Do you have what it takes to start your import business? 10 steps reality check

Starting your business from the scratch is not as easy as you might think. Trust me, I have been there.

Even if a friend of yours has a successful importing company and he is making millions, at some point he was probably close to bankruptcy and did not know what to do next.

Everyone starts off the same way; there is no get-rich-quick scheme that works. Well, none that I know. Your expecations are often not what reality will have in store for you.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Especially when you’ve been working on your project for months with no results.

For me, the less money I had the more creative I got.

I was thinking of ways to make money I had not thought of before but at a certain point it was suddenly so clear to me. Things started to roll and I wish I had a guide to tell me what to do.

With the IMPORT BIBLE and the following checklist you have a guide on what you need to consider and questions you should ask yourself.

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  • Are you motivated enough?
  • Are you ready to work longer hours than ever before?
  • Do you have real passion about your project/business?
  • Do you have the financial means to pull this off?

If you answered any of the above questions with NO then it probably isn’t the right time to start your own business.


Don’t fool yourself; having your own company is the hardest work there is:

  • No guaranteed salary at the end of the month.
  • No one is there to push you or give you directions.
  • Are you organized enough?

I hope you realize that from now on you will work harder than ever to achieve financial success.


  • Are you experienced enough in your industry?
  • Do you have the technical and basic skills to succeed?

If you do not have the necessary skills and experience, do more research on the topics until you feel confident with the product.

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  • Have you done your research?
  • Do you have competition?
  • What advantages do you have over your competition?
  • Do you have a supplier or manufacturer for your product?

Research on your competition is vital to your success. It’s one of the first steps you need to take.

You may end up with a product that’s already in the market if your research is not thorough.


  • Create a business plan, even if you don’t need to present it to anyone for funding. It will help you to focus on your goals.
  • Share the business plan with an experienced professional and let him give you an honest opinion.
  • A business plan is a must have. Hang it somewhere you can see it every day to remind you of why you are doing this.


  • Do you have the necessary funds to invest in this project?
  • Have you considered the down payments you need to make to suppliers?
  • Do you have money saved to last you longer than 6-8 months? That is if you plan on making this your main source of income for the coming months.

Many business fail because they didn’t prepare for the dry spell that may come. Make sure you have enough money in savings.


  • Remember that your possible turnover does not equal profit.
  • Make yourself a turnover and profit calculation.

Be accurate and precise. Don’t fool yourself when you calculate your profits and loss.


  • Have you set up your legal company?
  • Do you have any investors or shareholders to back you up?

Check with your local government to see what type of company you need to set up for importing.


  • Have you prepared and completed your marketing strategy?
  • Website in place?
  • Social media presence in place? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.)

You don’t necessarily have to have a Facebook page with 1000 followers in place but it makes sense to start early. A simple website with a “ landing” and “about page” should be in place before you start. If you are selling through Amazon make sure you pre-launch your product before arrival (e.g. build a email list on your website, Facebook promotions & give aways etc.)

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Make sure you follow these steps and cross them off honestly. The Import Bible will help you along the way to complete tasks.

A) Your motivation to import

  • Are you motivated enough to go all the way?
  • Are you ready to work longer hours than ever before?
  • Do you have real passion about your project/business?
  • Do you have the financial means to pull this off?

B) Did you find the right product?

  • Does your product have a “product-to-market fit”?
  • Did you research your competition?
  • Is your product unique?
  • Any copyright issues associated with the product?

C) Are there any restrictions on importing in your country?

  • Does your product have any restrictions on import in your country?
  • Does your product have any anti-dumping tax rates?
  • Is there a limited amount of import on this item?

D) Have you found the right supplier?

  • Is your communication smooth or problematic?
  • Are the payment terms difficult or suspicious?
  • Is he willing to send samples?
  • Is he genuinely interested in working with you?

E) Have you calculated all possible costs into your products?

  • Item and detailed specifications are all clarified with the supplier?
  • All possible license costs are included? (e.g., Bluetooth, Mp3, etc.)
  • Taxes and duties to be paid are clear?
  • Inspection costs have been calculated?
  • Shipment and logistics costs for sea transport are calculated?
  • Distribution, warehousing, or fulfillment costs are calculated?
  • Sales commissions are calculated? (e.g., FBA or Ebay)

F) Logistics

  • Pre-arranged shipment details confirmed with a logistics company?
  • Costs, pick up, and drop off are defined and confirmed?
  • Labels and markings are discussed with the supplier?
  • Fulfillment center has been advised of the necessary labeling?

G) Invoice & Payment

  • Has the invoice (PI) been checked thoroughly and confirmed?
  • Prices and terms are as agreed?
  • Payment has been discussed and deposit (if applicable) arranged?

H) Supplier price negotiation

  • Price has been discussed and finalized based on your requirements?
  • Price from the factory includes all necessary documents and certificates?
  • Price includes all necessary licenses (if applicable)?

I) Order Monitoring

  • Order checklist in place?
  • Weekly reminder to make a call/email to the factory?

J) Inspection / Quality Control

K) Shipment release

  • Shipment is released based on the inspection report?
  • Logistics company will arrange the pick-up and documentation?
  • Payment to the supplier is released?

L) Shipment

  • Your warehouse/fulfillment center is prepared for the arriving goods?
  • Checked with logistics company on arrival and prepared to pay duties and taxes?

M) Arrival of goods

  • Goods have all been accounted for in the requested condition?
  • Fulfillment center is briefed and standing by?

N) Claims & compensation

  • Returned goods have been documented with photos and reports?
  • Internal report has been sent to the supplier for compensation?

O) Sales Channels

  • Is your sales strategy clear?
  • Promotions & Advertisement in place? (Amazon PPC for example)

Follow above guidelines and ask yourself these questions to make sure you are clear about your business strategy.

Happy importing!

Analyzed by Jon Elder

Jon has sold over $10 million in sales on Amazon since 2014 and exited 5 Amazon brands for millions. He now helps Amazon sellers experience the same level of success through 1:1 coaching. He is happily married with two kids in Texas!