The story of Lord Alan Sugar is a great one, from selling radio aerials for cars and other electrical goods out of a van, to a market stall, to multimillionaire. Starting an import export business really isn’t rocket science and can be hugely rewarding and make you financially successful but of course, is going to take time, dedication and some hard work.
Import Export Business Opportunities
As with any small business venture, sometimes we need help getting ideas together as a kick start to moving things to the next level. In setting up export businesses, the first question is always, “What can I import and sell?”. Finding a niche or a gap in the market takes some time and research but there’s generally a market out there for everything.
There’s literally a world of opportunity within international trade and the best part about it is researching what’s out there to import and sell at home, is the chance to travel and discover amazing products from other cultures and countries. Before you know it you’ll be an international trader running a successful business selling quality products from every country!
Well, let’s take one step at a time, so pack your bags and grab your passport, here’s some ideas to get you thinking from six countries. Once you’ve figured out what you want to sell, check out our guide on how to find buyers for your products.
Leather is a prominent industry in India with leather also being one of the most widely traded items in the world, always in demand and can be considered ageless. Shoes and coats never go out of fashion and can last for years, so becoming an export merchant for this niche may not be a bad idea. Leather purses, bags, briefcases, belts, wallets, gloves, the list goes on, there is a huge range of products to import.
There are more than 1000 leather exporting companies in India, making it arguably one of the best import export business in India. Some of the prominent players are Prara Leathers Private Limited, Rahman Industries Limited, Farida Prome Tannery Private Limited, Tata International Limited, Super Tannery Limited and Blue Diamond Leaders.
ABTS Training also has a contact in India that has joined our Facebook group offering leather goods and handicrafts.
For more information and data see IBEF.
Jewelry and Precious Stones
India has long been considered to be the hub of the global jewelry market because of its low costs and and highly-skilled labour. India is the world’s largest cutting and polishing centre for diamonds. The gems and jewelry market in India is home to more than 300,000 players, with the majority being small players, so this is a great opportunity to go to India experience the culture, speak to jewelry dealers and see what opportunities are there.
Jewelry is such a huge market in India with a market size of US$75 billion as of 2017 and is expected to reach US$ 100 billion by 2025, there’s no reason why you can’t take a piece of the pie and start trading in jewelry.
For more information and data see IBEF.
Egypt is famous for having the highest quality cotton in the world and is always in demand, worldwide. Production using fine Egyptian cotton includes shirts, fabrics for trousers/shorts, worsted wool fabrics, denim, fleece, jersey, flat/woolen knits and much more. Apparel production includes active sportswear, outerwear, underwear, suits, socks, infant wear etc. Production of arguably the most famous use of Egyptian cotton includes a wide variety of bed sheets and bath towels.
Perfumes and Cosmetics
Egypt was once the prestigious center of the international perfume industry. Perfumes were created and mass-marketed elsewhere in the ancient world but it was Egypt that was most renowned and identified with the international perfume trade.
80% of the world’s natural jasmine products, come from Egypt, where specialists in this ancient art extract the aromatic oils from a profusion of flowers, leaves, roots and herbs and export them to perfumers in Paris, London, New York and even Moscow. Egyptian perfumes is a huge export market with some great opportunities.
Locally Made Weaves
According to some estimates, Africa’s dry hair market, this being the market for weaves, wigs and hair extensions, is right now worth over $6 billion a year and growing rapidly. Western countries, particularly the US and UK are in high demand of weaves and will pay top dollar for real human hair. Incidentally, Thailand is also a great source for real human hair, sold in many of the markets for very reasonable prices.
Ginger, Garlic, Sesame Seeds and Nuts
Nigerian exports of nut related produce including oil seed, oleagic fruits, grain, seed, fruits is massive. Sesame seeds are in much higher demand too being that Sushi restaurants are now so popular. Ginger is one of the most traded spices in the world and Nigeria has an abundance. Starting a Trans-Sahara or Trans-Atlantic trade with these products will be profitable but take some research and time to find buyers for your exports. Garlic is also on top of the list and is easily exportable from Nigeria.
In our Facebook group we have suppliers in Nigeria offering tigernuts, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and palm kernal oil.
If you’re getting a taste for an importing business and serious about import and export, sign up to our free training, ” How to start import export business. ”
Exports from Turkey are exploding with 2018 setting a record year of $168.1 billion, demonstrating the high level of demand for Turkish products. Turkey is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of knitted fabrics, having the largest share in Turkish industrial production and being one of the first established industries in Turkey. Turkish knitwear is known to be of the highest quality with worldwide competitive pricing making it an ideal product to import. The potential for solid profits within this textile is huge.
One of the world’s most prominent carpet manufacturers, Turkey is continuously expanding its global market share with increasing exports year-on-year. The Turkish carpet industry is renowned worldwide due its superior-quality products and advanced technology in production. Turkey currently holds a 15 per cent world market share in carpet trade and ranks in the number two spot behind China who takes the top spot.
In our Facebook group we have supplier offering carpets from Gaziantep in Turkey.
Mobile Phone Accessories
In every mall, high street and market stall, there are shops selling just mobile phone accessories. From unique looking earphones, crazy and cool phone cases, to selfie sticks and battery packs the appetite for the latest, coolest phone gadget is is enormous, worldwide. Importing these products is a great opportunity and the cost of these products in Thailand are significantly lower than other countries worldwide, coupled with quality craftsmanship.
Shoe shoppers love Thailand! There are a gazillion varieties of shoes available in Thailand and at great prices. Importing shoes is a relatively safe investment as demand is stable and profit margins are solid. Street markets and local retailers are a good place to start when it comes to finding buyers.
South Africa’s wines are held in very high esteem but South Africa is not taking full advantage of and could export more wine to the rest of the world. With a weaker currency, South African wines are comparatively cheaper to those of other countries with stronger currencies. South Africa is currently the 12th biggest exporter of wine, with wine exports of SA bringing in $661.6 million. However, South Africa’s wine exports was the 2nd cheapest of the top 13 wine exporting countries in the world. This is an export market waiting to be taken advantage of and will likely see comfortable profits.
Gems and Precious Metals
South Africa Exports of Pearls, precious stones and metals was US$14.9 billion in 2018. Needless to say there is always a demand for diamonds and gold around the globe. The nations with the highest demand are Japan, USA, UK, Hong Kong, Germany, UAE and Belgium.
Your Own Import And Export Business
Hopefully this have given you some ideas to starting up your own import export business and before long perhaps your company can be doing some big international business.
Some reports state that around 70% of us are unhappy in our job. This being true, it’s always possible to change career and take the plunge and start up your own international trading business.
It’s scary but for those that do it and are willing to take the time to learn a new business, do their research, create a business and marketing plan and have the guts to take action, it’s well worth it. Nothing’s easy in this world but once a few sales start to come in, it’s a very rewarding feeling seeing something come to life that you’ve built.
For a little inspiration, here’s a story of how one of our students did exactly that and is now exporting Spanish wine to China.
Minimum Investment For Import Export Business
Other than knowing how to start an import export business, the next question is inevitably, how much will it cost?
Import Export Agent
The answer to that question is, it depends how you go about it. Generally speaking, setting up as an export and import agent can be the way to go if you’re looking for minimal financial commitment as it requires less financial exposure, so this is something to definitely consider. Check our in depth blog post on how to become an import export agent for some great tips.
One other big part of the business of import and export is know how to use a freight forwarder. Eventually, you’re going to need to use one, you’ll outgrow the post office, the bigger your shipment size of your import and exports, so it’s worth understand how they can help you and what to be aware of. We’ve written an in depth blog on what freight forwarders do and how they can help you.
The blog also includes some tips of what to be aware of and how you can protect yourself from being over charged. Most freight forwarders are there to help importers exporters and run an honest game but as with everything, there’s always one or two bad eggs, so it’s worth being aware.
One of the key skills of any import company is the ability to effectively negotiate. You’re going to need to negotiate not just the price of your goods but potentially the method of payment, such as a letter of credit, the terms of shipping (using Incoterms), as well as then negotiate the selling price with buyers.
Negotiating like most things, becomes easier and you get better with experience but a great start is to checkout or negotiation techniques and tips in our in depth blog. This should get you started in the right track.
Import Export Business Plan
Hopefully this blog has given you some inspiration into starting your own import export company so find some time and write a business plan.
The first place to start is identifying what you want to sell, so get out there and find the products you want to sell or represent. Our in depth blog on sourcing will help to get you started as you can explore the globe for some cool products.
It’s best to perhaps pick an industry that you are familiar with so there’s less of a learning curve, if you’re into mobile technology and already know and understand a lot in this field, it can be a good idea to follow this road.
You’ll already understand the products that you’re looking at and probably know pricing already so these are a few advantages to sticking to what you know.
Visit The Company
Make contact with companies and see what they can offer you and at what prices. If you’re able to take a trip and go and visit manufacturers or factories, this is always time and money well spent and shows you’re serious.
You’ll also have the added advantage of seeing the product yourself, check the quality of the materials and the workmanship. Nothing really beats physically seeing it as photos and video really can’t show this.
Once you’ve sourced your products and established your product range, consider how you’re going to sell your products. Check our blog post with some ideas and suggestions to finding buyers but also consider using the web and setting up you’re own website to export globally.
Your own website has several advantages as you can cut out the middle man from any direct sales and also acts as a shop window for your company for any new suppliers you’ll contact making you serious and professional.
These days it doesn’t have to cost a fortune but we go into much more detail in our blog post on how to export globally.
Your Import Export Business
There’s more to learn to fully run your own import export company but this should give you some good ground work. Once you’ve thought about these points and written down your ideas and made notes after doing your homework, you’ll be in a much stronger position to get going.
It’s hard work but the challenge is rewarding once you start the get the first coupe of deals done. You’ll grow in confidence and be able to streamline each part of your supply chain as well as learn the best avenues for selling your products.