Overseas Manufacturing and Clearing Goods Through Customs

When importing into a country, there are a number of terms, regulations and procedures an importer should be familiar with. The following is a guide of different issues to be aware of when importing.

For first time importers, it is highly advisable to pay a customs broker to enter and clear goods through customs. Customs brokers are licensed by the countries in which they operate, and they act on behalf of the importer to file the necessary documents for products to enter a country at the port-of-entry. Depending on their relationship with their client, they may also pay customs duties and other importing expenses on their client's behalf. Finally, they advise importers about issues of which they may need to be aware such as country or origin marks and other issues importers need to be aware of.

When choosing a customs broker, the importer should first make sure they can enter goods at the arrival port. In the US, customs brokers are licensed by the US Customs and Border Protection Service.

Prior to placing an order with a manufacturer, the relevant nation's customs agency and the importer's customs broker should be consulted to avoid possible problems such as the following:

  • Any legal issues that may exist with the product in the country of import.
  • Finding out after the product arrives at port that the it is subject to import quotas.
  • Possible health, safety or other regulations which apply to the product to be imported.

One easy to avoid, but common problem encountered when importing is the failure to mark the product in compliance with country of origin regulations. To avoid this, contact the relevant customs agency of the nation where the merchandise will be imported to ensure the goods are in compliance. For example, custom laws in the US require each imported good be marked with the English name of the country of origin (eg China) as reasonably, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article permits. Furthermore, this marking must be visible to the ultimate purchaser of the product.

The tariff rate levied by customs must be paid before the importer can take possession of the goods. While tariff rates in countries like the US average around 5% for most products, they can be significantly higher for some goods, particularly those with higher labor content. Therefore, it is important to know the rate before product arrives at port.

Before the goods are shipped, ensure the packing regulations for the destination country have been adhered. For example, every box, bale or case may need to be numbered with the exact quantity in each.

Other regulations include the type of pallets that can be used.

Problems with customs clearance often center around paperwork. Different goods often require different types of documentation, but the three major types of documentation the shipper must prepare include the following:

1. A bill of lading: This document, issued by the carrier or shipper, is basically a receipt of the goods acknowledging that they have been received on the vessel for shipment. This document indicates the particular vessel on which the goods have been placed, the destination of the goods, and the terms for transporting the goods to their final destination.

2. A commercial invoice: This is used as a customs declaration by the entity that is exporting an item across international borders. This document is required by customs to determine the value of the goods to assess duties and taxes, and goods must be invoiced in a systematic manner.

3. Packing list: This document is an itemized detail of the merchandise in a particular shipment. A copy is usually attached to the outside of the shipping container or inside the container itself so the merchandise may be counted by the person opening it.

It is crucial to make sure these documents, and any others that may be needed for a particular shipment, are carefully completed and reviewed before the goods arrive.

To avoid excess storage fees, arrange for a freight forwarder or some other type of transporter to ship the goods to their final destination as soon as they have cleared customs.

Being aware of these points, as well working closely with customs and a customs broker, will make the importing process smoother and will reduce the possibility of unnecessary difficulty or expense.

Homeschooling Young Children? Here Are 5 Key Benefits to Adding a Good Art Program

Homeschooling your children? I assume this means you want the best for your kids. An opportunity to give your children a rich multi sensory, personalized type of education ……… Is art included in your curriculum?

If you want the best type of education for your children then ART must be included in your day to day curricular activities

When I say good art I am not talking about the standard traditional arts and crafts that is done in so many preschool and kindergarten classes all over the world. That may be something you do with your kids on a spur of the moment thought when a Holiday is coming up, or you need to make something for Grandma.

But that's not what I'm talking about.

Nope, you left that. You left that along with the traditional world of education because you wanted something better for your kids, something that they cant get in most traditional classes with upwards of 20 kids …..

You probably spend quite a bit of time looking for curriculum on line for your homeschooling curriculum and that's great because you get to choose what and how your kids will be learning.

You do not even realize how necessary and valuable it is for your kids to make sure that there is a solid art program being integrated with the rest of your homeschooling curriculum.

Many parents have some kind of vague ideas about why we give our kids art and some of its benefits.

Oftentimes traditional preschool teachers have just as vague ideas and below are some of the reasons I've heard from some traditional educators, preschool teachers as to why they give their students arts and crafts

  1. They need the children to remember their lessons and figure that an art project will help them do that
  2. They want them to learn to follow directions so they give them step by step directions on how to follow cookie cutter art projects
  3. They need to fill up time in the day, so what better way than an art project
  4. They claim that this is what the Mothers want

So tell me Moms, you are some of the mothers they are talking about (well maybe you're not actually really not since your kids are being schooled) but is this really what you want?

Do you want your kids to follow cookie cutter instructions that turn them into little robots for them to make projects that look exactly like everyone elses?

No! I did not think so.

But I do think that you may not know any alternatives and in working so hard trying to put together some good homeschooling curriculum for your children sometimes art gets lost in the shuffle and that's too bad.

That's too bad because art gives adds such depth to any curriculum that it would be a crying shame when you have the opportunity at home to give such great activities to have your children lose out on these experiences.

Art is not only fun, it's lifesaving and life building and I would like to share with you 5 reasons for you to include really good art into your homeschooling curriculum

  1. Art helps build physical coordination. Art is good for both gross motor coordination and fine motor coordination. Gross motor coordination, the development of large muscle is not only helped by things like ball playing and beam balancing but young children also use their arms during art with wide sweeping movements ans they paint and draw that help build those large muscle. Of course fine motor coordination is better understood as benefit ted from art .. Cutting, gluing, painting, drawing. Your child's small fingers are developing each time they use these art tools
  2. Emotional development – There is no question that art can help a child through many difficult emotional experiences. If a child is jealous of a new baby sibling, she or he can pound on some clay and color furiously instead of pounding on the baby herself. Children also end to use art to work through issues that bother them such as a death in the family, a fire or other disturbing event. (I once taught little girl who had a fire in her home and for weeks that's all she talked and drew and painted about until she calmed down.)
  3. Intellectual development (often known as cognitive development). Children learn to make sense of their world as they use art to count, classify, sort, make their own decisions and learn to follow directions without doing cookie cutter art.
  4. Creativity … Of course children's creativity takes a flying leap if they are allowed to do art that allows them to create at their own level, which allows them to be creative in more ways than one
  5. Integrating curriculum And last but not least art in a home school curriculum can help integrate the curriculum and help them learn. Children learn best through their senses and the more art is integrated with the homeschooling curriculum the more their learning will stay with them.

Personal Brand Marketing – Brand Buzz 101

I understand the importance of visibility. As a small business owner, being "known" can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors. Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone. Garnering "share of mind" means that you somewhere along the way that they sampled your character and competency and you became memorable.

Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment. For an individual, that could mean breaking a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion or an introduction. Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product. YOU are the product. Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company, more than any mission mission statement hanging in the lobby. So, how does an individual create "buzz" for their brand for visibility and more importantly to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?

1. Know what makes you unique.

Whether you're job hunting or wanting a position on board of director's, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.

2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.

Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language. Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your value. Yet, know that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills and even your lunch meeting etiquette. They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable. Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word of mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.

3. Manage that communication.

If you're creating "buzz" around your brand, it will require you to proactively manage the communication. For example, if you're new to a company or a position you will need to build a credibility wall. Yes, a physical wall if possible. It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification and degree you've received. This wall is your visual third party testimonial on the character and competency of your brand. Since that wall can not travel with you, make sure that anytime you're honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution that a copy of the "thank you" letter, note or card be placed into you personnel file.

Even if you're on your own, these "proof of credibility" tools will take you far. As the vice president of a business concern in college, I invited speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio. Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and further that my portfolio has become quite valuable. Actively "buzz" your brand! Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence; and influence with lead to leadership.

Internet Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing – Can I Abandon Traditional Marketing?

This is a common question raised by novices in Internet marketing. Actually, it reflects a misunderstanding of the whole concept of Internet marketing. Because of its reliably novel stage, there is a mystique attached to the concept by newcomers and so the question: If I go for Internet marketing, should I abandon traditional marketing (as if one should now exclude the other)?

My simple answer is – why would you? Internet marketing and traditional marketing should complement each other. The Internet simply allows you to extend your reach beyond the current confines of your traditional marketing system such that areas in the world that were previously beyond your reach can now be accessed through the Internet.

To better appreciate that, it would be helpful to know what Internet marketing actually is. In a nutshell, it means putting up a website where you can display the product or service you are selling, and then encouraging people to drop by your site so that you can have buyers or customers. Everything else you will encounter in Internet marketing, including what may initially appear to you as highfalutin terms – like search engine optimization, search engine submission, reciprocal linking, keyword research – are nothing more than part of Internet marketing strategies to bring people to your website so that you will have the chance of making a sale. Without people finding out your website, you will never succeed in Internet marketing.

To better visualize this, consider the example of putting up a store in the physical world. Your store is located in a vast empty prairie. How are you ever make any sale if there are no people around? No matter how good your products or services are, if you have no passers by, if people can not locate you, you're finished. You have a choice of absolutely shutting down the store – or start an aggressive marketing campaign so that people will get to know about the existence of your store. And if you are successful in enticing them, people may start flocking to you to patronize your merchandise. Your strategies may occasionally include distributing leaflets announcing your store, putting up giant air balloons where from a distance, people will spot you, advertising on mass media, an so on.

The same thing happens to a business website – your virtual store in the Internet. Much like that solitary store in the prairie, all business websites initially exist in a much much vaster cyberspace prairie where no one will find you unless you now adopt and implement the well known Internet marketing strategies. But here's the exciting part – the analogy between the physical store and the business website (your Internet store) ends when it comes to their probable reach for potential customers. In that example of a physical store, how far can you reach out physically to attract customers? Realistically, even with a massive advertising campaign, you will most likely attract only people who are living within your immediate locality. Maybe a radius of fifty kilometers is good enough. Beyond that distance, people will find it impractical to still go to your store to buy anything. But not so in the Internet marketing model. You can be in the middle of the Sahara but your website can be found and access by anyone all over the world where you have Internet connection and where people will need your product or service! That's how massive you can get in Internet marketing!

Now, going back to the question – should you then abandon traditional marketing? That question sounds to me like coming from someone who's using a cellphone for the first time and who, in excitement about the power of the new gadget requests – will I now abandon face to face encounters and just talk with everyone through my cellphone? Of course not! Use your cellphone to get in touch with people who are not physically in your vicinity. But for people who are around you, there is nothing wrong with talking with them directly in person. In fact, that might even be preferred.

Instead of abandoning one system in favor of another, I suggest you combine Internet marketing with your traditional marketing skills. You could build an awesome marketing network that way!