Think global: the good news and the bad news
The good news is that it has never been easier to participate in international trade. We have instant communication,
a system to quickly transfer money, a huge market outside the US, and endless products that we can import.
The bad news is that it is harder than most people think:
- Geared for large quantities: Generally you need to import enough to fill a ship container.
- Long lead time: Shipping means 1 to 2 months - your customers are often thinking "next day".
- Customs and an intermediary: You will need to hire an intermediary to receive the container and process it through
- Risk of defective products: You won't know until the container arrives whether the product you ordered meets
your specifications - and if it doesn't, there is little recourse.
- Few or complicated legal protections: Patents laws are non-existent in some countries. In other
countries, you must file paperwork and be willing to defend your patent in each country where you do business.
- Complicated taxes: If you sell items outside the US, you need to comply with that nation's taxes and business fees.
With all these downsides, you need to evaluate your competitive environment to determine whether global trade is an option
or an absolute necessity.