Rather than posting a response to one of the comments left by a gentleman named "JIM", I felt a complete post was in order to address some of his remarks and questions.
Jim stated in his comment that he was taking a course of instruction on starting an import/export business at a university and (his comments) - "this class is giving me a comprehensive look at the industry from an instructor who owns and operates an import/export company, as well as a information from a guest speaker from US. Commercial services. Also, the instructor has availed himself to giving help and answering questions long after the course is completed."
I am sure the course you are taking through NYU is a good one. Based on what you have told me in your comment and what I could find through a google search it sounds very comprehensive and one that gives your money's worth.
In relationship to our self-study course, it has been used as a basis for community colleges to provide import/export business training so it too has great value and often people are not as fortunate as you to have a comprehensive course available in a locale that is convenient for them to attend in person.
Having US commercial service personnel provide some of the instruction is great as well. If you review our course information line by line at Starting An Import Export Business Course you will find that the videos we have in our course include various interviews with personnel involved in various aspects of international trade.
These interviews included exporters, international bankers, brokers and freight forwarders.
Not knowing the course curriculum of your NYU course, I would have to hazard a guess that based on what I could find in google, it appears to be focused on establishing your business as an export management company which is the general course of action found in most books and courses of instruction.
That again, is all well and good and in fact our course provides you with similar training to establish your company as an export management company. However, where I "think" our course diverges from most others out there is we also focus heavily on you starting and operating your business as an agent or broker.
Working as an agent/broker gives you the opportunity to get into the business more quickly and "hopefully" attain some profits more quickly than establishing your company as an export management company (EMC) and getting financing for the products you are going to purchase and resell to importers.
Working as an export commission agent can be far less complicated on your part (and yes, less profitable) but repeating what was stated above, it gives you a much better opportunity to get into profitability at far less financial risk than trying to start out as an EMC.
Personally, I decided a long time ago to work my international business as an agent. I am now semi-retired and I really do not wish to evolve into an EMC and am very happy with the way my agent business has developed. Each person is different but getting back to the core reason for this post, I doubt your course covers much in the way of working as an agent but I may be wrong.
Irregardless, our course offers you a more diverse look into the business and perspectives that you will not find anywhere else because the interviews are proprietary.
Another reason for a complete post was the last sentence in your first paragraph that stated:
"Also, the instructor has availed himself to giving help and answering questions long after the course is completed."
I am glad this person is making themselves available to you, however, if you look at our course, it offers an email consulting service for up to one year and quite frankly, our course is comprehensive enough that you should have little need to call upon anyone for questions that are most likely answered within the course itself.
If there is a question the course does not answer (quite unlikely) then you have up to one year to ask them via email and again, quite frankly, if you have not reached a point in your business within one year that you are able to answer most questions yourself, by contacting the appropriate trade support businesses or government offices that you are instructed to contact in our course, then maybe you need to go back and review the course again.
Actually, the CD Roms that contain all the course materials are ideal for that reason. You have a 24/7 international business library that has most of the questions/answers and resources you need listed in them, you just may need to take a few minutes to find them.
I know this post is getting long but I will get to your last question before completing it.
I will not repeat what I have already posted to this blog before about questions after you have all the information you need to make a "decision" - if you search for "decisions" you should find a post directly addressing this issue.
Summarizing, it is well and good to have someone to call about your questions, but if that person does not have a profit incentive to know "everything" that you should have already researched yourself and after calling upon this person a couple of times, I would think that they would soon reach a point that they too would tell you that "decisions" need to be made by "you" and if they have provided you with the instruction tools to make those decisions, their 'ongoing' availability would soon end.
Think about this for a moment - if there are 20 people in the class and if all 20 are now calling upon the instructor for answers to their questions, 'if you' were in their situation, would it not become way too time consuming to be taking you away from your core business? Especially if the answers were either covered in the course or instructional materials the students had been provided or the answers were of the "decision" nature??
Here are the dates and links to posts that have addressed the "decisions" issue in the past, they are well worth the few minutes it will take to read them -
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Now, finally, to your question - "I have 12 years of experience with the web, operating systems, cross-platform browsers, search engines, and online/offline applications for both Mac and Windows, etc.). I also have first-hand experience with setting up a business, although it has been awhile. After reading this post, it would seem to me that, in concert, that skill-set should give me a good foundation with regard to promoting exports via the Internet."
ONE WORD ANSWER: ABSOLUTELY!
The experience you have outlined gives you a superior position to someone who has to learn how to set up websites or pages.
Relating this back to the "decisions" part of this post, when I got started, I knew absolutely nothing about building web pages or maintaining a website. I was solely dependent upon a very good long distance business associate who took care of it for me.
It soon became apparent to me, however, that his time was very limited and if I needed something done, added or changed, I had to learn how to do it myself. I took some sit in courses but most of what I learned was through CD Rom based self study and upon finishing those courses, I had all the information I needed to take over the website and move on from there.
If something is not covered in the coursd materials, I researched it through the knowledge I had learned and found enough information for me to perform the task at hand. Most of the time, all I had to do is go back into the course materials to find the answer.
Jim, in closing this post out, I know many of my blog posts and website information appear to cast a negative light on having someone available to you as a "call-up" type mentor. If the instructor/mentor you have found in your course does not mind you and all other students calling him/her up for a never ending amount of time, then you have found a gem and wish you the best.
Thank you for posting your question/comment and I hope my reply here is not construed negatively but constructively.
I wish you success in your business!
Coble International Marketing Services