You decided to start your own import business. Now what is the next step? How did other business owners become successful importers? According to the U.S. Department of Commerce only 4% of import companies are the big guys. The remaining 96% are small importers like you. Lets examine the five most essential keys to successful importing:

1. Conduct Research on the Product you are Importing

Study the market well, make sure that there are people willing to buy the product that you are importing. Be certain that the product you are importing is allowed entry in to the country.

2. Finalize Your Buying Terms With Your Supplier

Make sure you negotiate all your terms with your supplier before you place your order. Do not leave any open dialogue. Any wrong terms on your purchase orders might lead to extra cost. Be certain your landed cost is calculated correctly and there are no surprise extra charges.

3. Contact US Customs Before Ordering

Check if you need any additional permits before you import. Some other agencies might require special documents, permits or licence for the product you are importing. (See my other article “5 Guidelines for New US importers” for further information on this issue).

4. Buy FOB

Purchasing FOB will give you better control of the freight and freight cost. You will have more benefits buying FOB over CIF. If you are wondering why that is, you can find out here: http://morethan.mtstechnyc.com/should-i-buy-cif-or-fob/

5. Establish Good Relationships

Do not forget that every party you are doing business with has a small part in your success. Your product supplier, your freight forwarder, your distribution center, every channel is very important for a successful business. Once you find a good supplier and service partner maintain the relationship.

Importing business is not much different than any other business. I wish you the best of luck!