Whether you’re looking to import 10,000 units of your product or a few hundred, you will benefit from reading this book. With over 90 pages of information, tips, advice and some inspiring quotes [...]
Importing is easy. Anyone can do it… right?
In the globalised world of business we operate in today, with the freedom and ease of communication and the tools available to learn and conduct business (and let’s be honest – all the ‘free’ support you can get online in forums and other education media) it’s no doubt easier than ever to start a business, in particular in the very lucrative area of importing.
Importing is easy, but not to do it right. Ask anyone that’s been importing from China for any amount of time and they’ll tell you the Chinese can be very tricky to deal with, and landing exactly what you’re after can be an exhaustive exercise in itself with many traps and pitfalls. The boxes you need to tick before you’re ready to place the purchase order, qualifying the supplier, quality controlling the goods; they’re all areas that can cost you a lot of time and money by winging it without assistance from someone that’s been there many times before.
Did you try and do your own tax return this year? With all the tools and information available on how to do it or how to get the best return you’re probably pretty confident you can do it yourself. Sure you can. That said, do you think you’ll achieve as ‘profitable’ result as if you left it in the hands of a professional who knows which rocks to turn over and which to leave undisturbed? Sure, the professional advice might cost you a little bit, but in the long run you’ll be far better off. You’ll also avoid the risking of missing out on an opportunity to save money/expenses where possible.
So why do people choose to go it alone when importing from China?
Some of the myths are;
- I’ll save money not getting professional help – well this is the easiest to dispel, if you haven’t had experience negotiating with the Chinese you’re not only likely to pay more than you need to its almost a full gone conclusion. Experienced importers who work on a broad range of products have a good idea of what things should cost, how terms can be structured to benefit you and how to avoid the costs involved with a project dragging out because you don’t know how to source and sample properly. It goes without saying – if your order is of any significant value, spending a few hundred dollars to have someone (that represents your team) go into the factory and inspect the goods for quality, will be far cheaper than landing the goods and finding problems which either can’t be rectified or can be at your further expense. There are too many ways both tangible and intangible that experienced support can save you money that there’s no way we can list them all in one article!
- I’ll save time not engaging a third party – you think going direct to the supplier will save you time instead of having to communicate through a third party. That third party will be able to talk through what you’re looking for probably better than you will. They’ll know the questions to ask you, what information need to be shared with suppliers and how it needs to be presented. They can help you consolidate samples rather than need to liaise with tonnes of different people cross culturally which will no doubt result in samples you didn’t want. The importing process is time consuming. How valuable is your time, how important is it to have your goods landed as early as possible as you expect?
- I don’t want to pay someone a commission to help – you’re far more likely to be paying someone a commission on the order if you can’t qualify exactly who you’re dealing with and what their position in the food chain is. Not all professional assistance companies charge a commission on the resulting order you place, go without the support to qualify your supplier and you’re likely to be dealing with a trading company or individual who isn’t the direct factory source. This will cost you time and money.
Importing is not easy if you want to do it right. If you want the product landed to look as you had in your head when you were really excited about it, if you want to cut the lead time down as much as physically possible to get the goods here in time for that key date or if you want to save money, time and risk associated with importing you need to work with a partner who knows what they’re doing.