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How to start an import business


If you've thought about starting an importing company, you've probably also thought about what you need to do to make it happen. Even if you don't know much about the industry, you can get involved in it and face the challenges that may arise.
The world is increasingly interconnected and business opportunities in international trade for emerging companies are abundant. While it is common to have suppliers from China, for its more affordable prices, quality of all kinds and greater quantity of products, there are also other exporting countries, but regardless of this, there are many factors to consider before starting to import.

Step by step to start importing

Starting a business requires a great commitment and above all dedication. To import it is not necessary to have a company, since it can be done as a natural person. But it is necessary to take into account the step by step since there are certain factors that are necessary to know in order not to forget any important detail.

Be clear about the products to be imported

The first thing you must do before starting an importing business is to define the business in which you will be involved, as well as to know the product you will import. It is crucial to be clear about the specific characteristics and requirements of the merchandise, its import requirements and all the procedures involved in importing those products to their destination. 

Market research

Crucial is to study the market you will be in, learning everything about that industry, from the consumers to the competition, allowing you to know who you plan to supply, and to have projections of your business. 

Finding the ideal supplier

There are several alternatives to look for suppliers abroad, the most common are from the Asian giant, China, where you can connect with several servers such as Alibaba, Global Sources, Made-in-China, DH Gate, China Cn, among others, as exporting companies to find opportunities, and other alternatives, equally efficient but more demanding, would be to attend trade fairs or travel for business.

Once you find the supplier, it is advisable to import a small volume, and start increasing the quantities little by little, that way you will be able to see which products are selling more and which are selling less. Once you have found your supplier, the next step is to hire a transport to take your products to their final destination.

Select a means of transportation

It is time to look for an international means of transport for the cargo, which can be sea or air, that best suits the needs of the goods and the business. First of all, it is necessary to choose the International Commercial Term (incoterm), terms created by the International Chamber of Commerce that reflect the rules of voluntary acceptance by the parties to a contract of international sale of goods regarding the terms of delivery of the cargo. 

These terms are used to determine at what point in the purchase the risk on the goods and the responsibilities of the buyer and seller are transferred. The one you choose will depend on the country to which the import is being made.

Opting for a freight forwarder/cargo agent, such as, is the most advisable option, as it will contact the supplier directly to organize and manage the entire process, from contracting the transport to move the goods from the country of origin to the country of destination, to all the necessary documentation and customs procedures. The objective is that the importer only has to focus on his business and sales, while the shipper takes care of the international transport of cargo, integrating all those involved in the supply chain, through a digital platform capable of centralizing all shipments.

Selling products

After the goods have crossed oceans to reach their final destination and the freight forwarder has managed all the necessary documentation for the cargo to enter the country, the focus is on how to sell and promote them. 

Having an excellent quality of customer service and innovation is key to successfully start an import business, in a differentiating way with the market. To start with sales, it is recommended to start on an e-commerce platform, to have a successful e-commerce business and to be able to know the market in more depth. 

The success of an importer depends on the network of contacts that can be established. Finding a niche of potential customers who have the need to consume products from abroad is crucial, discovering what they are really looking for and finally directing efforts to establish better relationships.

When creating an importing enterprise, it is advisable to formalize it, not only to recover the Value Added Tax (VAT), but also to better control the business and take advantage of the multiple tools that help its growth, such as the possibility of obtaining bank loans and state funds that support micro and small enterprises.

In this regard, Tomás Schulze, Business Development Executive of comments: "Informality and not having the necessary advice causes many mistakes to be made. Among the most common are not determining an adequate price for the product to be sold and not controlling the cash flow. This can cause the venture to fail.

Introducing the new way to experience international freight forwarding is the leading technology company for international freight forwarding in Latin America, which through its digital platform has managed to deliver complete visibility and control of the import and export process for companies of all sizes and industries.

Through its innovative software it is possible to merge all the steps of the supply chain, having full management capacity and visibility of the transportation of goods, even if you have movements with other freight forwarders. Due to these technological solutions you can have a fully customized control center, centralizing all shipments and optimizing the supply chain. 

Today, supports customers with operations throughout the region, with hundreds of agents around the world. Currently, its offices are located in Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico, and are constantly working to continue expanding.

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