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Import/Export

Import/Export Specialist

Know a lot about the import/export world? Use that knowledge to help others.

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Business At A Glance

Import/Export Specialist

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Considering the many red-tape barriers and all the issues surrounding importing products into this country, or exporting products out of this country, it’s no wonder that so many businesses don’t know where to start and just plain give up out of frustration.
 
Of course, the smart business owners who don’t want to miss a single opportunity to grow their businesses and revenues don’t give up. Instead, they hire an import/export specialist to guide them through the complex issues of the import/export business’legal, transportation, warehousing, distribution, marketing, employment, environmental, political and financial. Starting an import/export consulting business will require experience in the industry, or the willingness to learn about the industry. One simple way to market your services is to develop and host a free informational seminar on importing and exporting and use the event to sign up businesses and individuals who want to get started in import and export.

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Import/Export

Distribution Warehouse

Homebased and e-businesses provide products that need warehousing and distribution. Starting this service requires planning, organization and an entrepreneur looking to help other businesses.

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Business At A Glance

Distribution Warehouse

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Homebased businesses and the internet have created a booming market for distribution and warehousing services. Why? Because homebased and cyberventures generally don’t have the infrastructure required to store and ship their products that are being sold. Starting a warehousing and distribution service means you can act as a warehouse, shipping and receiving agent for as many as 20 or 30 different companies. This business venture does require a great deal of research and investment capital. However, with careful planning and exceptional organizational skills, this type of business venture is capable of creating a six-figure income per year, all within a very short period of time for the enterprising entrepreneur.

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Import/Export

Exporting

Want to work internationally? Consider exporting.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Exporting

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

If you love trying your voice at other languages, you can’t be dragged away from the aisles of import stores, and you live to travel, then exporting could be the business for you. And it’s big business. In one recent year, American companies exported $349 billion in merchandise to 226 foreign countries.
Everything from beverages to commodes–and a staggering list of other products you might never imagine as global merchandise–are fair game for the savvy trader and are bought, sold, represented, and distributed somewhere in the world on a daily basis. As an exporter, you’ll act as a middleperson, selling various domestic goods for American manufacturers or producers to foreign buyers.You might deal with a customer in Turkey one week and another in Guatemala, the next. Acting on behalf of a manufacturer is the least expensive route to take, but you can also purchase products to resell or import goods from foreign shores to sell on your home turf.
The advantages to this business are that you’re always doing something different, you meet lots of fascinating people and you get to travel to your heart’s content. And one of the really exciting aspects of the export business is that most American manufacturers have no idea they can expand their trade exponentially by exporting. Once you show them the light, the possibilities are limitless. You’ll need a good working knowledge of letters of credit and other foreign payment policies, as well as an understanding of shipping terms and methods. You’ll also need strong sales and marketing skills–you’ll have to convince manufacturers to let you sell their products and then persuade buyers to purchase them. Good organizational and time-management skills are also a must.

The Market

Your customers can be producers or manufacturers of any domestic goods you care to target. It’s best to start in an industry you’re already experienced in–if you know the grocery field, for instance, you might start by selling upscale convenience foods to French grocery distributors. You’ll work a two-step process here.
 
First, once you’ve targeted your market, you’ll need to convince manufacturers to let you sell their products. Send letters describing your services and the rewards of exporting, then follow up with phone calls requesting appointments. After you contract with these people, go on to your second step, selling the goods abroad. Send letters to sales reps or distributors, explaining your products and requesting an appointment to meet or talk by phone. You can also place ads for your products on any of the plethora of free or fee-based Websites that feature trade leads, which are import/export classified advertisements.

Needed Equipment

All you need to get up and running are a computer system, a laser printer and a fax machine.

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Import/Export

Online Factory Direct

Don’t like middlemen? Eliminate them with a factory direct business.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Online Factory Direct

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

In North America there are thousands of homebased manufacturing businesses. Two of the largest challenges facing these entrepreneurs are marketing and competing against much larger and better-financed competitors.
 
Herein lies the business opportunity. Develop an online ‘factory direct’ Web site that features products for sale manufactured by these homebased entrepreneurs. Not only will you be giving these small manufacturing businesses a fantastic marketing and distribution channel, but you will also be giving them a chance to compete for business without having to blow a bundle on developing and marketing their own Web site.

Products sold via the site can be shipped to purchasers directly from the manufacturer, thus eliminating the need for warehousing inventory. In exchange for providing manufacturers with a marketing channel, you can retain a portion of the sales that the site generates; in the range of 10 to 15 percent would be fair. This type of cyberventure could really prove to be successful, as ‘factory direct’ pricing attracts consumers and securing manufactured goods to be featured on the site would be very easy.

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