How to Build up a Successful
Export Import Business

Starting an export import business can be a very worthwhile opportunity if you go about it in the right way. Making excellent contacts right from the start is the best way to build up an effective export import business.

In finding legitimate suppliers you may consider approaching the foreign embassy’s trade development offices, or you can discuss this with the department of commerce in your own country. Reviewing trade publications is another place to look for potential suppliers or distributors.

These are all credible sources that can assist with setting up an export import business and finding reliable suppliers. Once you have some good leads you might go on an investigative trip overseas to meet potential suppliers. Most countries’ governments also have bodies that provide legal advice or assistance too. 


Steps in Developing a Successful Export / Import Business

Entrepreneurs that want to start their own export import business usually need to follow some important steps in getting underway. Whether you decide to set up a part time or full time business the same process must be followed. In the first instance you need to decide what it is you are going to export or import. This means identifying products and a target market.

Rules will differ for an export import business depending on the types of products you are importing or exporting and where they come from or where they are going to. The next step is to register your company and handle any required paperwork. You might have to apply for a permit or an import export license, depending on the products you choose to focus on.


With your company set up you are then in a position to be able to start identifying contacts both abroad and in your home country. You will want to vet all contacts to make sure they are going to be reliable. Only after completing all of these steps will you be ready to start exporting or importing. In some cases you need to understand how to import and export your specific goods. For example, fresh produce will have to be stored so that it does not rot.

It is useful to consider these steps with an actual example in mind. If you were starting a business of import / export from China, bringing in footwear you would need to understand the target market that your footwear is going to appeal to so that you can target that market. You would need to investigate any rules regarding the exporting of footwear from China and the importing of footwear to your own country. You might need a license or permit. You would need to make footwear manufacturing contacts in China and footwear distribution contacts in your own country.

An Import / Export Business Success Story

Emma Granada runs an award-winning US-based export / import business called Steel Masters, and within five years, 50% of the company’s products are exported worldwide. When starting out with exporting products, Emma Granada contacted various government entities such as the Small Business Association (SBA), and the department of trade.

She recommends this approach in understanding factors in building a successful business in this area, such as reviewing subjects like exchange rates, tariffs, freight and customs. She also highlights the importance of learning about the local customs and cultures. Finally, Emma Granada recommends patience and persistence in setting up a successful business.



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