Many young entrepreneurs are very frightened by the idea of going into an export import business. They think it’s for those who have lots of capital or the very rich men with trucks of money.
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Before, small scale buyers could not import directly from the big companies abroad because those companies always placed a high quantity limit to the goods they shipped. The only way out was to buy at a higher whole sale price from those who did the export import business at a larger scale. However, today things have changed.
I have come to show you how you can start a small scale export import business, dealing directly with the companies or persons you want to acquire goods from.
First you must understand that with the coming of internet, things have been made way easier for entrepreneurs to reach manufacturers directly. Let me show you how you can import goods for your small scale export import business from China.
At this point you might be wondering, “Why China?”
- It is quite simple, china is one of the countries that manufacture the highest amount of goods in the world at the cheapest rates because of its low labour and production costs. As a result most of the big brands such a Louis Vuitton and HP use contractors and factories in China for the production of their goods.
- China is not only the number one source for packaged food products, but it also the number one source of fast selling consumer goods. The United States of America and European countries place very strict standards on China just to avoid compromised goods and poor quality.
This may sound very funny for most of us in Africa who have experienced very low quality goods from China. The goods sent to USA and Europe from China are of higher quality because China has strict standards to comply with. If our African nations could place similar strict standards on goods we receive, we will not suffer from Chinese low quality goods.
A. WHAT DO YOU NEED?
To fully enjoy importing manufactured goods from China and other countries, there are some basic requirements for you to fulfill. Here below are a few for you:
1. A good mobile phone or computer with access to good internet connection:
If you are a person that is not well versed with the internet, I suggest you take out time to learn more about it and how to use it. This is because if you have to place orders for your goods you will need to use the internet. At least what I am going to show you includes the use of internet, so please do well to learn.
2. A valid email address:
The word “valid” is an emphasis to the email address. You have to check that your email is still valid if you have not used it for a very long time. If you don’t have a valid email you could create one for free on Gmail or Yahoo-mail. These are the two most popular valid email sites I know. Be careful to keep your password a secret, once you create your email. This will permit only you to access the sensitive information you will be receiving on your business transactions.
3. An easy to find and valid home or office address in your country:
This is needed so that your manufacturer will be able to easily ship your goods to you at your address.
4. Money in your bank account:
You would need to have sufficient money in your account so you can buy the goods you want. If you don’t have an account, you can get to any bank in your area and create one. You could visit many banks to review their banking options and the cost of running an account with them. Make sure you inquire about their international payment tariffs too. You would have to pay some money to create your account in anyone of these banks.
NB: Please make sure you go to the bank yourself and do all it takes to open the account yourself. Do not do any out of the bank transaction to create your account.all bank account creation must take place at the bank office or branch.
B. WHERE TO BUY?
There are some leading websites when it comes to selling products at low wholesale prices. These are good online markets for small scale importers like you!
This is one of the biggest sites that is a subsidiary to the Alibaba group that dominates internet-based commerce in China. This is definitely the place to go for all small scale import businesses especially if you want to import from China.
The Alibaba group launched Aliexpress in 2010 is an online retail service made up of mostly small sellers offering their products to online buyers. In 2012 the Alibaba portals handled sales up to 1.1 trillion Yuan equivalent to $170 billion dollars more than it’s competitors, eBay and Amazon.com combined. It also has more the 22 different categories of goods you can choose from. The site sells to registered users in over 220 countries and more.
This site also sells Chinese manufactured goods to buyers all over the world. DHgate.com is a business to business e-commerce website that connect China based small and medium enterprise to buyers overseas.
This website is very fast when it comes to trading and selling Chinese manufactured products. It came into existence in 2004 and its main investors are Warburg Pincus, KPCB and JAFCO. Special to this site is the customer support they offer through online chat,email messages and phone support including a variety of language options to facilitate the communication and understanding of costumers.
This last site is specialized in selling gadgets, examples are computers and phones. The site ships products from China, Malaysia and USA as well. If you plan on getting a niche in importing technology then this is certainly the best site for you.
C. HOW TO PAY?
Once you have given your order you would have to pay. There are many new mediums to pay for goods online,one of them is Paypal. Each of these sites have very secure payment services you can use or explore. You can simply do a bank transfer or pay with your credit or debit card. You no longer have to engage in the long process of getting a guarantee letter from your bank like before. The world has evolved and things are daily made easier and faster than before.
D. HOW TO GET PROTECTION FROM SCAMS?
This question is in the mind of many online buyers. You may not only worry about not receiving the product but also not getting products you paid for. Not to worry, these sites all give a form of buyer protection included in the payment process. How does it work?
Simple, the site withholds the payment to the manufacturer until you confirm that you have received the goods and they are in good state. This may not be a 100%guarantee but with this you are sure of a highly reduced level of fear of being scammed or loosing your money.
E. HOW TO FIND RELIABLE SELLERS WITH HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS?
These sites provide you with feed back ratings of each manufacturer. From the ratings you would know which manufacturer to buy from. You could also rate from your own experience.
This is mostly the fear of many African small scale importers is that of not getting the best quality of goods from China. This is especially because the standard is not as strict as that of USA and Europe. However, with this ratings you would identify which buyer is more reliable and sells high quality goods. This ratings affect the reputation of the seller in the general oversea market. Before you trade with any manufacture make sure to check that they have a rating of at least four stars.
Also take out time to read comments and details about the products they propose to sell. Check the description, seller’s guarantees and shipping conditions too. Make sure the product you see and read about is what you want to import. The feedback rating is also not the ultimate rule.
Most of the products are sold with free shipping options but this shipping will take a length of 15 to 60 days depending on how far your country is to get to you. In addition to your long delivery you might not be able to track the packages’ location through out the delivery process. You must also take out time to consider the security and early delivery of your package if you really want to get into this business.
Other options like DHL, EMS and FEDEX are also very good and fast means of delivery for your package. However, compared to the profit you get from free shipping you might not have the same using these fast means of delivery. They are relatively much more expensive. They reduce your profit but they take a shorter time. Always include your phone number in the shipping address you provide to facilitate communication in case of loss.
G. FIND A NICHE:
It is not always profitable to be a Jack of all trade and master of non. You must find a spot for yourself. Before you get into the export import business consider what is most in demand in your country and then see if your budget can afford it. Work with strategy and budget. If you want to deal with clothing, technology or cosmetics, it’s up to you just specialize in what you have capacity to handle.
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Start with what you have! The goods you see on the site are very cheap plus the free shipping that comes with most. You can start from anywhere. Plus the more you order, the lesser the prices. Just gather what you have and just start.
If you are able to go through each step, then you are ready to start on your export import business.
Don’t waste time!! Build your own export import business now.