How To Start An Export Import Business In Bangladesh (Part 01)
“The first thing that you need to understand before starting an export or an import business is product selection, which product you want to import or export,” says Md. Delwar Hossain Bhuiyan, Managing Director of Desh Consulting Ltd, and prominent trainer on export and import business in Bangladesh.
This is a critical advice for starters who are trying their hands in import business for the first time given that import is an intricate business and there are hundreds of products that you can choose from.
Now how do you decide on which product to import? Mr. Bhuiyan suggests that you go to the market, observe and understand the demand.
The other important aspect is understanding the product and the business itself.
For instance, you decided to start an importing business of LED light bulb, the ideal condition should be that you understand LED light as a product and the intricacies of the trade so that you can import the right products as well as distribute it in Bangladesh.
Mr. Bhuiyan, who teaches a two-day long training program at Bdjobs Training on the subject, suggests that it is better to start your import business with sufficient understanding of the matter. While import is a lucrative business, it is also a complex one.
Due to the growing standard of living and increasing demand for new products and designs, we are seeing the rise of a new generation of small and medium-size import-based businesses in the country.
Take, for instance, Knock, an online seller of pop culture and fandom based products in Dhaka. Founded by Mehedi Hasan, Knock imports designer key rings, t-shirt, and other popular culture items from China and sell in Dhaka through its retail store and online shop. Mehedi suggests the first key to success in any import-based business is understanding the demand in the market, understanding what types of product you personally like and can deal with and go according.
We asked Mr. Bhuiyan for his tips for people who are interested in import-based business or have already run an import business in Bangladesh.
Here is a host of ideas that we believe will help anyone running an import-export business in Bangladesh.
The article is prepared keeping in mind an early stage entrepreneur or business manager who is just starting out. However, it can benefit anyone with an interest in the import-export business in Bangladesh. Also, the steps are described from an import business perspective. However, the process is almost similar to an export business. We plan to explore further in the future articles.
Sector and product selection
In simple, if you are just starting out, you first need to select a product and a sector. There are hundreds of sectors and products that you can choose from.
Mr. Bhuiyan suggests, the best approach to go about it to choose something that you understand.
This includes understanding demand in the market, suppliers, existing importers in the market, custom related issues, import tariff rate for the product, whether the product requires after sales service, technical know-how of the product, landing cost of the products, shipping procedure, LC procedure and other things.
Now that you know which product you want to import, the next step is to select a country. There are countries that are good for some products and not so good for others.
For instance, China is the by default source for electronics products and New Zealand for Milk and similar products. While selecting a country, you should also consider Bangladesh’s trade relationship with that country and vice versa.
Supplier selection (finding buyer for export)
Things get practical with consequences at this stage. It is wise to be careful when selecting supplier because it directly affects you pricing and product quality along with other things. It is better to go through an existing source, for instance, if a supplier already exports to Bangladesh, you may approach them.
The other options include communicating with the chamber of commerce, attending trade fairs, approaching local chamber of commerce, and also import related literature in different places.
Documentation and procedure
Now you have an import business in place. You know country, product, supplier and it is time to get into the work. There is a host of complex documents you need to understand in order to be able to run your import operations properly.
It starts with getting your IRC and then continues. You need to understand L/C, payment method, C&F, shipping, documents required for LC, documents required for customs clearance and so on.
Mr. Bhuiyan suggests since it is a high stake business and relatively complex in nature it is better to start with a proper understanding for yourself or for anyone else in your team. That’s what we teach at BdJobs Training, he adds.
“Insufficient knowledge is one of the major challenges for new importers and import managers,” says Mr. Bhuiyan. If you don’t understand payment procedure, C&F procedure, Customs procedure and if you can’t analyze proper landing cost, you will face insurmountable challenges and make mistakes. He suggests it is better to learn these intricacies of export-import business before starting your business or taking responsibility of an import-based business either through training or personal studies.
How to set-up and run an import-export business in Bangladesh
In order to start you import business in Bangladesh you need to have an import registration certificate (IRC) and for export, it is export registration certificate (ERC). Office of the Chief Controller of Imports & Exports provides ERC and IRC certificates.
Anyone having Import Registration Certificate (IRC) and anyone having Export Registration Certificate (ERC) can Import and Export any permissible item without any value and quantity restrictions. You can find the detail procedure of getting IRC/ERC here.
Mr. Delwar Hossain Bhuiyan teaches an extensive course on export-import business at Bdjobs Training. The course covers topics as wide as identifying the right product for your import-export business to getting your IRC certificate to documents you need to get customs clearance and open your LC and understanding you need to develop to successfully run your operations.
Mr. Bhuiyan has years of experience in export and import related business and runs a consulting firm, if you are considering to launch an import business or responsible for operations of an import business, you may consider taking the course.
(This is a branded content prepared by Storylab, Future Startup’s in-house branded content studio, in collaboration with Bdjobs Training which means Bdjobs Training has paid for this content and when you take the training clicking on our link, it helps us to earn a small revenue.)