One of my 2007 goals was to jump start my import-export business. In 2007, the US will export over $18 trillion worth of goods, so there are plenty of income opportunities, even for the little guys. To get your business on track, you have to be well connected with international dealers and merchants. An easy way to make connections is to join an international business network.
Join an International Business Network
WBE.net is the first international network that comes to mind. WBE is certified by the US department of commerce, and makes international trading easy for the average businessman. Check out their demo on how to negotiate a business deal. It's interactive, and easy to follow.
Save up for the Initial Investment
After joining a reputable network, the next step is to make your initial investment. Lately, I've been curbing my spending, so my initial investment is solely discretionary funds. I would never invest money for retirement or school expenses in a secondary business venture. Finding ways to spend less and save more money is much easier than dipping into your reserved funds. In fact, I plan to contribute my first Google Adsense check to my import-export business. This is an example of money that's earned on the side. Even if the business fails, my short-term losses are fairly minor.
Find Domestic Products in High Demand
This is the easy part of the process. eBay.com is the world's largest marketplace, so I do a lot of my research on their site. The key is to find product that aren't easily attainable in foreign countries. Electronics have an enormous demand across the world. A lot of countries have limited access to the sought after products that we use every day. For example, a friend of mine who resides in Jamaica already offered to buy Apple iPods for resale. It turns out that few Jamacian merchants sell Apple MP3 Players in their shops. Of course, I plan to export more than just electronics, but this is just an example of how sough after products are in high demand in various foreign countries.
Where to Buy the Products
Your international business network should provide suppliers, but you can seek out additional marketplaces as well. I joined the Worldwide Brands network a few years ago because I was impressed with their extensive merchant directory. You can conduct searches on thousands of products, contact the dealers directly, and commence your business relationship. So far, Worldwide is the only wholesaler/drop-ship network that I can honestly trust. There are tons of crooks online, but Worldwide Brands requires all merchants to have business names, proper business identification, and extensive contact information. If you cannot contact the merchant, move on to the next dealer. If things look fraudulent, there probably are.
So far, I'm still a rookie in the whole import-export business world. As I learn more information on how the business works, I'll gladly pass it along to you.
Wouldn't you want a piece of that $18 trillion dollar pie?