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Currently, society insists on self-reliance and one of the best ways to do it is by being an entrepreneur.
Businesses, both large and small, are important for economic growth. Additionally, they are critical in job creation and enhancing people’s living standards. However, entrepreneurship has its fair share of challenges, especially if you trade internationally.
By the end of this article, you will have a clearer understanding of the challenges entrepreneurs face when sourcing internationally.
Let’s delve into specifics.
Getting into international trade is not easy. It requires a large capital, most of which, start-ups and other small enterprises cannot afford.
However, there are several ways you could earn your business financial aid. By getting loans from financial institutions as well as friends and family, you get a much-needed boost to expand your business internationally.
For entrepreneurs already sourcing internationally, budget constraints in terms of orders and shipping charges might be a challenge from time to time.
Getting a supplier
The online community is filled with unscrupulous people looking to con ambitious businessmen of their hard-earned money. As such, getting a reliable supplier is one of the hardest tasks of entrepreneurs looking to source their products abroad.
Referrals are your best bet when it comes to getting a good supplier. However, if this is not a viable option, it is imperative to do a thorough background check on prospects. Check their website, contact them via e-mail or phone call, ask for credentials, and above all, look for their online reviews.
Doing that significantly increases your chances of getting a trustworthy supplier.
The differences in time can be a constant headache, especially to those new at international sourcing. Since you are both living in different time zones, you may be required to make calls late at night or very early in the morning.
Additionally, you can lose time waiting for your supplier to respond to requests.
To counter this, ensure you have all details clear and ready for your supplier from the get-go.
Language barrier is another aspect that poses great challenges for entrepreneurs.
Suppliers and clients might find it hard communicating because they are not fluent in each other’s language. Also, suppliers might not be comfortable asking the client to clarify instructions multiple times.
The best thing to do is to have written confirmations from both parties or make use of templates for consistent communication.
In the case where either party has no clue of the other person’s language, professional translation is the best way to go. However, be sure to send both the original and translated documentation for confirmation.
Quality expectations can be a challenge especially when you have never seen the products and are relying on the supplier to provide the quality you need.
To safeguard the quality of your products, make sure a product inspection is carried out before shipment. Another way is to educate your suppliers on the quality standards you desire and holding them accountable for sub-standard products.
Also, make sure suppliers comply with environmental and safety standards governing your products because they are critical in ensuring customer satisfaction.
Mishaps, in terms of the time the products are released by a supplier to when they arrive, can happen. As such, it is important to have another plan in place.
In preparation, have terms of sale that clearly state each party’s responsibilities in case of product loss, damage, or delay.