Importing and Exporting – 5 Things You Need to Know

Are you considering importing or exporting for your business?

Import Export

Depending on your type of business, you may want to import or export goods. Importing goods may be necessary of you can’t find the product you want locally or at the right price and exporting can broaden your market reach.

Importing is also a common solution for developing your own unique product.

Whether you’re importing or exporting, it’s important you understand what’s involved.

Here are 5 things you need to know when it comes to importing or exporting.

1. Be aware of regulations, licensing and permits

Your legal obligations for importing or exporting will differ from state to state and country to country.

Generally you will need to understand your obligations in the originating and destination countries. This includes, though is not limited to, clearance of goods through Customs, import permits, quarantine permits and what goods can and can’t be imported or exported. Some goods may be prohibited all together.

2. Do you have a plan in place?

If you’re planning on exporting, it’s critical you have a well formulated Export Plan in place.

An export plan should consider a risk management plan for all possible issues such as foreign exchange, political, shipping, quarantine and legal issues.

If you’re an Australian business, you should consult Austrade for market research, advice and support, you may also like to use its International Readiness Indicator. There may also be financial support and loans available to you.

Similarly, if you’re planning to import goods from overseas, you should develop a robust Import Plan that considers all risks and how you will mitigate them.

3. How will you connect with your contacts and/or market overseas?

Whether you’re importing or exporting, you will need to establish links overseas and for all locations throughout the supply chain.

For exporting you will need to consider how you will promote your business overseas and reach your customers.

For importing you will need to establish a reliable supplier.

In either case you will need to have extensive knowledge of how business is done in your overseas destination and preferably have a reliable agent on the ground who has local knowledge, contacts and language skills.

It’s also incredibly important that you don’t overlook your relationships with members of your supply chain, such as warehousing and distribution. These can have a huge impact on the quality and delivery of your product.

4. Protect your international intellectual property (IP)

If you are planning on exporting goods or services and entering international markets, you should consider applying for IP protection in each country you’re planning on doing business in.

You should also ensure that your export goods will not infringe the IP of others in the overseas market.

5. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

Your country may have FTAs in place with overseas countries that would give you better access to sell in those markets. Read more about Australia’s free trade agreements.

Before undertaking and import or export activities, it’s critical you understand your obligations. You should check your local obligations, regulations and legislation in your state, territory and country, as well as the overseas market you’re doing business with. In Australia you can get some more information here.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our 5 Steps to Starting a Business and our FREE How to Marketing Kit – no email address required.

Kylie Fennell

I love creating and curating content, strategies and resources that will make your day. I’m a Writer, Marketer, Business Advisor and Trainer with 20 years of industry experience. I'm also a passionate home cook. By far though, my biggest role to date has been (and continues to be) Small Business Owner and Mother.