(PRWEB) September 3, 2002
ÂImportpreneurÂ Finds Success Despite Digital Divide
Nearly everyone dreams of fulfilling the great Âentrepreneurial dreamÂ of being successfully self-employed. But since the overwhelming majority of new businesses fail within the first year, the odds are less than favorable. The key, say many experts, is making sure that your initial investment of time, money or both is not too great.
By finding a start-up business that can be operated on a part-time basis with a minimal financial expenditure, would-be entrepreneurs have a definite advantage. Once successful entrepreneur who based his business on this concept is importer/exporter Robert Grubbs. Grubbs, in the business since 1987, started small and has seen steady growth since.
ÂFor just $220, I entered into what is now a trillion-dollar industry,Â says Grubbs.
According to the Hong Kong-based company Global Sources, the import/export industry accounts for $5.8 trillion in trade each year.
One factor that has certainly helped the global economy grow is the introduction of the Internet. With information and potential customers more easily accessible, some aspects of the import/export business have become easier.
ÂWhen I first began,Â says Grubbs, Âthe most advanced communication tool we had was the fax. The Internet has definitely given us some freedoms that we didnÂt have before.Â
Although innovations may more easily enable import/export agents, they havenÂt changed the basics of the business.
ÂThe import/export business still operates on the same principles,Â says Grubbs. ÂAgents must still choose a commodity, target a market, prepare a business plan and work within the complex system of regulations. Certainly, the Internet can make some of this easier. But to be successful, an agent needs the offline knowledge and contacts to complement online ventures.Â
Grubbs knows firsthand the value of offline networking; itÂs how he built his business.
ÂIÂve worked with buyers and shippers everywhere from Africa to Malaysia, and IÂve seen many interesting things along the way,Â says Grubbs. One of his multi-million dollar endeavors almost led him into a dangerous deal in Nigeria. ÂThe trade ended up being a fraud and two Americans who ventured there before me were killed,Â recounts Grubbs.
Based in rural Arkansas, Grubbs also encountered more obstacles than most when setting out to take his business online.
ÂWith no local Internet service provider in my area until 2000, my phone bills just for Internet access alone were in excess of $250-300 per month,Â says Grubbs. ÂAnd finding a Web designer/developer has also been an extreme challenge.Â
Despite the digital divide, Grubbs has managed to create and publish a newsletter to share his insider perspective and knowledge of the import/export business. The newsletter, available at http://www.importcitynews.com, tracks investment and trade trends and offers ideas and advice for those interested in the import/export business.
Grubbs plans to soon launch an online shopping mall at http://www.importcity.com that will cater to merchants seeking import items. He is also working on a book based on his international trade expeditions and experiences.