I am often asked to speak at events about exporting, but not as often about importing. I will be speaking on the subject later this week so thought this is a good opportunity to share some tips.
1. Investigate the market - make sure there is demand in the local market place for the product or service you are looking to bring in. Who are your target customers and can you make money,
2. Can you legally import into the United Kingdom, there are prohibitions on items such as chemicals and medicines as well as restictions on particular products from particular countries.
3. Check out the costs, make sure you include transport, duties and taxes as well as finance charges and exchange rate considerations.
5. Can you afford it? Importing can be cash intensive, is is better to place larger or smaller orders and how does affect your landed price.
6. Consider the risks - Make sure your supplier is reputable and have a back up for emergencies. The cheapest supplier isn't always the best. Do a credit check and if you cannot get out to see them, make sure you have seen production samples.
7. Exchange rate flutuations are another potential risk. Rates move up and down and this will affect your costs.
8. Dealing with overseas suppliers is a steep learning curve, take into account language and cultural differences. There is a greater potential for misundertanding when English is not your suppliers first language.
9. Understand the trading terms and make sure each party understands them in the same way. Be aware of the logistical requirements , it is a good idea to take advice.