What is an import business?

If you want to purchase any goods or services outside the UK for your business then you will be an import business. With this come a number of advantages, such as wider choice and potentially lower prices. Of course there are also risks and considerations that you will want to look at such as managing relationships with long distance clients.

Starting an import business in the UK

Finding international suppliers needn’t be any more difficult than finding suppliers in the UK. As with any key business decision, you just need to prepare and plan carefully. Here are a few things to consider before taking the plunge into international waters…

Why do you want to import?
As touched on above, there are a number of reasons that businesses might decide to import. You might believe you will get better prices, or perhaps you need goods which just aren’t available in the UK. Whatever the reasons, these will guide many of the decisions you will make around where to import from and which clients to work with so make sure you have thought them through clearly.

How involved do you want to be?
Dealing with experienced suppliers can be pretty straightforward and so not take too much of your time. However, if you want to work with less experienced clients then you may find you need to allow more time to work with them on the logistics and paperwork.

Finding suppliers
There are a number of different ways that you can find international suppliers. One option is to attend international trade fairs and shows for your particular niche. This will allow you to network with potential suppliers and to learn more about what they do. Another common place to look for suppliers is through third party companies such as Alibaba who act as go-betweens for buyers and suppliers.

Other similar companies to look at are eBay, Amazon and Doba.

Doing your due diligence
Before formalising an agreement with any international supplier, there are a number of checks and considerations you should go through. Price will often be a key factor so don’t forget to take into account any additional costs that might be incurred depending on the distance and regulations of the country you’re importing from. You should also ensure that the supplier themselves are reliable. A good place to start is by checking their credit history. Experian can help you with this.

For more information, please visit Gov.uk

Sign Up to Business Tips

Sign up today to business tips and news

How to manage your cash flow

View our latest infographic on how to manage cash flow.

View Infographic