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 customs.
- 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.