The internet has proved to be one of the best tools that opened the world for business utilities, with technology showcasing a radical change in the global business landscape. This change did successfully create a distinct set of opportunities for individuals or groups who aim to start their own businesses in the import-export industry.

Being an entrepreneur has a noticeable appeal to people from all around the world as it offers them the vantage of not having a boss, deciding on their own working hours, and more importantly the ability to have a successful business with a major improvement in income and status.

These are the steps to start your own business in this industry and to work towards making it successful.

Pick a Product and Find a Market

When dealing with imports and exports, it is important to remember that no one would be able to meet the wants of everyone at once. Make a decision on what you want to start dealing with and stick to that specified product. 

There are two major reasons on why you should actually place your concentration on a specific product for your dealings: The first is that you know this product well and that fact that it will sell or that you are actually interested in that product. With the best position is when you meet both these criteria, which creates an almost perfect business plan.

Once the product that you plan to sell is chosen, you can then start by finding the place to sell this product in. If you can start by learning how to spot an existing trend, or better yet picking up on cues to encapsulate potential trends, this will improve your chance of choosing a product that will be a winning lottery ticket. Remember that the best-case scenario for you is exporting a product into a country creating the buying trend there. This will insure a breakthrough for your business

Make sure that you perform extensive research before landing on a choice, to find the most fitted market for your product.

There are two good websites that you can start with: The World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” and globalEDGE’s “Market Potential Index.”

It is always a good addition to consult the local government officials who will offer you help in finding sources that will help you conduct effective market research.

Different resources will allow you to understand the source and destination of different products and the correct methods for you to enter the market.

Create a Website with a Company Name

You primarily need a website to have an efficiently networked import/export business.  You need to create a platform that will let you have an online presence and allow your portfolio to grow. The ultimate aim from this website is to have a streamlined path for communication to be able to sell your products online, and a build a customer base which will improve the revenues of your international business.

To start with, lodge the name of your business with a well-known web host, as this is the domain name that your customers will be using to find your business online.

Some of the places that you can start with are Go Daddy, Intuit, and Verio. These offer domain registrations and cost-effective website hosting packages and website creation capabilities that are fairly easy to use.

To easily create a polished website, that will have a continuous stream of communications, you can try websites like Squarespace, Blogger or WordPress. These outlets will offer you the capability to create a running website in minutes with amusing designed looks, tech support when demanded and reliable hosts.

You’re now ready to sell to the rest of the world by sharing your business skills and capabilities.


Once you have landed on a probable product, try your best to understand everything there is to do about it. If you plan to create it yourself, how can it be improved? Use this information in an offer to a manufacturer that can turn this “Okay” product to an astonishing one. Think big, and these suggestions may be a turning point of the product from a Sony Walkman to an Apple ipod.

A good place to start with when looking for suppliers could be through the famed website Alibaba. Remember that there are multiple others that can be of help as well, but Alibaba is viewed as the most resourceful in finding anyone on the operations chain of a product from manufacturers to buyers.

Set a Price for your Product

A successful model for any import/export company bases itself on a duo of vital criteria:

  • Volume of sale.
  • Commission on the chosen volume.

The aim is to land on a midway price for the product that is not too high that it deters your customer, and not too low that it takes away from your company’s revenue. It is usual for import/export businesses to charge a markup of 10 – 15 percent over the original cost of the product that the manufacturers will be demanding.

Know that the revenue of your company is as high as your sales. So always keep the pricing of your product insulated from the cost of logistics, this is because at some point the two will be merged to help specify a price per unit. Don’t let this phase be scary or intimidating to you, as you could always have major help from a good logistics company.

Find Customers

Customers will always be able to conveniently find you if you make sure that you worked well on SEO of your website. But make sure that you don’t stop there. You are a hunter and should always go in looking for your customers. Make sure to be in contact with local contacts, like trading organizations, your domestic chambers of commerce, and never forget your embassies and trading consulates. These practitioners usually have a good grasp on everyone’s job in the international market. These parties can also give you contact lists in accordance to your needs and even tell you about specific trade shows that are taking place either around you or in other nations, that you can utilize to build your customer base. 

Simultaneously, use social media tools and networking platforms like your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin as a tool to promote your product or service by publishing information and gaining precise information about your target audience’s needs.

These are all tools that you can use to start a conversation with customers that will want to relate to your business plans. Your end goal is to always make your consumer have the company in their mind. 

Ways to Transport your Product

The logistics of getting the product to where it will be sold is the next phase. You’ve found a consumer that wants your goods, agreed on the conditions of the transaction with them, and arranged a payment method. You must now transport your merchandise.

Engage the services of a worldwide freight forwarder, who acts as a one-stop shop for transporting cargo from one warehouse to another. For a small cost, their service saves you a lot of time, work, and anxiety. As a result of the information that is provided, these companies will take it upon themselves to formulate the arrangement of shipping, which includes documentation, necessary licenses, tariffs, permits and insurance (country regulations). This is actually really important as these procedures are usually extremely complicated and important for the completion of the operations of your company.

Moreover, you can always find freight shippers online. Two of the most famed companies that can be of help to you as a small-business are UPS and Fed Express

Concentrate on Customer Service

Even after a sale is made, the relationship between you and your overseas customer should never stop. It actually needs more of your attention.

To have a successful after-sale follow-up think of it with the ideology of “Thank You More Please”. The first step would be by thanking your customers for dealing with you whether in person or by email. Try your best to follow that by following steps to create an efficient global customer service to establish a successful trading business.

In case you need assistance on this difficult, yet immensely rewarding journey, we at The Plug are here 24/7 and ready to help!

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