It’s Day 1 of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Course, and our Air Freight team have played a vital part of ensuring launch is without a hitch.
A number of pallets and flight cases departed from the Aylesford Warehouse via Heathrow and Atlanta on same day delivery last month. We also took care of the final mile, so everything was in place at Augusta ready for the coverage today.
But it’s not just the big events that require export services to the USA. The USA represents a real opportunity for business growth and development, it is the richest market in the world and the UK’s biggest single destination for exports. Small businesses also make up nearly all of the U.S. exporting market.
We are seeing a growing number of UK entrepreneurs importing and exporting from the USA, to ensure we offer the best service in this area, we use a comprehensive network of agents as well as our own team to facilitate air and sea freight operations.
But it’s not just the US market, international consumer markets like China’s growing middle class offer plenty of opportunities for even more small businesses to get in on the exporting game.
Why are imports such big business in the United States and around the world? There are lots of reasons, but the three main ones boil down to:
- Availability: There are some things you just can’t grow or make in your home country.
- Kudos: Certain things carry more weight if they’re imported rather than home-grown. Think Scandinavian furniture, German beer, French perfume, Egyptian cotton. Even when you can make it at home, it all seems classier when it comes from distant shores.
- Price: Some products are cheaper when brought in from out of the country. For example Chinese toys, Taiwanese electronics and Indian clothing can be manufactured or assembled in foreign factories for far less money than if they were made on the domestic front.
‘As the world becomes more and more technologically advanced, international trade has become more and more rewarding, in terms of profit and satisfaction’.
Countries typically export goods and services that they can produce inexpensively and import those that are produced more efficiently somewhere else.
There are two factors that make one product less expensive for a nation to manufacture than another: resources and technology. A country with extensive oil resources and the technology of a refinery, for example, will export oil but may need to import clothing.
But not everybody is cut out to be an international trader. You will need to be an enthusiastic sales person with great organisational skills, and if you love the excitement of dealing with people from different cultures, then this is the market for you.
Having a background in import/export is not necessary – that’s where working with a good freight forwarding and logistics partners helps. We’ve seen it all before and know exactly what documentation is required for the smooth handing of your goods.
If the USA is your target, you should familiarise yourself with their biggest trading partners to see what they have to offer.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the top 10 countries with which America trades (in order of largest import and export dollars to smallest) are:
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Korea (South Korea)
And despite what happens with Brexit this is unlikely to change – the UK has a well-established trade route for the USA with numerous air and sea freight shipping options, to suit any budget.
As the name suggests Time Critical Delivery is the one for urgent shipments, when you need to get essential parts, goods or documentation across the globe. We use the fastest possible transport solution – could be air, road or rail, for super quick we offer an air chartering service.
Air freight is often used for high value, low volume shipments. Quicker than sea, road and rail and with direct city to city transport options, air freight greatly reduces the distance between two points. To read more about reasons to choose air freight click here
Sea freight accounts for the transportation of about 90% of non-bulk cargo. With planning and preparation you can make savings on your importing and exporting. Consolidating shipments and planning long term to fill an entire container make this a cost-effective solution. Read more
You need to identify your Target Market
Every business needs consumers for its products and services and you need to plan, or target, your market, and determine who your potential clients will be, which geographic areas you’ll draw from, and what specific products or services you’ll offer to draw them in.
This is a very important phase, proper market research can help boost your trading company into a true profit centre, the better prepared you are before you officially open your doors, the less floundering you’re likely to do.
Who Are Your Customers?
You can go after companies that deal in heavy construction equipment or delicate jewellery, gourmet goodies or pet food, telecommunications or toys. Any manufacturer, supplier, crafter, artisan, importer, exporter or retailer. The only essential requirement is that they want to sell their merchandise or buy someone else’s.
If you have previous experience in a particular field, consider targeting that market first. You’ll feel comfortable with the jargon and procedures so your sales pitch and initial sales will go smoother and easier. As an added bonus, you may already have contacts in the field who can either become your first clients or steer you to colleagues in that area.
Here’s a brief overview of your market research tasks. You’ll want to do some in-depth investigation into each of these areas:
- The product or service you’ll sell
- The end user you’ll aim for (mass-market consumer, heavy industry, light industry, medical or hospital use, government, business or professional)
- The country or countries you’ll export to or import from
- The trade channel you’ll use (direct sales, representative, distributor or commission representative)
Once you’ve identified the list of products you plan to target you need to find your niche. The unique angle that will set your business apart from the competition.
Start up Costs
One of the great things about an import/export business is that its start-up costs are comparatively low. You can start based from home, which means you won’t need to worry about leasing office space. You don’t need to purchase a lot of inventory, and you probably won’t need employees.
Your basic necessities will be a computer, printer and modem. If you already have these items, then you’re off and running.
To get started you need the following:
- Computer system with modem and printer
- Internet/e-mail service
- Market research and/or trade leads
- Voice mail or answering machine
- Stationery and office supplies
- Travel expenses for conducting market research on foreign turf
This should include the following elements:
- Target: Which country or countries will you or your representatives sell in? Why are these markets viable? Include positive market research information and be sure to assemble it in a clear, concise, easy-to-digest format. This is where your desktop publishing programs will shine–you can make charts, graphs and tables interspersed with facts, figures and text.
- Sales: Explain at what price you’ll sell the product, give your annual sales forecast, your fee structure and the profits you can expect.
- Marketing: Briefly touch on any special marketing or promotions for the product; for example, foreign or domestic trade shows or any local advertising your reps will do.
Think big, but stay focused
The US is a vast country with over 50 states, some with bigger populations than many European countries. It has four time zones and takes five hours to cross it by plane or days by road. There are also cultural differences between north and south, as well as the east and west coasts. Therefore, thinking of the US as one market is a mistake. UK entrepreneurs are well advised to focus their efforts at a state level or particular demographic, rather than trying to sweep the country in one go.