How to Import Any Product in 7 Simple Steps

So you’re looking into learning how to import to Australia? Importing is a great business to get into and can also be very lucrative so it’s a subject that’s well worth learning about.

If you want to gain a competitive advantage over your competition, importing is definitely the way to go. Through not having to purchase through a local wholesaler (who is importing the products themselves, then adding their mark up) you’ll dramatically increase your profit margins plus have access to a much larger range of products overseas.

Other bonuses include:

  1. Lower product costs in many overseas countries. Due to much cheaper labour costs in many Asian countries, their manufacturing costs are less than for an Australian manufacturer.
  2. Obtaining a premium quality item not available anywhere else in the world – eg. Japan has a good reputation for supplying quality electronics, & Italy makes fine leather handbags.

It’s really not that difficult to start your own profitable importing business. Don’t let a fear of the unknown put you off (like I did at first), just bite the bullet and get started!

Step #1 – Research a Potential Niche

Skip this step, and you risk importing products that you can’t sell! Something I’m sure you don’t want to do. Before you do anything, take the time to research your market to find out things like if there’s enough customer demand for your products & learn who your competition is.

Step #2 – Find A Reputable Supplier

Overseas suppliers can be sourced online or through contacts in local trade organisations. Whatever you do though, make sure you do some background checks on any potential supplier first to make sure they really are who they say! Most overseas companies are genuine, but unfortunately there are some scammers there too.

Step #3 – Are There Any Special Regulations For Your Goods?

Australian Customs do place some restrictions on the importation of certain products into the country. While most general products aren’t restricted it’s a very good idea to check with Customs first. It’s much easier to find out beforehand than once your goods have already landed and Customs have contacted you with a problem!

Step #4 – Arrange For Freight to Australia

The 4 freight methods you can choose from are sea freight, air freight, the postal system or international courier. There are pros and cons for each method so it really just boils down to whatever will work best for your particular shipment.

A reputable international freight company should be able to advise you on what is the most cost efficient freight option for your goods.

Step #5 – Organise Payment For Your Products

If you haven’t already received one, ask for an invoice from your supplier, & organise payment through your bank as soon as you’re ready. Pay for you goods using a secure payment method – not cash in advance.

Step #6 – Customs Clearance

Once your goods arrive in Australia, Customs will require you to fill in an import declaration form so they can clear your products. There’ll also be some stamp duty and taxes to pay before they’ll release your goods to you.

Step #7 – Sell Your Goods For An Impressive Profit & Repeat the Process Again!

Importing may seem to be a very daunting process, but in reality, it’s actually quite simple and you definitely don’t need a big budget to get started (I started with less than $500). With a bit of insider knowledge and some basic research anyone can start importing to Australia, no matter who you are!

How Albert Sloan’s Product Strategy Of 1923 Overtook The Model T

Using the Social Media of the day, Albert Sloan’s product strategy of 1923 overtook the Model T. This is a bench mark marketing strategy. This was the beginning of conventional, modern marketing strategy. After this campaign, marketers understood how important conventional marketing was in branding a product.

In 1923, for the first time, targeting, segmenting, and differentiation were used to brand a product. Albert Sloan was an executive at General Motors for forty years. Mr. Sloan has much to teach contemporary social media marketers because he understood how to integrate social media into his marketing strategy.

When Mr. Sloan first took the leadership of General Motors in 1920, he was faced with a daunting task. At this time, the Ford Model T dominated the automobile market. The numbers were staggering. The Model T controlled 60% of the market. General Motors only had 12%. To overcome this, Mr. Sloan used social media to create a brand. Remember, social Media is a conversation between two friends—the consumer and the brand. This is what Mr. Sloan did.

He toured the country and spoke to American consumers. He conversed with them. This is a benchmark for what modern marketers should do today. This engagement with consumers allowed Mr. Sloan to detect how the car market was changing. This is a benchmark that contemporary marketers should follow as they use social media. To effectively brand products, the brands have to relate to the people in the markets.

The thing to learn from Mr. Sloan is this. In our contemporary markets, because there are so many products and so much information, the markets evolve quickly. This is why social media platforms are such a great tool. By listening to customers, you know just when game changing factors have occurred that change the entire nature of a market.

Through customer engagement, Mr. Sloan understood some very important details. America now, in 1923, had a middle class, with disposal income. Americans had more money available to them to purchase cars. They needed a car, as Mr. Ford had discovered in 1908, but they needed a car that was easy to drive, enjoyable to ride in, and easy to fix when it broke down. Mr. Sloan realized that product quality was a key factor in purchasing a car. Low price was no longer the key, deciding factor in purchasing a car.

A critical factor that Mr. Sloan realized about the American society was that people use their cars to define their state in life for everyone else to see. If people were rich and successful, they wanted to drive a car that reflected that. People wanted variety in their cars. They wanted more than just a black car. Armed with this information, Mr. Sloan realized that the Model T, even though it seemed to have an insurmountable market share, was a very venerable car.

Mr. Sloan began to target, segment, and differentiate the car market. He began to brand General Motor cars. In 1923, a group of factors came together at one time which created a good brand for General Motors. The man who led General Motors before Mr. Sloan, Billy Durant left Mr. Sloan in a good position. Mr. Durant was a man ahead of his time. Mr. Durant gave Alfred many assets in confronting Ford. The market was now evolving to GM’s favor. General Motor’s cars now had technology that the average customer wanted. The self starter was developed in 1913. Ford only could start with a hand crank, a very hard and dangerous act. Over the years, Billy Durand bought a lot of different brands, and put them under GM’s umbrella. It times past, they couldn’t compete with the Model T on an individual basis. The market wasn’t ready in 1908. The market had evolved.In 1923,people wanted variety.

The GM lineup had Chevrolet as the entry level vehicle. This was the low cost car to compete with the Model T. People progress through life with better jobs, and better incomes. General Motors’ product lineup, allowed people to reflect that. The next step after Chevy, was the Pontiac, which were for people who weren’t entry level, but were lower-middle class. For people on a career roll, but not truly top level, the Oldsmobile was the choice. For people getting work promotions, there was the Buick. For those who made it, there was the Cadillac.

The strength of Sloan’s strategy is that he had a car for every niche. He had cars of quality. People were now willing and able to pay a little more for quality. Ford had one car for everyone—and this is what killed the Model T. A rich successful man will not buy a Model T. He wants to communicate his success. He will buy a Cadillac and pay extra for the chance to proclaim his life success.

Sloan created a strategy that the Model T had no answer for. Because of an emphasis on quality, GM could compete against Ford, and charge a premium. General Motors could now compete in both the high and low end, and make a lot of money each area. Sloan’s product strategy allowed him to create a brand in each market segment, and still make premium amounts of money. This was all created because Sloan knew how to use the social media of the day.

How Can Cloud Computing Improve Productivity?

Productivity in the workplace is a very delicate topic for which there are several schools of thought. Some people tend to think that only intrusive micro-management is the only way to boost productivity while others might be more inclined to take a more delicate approach by offering incentives.

Regardless of the exact approach you or your company takes to stimulate productivity, you must not forget about the role that technology can play in assisting daily operations. For instance, it could be said that an organization’s IT assets and resources play an integral role in either aiding or inhibiting productivity. This is largely because it is through IT that all inter-office communications, file sharing, information logging, data storage, and collaborative efforts are generally organized. Since cloud computing is more or less replacing / modifying traditional IT and incorporates emerging technologies, it might be a good idea to explore the ways in which it can help to boost general productivity.

There are essentially three ways that cloud computing (or any type of IT for that matter) can impact productivity.

Utilizing known and emerging technologies
Encouraging employee growth
Improving communications

What makes cloud computing a more ideal candidate (as opposed to traditional IT) for addressing these three areas of concern is actually the technology that’s driving it. For example, Cloud computing can make use of virtually any type of application or software; an app can be packaged along with other programs and processes and then easily duplicated and copied.

In a traditional IT setup, a packaged set of processes is not so easily transferred among individual users, not only does this slow down the individual(s) performing work, it creates more redundant-style labor for IT as well. In other words, through cloud computing you can more easily create your own software-based solutions and deploy them instantly to as many users as needed. Likewise, there are a dizzying number of individual cloud-based services (email, online storage, and online file transfer) which can be leveraged nearly instantly to provide employees with on-the-spot solutions, thereby eliminating searching and downtime.

Also, by granting personnel access to a library of specific software products and solutions, you are giving them a deeper sense of responsibility and creative leeway to do their work. Protocols are great and often extremely necessary to facilitate any type of organized work, but it’s often impossible or unwieldy to provide your employees with an “A to B” goal and then limit their options for completing the task.

Quite simply, through cloud computing, a number of different pathways to completion of any particular task might open up. This freedom of choice creates and fosters a greater sense of desire from employees because they are given the opportunity to creatively address whatever work they are doing. Another fringe benefit of this is that more creative (or brilliant) solutions can be devised. As the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one”. If you have all of your employees actively searching for quicker, more efficient solutions to ongoing problems / work / duties (as opposed to simply following orders), you’re going to end up with increased productivity.

In terms of improving communications, cloud computing cannot be matched by traditional IT. In the same way that web tools, apps, and communication interfaces can improve connectivity, so too can cloud computing. Additionally, any type of web service, app, or software can be repacked or deployed on a cloud. This means that you can have a much cleaner interface for users with a greater number of individual points of communication. For instance, through cloud computing it would be possible for an organization to establish an in-house video messaging / conferencing service which might greatly improve inter-departmental communications and relations.

However, the use of cloud computing technologies will require the effort and understanding of your IT department personnel. If your business has yet to begin exploring this facet of IT preparedness you should know that now is a great time to do so. Currently, you can have an entire IT department certified or trained in one or multiple cloud computing disciplines at group discount rates. Moreover, since cloud computing certification can be delivered via the internet (e-learning), your IT employees will be able to engage in mobile learning.

To simply say that cloud computing can increase productivity in the workplace is a bit of an understatement. The truth is, cloud computing can effectively redesign the way your business approaches and accomplishes the work it performs on a daily basis. In this way, cloud computing is less a means to improving productivity and more of a comprehensive infrastructure which allows for the increased streamlining of inter-office activities.

Effecting Planning of Exhibitions: An Advertising Tool in Marketing the Designer and His Products

Exhibition is the public display of artefacts such as manufactured goods, food, artefacts etc. in order to attract viewers and buyers. An effective exhibition should be well planned and organized. It is also noteworthy that only excellent works that merits appreciation and shows artists’ exceptional skills should be exhibited.

The organization of an exhibition is very relevant. Its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Some of the purposes of organizing and mounting of an exhibition are outlined below:

1. It showcases the designs and works of an artist: An exhibition mounted by an artist helps him to show the entire world what he/she is able to do. This invariably would help him to gain customers who may be interested in the purchase of any of his works or designs.

2. It offers an avenue for the sale of products: An exhibition gives the artist the platform to explain the concepts and ideas behind his artistic creations and this would move viewers to purchase some of his mounted works.

3. It promotes the manufacturer: An exhibition affords people the opportunity to know the manufacturer. This promotes and makes him popular or known.

4. It promotes competition and creativity in the industry: When an exhibition is mounted by the artist, other artists come to view his artistic creations. These artists are inspired by the works seen and are challenged to produce works that surpasses those they have seen. This ensures the development of new ideas and new products in the industry.

5. It entertains all in attendance: People who come for the exhibition are entertained after viewing the varied products of the artist. They gain new experiences of artistic productions and this greatly entertains them. Also, it may help them to get new friends and interact with people of different backgrounds. The side attractions such as the music played at the occasion all adds an entertainment flavor to the entire programme.

Exhibitions are broadly classified into two. These are General exhibitions and specialized exhibitions. General Exhibition is whereby varieties of items are displayed to the general public. It attracts all kinds of exhibits or works. It should be noted that several products are exhibited during general exhibitions. Several products such as Bags, belts, shoes etc. are exhibited at the same time. It can be called a Bazaar or Fair.

On the contrary, specialized exhibition involves the display of a specific kind of product or artifact. For instance, when only bags are exhibited, we can say it is a specialized exhibition. However, varieties of the same product thus, bags are exhibited.

It should be noted that either of these types of exhibition can be organized at various levels such as Individual exhibition, Group exhibition, Institutional exhibition, Community exhibition, District exhibition, Regional exhibition, National exhibition and International exhibition.

An effective exhibition should be well thought of or planned before it is organized. Several factors come to the fore in the planning of an exhibition.

1. Type of exhibition- The artist or organizers of the exhibition should seriously consider the type of exhibition that they want to mount whether a specialized or generalized exhibition. If the exhibition is organized by a different body, the artist should make the necessary inquiry through trade publications, newspapers, internet etc. to know precisely the type of exhibition to be organized. This would help him to prepare accordingly.

2. What to exhibit-The artist should deeply consider the kinds of exhibit to mount. He should consider the theme of the exhibition, the background of the potential viewers such as their age group, sex, levels of education and even their income levels. This would aid him in knowing the kind of artefacts to exhibit.

3. Where to exhibit- The place or venue for the exhibition should be carefully considered. Its location should be at the heart or centre of his most expected guests or the target group. The venue must be easy to locate. The premises should be spacious, clean, well ventilated and well lit.

4. Cost involved- The cost to be incurred for the organization of the entire exhibition should be carefully rolled out. The cost of publicity, side attractions/ programmes, preparation of the venue etc. must be well planned.

5. Publicity- This refers to the means by which the organisers want to broadcast or make known the exhibition to the general public. The best and most effective means of publicity should be adopted and implemented. Should it be done through posters, banners, flyers, signposts, open air announcement, brochures or the internet? The organizers should think about it critically.

6. Expected number of guests/visitors- The number of people to be expected at the exhibition grounds should be well thought of. This would help the organizers to plan the exhibition well. It would enable them to choose the right venue in terms of size, the number of seating etc. for the exhibition.

7. Duration/Time- The length of time for the exhibition should be planned well. Will the exhibition last for a day, days etc. The time for the start of the programme and the time it would end should be thought of carefully and communicated with the expected guests prior to the programme.

8. Security- The organizers should beef up the security at the exhibition grounds to protect the exhibitors, invitees and the exhibits. This would make all in attendance very secured.

9. Visitor’s book- This is a special book that is made available to all the invited guests to write down their names, contacts, comments and experiences. This would enable artists to contact prospective buyers of their products and in the planning of future exhibitions.

10. General layout- The entire arrangement of the exhibits, seating etc. should be artistic and nice. There shouldn’t be any room for crowdedness and congestion. The place should be comely and refreshing.

Exhibitions are the enticements that draw people to the products and services offered by a business. Therefore it must be carefully planned. This would ensure that the products manufactured by individuals, groups or enterprises will have mass sales and sensitization among the populace.