I will give you overview about the procedures you need to follow in import-export business:
In shortly, there steps you need to take
1.)First, you need to find the product you import. This is also the most important and complicated step. You need to find a profitable product and at the same time product, what fits for you. To find that product, you need to conduct market research; you need to make sure what kind of product is missing on the market or imported in too low volume, so you could also fit there. I suggest always conduct market research and start in this field with what you are familiar, experienced with. You should make this step very seriously, if you skip this step, then you will enter into a business like “Blind, intuition, freight forwarder, freight” and you can only hope, intuition was correct.
2)Secondly, find yourself freight forwarder. You tell them the product you want to export or import and ask them all information related to that product importation: Import duties, certificates, docs, costs, etc.
3) After you know all duties and costs, then you need real offers from suppliers. I suggest starting from Alibaba. Com, Just create a free account there and submit a buyng request for your product and soon you will get offers from suppliers all around the world. Only trust gold suppliers at least three years old!!! First I suggest you ask CIF offer ( CIF means the product will be sent to your destination), so also the transport is included the price. This way, it's easier for you to calculate all costs. Later you can change to some other Incoterm term. In Alibaba there are a lot of scammers and cheaters, so you should never choose the cheapest offer, choose something in the middle.
4)After you have offered, you create Excell file, include all costs related import, so you fill to get your full price, after product imported to your country.
5)Now if you have full price and information about the product, then next step, you need to talk with your buyers. You can sell to whole sellers, or you can sell directly to end customers with an online shop. Anyway, you need to talk with buyers and present your products to them and ask their feedback, about opinion- are they willing to buy your products?
6)After talking with your customers, you should have some understand your market and the possible demand volume and prices and profit margin. I really suggest, if you sell your product to end customers, then your profit margin must be at least 50%!! Also, you need to have unique selling point or advantage, what will lift you up from the ground. In other words, your product should be somehow better-compared others ( Don't just think about competing with the price!!) You should ask from customers, what problem they have now with the existing similar products. Then you can let your supplier improve or design your product based on the feedback from customers- then you will acquire real advantage in front of your competitors
7)After you know all selling, product and price information, then its time to order your first order. I suggest order as small order as possible, for a test order.
If you are ready to order, don't forget to sign detailed buying/selling contract. In the contract, you need to write everything related to quality, quantity, shipping terms, timelines and payment methods, also warranty. Ask help from a lawyer with this. Also use secure payment method, If your order amount is less than 10 000 used, then I suggest use Paypal for payments.
8)If your supplier finishes the order, then he sends it to you, and you wait your order arrive. Meanwhile prepare for selling, you should try to sell upfront, get advance payments from customers.
9)After product arrives at your destination, then you contact with your custom broker, send to him all docs and certificates, and he will do custom for you, and you will get your products after duties paid
10)Now you are free to sell!
But if you want to export, then you need to start little differently, compared importing, then steps are following.
1)If you want to export, then you must again find the product, what you can export profitably. You should start looking product from the field where you are expert or experienced. What you need to do is, you need to find the product ( if you are a producer, then you already have it) to get the idea, what to export, Google about the items, what your country is exporting. If you have a product, then you type your product into Alibaba and Indiamart.
You need to compare your product with other similar product what are available out there already. You need to compare following things.
The prices- you compare your product price ( with what you can sell it) with prices out there in the Alibaba, Indiamart, Ebay, etc
The product design, specifications, properties, technology- you compare how good is your product compared other. Does your product have special advantage or something that makes it unique?
Check the competition, look how many companies are selling the similar product, from which country they are, to where they mostly export, etc.
3. After you have checked the market and found that your product is competitive and have advantages in front of others, then you should post your product to import-export platforms, like Alibaba, Indiamart, Ebay. You need to post all needed data and information about your product, and you will start to get inquiries. Also besides the online platforms, you can google the import export forums, blogs. You could contact with your country trading department ( usually, they help their citizens to find import partners)
But If you found your product don't have an advantage, then I suggest you try to modify, redesign your product ( make R and D), you need to make it more unique, try to add some advantages, what others don't have. You already check the market, so you can base on that information what was out there already.
But if its clear, that you cant compete with that product, then you should choose another product and do market research again.
4. If you found buyers now trough online platforms or other channels, then now you need to talk with them, ask their needs, their requirements. You need to ask, what kind of certificates and documents they need for importing. NB! It's your obligation to provide to them all documents and certificates they need. You need to contact your authorities and custom with these questions.
5. After all is ready, and the buyer wants to buy, the you need to sign detailed contract with the buyer and wait for payment after you received then you need to produce or provide the product, pack it accordingly and send to the buyer.
Previous was the very short description of all needed steps you need to take, they don't include everything, and they are not enough detailed. If you are importing exporting big volume and very expensive goods, then before you order, you really need to go to the supplier, buyer country and check his background and be sure, they are reliable and able to produce the goods for you, or they can buy.
NB! I am creating 100% actionable and practical video course about how to get started the import-export business from scratch, all who interested can join below.
U can send PM to me, to know more about my course.