Importing from China isn't as hard as it used to be, and it certainly isn't as difficult as a lot of people believe.
One of the reasons many business people source their products inside their own country or region is that they feel safe doing business with nationalities they know, especially where the language is the same.
If everything is going OK, why waste time or take a risk trying to start afresh with an unfamiliar, foreign supplier? Well, we've already talked about the benefits of buying from China - the bottom line!
But in many of the questions submitted by members of our China Import Newsletter, I've seen variations of these questions:
How can I deal with Chinese people, if they don't speak English?
Are Chinese companies familiar with a Western way of doing business?
Can I trust a supplier in China?
Can Chinese suppliers really deal with me successfully?
How do I know if Chinese factories and distributors are modern and professional enough to supply my needs?
Are Chinese suppliers actually allowed to export to my country?
These are all good questions, and if you're asking these questions, it's a good thing.
To be doubtful and careful is a wise approach whatever you are doing in the import / export business.
I am going to try to give you answers to all of those questions in today's fourth section. If you're already asking the type of questions above, the chances are that you are on the right path to researching a solid, reliable set of suppliers for your import business.
I've seen a lot of customers who are first-time importers, for example starting an EBay shop, come directly into our online sales at Chinavasion.com with a first purchase of several thousand US dollars, without asking us a single question before. Now that's fine of course, because naturally you can trust us here at Chinavasion and the information we give to new customers in our FAQs gives a clear idea of what you're getting.
But I sometimes worry if the same people are doing the same thing - "jumping in quick and hoping for the best" with unreliable or disorganised companies in China. A lot of Chinese companies can be found through the internet, and they often advertise things they can't really deliver, or at least their service is not professionally set up to deal with export customers smoothly.
I guess there are a lot of newcomers to the import business who start with their first orders to that kind of company, and maybe get very disappointed or even lose a lot of money.
So the idea I want to give you today is that when you deal with any Chinese company, you need to establish a steady, communicative relationship.
The Chinese style, in business and life generally, is to communicate a lot and build a relationship.
If you are communicating clearly with your suppliers, and in a positive way, you will run into fewer problems throughout all your business deals.
But China is such a different place, and the language difference causes a barrier sometimes - how can you get this positive communication going?