Are you ready to import?

Review your import readiness


You can use these points to help you decide whether you are ready to start importing or discover what else you need to do to prepare.

Planning and strategy

  • Are you committed to importing? Have all the key people in your business agreed?
  • Do you have a well-defined import strategy?
  • How much time and money are you prepared to invest in starting to import?
  • Do you know what suppliers, in which countries, you will consider? Have you planned how you will research and select them?
  • Do you understand your own strengths and weaknesses? What will be your objectives in negotiating import contracts?
  • Have you planned how you will store, process and/or sell the imports? Do you have the resources you need?

Product specifics

  • Do the goods you plan to import need an import licence?
  • Do the goods need to meet any UK standards or legal requirements?
  • What requirements are there for the goods to fit in with your production processes or customer demands?

Skills and administration

  • Do you understand international payment methods and can you handle them?
  • Do you understand international delivery contract terms - ie Incoterms? Have you got the right legal advice?
  • Do you have the skills to handle import tasks like customs clearance and delivery, or have you built relationships with third parties to do this for you?
  • How do you plan to develop your importing skills? Have you organised any training?
  • Have you set up administration systems to handle importing, eg tracking deliveries and payments?
  • Do you have the personnel resources to handle the additional work? Which individuals will be responsible for each task?


  • Have you identified all the costs of importing, including transport, insurance and import duties and taxes?
  • Do you have enough working capital to finance imports or will you need to negotiate credit from suppliers or arrange a trade finance package with your bank?