My Journey Into Amazon FBA

I have been living in China for the past 6 years and have looked into a few business ventures, however it may surprise you that I never really looked in to exporting which would have been the obvious choice. The reasoning behind it was that I felt I wasn’t really in a position to sell the products within the UK if I was based in China. For this reason, I was always looking into importing products into China to exploit the growing middle class here and their demand for foreign goods which they put a premium on. Whilst I have had some success selling on sites like Taobao, and I continue to sell some foreign brands on that platform, it has never been able to grow beyond what I would classify as a hobby. This is for a few reasons but namely being the large amounts of regulation that is involved with importing products and the large amount of upfront capital that is required.

Late last year I came across Amazon FBA. Amazon FBA will essentially remove the problem of logistics when selling in the UK as Amazon will do it all for you. You can store the products in their warehouses and when a sale is made through their platform they will pick and pack the product and deliver it often times the very next day. Of course you have to pay Amazon a small fee for this but due to their economies of scale I am sure it will probably work out cheaper in the long run as well as saving me a lot of time so that I can concentrate on marketing and driving traffic to the product listings.

I have picked my product which will be fruit infuser water bottles. Honestly, I didn’t do much research into them other than they have a good amount of sales volume. Out of luck when inspecting my bottles here in China I realized I have the same supplier as many of the top sellers in the US and UK such as InfusionPro and Aquatiser. I am quietly optimistic, after creating a small marketing site targeting buying keywords such as, best fruit infuser water bottle, I have already been sending a few sales to Amazon.  It is not a far stretch to also add my own bottle to that site and it will be able to send some traffic to my future listings.

The bottles are scheduled to arrive on May 25th and so will probably be available for purchase in early June. I have also created a brand new site for my fruit infuser water bottles under the brand name FruitMe.

In future posts, I will go into greater detail on how I sourced the fruit infuser bottles and also my marketing plans going forward!


Risks of Import and Export Businesses

Risks of Import and Export Businesses

Every business any entrepreneur builds has its risks. Merely establishing a business, not having assurance of its success, is a risk.

Businesses which involve importing and exporting items can be exposed to higher risks, particularly because these businesses deal with goods and people overseas. Dealing with suppliers or clients from another country can be difficult not only because of distance, but because of cultural differences as well.

Having knowledge of the possible risks of engaging in import and export business can help you prepare for it. You may also minimise the probability of risks and plan strategically to avoid them if possible.

So, what are the risks of having an import and export business?

Having your own business related to importing or exporting goods can help you earn big sums of money. You can import goods with lower costs. Additionally, there are many customers who are interested in products from foreign lands. When it comes to exporting, you can sell exported goods at a higher price overseas.

The risk of your imported goods being damaged while being delivered from your supplier is one of the risks of importing.  The event wherein your ordered goods are damaged in transit is beyond your control. Still, you can establish an agreement with your supplier prior to doing business regarding who will be responsible if the goods are damaged while being shipped. A clear, firm contract is what you need to avoid spending money on damaged goods.

Another risk is the inevitable delays in delivery or shortage of supplies due to uncontrollable factors such as natural calamities. It wouldn’t hurt to stock some extra products or place orders in advance so you still have something to offer your customers while waiting for the new imports to arrive.

Changes in exchange rates are also one of the risks of importing goods. Discussing this with your supplier and sticking to the agreed payment currency can help you resolve this.

Just as with importing goods, exporting goods to other countries has its risks too.

Being an exporter entails making sure that your goods will reach your customer safely and in time. One of the risks of exporting is the possibility of your products being delayed, damaged, or even lost while being shipped.

Not being paid by your customer is also one of the risks of being an exporter. You may want to adjust your payment conditions with the customer to prevent being unpaid.

If you have a new customer, you may be unable to fully check this customer’s credit standing. You may not have enough resources to make sure that your customer is capable of completing payment. One of the best steps you can take is to gather adequate, correct details about the customer before starting business. A contract with a clearly settled payment terms can also help you ensure payment.

These risks should not stop you from creating an import or export enterprise, these should just help you prepare so you can have an idea on how to handle these risks in case you encounter them in the future.

Responsibilities of a Sole Trader

Responsibilities of a Sole Trader

A sole trader is someone who operates his or her own business.  Sole traders or self employed individuals have contributed a great deal in the growth of the business sector in UK continually since 2000.

If you’re aspiring to be a sole trader yourself, you must take into consideration that being a sole trader comes with important responsibilities.

As a sole trader, here are some of your key responsibilities:

You must register yourself as a sole trader. You must register to HM Customs & Revenues or HMRC as self-employed. Doing this is relatively easy. You may just give their helpline a call or simply accomplish an online form from them. Registration as self-employed must be done within three months from the start of trading. Otherwise, you would have to pay a penalty for not meeting the deadline for registration.

You should check if you need to pay National Insurance Contribution (NIC) and Value Added Tax (VAT) and how much you need to pay. Determining whether you need to pay NICs and VATs will depend on your annual income from your business.

You would have to manage your employees’ NICs as well as income tax returns and forward it to HMRC. You have to prepare a special payment system for this.

You should ensure proper documentation of your financial records. Keeping a detailed record of your finances, expenses, and everything related to your business’s funds is necessary once you become a sole trader. On the other hand, you may also opt to employ an accountant or bookkeeper instead.

You should be ready to multitask and perform many jobs. When you’re just starting your own business and don’t have employees yet, you will have to accomplish many roles such as being the manager, accountant, marketer, customer service representative, as well as hiring specialist. You must be able to do these jobs well.

You must be able to manage your time effectively. Just as with being able to do different jobs, you must also learn to manage your time so you can attend to the needs of your business promptly.

Managing your own business is a big task. Just be patient and continue doing these responsibilities. You’ll eventually realise that every effort you put into being a diligent sole trader will pay off.




Startup in progress concept. Successful start-up with growing potential.

The Basics of Starting Up Your Own Business

Setting up your own trade business can be a challenging task. You must be careful in every step you take to make sure that your business will prosper; otherwise you might just end up wasting a lot of money and being bankrupt.

However, if you try to learn everything you can about starting a business prior to establishing it, you may just achieve success in this industry.  Importing or exporting goods in the country has proven to be an effective way of generating income for local trading businesses. This is one of the primary reasons entrepreneurs involve in trading ventures.

So, what are the basic requirements you need to take care of if you’re planning to start up your business?

One of the most important factors you want to consider before starting up your business is planning or choosing the location where you want to put up your office or shop. You have to make sure that the land where you decide to put your business on falls into the appropriate Use Class. The nature of business and all the activities this business would entail would greatly influence the type of neighbourhood you can construct your business in. Additionally, whether you’re intending to build a new premise or aiming to renovate an existing building for your business, you would need to get in touch with your Local Authority Planning Department.

Another essential matter you have to deal with is ensuring that your business will be in compliance with the health and safety regulations set by authorities. To know more about this you must get in contact with the Environmental Health Department.

The equipment and appliances that you will use in your business such as air conditioning systems, heating systems or refrigerators would have to friendly to the environment. For more details, call the Environment and Energy Helpline.

If you’re planning to import products or goods, you must know that there are particular items that you would need a permit for. Proper documentation is absolutely necessary if you’re starting a business. To check which types of products would require licence, you may use the UK Trade Tariff.

If your aim is to employ workers, you need to know about their rights. You have to prepare a written contract for your potential employees, plan a training schedule for them; you have to find out the wage compatible to the type of work you are assigning, you have to ensure that the workplace is safe for the employees as well. These are just some of the rights of employees. To get to know more about the complete rights of the employees and the lawful duties of an employer, it’s best to consult a lawyer or law firm.

Registration of your brand name or logo is also one of the priorities in starting up a business. Approval for registration of trade mark can take time, it’s best to make the registration as soon as you start your venture. Contact the Central Enquiry Unit of the UK Patent Office for full details on registration.

Another critical thing you have to attend to is updating your own details when it comes to tax and National Insurance. If you need assistance in registering as a self-employed, you can phone the Newly Self-Employed helpline.

Getting insurance for your trade business can cost a lot of money, but insurance can provide you with valuable security especially in times of calamities and accidents within your business premise. There are various types of insurance, including insurance for your employees.

These are just some of the basic requirements in starting your own trading business. There are plenty more you can discover as you go along in building your own business. The best thing to remember is to start slowly but surely; so you can make sure you cover everything obligated by law.

Pros and Cons of Starting Up Your Own Trade Business

Pros and Cons of Starting Up Your Own Trade Business

Setting up your own trading business is a tempting idea. Just picture this: you, managing your own business where you’re the boss, maybe even hiring some employees of your own someday – simply imagining it can make anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur smile.

However, no matter how enticing the thought of managing your own business sounds, just like everything else – managing your own enterprise isn’t as easy as it seems; starting up your own trade business also has its cons.

If you’re planning on establishing your own business, it’s best to analyse the advantages and disadvantages you may come across so you can make up your mind and be truly prepared for what’s to come.

Let’s start with the pros of starting your own business:

  • Being your own boss – ‘Being your own boss’ doesn’t mean feeling power or importance over your employees, but rather being free from anyone ordering you to do anything. It means being independent in implementing your ideas and doing your work without anyone telling you what to do.
  • Being able to make changes to your business quickly – Another advantage of having your own business is the ability to swiftly adjust your business if needed. For an example, if you just found out that you have to change your working hours (maybe lengthen it) because of business needs, you can do as you please in an instant. There’s no need for you to get approvals or permissions from anyone.
  • Being able to adjust to your needs – If you can make necessary adjustments when your business calls for it, of course you can adjust your business according to your needs, too. If you need more time for resting everyday because of an illness, then you can simply adjust your business hours without the need to produce an official medical recommendation from a physician.
  • Being able to enhance and widen your skills – If you will start a business alone, then you’ll get an opportunity to enhance your skills on many fields. You can improve on your management skills since you’ll handle your own business. You can work on your marketing skills since you’ll be the one to promote your business. You can enhance your recruitment skills as you will carefully screen, choose, and hire people who will work for you.

Now that we’ve established some of the pros of having your own business, let’s discuss the cons.

  • Being your own boss – Yes, being your own boss can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. Being the boss means all the responsibilities of decision making fall into your hands.
  • Playing different roles at the same time – Although running your own business by yourself means a chance to utilise and enhance your marketing, advertising, management, and hiring skills, all of these roles may mean a lot of work. Excellent time management will be critical. Performing a lot of different work can also be stressful, so you need to be able to handle stress well.
  • Absence of benefits – Once you run your own business you won’t have the free company benefits you once enjoyed as a regular employee such as free dental and health benefits. You would have to start paying for your own health insurance. Another downside is having minimal time for vacations or days off. Running a business requires a lot of time and effort that you may not have enough time to take long vacations, especially when your business is new and you have no one to entrust its management to.

Running an enterprise is not an easy job. Having knowledge of what to expect, as well as getting familiar with business management’s up and down sides can aid you in making an informed decision. If you believe that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, then operating your own business may just be for you.