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From importing exotic fashions to exporting lighting, the international trade business will take you all over the world and into every product niche.
Import Export Business In Africa
International trade is one of the hot industries of the new millennium. But it is not new. Think Marco Polo. Think of the great caravans of biblical times with loads of silk and spices. Think even more of prehistoric man trading shells and salt with distant tribes. It exists because one trade group or country has a supply of goods or merchandise that another wants. And as the world becomes more and more technologically advanced, as we move in subtle and not-so-subtle ways toward a one-world mindset, international trade becomes ever more rewarding, both in terms of profit and personal satisfaction.
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Importing isn’t just for lone adventurers surviving by their wits and the skin of their teeth. It’s big business these days: $1.2 trillion in annual sales, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Exporting is just as big. In a single year, companies exported $772 billion to more than 150 foreign countries. From drinks to commodores, and a staggering list of other products you’d never imagine, it’s fair trade as a worldwide commodity for savvy traders. And these products are bought, sold, represented and distributed every day somewhere in the world.
But the import/export field isn’t the business-trading conglomerate’s sole purview, with the big boys making up only 4 percent of all exporters, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. That means the other 96 percent of exporters—the lion’s share will be small outfits like yours—at least when you’re new.
Why are imports such big business in the United States and around the world? There are many reasons, but the main three are:
In addition to cache items, countries typically export goods and services that they can produce cheaply and import those that can be produced more efficiently elsewhere. What makes a product more expensive for one nation to manufacture than another? Two factors: resources and technology. A country with large oil resources and the technology of a refinery, for example, will export oil, but may have to import clothing.
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First, let’s look at the players. Although you have your importers and exporters, there are many variations on the main theme:
Once you meet the players, you’ll need to take a dip in the trade channel, the medium through which goods travel from the manufacturer to the end user. A manufacturer who uses an intermediary who resells to the consumer is operating in a three-tier distribution channel. A middleman can be a merchant who buys the goods and then resells them, or an agent who acts as a middleman but does not take title to the goods.
Who your swimmers are will depend on how you set up your trading channel, but they can include:
Not everyone is cut out to be an international trader. This is not, for example, a career for the sales-phobic. If you’re one of those people who’d rather work in a chain gang than sell Girl Scout cookies, or if you’re dying to make a sales pitch, you don’t want to be in import/export. This is also not a career for those with organizational issues. If you’re one of those people who lets the devil handle the details, waiting to see what happens next with the idea of follow-up, you should think twice about international trade.
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On the other hand, if you’re a keen salesperson, a dynamo for keeping track of things like invoices and delivery receipts, and your idea of heaven is seeing where new ideas and new products take you, and ultimately love the excitement of interacting with people from different cultures, then this is for you. the career
It also helps if you have a background in import/export. Most of the traders we spoke to were well versed in the industry before launching their businesses. Peter P., who founded a trading company in Russia, went straight from his international business college to an operations position with a frozen meat trading company in Atlanta, which landed him in the right place at the right time.
“I speak Russian and Ukrainian well,” says Peter. “I’m of Ukrainian descent. I took Russian as a minor in college, initially as an easy grade. Little did I know when I graduated in ’89 that Russia would spread to the West shortly thereafter.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the top 10 countries in the Americas (in order of largest imports and smallest dollars in exports) are:
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You do not, of course, have to limit yourself to trade agreements with importers and exporters in these countries; other interesting options are available, including the member countries of the Caribbean basin and the Andean pact, and the new kids of the Eastern Bloc. , former countries of the Soviet Union. But as a newbie to the international scene, you should meet our biggest trading partners and see what they have to offer. Then take your best photo, with them or another country.
Every business needs consumers for its products and services, as the Vulcans so eloquently put it, to survive and thrive. If you know what it means to start an import/export business, you need to plan or target your market, and determine who your potential customers will be, which geographic area you will serve, and what specific products or services you have. I will suggest to draw them.
This is a very important phase of the mega-commercial construction project. Proper market research can help propel your trading company into a true profit center, and the more research you do, the better prepared you will be before you officially open your doors, and the less hassle you’ll have.
Any manufacturer, supplier, craftsman, artisan, importer, exporter or retailer is fair game. You can go after companies that deal in heavy construction equipment or delicate jewelry, gourmet treats or pet food, telecommunications or toys. The only essential condition is that they want to sell their goods or buy someone else’s.
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That doesn’t mean, however, that your best technique is to stand in the doorways of manufacturers, stumbling into their cars every evening after work. Targeting by definition means being included in a specific group.
For example, if you have prior experience in a certain area, you should consider targeting that market first. You’ll feel comfortable with the jargon and procedures, so your sales pitch and initial sales will be smoother and easier. As an added bonus, you are likely to have contacts in the field who could become your first clients or refer you to colleagues in the field.
Dan S. focused on the field of technology, specifically software solutions and computer cables for commercial use, having worked in that field for over 10 years. He knows the field and feels comfortable there.
Wahib W. also started in a field he knew well, runways and navigation lights, then moved on to other international construction projects, importing railway and telephone pole materials and construction services, as well as other heavy equipment materials.
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OK You have narrowed down the list of products you will target. Now you want to find your niche, a unique angle that makes your business stand out from the competition. Here you can let your creativity shine.
You can decide to start as an export management company (EMC, remember?), finding buyers for domestic manufacturing companies, or as an export trading company (ETC), finding domestic sources ready to export. Or you might want to stick to the original Trader Sam formula, import and export on your own as an import/export trader.
In Florida, Lloyd D. has positioned his company as an EMC and ETC, depending on the needs of his clients. “[As EMC,] we work directly for a manufacturer, or exclusive international sales distributor/manager, as a marketing and screening provider,” Lloyd explained, “and we will find and locate overseas buyers for resale and/) or distributor/sales- qualified representatives. [Our] purpose is to function as an extension of [our] parent’s domestic export sales efforts.”
Lloyd says under his ETC hat: “[my company] operates in a similar fashion to the one described above, except it’s a smaller principal relationship, and business is usually done on a case-by-case or ad-hoc basis. More of a supply function for the buyer and seller.”
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Based in Germany, Michael R. describes his company’s mission as follows: “[We] are a worldwide consultancy, more successfully using the world markets available to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) who want to increase their sales and profits.”
Here is an overview of your market research tasks. You will want to do a thorough research on each of the following areas:
One of the catch-22s of being in business for yourself is that you need it