The import and export industry is flourishing nowadays as more and more budding entrepreneurs are setting up their own businesses, as it has never been easier than it is today to find the proper channels and connections for their growing company. This, however, is no t a new industry. Since time immemorial, civilizations have always invested in and conducted imports and exports. Historical records show that, as early as 19th century BCE, there had been an Assyrian international trade-involved merchant colony existing at Kanesh in Cappadocia, who traded spices and silk at long distances.
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Import and export was also the prime motivation for many countries in history — they sought out new trade routes and countries to explore importation and exportation options in hopes of bringing more to their homelands. Historical figures such as Christopher Columbus, Pero de Covilha, and Vasco da Gama all made contributions to the establishment of trade routes that spanned between continents, where various products have been traded back and forth between countries.
Study.com details just how important the import and export industry is. In their lesson on “Importing and Exporting in a Global Market: Definition, Process & Importance”, they mentioned how this industry helps develop national economies and expand the global market. Because every country has its own fair share of certain advantages in resources and skill endowed to them by their strategic location and geographical conditions, they can capitalize on this by exporting their various goods to other countries that are in desperate need of these resources. The more a country exports, the more domestic economy activity occurs. This gives rise to more job vacancies and opportunities, more production, and more revenue.
On the other spectrum, various resources that they may need but not have can be imported to their country, so they can further develop their existing assets and boost their export products. Lots of goods often are better priced overseas, and they may have more options than what is available locally. This helps elevate the standard of living, increasing demand and strengthening relations with countries you trade with.
When done right, an import and export business can become your ticket to a stable income pool and becoming a powerful contributor to your country’s economic growth. Finding success in this industry also means that you’re exponentially growing your connections both in and out of your industry, which can help you in many aspects, such as if you’re helping other potential importers/exporters get their bearings into this lucrative business or if you’re changing careers that still involve some form of affiliation with those you know from this line of work. Most importantly, you’re establishing a competitive standard within the industry, ensuring that international trade within your country and beyond continues to expand and develop.
However, success in this industry doesn’t come instantly. Any importer or exporter worth their name will tell you that there are significant highs and lows within this business, and that they only managed to climb their way to the top due to persistence, passion, and the ability to learn from all their experiences. Some may have a slight advantage due to preexisting connections, but it’s still largely dependent on just how savvy and hardworking you are.
One of the most profound learning experiences you can have while trying to survive in this industry is by learning from your mistakes. Having first-hand experience on their effects will educate you on how to avoid repeating them in the future. However, you may also want to avoid committing mistakes that can significantly endanger your company or put your operations in a hefty delay, losing you money, time, and resources. Sometimes, the best teacher may not necessarily be your own mistakes, but the mistakes that others have committed and anticipating the off-chance that you come across these mistakes yourself and then counteracting them even before they happen. The time you would’ve lost trying to fix your mistakes can otherwise be delegated to more productive activities that can propel your organization to achieving your goals.
In the import and export industry, there are certain mistakes that businesses are prone to committing. They have been so commonplace that, sometimes, it seems that you can easily navigate your business away from them, but not everyone manages to do so — and you may even find yourself committing them unconsciously.
Perhaps the most common mistake that an import and export business can make is the lack of awareness and knowledge on regulations that govern the import and export industry. This can cause not only a dramatic increase in overall costs of running your business, but even give you legal problems that you’ll have to sort out as quickly as possible if you want your business to get right back on track.
Another is the mistake of hiring an incompetent or unexperienced customs broker. Newbies in this industry might find themselves fooled instantly by their own standards or by false recommendations. An incompetent or otherwise inexperienced customs broker can give you a great many headaches for all the unnecessary trouble they’ll cause you that you could’ve easily circumvented had you hired a more competent and informed broker.
These mistakes are, of course, completely reversible AND avoidable. All it takes for you to do so is by having ample knowledge beforehand of what causes these mistakes in the first place and what countermeasures can be put up, so they don’t occur within your company, especially if you’re relatively new to the industry and all its inner mechanisms.
Check out the most common mistakes in importing & exporting business and how you can prevent them with this infographic by Excelsior PH.