5 Tips to Trade Across Borders

Any business today, no matter how small, should include some international elements. It may be that you buy in supplies from another country, where you have to pay invoices in a different currency. Or you may sell a product that foreign retailers want to stock, and they may want to make payments to you from a different currency.

Here are 5 tips which can help you in getting ready to trade across borders:

trade oranges across borders
photo credit: MonkeyC

1. Sign up with reliable international money transfer services

Payments have always be an important issue in international trading. Not any more! Sending money abroad has become so much easier since the arrival of online currency brokers like Hifx.co.uk. With sites like this the whole operation has been placed in the customer’s hands, and they’re able to choose where and when they make their currency transfers.

This is great if you have regular bills to pay in another currency as you can choose to time paying those bills for when the exchange rate is in your favour. With HiFX you can also set a target rate and receive alerts when that target has been reached so that you can take advantage of the rate.

On the account profile, you’ll be able to log regular recipients’ bank account details and look back over previous transactions, so you know exactly what rate you got each time you moved money internationally.

Holding an account like this also means that you can receive payments from other companies or individuals, which is just as useful as being able to pay invoices in foreign currencies. As HiFX operates online, it has really low overheads and passes its operating savings to its customers, meaning it can offer some of the best possible exchange rates available.

2. Get proper information and support

When you are just starting out, trading across borders is challenging, simply due to the fact that you are unfamiliar with your buyers’ local trade laws and regulations. Probably the first and foremost thing you should do is to visit your local chambers of commerce which deals with international trade.

3. Be aware of cross-border customs

In relation to no. 2 above, you should also be aware of the GST and customs involved when exporting your goods to a foreign countries. You should always be vigilant as not all countries have similar cross-border trade customs. It’s advisable for you to hire a consultant or trade attorney familiar with the destination to research the regulations.

4. Not all products are meant to sell overseas – consult first

Whether you like it or not, there are certain types of products which are not advisable to be delivered cross-border due to logistic issues. Goods requiring freight shipment, very fragile goods and very valuable goods may encounter customs problems. Again, you should consult whether exporting your goods is a good idea or not.

5. Use tech tools – preferably web-based

With difference in time zones, you often need to do business at odd hours. Using the right tools, you can be more productive and responsive in dealing with orders and communications.

With the availability of business tools today, there’s no reason for you not to use tech tools in helping you to trade across borders. There are tech tools you can use, such as global shipments tracking web apps provided by major shippers (e.g. UPS and FedEx,) web-based calling services (e.g. Skype and Google Talk,) and so on, which can help you boost your productivity in doing business on the go.


Just like any business operational activities, you need a proper plan in ensuring that exporting your goods is done in the most efficient and effective ways. Seek help from your local chamber of commerce, consultant and/or trade attorney and find as much information as you possibly need in order to minimise risks in trading across borders.