Business Guide: How to Start a Small Export/Import Business

International trading is something that is quite an exciting business for you to try – and unlike what most people think, you can actually start small and open your own export/import business with just a little capital. Of course, you can’t expect to earn a lot and have an excellent ROI sooner but, at least, you can already start your own business. You just have to expand later as the business picks up.

But how to start and what are the requirements to run a small export/import business?

Well, first you have to determine how much money you can really afford to use as capital.

trading port

Then, try to determine what type of goods you want to trade and who your target market is. This is very important as this will largely determine your success in this business. While it is a good idea to import/export something that you have a background on (such as medical equipment if you have a background in the medical field), you can learn about your products later – just make sure that you get the best or popular options.

Here’s a tip: apparel businesses are always in demand and profitable but you’ll also find stiff competition there!

Next, decide whether you will merely act as broker/dealer or if you will handle stocks and sell these items yourself or what type of export/import business you would like to operate. There are actually many other options to choose from – and you can even act as direct distributor for imported products, if you want to.


Next, establish your business by obtaining the necessary permits. Because you are dealing with the international market, it is important that you ensure you have the right permits or you’ll face stiff fines and risk having your goods confiscated by the government! So, before you start trading, make sure you get all the right permits and pay the correct taxes, fees, etc.

Lastly, purchase the necessary equipment – whether these are computers and printers for your office or some kind of vehicle you can use to transport your products, if ever you choose to be a distributor or handle the goods physically.

Good luck!

Joy Adalia

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