You Can Launch An Import Business With Very Low Capital
The secret is to network with Asian enterprises. But note. Dealing with Asian businesses is quite, very different than dealing with American ones. If you go into this not knowing that there’s a lot of risk involved, you are going to likely wind up with $1,000 worth of iPhone 2 knockoffs in your garage, or $1,000 worth of nothing at all…
That said – if you should be cautious, understand what you’re doing, and know what to avert, you could make a KILLING with a comparatively little amount of work.
Building and Your Empire and Understanding what you are doing
It all starts with the Marketing Concept:
- Locate a great product – Hate this part? So do I. But it makes or breaks you Luckily, picking markets for this article is fairly simple and quick, and doesnt require pouring through monotonous key word data. Just read on – I’ll do the work for you.
- Find a great supplier – There are a handful of great providers in every market. It really requires some digging to locate them (along with a little luck), but there are some things you can do to be sure to avoid the scams and raise your chances at finding a wonderful supplier.
- Sell and assemble – After you have a superb product, and an excellent supplier, you merely have to start selling it. If it were me, I would leverage present sales channels (eBay, Amazon, etc) to both sell my product, and develop my own recurring customer base. So that’s what I am going to focus on.
Who will buy from you? Everyone. Take note that a large market involves women seeking to spruce up their room. The infographic below illustrates.
Things never to do
- Don’t buy in mass from a factory until you’ve got their samples in your hands and you LOVE them.
- Do Not let any provider convince you they can not ship single samples, they are trying to defraud you.
- Do Not pay with any other system but PayPal for the first 6 months with your provider. This eliminates a ton of threat.
- Do Not buy from a business that won’t accept PayPal. What it really means is that they’d a PayPal, and it was shut down due to criticisms.
- Don’t purchase counterfeit fecal matter. Not that there isn’t money to be made there, it’s simply a bad business to assemble.
- Don’t purchase a lot of inventory in the beginning. I started off purchasing 1-5 components at a time until I built up the money to reinvest into inventory.
- Do Not give these providers your personal e-mail. The email will be effectively nuked and unusable for years, trust me…
Well, I hope that gets you in the right mindset. Let’s get into the beef of it. The prime marbled steak of it all
Finding a Great Product and Superb Suppliers
This is actually going to be the most important part of all of this. Cultivating relationships is key to making it big.
I ‘ll tell you how exactly to find great products and great suppliers, but first I would like to let you know how I initially broke through and succeeded with this process.
When I first got started, I went right to knockoff electronics, sporting equipment and leather goods. I made a KILLING selling these through Craigslist, Amazon, and eBay, but immediately decided to shift from them. I did not need to develop a company on bases of questionable legality, and you shouldn’t either. I handed these companies off to my buddies – one of which made something like $60,000 in 3 months JUST selling leather goods on Craigslist and hand delivering them around NYC.
Another friend was making around precisely the same amount with shirts and shoes, but got cocky and shortly found all of the trademark owners coming after him (like coming to his house in black tinted cars watching him and his family after him). He ended up paying out a sizable resolution, right around the industry standard of 3x earnings. For sure, he had to liquidate all the fancy toys he purchased with his income.
Which is why you should avoid counterfeit bs. I won’t say it will not make you money, because I know it will. But it is like dealing drugs, you might be building a company that is certainly contrary to what the law states, and it is going to wind up biting you.
After I got out of that market, I found I could source competitive Japanese swords and offer them on eBay for an excessive markup. Yet, I soon figured out that high ticket items required a lot more capital and are inherently more dangerous to sell after getting a couple of returns and poor shipments, so I got out of that and into knives, airsoft guns, mace, and other self defense gear. I discovered there was profit to be made on these when looking around for places to sell my swords. My surefire seller was the 1.5Million Volt stun guns
Stun Guns and Airsoft guns quickly became my bread and butter. Right after I located my supplier I listed on eBay and immediately began selling 15-30 airsoft guns a day, readily undercutting all my competition and still coming away with a clean $10-20 profit per sale. And best of all, I didnt even touch the merchandise after a time. I finally found an AWESOME provider who managed all the returns for me with no questions asked, gave me a generous payment structure, and handled all transportation. It was a dream provider.
Your goal is to locate a dream provider for ANY product you’re earning profits on, because then it is possible to focus on growing the sales of your business as opposed to on customer service and transport.
It isn’t simple, but if you follow my advice below you’ll greatly increase your odds of locating a great supplier and product.
Where and the best way to locate suppliers
Your closest friend in the importing business is AliBaba. I ‘ve used it for every single product I have ever imported. I use it for my own companies, I use it for clients, and I understand a ton of people that use it. It is an amazing resource.
Do Not fall into the traps of Doba, WorldWideBrand, Volusion, or whatever other scam solutions are out there to find providers. I made the mistake of attempting all of these when I first got started, and just ended up squandering hundreds of dollars for little to no value. Merely stay far from these, trust me.
With AliBaba, you’ll be looking at only Gold members. I don’t care how wonderful of a bargain you get from a non-gold member, or how many factory certifications they’ve, you DO NOT buy from non-gold members. Merely following this rule will help you to avoid 98% of the scams and poor suppliers. Any certifications or whatever are simply icing on the cake.
You want to discover a provider that can do low-cost samples, offers PayPal payments (even at an elevated speed, use PayPal), and seems to respond to your own communications promptly and efficiently.
Open up AliBaba for now, as you’ll be jumping back to it frequently while researching product to know when you can make a profit.
Where and the best way to locate products
There are a couple of limits about what sorts of items you need to sell –
- It must be small and light – Trust me on this, you do not want to cope with the headaches that come with transportation furniture or kitchen appliances around the world. You needsomething that is going to be cheap to send around, because transportation is going to eat your profit margins alive.
- It needs to be an easy thing – What I mean by this is you want something which is easy to manufacture and has a relatively high margin of error. Many of these factories aren’t going to have the highest quality standards in the whole world, so the greater the margin of error you’ll be able to put up with while keeping your customers satisfied the better. Competitive katana swords did not have a great margin for error before customers began discovering, as they were vigorously slicing sh*t with them all day (slitting rolled up Tatami Mats to be specific).
- Keep it in the $10-200 range – Inside my experience, it becomes very capital intensive and considerably more insecure if you are selling things any higher than this. Higher ticket things are often harder to ship, demand higher quality control, and really magnify your errors when first starting out in importing. I’ve yet to find success outside of that budget, so I cant propose you take any risks inside it, but of course use your own judgement.
- Don’t sell what you buy – Most people buy electronic equipment, clothes, food, and other essentials. I could let you know right now that you’re not going to compete in any of those markets. Avoid these heavy industries and locate a pleasant little nook for you to sit in.
- Don’t go seasonal – You want to locate items that have a consistent base of buyers. I am certain there’s a group of money to be made in selling Christmas stuff and winter clothing from Asia, but it’s going to be exceptionally seasonal, and you are probably going to get a lot of useless inventory.
- Aside from that, you’re extremely free to research whatever comes to mind. Which leads us to…
- Alibaba – You should have this open already, but I frequently look around AliBaba to see what things are being marketed and check around the sites below to see what kind of margins I could get. For instance, right now there’s a 4 year Gold company (online now!) selling LED Light Bulbs for $2.65/unit. Better still, they do Escrow, and have onsite reviews from Alibaba. I will immediately go over to Amazon and see these same bulbs selling for $9.50 – 11.99, a VERY healthy gross profit! And that is merely the first thing I looked at! There’s a niche correct there.
- eBay – Have a look at the accomplished listings on eBay to see what sort of prices you are able to consistently sell things for. I frequently use eBay auction descriptions also to obtain some knowledge on a merchandise if I see it is the precise same. Costs are the main thing here though, you get a genuinely trustworthy indicator of demand. You have to click on the side bar menu to get to finished listings, here is a picture.
- Amazon – I go to the page and check out all of the various tabs for “Movers & Shakers” and whatnot. I click around the classes and drill down to find things I think may not have a lot of importers in already. Again, usually weird pieces, like LED bulbs, skateboard components, and katanas do nicely, so I attempt to find strange things that capture my eye and compare them against stuff on Alibaba.
- Other tools – mySimon Top Searches, Shopzilla Top Searches, Kaboodle Hot Picks
- Just keep looking through the marketplace data on those sites and comparing it against what you can get from Alibaba. It may take sometime, but eventually you may naturally learn what works and you are going to begin finding excellent merchandise chances made and right. If you really have issues finding a merchandise, opinion below or e-mail me and I am going to see if I will help [will at startupbros dot com]
- Finally you will find some opportunities that you need to move forward with. The following step is always to begin talking to suppliers and getting your hands on some samples. Don’t worry, they all speak english (kind of)…
Indentify & Email Key Providers
Now that we’ve a merchandise, we can start sorting through providers and contacting the ones that look promising.
All I would do is –
- Search for LED light bulb in Alibaba with the correct filters – You should have previously been doing this before to check your product costs in the previous steps. At this stage though, we need to switch to searching for “Suppliers” rather than “Products”, as seen in the graphic underneath. I typically begin with filtering by “Gold Supplier” and adding “Onsite Checked”, “Assessed Provider”, and “Escrow” in that order until I am down to 20-30 providers. If there remain a ton, that’s good. Only make an effort to find some way to narrow it down to the very best and take the 20-30 top 1.
- Contact the great ones – Now that you might have a list of the prime providers to your product, you want to contact them and get some additional information. I usually merely ask about their MOQ (Minumum Order Amount), payment and transportation policies, sample policy, and a price list or product spec sheet. They usually have all with this on hand. SIGNIFICANT – Do Not use your personal email for this stuff, as it will be spammed into oblivion for years! Asia is just not quite as serious about their emails as we are 🙂
- Get a feel of things – Now see who messages you back and how serious it seems they’re taking your company. Bear in mind that they are competing for your company now, and don’t have any thought if you’re appearing to put in a $100 order or a $10,000 order. Their customer service is a great indicator of where it’s going to be in the future. Don’t be afraid to haggle and participating in some cost warring, they’re considerably more used to that in China. It’sn’t uncommon to see an item begin at $200 and be sold for $20 in a Chinese tourist marketplace. I could write a whole post on price negotiation, but the chief thing with this is you have to low-ball your first counter offer to anchor the price possibility window at a lower amount. You should get by fine with that.
- Samples! – Ah, ultimately….the entertaining part! Now we really get to set in some modest orders to get samples shipped directly to us. I generally get samples from 2-5 suppliers I am considering, but never only one. SERIOUSLY go over these samples when you get them. Additionally be aware of shipping times, costs, damage, etc. Put the things through some stress, check every last nook and cranny of them. Believe about how customers will be using them and push the thing harder. You need something that is going to stand up if you’re going to place your name behind it, so find something to be proud about selling.
The minimum sequence they list is normally not definite, and is most of the time their typical or desirable order size. There’s no way to know for sure without messaging the suppliers directly, which is why I go for 15-30 initially.
In my own experience, Chinese factories will go through many hoops to work with you on order sizes, unless they’ve been a GIGANTIC factory that only boats via sea. If they use ordinary air transport in any way, they shouldnt mind sending out even an individual thing via air (which is what they do with samples anyways).
Again, with some things it will differ than other. For instance I looked into selling LED lighting that attaches to the sides of buildings, and the margins looked fantastic, but the MOQ ended up being somewhere around $5,000 of lights due to the objective of the item (to run down entire high rise buildings). I skipped over this one.
Another choice is AliExpress.com, Alibaba’s website for smaller orders. You are going to generally get better prices for precisely the same amount on Alibaba if you are willing to put in the effort to communicate with suppliers, but AliExpress is always an option.
Step 2 – Selling Your Merchandise Through Existing Sales Channels
Now, you are going to need to make a decision about your inventory. If it were me, I might invest the couple hundred bucks and purchase 5-10 pieces of my product to get started. You can certainly buy one at a time to start and that will work, it is going to merely be a slower start.
Note: I haven’t found drop shipping to be a feasible alternative for somebody just starting out with a fresh supplier. The only times I have ever had successful drop ship relationships with providers is after a long and prosperous history, at which point they work with me to get their American vendors to drop ship.
Anyways, you should get a number of pieces of inventory and start selling them.
I only suggest using TWO of these THREE sales channels when first starting out – Amazon, eBay, Craigslist
See I did not say spam your buddies on Facebook and every forum you will find about it. That is certainly a lot of work and will produce very little effect for you. Not once have a I tried to sell things to my Facebook pals, I hardly even tell them what I am working on unless asked.
It is relatively easy to set up shop on all these – I would merely look at what the top sellers of your products are doing and then attempt to improve upon that. Most times, the copy text used in eBay and Amazon advertisements is free domain name from the maker, so you could get a lot from other sellers and straightforward Google searches.
Within a day or two after getting the merchandise up, you should begin making sales. That is when things begin to get really exciting. Merely ship out your merchandises at the closest post office and wait to see what happens. Be sure you send as soon as you can and pack everything well obviously, but I am assuming you guys know the way to send things so I won’t go into much detail. Be sure you send instantaneously, and be sure you pack it up well. I would additionally suggest throwing in a thank you note with a website or some way to turn these guys into recurring sales (see below for more on this).
You should know pretty fast if you are making money and what the trouble areas are.
Within a month it should be painfully obvious if you need to locate a fresh product or if you should scale up your current merchandise.
If you can not make a profit with your merchandise on those sales channels, then I do not believe it is worth it to put any more effort into that particular merchandise, and I ‘d look for another product to sell.
Given which you are finding success with your product and have no lethal hiccups (lucky those do not exist…), let us move on to scaling this infant up.
Step 3 – SCALE!
After I had my stun guns, airsoft guns up and diving masks up on eBay and Amazon, all I had to do was keep track of stock and transportation.
I slowly started to add more products to eBay and Amazon, started sending out promotional contents with my shipments, began advertising, and started a brand name behind my company. My 20 order daily average fast swelled to 30, 40, 50 sales daily.
Remember that NONE of this would be possible if I didn’t locate an awesome provider in the first place.
I didn’t really know what I was doing and was kind of just throwing money at things and seeing what works. It was an amazing learning experience for me, and I learned a ton in what works and what doesn’t work in advertising and growing on-line sales.
Here is the stuff that I did to scale up my sales which will probably benefit you –
- Advertising with Amazon and eBay – I consistently made a strong yield with these marketing systems, particularly Amazon.
- Replicating yourself on other sales outlets – I eventually made an eCommerce store to ensure my products could be listen through the crude variants of Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, and every other shopping venue I could find online. If I could put my things up and sell through them, I did. And each new channel gave me a small amount of increase free of charge.
- Brand yourself – The days of branding yourself as “GreatAirsoftCompany.com” are long gone. You’ve got to locate an excellent brand name that resonates with the bunch you’re selling to, and it is going to exponentially honor you over time. It is possible to read this post to see how I determine on brand names.
- Aim for recurring earnings – I began sales boosts by including coupons and promotional content in each shipment. Eventually, I set up an e-mail and SMS subscription that would send them deals and updates on airsoft things. I additionally put up a monthly subscription for airsoft pellets, which I could not sell on eBay due to very little margins. The key here is always to focus on siphoning off buyers in the preexisting sales channels into your own lists and databases. That way, it is possible to advertise to them for free on demand, rather than having no way to contact them after their first order.
- And the things that didn’t work
- PPC Marketing – Marketing outside of where I was selling never worked for me well on this, however I was also quite young and didn’t know much about running PPC efforts. Should you be already good with PPC, then check it out. If not, I wouldnt even try until you’ve some cash to lose. Google adwords is the king of this avenue.
- Social Media – Just isnt going to work for importing. MAYBE you are able to find a means to do this if you’re a really, truly good social media marketer, but 99% of people aren’t going to get any sales from social media with this.
If you are unsure about a advertising process you might be thinking about attempting, only comment below or email me and I am going to inform you what I know about them…
Bear in mind that the only money I was placing into this was reinvested earnings.While still growing, learn to bootstrap- do not spend too big.
If you follow this tutorial, you will eventually be where I was – making a sound 50 orders a day. At this stage shipping and stock are going to really begin taking a toll on you and your time. You Will desire to focus on moving in one of two ways –
Negotiate better terms with your supplier – Once my supplier understands I ‘m a precious contact who’ll make him strong, easy money day in and day out, I ‘m his golden boy. Now you can start to negotiate costs and transportation terms. I normally make an effort to get some good price cuts, but my primary thing is getting the factory to drop ship (generally through a US office or provider). If the factory can send to my customers for me and handle returns, my business is set to automate. A authentic “4 Hour Workweek”.
Start outsourcing the procedures – If you cant get your Chinese factory to drop ship to customers for you, you’re going to want to remove that aspect of your company somehow. You’ll be making enough money by now to hire somebody to do the shipping for you locally. Attempt to get somebody local (a friend or family member) to start, as it’s much easier, safer, and more affordable to manage a buddy than an employee. Hire a VA to send the orders for your buddy, retain your listings running easily, respond to customers promptly, and order inventory.
If you get past this stage, it’s actually up to you where to take it. I chosen to make sure that it remains at this degree (automated cash flow), but you could definitely grow this as large as you wanted to. There is absolutely no real limit on how much money an importing company can make, and you have constructed a strong foundation to build off of.
Step 4- Go To the Cloud
When you’ve mastered the power of brick and mortar sales, the next branch in your sales evolution is data and service provisioning. Selling data and third party services explode your profits because every sale does not incur you cost of goods. In fact, you make more selling intangible things because profit margins tend to be 60% – and the fixed cost is merely your website hosting. What do I recommend? Here are my best sellers:
- Cloud Services: You can easily net $1000 to $2000 every week from the sale of this powerful cloud service as a reseller (no cash outlay!)
- Binary Trading Platforms: It’s easy to rake in $9500 towards the end of an average week promoting binary options on the stock market. Here’s how to start
- Automatic Affiliate Accounts: The video on this page is tremendously hypey- but the concept is explained in a straight forward manner.