In this article, you will learn how you can start a mini importation business and all it takes to be successful at it. Some time ago, the importation of goods used to require lots of money and is reserved for the government and rich importers who have strong connections to suppliers and manufacturers overseas, well not anymore.
With just as low as N10000, you can start a small scale importation business in Nigeria and grow it into something bigger.
All you need is to be taught how to go about this business in the right way.
Some time ago, small scale businesses used to earn so little because they can afford to stock only a little. For example, if a young entrepreneur can have only about one hundred wrist watches at a time in his shop, he has no choice than to buy from those who import in large quantities from the producers/ manufacturers themselves. These ones buy from the manufacturers at a very low wholesale price and then sell at a higher cost to the young entrepreneur who is the retailer.
Although this entrepreneur would also have loved to enjoy the benefits the big importers do enjoy, he just can’t. Manufacturers and suppliers have a Minimum Order Quantity requirement (MOQ). This is the minimum quantity of products a manufacturer will sell so as to break even. This is why they would prefer selling to those with huge capitals and will buy products in massive quantities.
As a result, growing businesses are stuck with the big importers who are the real profit earners because they enjoy the buy-sell tactic, which is that you buy at a lower price and sell at a higher price. The profit a small scale entrepreneur will make in his or her business is limited by whatever price they decide to fix on the imported goods.
But all these are in the past, times have changed. The internet has cut down barriers that used to restrict easy access to manufacturers far away. Small businesses with little capital can now import even smaller amounts of goods at even low shipping costs due to improvements in transportation and logistics.
Now, businesses can enjoy the same low wholesale prices and larger profits that the big importers used to enjoy since the big importers who served as middlemen have been cut out
This article will show you just how entrepreneurs with little to no capital can become a part of the import business and indeed break even.
Mini Importation Business; How to Start in 2020
Of course, the first thing to be considered is products in high demand, needed by your target market. With good access to these products, you are halfway through to success in your business.
What do you need to start this the importation business in Nigeria? Surprisingly, it is not things you do not already have or things you cannot easily get. Such include:
- A personal computer
- Fast internet Network – Modern, Mifi, etc.
- A valid email address.
- Valid and easily traceable home address where you can receive the item you will order.
- Little few capital to get started
- Get a PayPal account to buy your products (this is not needed in all cases though)
- Open a US bank account with Payoneer (This is free)
The best part of this business is that you get to do the bulk of the work right on your PC or mobile phones from the comfort of your home. This way you make orders more efficiently and market them even better. This makes it more of an internet business.
What is a Mini Importation Business
The Importation business has to do with buying goods and products from overseas at a relatively cheap price to be resold at a higher price. It is also important to know that the term mini importation does not mean small importation or dealings on a small scale. This term connotes the fact that importation business depends on the size of your pocket. While some import products worth 20 Million Naira and makeover 200% profits, some purchase products as low as N10, 000 and make profits of over N50, 000 at a minimum.
Below is your step by step Guide on how to start importation business in Nigeria:
Step 1. Sourcing for Products
Finding the right kind of products with high quality is the first crucial step to be taken. You must know that most of the websites of suppliers’ are based in China. This usually poses some skepticism for many. Why China, they ask. Many have come to believe that goods from this country are always inferior but that is not true. In fact, if you look around well enough, most of your electrical appliances and gadgets such as phones, freezers, flat screens, and even the popular high tech Apple products are assembled in China. But that is not all, China is the number one country to source for the hot and fast-selling products in the world. It is a globally recognized warehouse. This is not to say inferior goods are not produced there at all, but they can be avoided through proper sifting.
So how can you source for your product?
There are a few popular China-based that can be recommended to be very resourceful.
To begin the business with these websites, all you need to do is to open an account with them. This is as easy as opening a Facebook account. After confirming your registration, you can browse around the website and check for products you want and that can be resold in Nigeria
Step 2- Buy from a reliable supplier or vendor
This is definitely a very important aspect you cannot ignore for the sake of your business. In Nigeria, there are no stringent laws on restricting inferior goods into the country. Therefore, many suppliers care less about selling well-standardized products but you do not have to be a victim, you can outsmart them. How?
Via feedbacks: Before making any purchase on any of the websites, you must make sure to check the feedback score and ratings of customers for that supplier. This is easily accessible and will help you filter the bad from the good suppliers.
The feedback rating method helps protect customers from buying counterfeit products. You can check for timing before delivery, packaging and all other important criteria buy scrolling down below the products to read customer reviews before you place your order.
The rating is usually programmed as 0-100% and 0-5 stars. It is very advisable you go for products rated 90% and with at least a 4 star by customers’ reviews.
You should also check the seller’s guarantee on the products before you place your orders. This is also found at the bottom of every product page.
There is another segment called the product description. Here you can find out more details about the products such as the method of delivery. There is the option of free shipping and this is best if you have enough time to wait.
All this helps you to be safe.
Step 3- Paying for your products
Before the advancement of technology and online trading platforms, paying for goods used to be a huge hindrance in the importation business. This is because there were no easy methods of payment. But now, you can pay right from the comfort of your home for products from any part of the world.
There are in fact several channels through which you can pay for your products. Some suppliers allow for master cards or Visa cards, PayPal or Alipay. Therefore, payment is not a hindrance to the smooth running of your business.
About Fraudulent activities and Getting Scams
If there is anything you should have noticed, the importation business requires some risks but the good thing is that these risks are anticipated and well taken care of.
So what if after payment of a product, it is not delivered to you? These online trading platforms have put some measures in a place called “buyers protection” or “Escrow”
The way this works is that when you pay for a product, the money is not delivered into the account of the supplier until you confirm the product upon delivery.
If the product is not the same as the one you ordered, you will fill what is called the dispute form and have your money reimbursed to you. This does not entirely wipe the system of risks but reduces it to the barest minimum level.
Step 4. Product Delivery
Product delivery comes in two ways
Free shipping: This will cost you nothing but delivery comes very slowly. However, you have an increased profit to compensate you. It is many times delivered between 20 to 30 days. However, it reads (between 14 to 60 days). The service company used could be China Mail Air Post or Hong Kong Mail services. You are able to track the movement of your goods. However, with the free shipping method, your tracking might not be accurate. Remember to put your phone number so that you can be easily contacted when the goods are delivered to the post office nearest to you.
Step 5. Marketing Your Product
This is definitely the most important aspect of your business. Good marketing increases sales and maximizes profits. Now you do not have to take to the streets to hawk your products; just like you have done with ordering, you can also market online. Methods include:
- Brick and mortar retail
- Local Ads. e.g. Magazine, newspaper
- Internet marketing etc.
- With internet marketing, there are options such as Facebook marketing. This is one of the easiest. You learn to be creative with your marketing skills. For example, you could collect the mail addresses of people so as to give updates on your goods.
Step 6. Sell your Product and Make Money
You could create an online store for your products and list your products for easy access. If you do not want to create an online store, you will have to work some courier services to help you deliver your products and collect your money. Some require some payments while some free. These include:
- Courier plus
- Austin Dispatch etc.
Just like every other business, the mini importation business comes with its ups and downs but with consistency and good marketing, you will be sure to make your profits.