Randall Castillo Ortega provides advice for running a successful import / export business


Whether you are considering turning your business into an importer or an exporter or you are already one, there are challenges that need to be addressed. Times are changing, as is consumerism, and understanding the industry is a challenge. Randall Castillo Ortega, an entrepreneur and import / export expert from Costa Rica, provides advice to help entrepreneurs excel.

In foreign trade, three phases determine the concentration of the business plan on the target market. The first concerns commercial sales operations abroad. For this, a commercial intermediary is sufficient to collect the goods at the port and market them. The second is collaboration with a regional ally who takes charge of the entire process. The third is the implementation of production, a decision taken by few SMEs.

Although there are brilliant exceptions, if it is developing markets or emerging countries, the suggestion is to start the foreign company accompanied. The work of a local partner will pave the way for you and avoid surprises. With a distributor or sales agent, you save on logistics structure, office space, personnel and transport. Remember that at the beginning, costing is a priority.

Whether as an exhibitor or as a visitor, shows and fairs will allow you to learn about market conditions and establish contacts with potential partners and suppliers. That’s right. Choose well. Focus on the sectorial and professionalized. It is a task that requires a lot of dedication at first. “Sometimes we’ve been to two shows in a row,” says Castillo. “After having dismantled the stand of the first, we changed in the bathrooms of the airport on duty the suits from jacket to comfortable clothes, to fly that night to another country, and start again the next day with the assembly from the stand of the second fair. ??

There are several terms that should be familiar to import / export traders, as they form part of the basic documentation of overseas operations. The first concerns commercial documents. It includes the commercial invoice, the pro forma invoice, the certificate of origin (processed by the Chambers of Commerce) and the content list or parking list (description of the goods). Customs is another ?? It is important to understand the customs laws and regulations of the receiving and sending countries. Transport, including charter by road, rail, sea and air, is also a common term, as are certificates including insurance, health certificates, etc.

The right choice of a partner or supplier is a key factor in the process you have started. Exhibitions are a great showcase to connect with them, but beware of those who want to strike a deal on the spot. Before initialing anything, research information about that potential partner or supplier: company size, production, talk to companies that have worked with them, their financial solvency (in the case of a partner) and compliance with delivery deadlines (supplier). ?? Once the decision is made, ?? explains Castillo, “it is essential that a relationship of trust and knowledge be created, both mutual and of the product or service offered and of the market. For the partnership to strengthen the business, make it more competitive, it is essential that the chosen partner has a good network of contacts and the ability to expand it, as well as financial stability.

Choosing the right payment provider is always stressful. The choice depends on the country, the volume and the trust with the customer. For occasional and low volume orders, best bank transfer or payment order; it can be simple or documentary, depending on whether or not the beneficiary requires the presentation of proof. Costs derived from bank charges are the responsibility of each party. If you have complete confidence in your customer, do not hesitate, the international bank check is the simplest, the most economical and the most secure means of payment. Other more complex means used in transactions of some importance are remittance and documentary credit.

There are two ways to protect your invention. The PCT system or international application, with which, by means of a single document, you apply for protection of your invention in a total of 128 countries. The other route is the European patent application, in which you designate the states in which you want protection for your invention.

In a commercial offer to an international customer, you cannot miss the product description, quantity, shipping terms, delivery and payment, price and currency. Of all, the price is of particular importance as it will determine the competitiveness of your product in the chosen market. How to calculate it? Remarks. To the final sale price at destination, the distribution margins must be added; transport and insurance costs; customs duties and taxes; financial expenses; communication costs; commercial margin and cost price.

The decision to go abroad using the Internet as a sales channel is more than recommended in these times. You save costs and eliminate the middleman. That’s right. To transform your website into an export channel, the first thing to do is to review its structure. Make sure that it can withstand peak sales dates (ask your supplier to simulate this assumption), that the platform is multi-language and multi-currency (you choose which one or which according to the market (s) targets), that it has a payment gateway (the equivalent of POS from any store), is optimized for search engines, allows complete management of orders and customers (shopping cart), has ‘a calculation of shipping costs and has stock control.

About Randall Castillo Ortega

Randall Castillo Ortega has been involved in the financial space virtually his entire professional career. In addition to having founded the financial loan company RACO, he is also an avid outdoorsman and, along with his family, is a big supporter of the community. He regularly participates in community ceremonies and events organized to foster a better environment for children and families.

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