many small details, and they will take care of distribution.

Once you make the connections, you will be well on your way to having a profitable import/export business from home. A little determination and hard work will go a long way!


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