Аction plan for exporters importers. Following is the action plan for the new exporters, importers, and online sellers, everyone who want to do or expand into international business. The purpose of this is to help you set up your export/import business in the right way.
The guide for exporters/importers includes crucial steps ( in the right order) and the necessary resources & tools you need in each step. For beginners, we suggest executing this from start to end. For advances ones or already business owners, please execute there, where you see, you are lacking now.
1.Figure out your business concept
To achieve success in any kind of business, you first need to search and come up with the answers for the most important questions of your future business, these questions are as follows.
- What product(s) and why your business is going to export or import?
- To which countries you should export to, or import from?
- What are your financial projections and investment needs?
- Who exactly are your customers and why they need your products?
- How to reach out and approach to your customers and suppliers?
- In which form it is best for you to operate, Is it as an export-import agent, export/import merchant, sourcing agent?
Previous questions are must and minimum for anyone, who is looking to start a successful export/import business. Nobody should ignore these questions and should not go further in this guide until he/she has the answers.
We know, it is not easy to get answers to these questions. Below are resources to complete this step and get the crucial answers and infomation.y
Resources for new exporters/importers
➤ Our online export-import business course (Zero to first deal) – Affordable and practical course, designed to give you the answers for all of the previous questions and for many more + many bonuses. Here is a discounted enrollment link for our course, valid a few days, after clicked.
➤ Export/import business-related consultation service. If you are stuck somewhere, or you need real and practical advice, then our experienced people will help you out.
➤ Our educational export-import business blog. Material related to all kinds of topics of export-import business.
2. Set up your exim business website and business email
Even you know what kind of business you are going to do and whom you need to sell too, nobody won’t take you seriously, if you write emails from Gmail, Yahoo or other personal addresses. Very often your customers will treat offers/inquiries from Gmail, yahoo mails as junk mail and even won’t open them. Also you, as a professional exporter, importer or an export/import agent, or any kind of service provider, you should have a website.
Professional email and website are elementary to raise your reliability and trust in the eyes of customers, suppliers or service providers. Having a professional email and website name ( domain name) is easy and affordable. You should have your professional email, a website all hosted in the same place and set them up even today!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase hosting using my Bluehost affiliate link, they compensate me, which helps make this resource-guide free of charge to you. Know that we only recommend products and services we are personally using and standing behind.
Resourced to set up website and business email
➤ Bluehost – Highly recommended, You can have your domain name, business email address and website all set up there + they offer all kinds of extra services and support. We are using Bluehost and are really happy with them.
Follow the direct instructions below, to register a domain, create your professional email and set up your business website now without problems. if you follow next 5 steps, you will have your website and business email(s) all set up in the easiest way, less than 30 minutes!
1. Start by choosing a domain name for your email and website below:
Let’s say for example, you like the domain name ” niceexporter.com”, as you see, it is available, so you can click “next”. We always suggest taking com domain as it most recognized as a business domain.
2. Create an account in Bluehost
After you clicked next, you will be directed for creating an account in Bluehost and registering and hosting the chosen domain name, you picked. you need to fill the fields as you see below:
3. Select the optimal hosting package for your domain.
Bluehost accepts 2,3 or 5 years packages (paid advance, not monthly). That is the reason, why their fee per month is cheapest on the market. We suggest as an optimal solution a 3 years and with domain privacy protection, check the screenshot below:
4.Enter your billing details and purchase the domain (final step)
The last step, complete the purchase of the domain and create a Bluehost account. don’t forget to accept Bluehost terms, you see the 2 checkboxes below:
5. Get confirmation mail, log in Bluehost, set up your business emails and website and install WordPress.
After your purchase successfully, you are ready to get started, congratulations! You can expect mail as you see below:
Inside the Bluehost, you can set up your professional email(s) and you should install WordPress with just 1 click. Also, Bluehost offers a rich choice of extra resources and opportunities for you regarding building and marketing your website. They even offer 100 USD free credit for google adds, yahoo adds. Below you can see, is just a fraction of their opportunities.
NB! WordPress is most popular and I believe the best and most user-friendly website builder on the planet, more than 35% of all of the websites have been built using WordPress. WordPress is so easy to use, that even beginner can build a professional website with WordPress.
Now you should have an account in Bluehost and your domain registered and you have installed the WordPress (installing WordPress is free in Bluehost). After WordPress successfully downloaded for your domain, you will receive a confirmation email regarding it again. In the mail, there are also all the credentials to log in to WordPress.
From this point now, here are 2 ways for you, how you can continue:
Option 1. Either start building your export-import business website or online store by yourself with WordPress builder.
Option 2. Outsource the website building process to some website builder or freelancer. It is possible to find them in freelance.com
3. Design your business website (If you want to do yourself)
Now, you should have a domain registered, a website set up and a professional business email address working. These are basic setups for your further export-import business. Without these, if you do outreaching, marketing, nobody take you seriously. So If you don’t have these, please go back into the beginning of step Nr. 2. and complete it first, otherwise, you cant continue using this guide!
You can also start searching your domain below:
After step nr. 2 has been completed, you should give an outlook and structure for your export-import business website and/or online store. This step you can do by yourself or you can use the services of a dedicated website developer. We divide this step in smaller steps for you and give you instructions and resources below.
3.1.download a suitable template for your export-import business in your WordPress
After you have installed WordPress builder for your hosted domain, you have the blank template, called “. We suggest to change it to a more suitable and professional business template. You shall choose the template, you personally like.
In WordPress, you can search hundreds of beautiful templates, also you can upload directly from other resources to there, also there are premium templates. PS! Dont deal with wordpress.org themes!
Remember, the template gives you just a “frame” or looking of your site. All the content, like text, photos, videos you can change and add there by yourself. also for, each and every template yo can do custom designing and custom codding if you want/can.
➤ Canva for photos, brochures, visit cards and other illustrations
3.2.Download essential plugins for your business website
To protect your business website and make it fully functional, you need to have some essential plugins for your website. Installing plugins is very easy. You can upload plugins to WordPress or search from WordPress marketplace. The screenshot below gives you a good idea about this.
PS! If you plan to start selling any kind of products on your website, then you need to have an eCommerce plugin. We warmly suggest taking Woocommerce plugin, as it is one of the most used, trusted and easy to use tool to sell everything on your site. with it you can easily collect payments directly from your site and connect your stock management system with it.
Essential resources for websites ( plugins)
➤ woocommerce – A perfect tool to build a beautiful and fully functional online shop on your WP site, collect payments, manage inventory, etc. You can get it (HERE) and upload it to your WordPress plugins. Woocommerce powers more than 29% of all of the online shops out there.
➤ Jetpack – Protection, and security for your business website, online shop.
4. Prepare elementary marketing materials
Now, at this point, you should have an understanding, plan and vision about your business in all important aspects. Professional business email(s) set up, a professional website all set up and designed ( or currently on designing process).
No matter, you decided to operate as an export/import merchant, agent or selling products online, you need to put some effort into the marketing materials, before, you start approaching suppliers, potentials clients and partners, visiting trade fairs. Having the following materials, will raise your reliability in the eyes of clients, partners and help you get more/better deals, offers.
You should prepare the following materials:
- Business visit cards,
- Company presentation brochure,
- Catalog about your product(s) or service(s)
Presentation and catalog we advise to make available for download on your business website as well.
You no need to prepare all of them at once, prepare the ones first, which you need first, and update these regularly.
Resources for designing marketing materials
➤ Canva – for designing photos, brochures, banners, visit cards, presentations etc.
5. Register company, apply for licenses for your exim business.
If you already have a company registered, then good. if you don’t have, then you shall one before you start approaching the suppliers, buyers, and partners. Having a company registered gives you many benefits and protects you, in the case when something goes bad in business. If you start approaching service providers, suppliers or potential buyers, they won’t take you seriously, if you act as a private person.
Different countries have different rules and options. You should approach your government companies registry or similar institution to ask what kind of entities you can register. We suggest the easiest form as a limited liability corporation ( LLC). Also, make sure what kinds of licenses, permisses you need to start the kind of business you decided in point 1 of this guide. Also after your export/import company registered, you need to apply also for an international business account for your company.
In many countries, it is possible to do business without a company ( for a while), this can be possible for online sellers, export/import agents, sourcing agents. in long run, you shall still have a company.
➤ Register company, open bank A/C in Estonia – Having a company registered in Europe can give advantages/ benefits. Together with our partners, we can help interested people to have a company set up in Estonia. Contact us first (HERE)
6.Contact and select suppliers whom you will work
If you are a manufacturer by yourself, then you can skip this step. If you are not and you will be an export/import merchant, agent or online seller, then this is one of the most important steps for you. What kind of supplier(s) you should work with, depends on what kinds of products you deal with and what is your business model – about this, the resources are given in step 1. of this guide should have given the answers for you.
To finally have a reliable and competitive supplier, you should contact and verify many candidates first. You should work systematically and verify each supplier untill you have the best-fit one for you. You should proceed according to the process given below:
- Contact many potential suppliers, using different channels. ( focus to find manufacturers only)
- Ask them to give you a quotation and description, details of the product(s) you wan to deal with.
- From the ones, who can supply suitable products, ask info about their history, their references, info/proof about their production capabilities, make sure they are legit, ask details of the owner/founder, CEO. Ask their financial info, like the last few year’s revenues, nr. of employees. Ask their certificates and credentials.
- The ones, which gave you their company details as described in point 3, and seems to be reliable, you should visit or arrange someone else visiting and reporting to you.
- With the ones, which seem to be most professional, reliable and interested in cooperation with you, you should start cooperation negotiations in detail.
- In the final discussion phase, you should have 2-3 companies, each one suitable for you. You should negotiate the prices, you can get from the supplier. Or negotiate your commission fee % if you work as an agent. Possibility for you to do your own branding ( OEM). Payment terms, delivery terms. Warranty terms, after-sales support if needed. Presentation materials from their side for you. Ways, to secure your long term business with them.
- Sign NDA contract. Sign commission agreement with the selected ones (if your work as an agent).
Resources for exporters/importers
➤ Our Free checklist for analyzing, verifying suppliers. pdf. The most crucial aspects you should pay attention to, when verifying the new suppliers/vendors.
➤ Professional business documents templates (full package) ready for use: NDA, Commission-free contract, Int. sales-purchase contract forms, proposal form, and other critical documents.
➤ Our business consultation service– if you need dedicated advice or help regarding choosing and working with new suppliers.
➤ Alibaba– Biggest B2B marketplace. Best place to start contacting and selecting suppliers all kinds of, in every possible country.
➤ Eventseye– Find related trade fairs globally.
7.Contacting buyers, marketing and sales
No matter you are an export-import merchant, export agent, sourcing agent or you start selling products online, this step is MOST important, as it directly brings in revenue. All the previous steps are preparations to make this step easier for you. in your business, this step you never finish, you shall focus constantly on this step and execute different strategies to constantly be better at generating sales for your business.
NB! The preconditions for generating sales are: knowing exactly, what you supply, to whom, why they need your products and which marketing channels you shall use, to reach them.—–) If these are not clear now, go back to the step nr. 1. of this exporters/importers guide, use resources given there to make it clear first!
The process of generating sales and closing deals is straightforward and there is no easy way around. It requires self-discipline, strong mentality, resistance against rejections, good communication skills, and skills of convincing people. Don’t worry if you fail at the beginning, these skills you will learn, during the process.
Below is a straightforward process for cold contacting for export-import merchants and agents ( most important is to get feedback)
- Contact prospects via different channels. Identify are they interested in your products. If yes, make sure, who is the right person to whom you should offer?
- Make asap the offer via email to the right person, also attach your marketing materials.
- After a few days, since you made an offer, contact again. Contact via phone. You shall get a feedback for the offer you made. Don’t stop, untill you get the feedback.
- Based on the feedback, you decide, you continue with this prospect or you leave it. If there is hope, you shall keep regular contact with this prospect. You shall do all possible to dive into deeper negotiations. The goal is to remove the roadblocks, which are preventing the deal from happening. If this prospect finally doesn’t buy from you, you shall get feedback and info, why he didn’t order. You MUST get the feedback. Also, save his details, to contact again in the near future.
- Repeat the process with a new potential prospect, now you have the experience and feedback, revise your offering, sales letter, and pitch accordingly! Contact at least 25 contacts per day!
Resources for generating sales and closing deals
➤ Exporters/importers guide for reaching more customers and closing more deals. (also include sales-email templates)
➤ Professional business documents templates (full package) ready for use: NDA, Commission-free contract, Int. sales-purchase contract forms, proposal forms, and other critical documents.
➤ Eventseye– Find related trade fairs globally.
8. Contact and select service providers/partners
In your business, no matter as an agent, direct exporter/importer, online seller, you need to use different kinds of services to run your business. You may need to use at least the following services:
- Local and international transport ( courier, road transport, airfreight, sea freight, rail freight)
- Export and import customs and declaration services
- Packing services for your goods
- Inspection services for your goods/importers goods or companies
- freight and products insurance services
You as an entrepreneur should contact possible service providers, explain your needs and ask offers. Finally, you shall work with the providers best meet your needs and can offer the best prices for you.