When starting a business, one of the most important considerations is what is going to make you stand out from your competition. For some business owners, they will attempt to differentiate themselves through the items they sell in their store, and what can be more unique than something imported from another country? Before diving into the world of importing goods and dealing with international shipping and customs, you need to consider whether or not it is a practical and logical decision for you and your business.
Why Import Goods?
What is so great about products from another country in the first place? The main allure of imported goods lies in a system of balance, according to eHow. A given business would want to import certain goods if:
- The local demand is greater than the available supply.
- The price of a particular good is cheaper on the global market than it is on the local market.
The balance of a country’s imports and exports overall need to be balanced out, but for the sake of an individual business, not much consideration needs to be paid there. Imported goods can come in the form of either consumer or industrial products. According to the eHow report, there are three general reasons as to why a business would want to import goods:
- They want products to sell
- They want the cheapest price
- They are using importing as a facet of their global supply chain
What Do Businesses Import?
Anything and everything. Whatever you are looking to sell, there is a good chance you can find it cheaper outside of the country and import the goods to sell. Worlds Richest Countries reports that the fastest-growing imports in the United States in 2011 were not items you may have expected, they included:
– Gum and resins
– Coffee, tea, and spices
– Animal, vegetable fats and oils
Other popular imports from around the world included:
– Cars from Japan
– Clothing and footwear from China
– Alcoholic beverages from France
– Collector items, antiques, and art from the United Kingdom
– Coins, precious metals, and gems from Germany
– Fish from Russia
– Textiles from India
Planning Your Business’ Imports
If you do decide that importing certain goods will be right for your business, then you will need to look into finding manufacturers abroad to deal with, international shipping companies, customs requirements, and other import requirements set by the U.S. government. Importing goods can give your business and exotic edge over your competitors while helping you to get the best prices on the global market.
Chuck Stevens is an avid blogger always looking to share his experiences and recommendations. He has been a business advisor for over 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @chuckstevens12.Read More
Modern business has brought about challenges that people didn’t even think of decades ago. The biggest challenge is the sheer amount of competition that now exists in nearly every industry. As the business world has globalized, you’re no longer just competing with the company in your city or state. Now you’re going head to head with every business that does something similar to yours across the world. So what kind of personality does it take to succeed? Well, consider some of the characteristics of Alex F. Bouri, Chairman of Seament Holding.
Bouri is someone who possesses the number one trait when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, or even an executive: ambition. He speaks three languages, (English, Arabic, French) travelled to Nigeria to get his professional start, and started his own cement business with $50,000 loan. He eventually became known as the “Cement King.” Seament is internationally recognized as a leader in the global cement market.
But what does this mean for you, if you’re just starting out? How can you beat the odds and become a successful young person just getting his or her feet wet in this uncertain economy? Try some of these out:
-Learn a new language or two. That’s easier said than done, of course, but if you’re planning on being involved in an international business, it’s respectful to be able to communicate in your client’s native tongue. Though English is the unofficial language of business in most of the world, it’s not a rule set in stone and it’s in good taste to speak the language of the country you’re in.
-Think globally right from the start. Phrases and gestures don’t mean the same thing in every country. When establishing your brand, logo, and even company name, think about how they can be interpreted in major markets. There’s nothing worse than confusing or insulting a whole segment of your potential customers by being ignorant.
-Be aware of local laws. Just because something is legal in America doesn’t mean it’s also legal in China or Germany. This is the biggest trap a businessperson just starting out can fall into. Study the market, talk to people currently doing business there, and get yourself a good lawyer. Don’t assume things when it comes to the law.
That’s just the start. There’s plenty more to learn, but above all you need drive and passion. Who knows? Like Alex F. Bouri, you too might one day lead a successful international company.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=business&ex=2#ai:MP900424431|
Samantha Wideman is part of a team of writers and specializes in writing about current news events.Read More
Aun siendo una operación pequeña, cada compañía tiene la capacidad de hacer negocios en varios países. Debido a avances en tecnología, transporte y comunicación, cada compañía debe de estar investigando oportunidades internacionales. Para poder lanzar negocios internacionales, uno debe pensar en tres cosas:
Con razón, cada producto tendrá un recepción destinta en cada país. Las intereses y necesidades varían cultura a cultura. Es necesario como negocio investigar cuales son las oportunidades internacionales de su propia compañía. Ha que hacer las siguientes preguntas: quienes son los consumidores? Cuales son los intereses culturas de esas personas? Cuanta facilidad tienen de consumir mi producto?
Investigando las oportunidades ayuda a su negocio sabe cuales países debe de considerar.
Después de establecer cuales son sus oportunidades, es necesario entablar cuales son los riesgos asociados con los países seleccionados. Las leyes de cada país son diferentes y es necesario entender cuales son las obligaciones de un negocio extranjero o cuales son las restricciones. También es esencial saber la estabilidad política de esa país para poder prevenir posible problemas. Con cada opción de negocio hay riesgo. Lo esencial es ver como mejor mitigar los riesgos que hay.
Finalmente es importante como negocio encontrar conexiones en los países seleccionado. Pueden ser otros compañías o organizaciones que pueden ayuda con el proceso de lanzar su negocio. También es importante crear buenas conexiones oficiales en cada país de operación. Haciendo eso le ayudará a mitigar las dificultades que cada compañía enfrenta en un nuevo mercado.Read More
This week there have been a couple of interesting developing in international business that can help us learn some important lessons about business.US Tire Maker Titan International CEO Maurice Taylor Derides French Workers As Lazy For Putting In ‘Three Hours A Day’
First, it has been interesting to see the fall out after the CEO of US Tire Maker, Titan International responded negatively to the suggestion that they purchase a failing factory in France. After outlining how he perceives the French workers as lazy and the financial burden of manufacturing in France, he summarizes his position by stating, ‘How stupid are we?’
I still find this to be an amazing situation. It demonstrates the interaction (both positive and negative) that business and government necessarily have. As communities seek to bring in large employers, they will invariable run in to all sorts of situations. The key is to create an environment that allows for growth and success of all involved and incentivizes good behavior. What type of relationship do you have with the governments where your business is located?The next frontier
Tech in Africa. This is definitely the next frontier and a welcome advancement. Modern technology has created an unprecedented access to information and advancement. Be giving some of the poorest of the poor access to information and resources that will improve their quality of life, we as a global community all improve.
Some of the current companies breaking are illustrated in the image to the left (from the Economist article). What can your company do to make a difference in your local community or around the globe? When you find ways to improve the lives of others, not only will it improve the community but it will always be a boon to your business. Try to find ways to make things better around you and grow your business through service and community.Building a Global Brand
This is a great synopsis on how you can build a global brand while adapting to local markets. The YouTube video is just a preview. The full video is here: http://blogs.hbr.org/video/2013/02/building-a-global-brand.html
Location can play a huge part in the success of a business. Ask any business owner, anywhere. Being in the right place, and at the right time, too, can often mean opportunity presents itself when otherwise it perhaps wouldn’t. The Middle East is perfectly placed in that respect, with major emerging markets to the east and west. Add minimum red tape and bureaucracy and a strong international banking presence to the mix and the decision to move there becomes decidedly easier. That’s why the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the city of Dubai in particular, is increasingly seen as the perfect place in which to do business.
A case in point is the rapid rise of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business hub which connects the region’s emerging markets with the developed markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas. A large number of banks and brokerages have established a presence in the DIFC, attracted to the region by its wealth and cross-border trade and investment activity. As a result, company’s both large and small have greatly benefited with a plethora of tailored services including business banking accounts in the UAE and in other nearby countries.
Of course, it’s not just excellent and insightful business financing that’s crucial to the decision-making process. There are many other factors likely to sway any reluctant investor or entrepreneur. Bureaucracy is the biggest single issue often cited which prevents a business from setting up or expanding into a new jurisdiction. Red tape stifles freedom to act and to respond to changing business realities which can adversely affect the ability of a company to trade profitably. Get the balance right and businesses come quickly knocking on the door.
And that’s exactly what has happened both in Dubai and the wider UAE over the last few years. Literally tens of thousands of businesses have set up in the country’s dozens of free zones and now enjoy the benefits of a relaxed regulatory and taxation environment which is the envy of many countries around the world. Go online and check out the benefits. See what they would do for you in terms of your company’s profitability.
In recent weeks, two high-profile global financial institutions have set up in the DIFC, Standard Life, a leading long-term savings and investments company, and Coutts, the London-based international private banking and wealth management firm.
Standard Life’s Nathan Parnaby, Chief Executive, Asia and Emerging Markets, said, “Our long term vision within the Middle East is to build a leading retail savings and investments business. Being a large and respected wealth centre, the UAE is at the centre stage of our regional business strategy. We are confident of strong growth as there is high demand within the region for established and trusted brands like Standard Life to deliver leading savings and investment solutions.
“The DIFC is a recognised financial centre and we are committed to building our regional business from there, building on the strength of our existing relationships with customers and distribution partners.”
Coutts CEO Rory Tapner said, “Our relocation to the DIFC represents a significant milestone for Coutts in the Middle East. In addition to offering a more central location, our presence here will allow us to provide a greater degree of investment advice to our clients who work with us in the region.”Read More
Reaching an international customer base is a complicated process and one that will require significant investment. The rewards that come from tapping into an international market, however, can be huge. By reaching an international market you will be able to expand your potential client base dramatically and increase your profits significantly. This article considers how your company can reach an international customer base.
Develop an International Appeal
Developing an international appeal is the first important step to take because your product or service needs to appeal to an international audience. To ensure international appeal, your product or service will need to tap into a market area that is both global and niche. Your company needs to offer something that cannot be bought on the high street, but is desired by all.
Learn the Trading Practices
Trading internationally is very different to trading within your own country. There will be different tax rules and different limitations placed on what you can and cannot do. Learning your way around these practices is vitally important, but more important than this is the aspect of business cultures. Trading internationally means that you will be exposed to numerous types of business culture and learning to engage appropriately with these is essential.
Refine Your Business Etiquette
The varied business cultures that you will meet when trading internationally will have very different ideas about business etiquette. Whilst a meeting in England may begin with a handshake and get underway, a meeting in China is more likely to start after a banquet has been shared between the two parties. When looking to engage a customer base internationally, it is essential that you are aware of these rules of international business etiquette so that you can be sure to please you clients and retain them as customers.
Use Existing Supply Connections
Establishing international trade means that you will have to develop supply chains and interact with numerous transport and handling laws. It is possible to arrange all of this yourself, but it is often cheaper to engage with companies that have experience in exporting or importing goods internationally. Using existing connections will cost you a percentage of your profits, but it can still work out far cheaper than attempting to create international supply chains of your own.
Use Existing Marketing Connections
One of the biggest hurdles in the way of international trade is the actual process of reaching your target audience. When trading internationally you will necessarily need to engage with unfamiliar forms of marketing and without the right expertise this can be very difficult to manage. Engaging with companies that have an established digital market share in international countries will enable you to make the most of these connections. Investing in the utilisation of these existing connections will be far cheaper than attempting to establish a presence in a market that you do not understand.
As with all trade, if you can hope to develop a good customer base in any market then it is essential that you offer quality to your customers. When you are competing internationally there will be a wide range of options for customers to choose from, so your service and the product that you provide needs to stand out for quality. If you do not offer quality then you will find yourself constantly struggling to find new customers instead of easily retaining existing ones and developing an ever-growing customer base.
For more information please visit IoDB (Institute of Diplomacy and Business)Read More