Tax Deductible Travel.Check first with your taxation adviser, but I suggest that if you enjoy overseas travel, your holidays canbecome, at least in part, tax deductible expenditure - provided you spend time looking for products toimport. I AM NOT GIVING ANY TAXATION ADVICE, but I suggest that when doing your marketsurveys overseas, you should make extensive notes, preferably in diary form. It is probably worth notingdates and times, taxi fares, meals, or other expenses, as well as names of any people you meet.Detailed records are more likely to keep you out of trouble with tax authorities. I never rely on memoryfor such things, and I never write up my diary when I return home. Here is a little hint to keep the taxpeople happy: I always show at least a part of my travel expenses as “personal” in my accounts. Afterall, I do spend money that has nothing to do with visualsuite review , so I do not claim it as an expense. I repeat:
Check first with your taxation adviser.
16.2 Visiting Retail Sites Overseas.While overseas there are many ways of searching for products to import. Some importers visit localmarkets where the locals shop. Even visiting large stores can help you locate products that could beworth importing. Keep your eyes open for products that are appealing but are not available in your owncountry.
Caution! You may not have seen such products on the market at home but that does not mean someoneis not already importing them. Also remember that although they appeal to you, it does not mean there isa market for them back home. One of the greatest mistakes I have witnessed among newcomers toimporting is to get carried away with the novelty or attractiveness of a product that appeals to them. It
must appeal to your local market. You may love it but when you try to sell it, your wonderful newproduct could go down like a lead balloon.When looking for products by visiting retail outlets, you must remember that it is pointless choosing aproduct if you cannot locate the manufacturer. The retailers where you see these products are unlikely totell you who the manufacturers are, so you must do some detective work.They might give you that information if you buy one of the items. If the cost is low, it could be worthbuying one that you can photograph, measure and weigh in order to locate a supplier by advertising aswe discussed in Chapter 11 . If you cannot locate the supplier, at least you have a tax deductiblesouvenir!It is possible to buy retail at street markets or in back road shops where locals do their shopping. Pricesthere will at times be even cheaper than the best prices you could get from the factory, but each itemwould have to be checked for faults. I do know of some relatively small scale importers who lovetraveling, and they buy retail in those places as many items as they can fit into their luggage. Theyalways ask for a receipt and declare actual value. They sometimes strike trouble when a Customs Officerat the airport refuses to believe that the receipt is genuine so they finish up paying more duty and salestax than they should. Goods in commercial quantities must always be declared. They cannot beconsidered part of any traveler's duty free allowance.A big advantage of having a visualsuite reviewis that it enables you do an informal market survey at home. Show itto your friends. Ask questions such as: Do they like it? Would they buy one? Friends may think theyhave to say yes in order to avoid offending you, but tell them that it is very important that you get honestanswers. Check for country of origin on the package or on the goods, because while the goods may looklocal, they may have been imported into the country where you saw them.When planning your trip, you should check on dates of public holidays in the country or countries youplan to visit. You can hardly justify a sourcing trip to Rio during Carnivale. In some countries, attitudesaround keeping appointment times can be very casual. In the Philippines for example, you may have towait an hour or more past the time you arranged to meet the person you are visiting. Other countries canbe similarly relaxed so do your homework. Siesta times can apply in some Asian locations as well as inEurope and Latin America. This can affect office hours, so check this as well.Generally you should avoid peak tourist times because of congestion, cost, and difficulty in arrangingaccommodation. In Northeast Asia, the typhoon season can cause flooding in cities, and also disruptionto air travel. During trade shows, you will need to make reservations well in advance. With these thingsin mind, no doubt you will do some thorough research before making your travel arrangements.
If you plan on seeing potential suppliers, always allow plenty of time because appointments that youexpect to occupy ½ hour could well last 1 -½ to 2 hours, and if the supplier thinks you are a very goodprospect, they may take you to lunch. In my experience such a lunch can last as long as 3 hours.
16.3 Visiting World Trade Centers.This means of locating suppliers is usually only known by the “big boys” in importing. If there is aWTC in the city you are visiting, then a visit without prior appointment can be well worthwhile providedthey have members with permanent showrooms. Many reputable suppliers have offices and/orshowrooms in some of the Centers, and those showroom displays can give you some great ideas aboutproducts to import. Check on the WTC site www.wtca.org. Click on Locations, then on the region. Thiswill then show you a list of all the Trade Centers in that region. Click on the city of interest. The addressand other contact details will appear. With the address, there will be a contact form and usually a websitelink.Before deciding to visit, it is advisable to email the center to ask if they have permanent showrooms atthat location. Most do not. One that has 1,000 showrooms is the WTC in Taipei. They cover 5 floorsof the huge WTC building. I can highly recommend a visit if you intend traveling to Asia. As I mentionin the next section regarding trade show visualsuite review, not all permanent exhibitors are manufacturers..Many of the companies with offices or showrooms at World Trade Centers are very big businesses andare accustomed to dealing only with importers who are also in the big league, but you will still findmany businesses in those centers that will deal with any importers provided they can place orders thatmeet their minimum order requirements, or at least what they consider to be a worthwhile quantity.Concentrate on finding suitable products, and then ask about their MOQ. Remember also what I wrote inChapter 13 about how to get them to accept small orders.It is usually not advisable to make firm commitments on first contact at WTCs or at trade shows. Taketime to consider. Rushing a decision could bring regrets later, and also it does not present a good imageto prospective suppliers. Even if you sleep on it and return the following day that would be better thanmaking a hasty decision.You may choose to use the Trade Center contact forms at each city to request a list of suppliers for aproduct you are looking for. Not all will be able to do that for you, but it is worth trying if you arehaving trouble locating a particular product.