Shipping industry - A huge opportunity today

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Whenever people think of making sales or purchase deals in shipping industry, what comes to their mind first is the broker, on whom they should rely on, till the completion of the deal. Shipping business, being one among the complicated industries today, is in demand for ships brokers who're experienced and possesses enough knowledge over the difficulties involved. With a little amount of dedication, ability and confidence, it's possible for anyone to become an independent broker in the marine industry. Even though the profession involves a lot of rejections and troubles in the beginning, it can increase the frequencies of the fruit of success, that you're about to taste in future. Written below are some useful tips for becoming a successful broker in shipping industry.

As you may know, to become a ship broker, you never need education qualification more than your high schooling. Since a ship broker may have to work with airlines, cargo trucking terminals, and other modes of transportation, he should possess minimum educational requirements and technical certifications if needed. It's the primary function of a ship sale and purchase broker to determine routes, prepare paperworks and arrange necessary documents for the shipping deals made by their clients. So, it's important that the person opting for a profession as maritime broker should have enough knowledge over the various transactions and business procedures. Choosing a professional training course can give you the needed knowledge and experience to begin your career as a ship broker.

Learning certain tools and techniques needed for a broker profession is also important. Ship brokers will have to use management software and so should have enough technical knowledge for handling such devices. Gaining the skills needed for the profession can make you succeed with higher profits. Other than office and record-keeping skills, the candidate choosing a profession in shipping industry, should learn many languages as this involves international transactions. It's necessary to learn the tactics for handling different types of clients. People looking to hire ship brokers always ask for previous client references and records. So, in order to gain a reputation as successful broker, you should have made some successful deals with a list of good clients.

Choose online books and training courses for learning more about shipping industry. Find a reliable website that could offer you necessary training with study materials and expert guidance. Because what an entry-level ship broker needs are the tools for gaining experience in this field. Professional training can help you to learn the tactics of ship brokerage business and will provide you with the experience needed for becoming a successful maritime broker. Beginning with basic tasks can give you a successful start in this reputable profession.

The new version of your

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Recruiting - I like the way author Jim Collins puts it in his book, Good to Great: "CEOs need to fill the bus with the right people and then get the bus going in the right direction. To find the right people, you must assess the firm's weaknesses and then seek team members who can compensate for them."

Training - I hear over and over from agents that they want brokers to provide plenty of training opportunities so their skills stay sharp and powerful.

Delegating - Think of the restaurant analogy: you do not see one guy cooking, waiting tables, cleaning tables and greeting guests. Not delegating is one of the biggest mistakes brokers make. They fail to stay focused on the big picture and end up becoming too involved in minor, day-to-day operations of the company.

Keeping Return on Investment (ROI) front and center - CEOs live and breathe ROI. Look at the goal of your business and then ask if every action you, your agents, and your support staff take is leading toward that goal. Start with yourself. Are your actions helping everyone else achieve the goal? Are you pouring the right kind of oil into the machine? If not, you have some work to do. These actions, all of them, must pay for themselves in some way.

Building relationships - For offices to reach the highest profitability, brokers must be effective at building relationships with their agents. (I recommend thinking of agents as clients and treating them as such.) However, brokers also must develop affinity relationships with peripheral industries such as mortgage, title, insurance, builders, etc.

Communicating - Place an emphasis on face-to-face communication and make sure communication is two-way by putting as much effort into allowing agents and support staff to communicate with you as you do with them. Then have a system in place to manage that feedback, because a common complaint from employees is nothing ever happens from their feedback.

When brokers do these activities well, I have seen first-hand accounts of drastic and favorable change: First I see focus, then consistency, accountability, and finally, sustained growth.

It is one thing to know the skills required to be a successful broker, but how do you develop them? Like anyone else seeking to improve an activity, you take classes, get mentors and hire coaches and consultants. There is no magic pill. It takes courage, determination, humility and a constant desire to improve.

Brokers who set up systems and free up their time to take on the responsibilities of CEO can make great strides. I have worked with clients who have doubled their firm's revenue in a year. Sometimes an outside perspective can make all the difference.

Some advices

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Seven Essential Tips To Becoming a Successful Business Broker - A New Career.

1. Working Capital (Minimum of eight months working capital until you complete your first deal)
* Working capital means money you require to cover monthly expenses until you start closing deals and earning commissions.
* You will need working capital to cover personal and business operating expenses
* The types of working capital you can get are from debt or equity.
* You can get working capital from savings, equity from your home, you can sell something of value and use the cash as working capital, credit cards, lines of credit, convert investments into cash and use as working capital.
* I personally have used all of the above sources for working capital.

2. Education (Broker Training through an Association such as International Business Brokerage Association and or; training with a Business Brokerage Franchise.
* The specific training that's necessary to be a successful business broker include how to list a business, how to price a business for sale, negotiation, marketing, and customer relationship management.

3. Systems developed
The systems you need to develop include:
* Marketing. Marketing includes
- Online
- Email campaigns
- Direct-Mail Campaigns
* CRM. CRM stands for "Customer Relationship Management" and involves an online tool that manages your leads and allows you to communicate with on an ongoing basis and to eventually convert into a sale.

4. Skills and Licenses required
* You should know that in some states it is required to have a real estate license to be a business broker.
* In Canada, it is a requirement to have a real estate license in each and every province.
* You should also know How To Read Financial Statements
* Essential skills that are needed by a business broker include interpersonal skills, sales skills, and a balance of empathy and ego drive

5. Networking and Relationships
* It is important to network in your local community. You can do that by becoming a Member of your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.

6. Self-Discipline
* It's important to make to-do lists and attack each item on the to-do until all activities are complete, moving toward accomplishing your goals.

7. Have a Passion for Deal-Making
* What I mean by this is that you must be driven to close deals, make a sale because in this business "You Eat What You Kill".

It's this a job for you?

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Completing a customs broker training is a big challenge to say the least. Unfortunately, it is not enough to give you a 100% assurance of future employment and a promising compensation figure. With a lot of other customs brokers in the field, you need to stand out from the rest and establish your credibility if you want your name to be known. How you are going to convince an employer that you are ripe for the job is equally as difficult as taking the licensure exams. But if you think outside of the box and put yourself on the employer's shoes, it might give you an idea on what aspects you need to work on and focus harder in order to get the job.

Business owners who are venturing on importation or exportation trade, whether they are new to the field or even those that have already established themselves, look up to customs brokers to make the process easier for them. Any form of delay or glitch with the transaction could mean losing a substantial amount of money or worst losing a deal.

With the impending rise of the global economy from the previous setbacks, entrepreneurs are once again, in the forefront of opening up new transactions with the rest of the world. With relatively low prices in the international market and a promising high growth potential in the horizon, it will only be a little wait before everything else will be back to normal. This could mean good news to those who have good Customs Broker training, as there would also be an increase in demand of their profession.

So what do business owners want for their customs broker to be? Read on to have a little glimpse on what you, as a customs broker, need to know to have that edge.

Difficulty in Bringing Foreign Products In

Although most business owners have the strong drive to make it into the international market, the first challenge that they encounter is the actual difficulty of their products making it across the US border. An often time, this barricade alone is enough to cause the businessman to lose interest in going overseas altogether.

Getting past the strict arm of the Department of Homeland Security, which is the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), could be a nightmare for most entrepreneurs. All the paper works and inspections tend to add up to the difficulty level of the trade.

As a good customs broker, you must need to assure your employer that this can be done and that you can make everything easy for them. A good customs broker will be able to give quality assurance to their employer as to the fluidity of the process of getting in the merchandise. You must make it clear that you are an international trade specialist and you have the necessary inside knowledge about how to do these procedures the fastest legal way possible.

How do they find Prospects?

Although you can freely place an ad online about the services you offered and boast about all your experiences and customs broker training certificates, most entrepreneurs would still consult with the US Customs and Border Patrol Agency at the port of entry as to who or where they can find a good customs broker prospect. This is a tried and failsafe way for the businessman to hire the broker that they need. This is largely due to the fact that they know whoever the CBP suggests, will surely have a better chance of getting the job done fast. Hence, it is important to update your contacts and make sure you belong to the shortlist that the CBP is keeping.

Experience is a must.

Having a specialized field on certain type of goods being imported will go a long way. Business owners are more likely to hire a customs broker who specializes on their product type than those who know everything yet do not specialize on anything. Having a wide experience with a specific line of products will assure the client that you already know the steps and procedures about the industry; hence you can significantly limit the risks as well as the time needed to process everything.

Know your Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) well

Misclassification of cargoes will result to overpayment of tariffs as well as duties. These errors will most likely make a mark on the employers mind, as they would be losing substantial amount of money just because the broker lacks the ability to properly classify his cargoes and base it from the Harmonized tariff Schedule. Inexperience would most likely cause these errors as well as non-familiarity with the HTS.

Personality Counts

Even the most seasoned customs broker will have a hard time looking for an employer if he or she will not be approachable and be able to display a good vibe of professionalism and rapport to people. Although these skills are not taught at school, the ability to become one can be learned in the field. Your inter-personal skills should be top-notch. Remember that these people mean business and transacts with a lot of money at stake, the least they would want is a nagging customs broker that wants to finish the job soon so that he can get paid.

 
 
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