Crossing Borders

So you want to expand your business but you've officially milked your home province for everything you can get. You're selling your products to stores locally but not outside of your area. Before you start calculating how much it would cost to truck great loads of heavy products all over the country, pull down those walls in your mind that are keeping you in-country and think outside the box. Products, such as business cards aren't just something we need in Canada, after all.

Crossing national borders to sell product happens every single day to great profit for all types of businesses across North America. With the North American Free Trade agreement (or NAFTA as it is more widely known); there's nowhere on the continent that's out of bounds for your business. Got a factory in Nova Scotia that makes beauty bag gift kits? Well there are plenty of towns with drug stores or department stores with a cosmetic counter on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States that you could sell to. They offer less shipping trouble than you would have getting them over to Newfoundland or the United Kingdom.

One thing to remember, though, when marketing your goods outside of your comfort zone, is to do your research. You want to make sure you don't waste your time promoting your products in an area that has no use for them. For instance, if you specialize in expensive designer baby clothes or luxury wedding dresses, you wouldn't have much luck marketing them in poor towns in central Mexico. Conversely, fashionable cities like New York or San Francisco are probably already saturated with such garments and would be unlikely to bite on your proposal. Instead, focus on places like Puerto Vallarta or Cancun that get a lot of wealthy elopers in need of formalwear but aren't big or important enough to have their own market already.

The actual act of crossing the border may seem like a huge hassle to you, but if you have all your paperwork in order and your goods packaged properly, you can avoid those pesky border searches that eat up so much valuable time and money. Trucking products isn't the only way to transport your products, either. Some more in-demand or higher end items like drug testing supplies can be flown in via air freight or placed on trains with relative ease to get them to hospitals and sporting events at short notice.

The most important thing about cross-border shipping, whether you're transporting special canvases for painting or copper tubing for high-end construction suppliers, is to maintain transparency in all your dealings. Don't think you can fool either the tax agency in your own country or the one in the country you're shipping to. It's been tried before and it never works out. You also don't want to get slammed by either government for violating a law you've never heard of, so do your research and keep good records and you should be fine.

Thinking about exporting goods to the United States?

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Monday, May 10, 2021