If you are wondering how to start a new brand and set up your business without much hassle, then you have come to the right place. At PlanGrip, we share new ideas with individuals who wish to create their own standing in the market. We will take you to one of the most interesting ideas to start a new business on how to start an import & export business In 6 Crucial Steps.

Businesses today are rapidly becoming widespread since more number of individuals are seeking to form their own business, which also caters to your financial support. Also, with the presence of the online market, there is abundant scope, if you plan to set up your business online. One such example is E-commerce.

You can actually choose from many options, or you can also come up with your own ideas, such as turning your hobby or passion into a business.

There are plenty of opportunities and ideas, and all you need to do is grab a cup of coffee, pick your selection and strive till you achieve your goals and success.

In this blog, we will cover the six most crucial steps that can easily help you start your own import and export business anywhere in the United States.

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An Overview of Import & Export Business Start-up

A business such as that of an import and export has been in existence for several decades. Just like the name implies, the primary function of this type of business is to import and export goods and other commodities, either within a specific region or internationally.

In other words, this type of business involves buying, selling, distributing and delivering goods from one location to the other.

Although you will need permission and license to run such business, as per the law of your county, town or state, it is thus, advised that you visit the authorities or board in order to help you complete the paperwork and other legal formalities.

6 Simple Steps To Kick-Start Your Import & Export Business In The U.S.

Are you ready to get started with your own import and export business? The six crucial steps given below can help you get started.

1. Select and Register Your Business Name

First of all, it is crucial that you pick a name for your business and then have it registered. Every brand or business should have a name, a unique identity, so to speak. Also, if want to take your business online, then you will need a website and/or a blog. Without a website or blog, you cannot have a networked import/export business.

Find yourself a platform that allows you to develop a presence online and grow your business beyond your wildest imagination. The goal is to balance and maintain the flow of communications, sell products online (or offline) and build your customer base to drive profits for your local or international business.

For an online business, it is required to register your business name with a reputable web host (a company that hosts your website on their server) because your domain name (aka website address) is what customers will use to find you and your business.

Here is a couple of places to get started with a website are Network Solutions, Go, Daddy, Intuit and Verio. They offer domain name registrations and affordable website hosting packages with easy-to-use site building capabilities.

Additionally, having a professional blog will allow a continuous flow of customer engagement and communications. Try Blogger, Typepad or WordPress. These services will enable you to create a blog in a few minutes with stunning designs, reliable hosting and on-demand tech support. Now you are ready to share business expertise and capabilities and sell to the world.

2. Pick a Product(s) to Import or Export

When it comes to importing and exporting, you cannot sell all things to all customers. So, give some time and decide on something and stick with it. You have two viable reasons for choosing a product to import or export, such as you know it will sell or you like it. Hopefully, you can meet both criteria. That is an ideal business model. Would you buy it if you saw it in another part of the world? Then you are on to something!

3. Find the Right Market

After having selected the desired product(s) that you want to import or export, now you must look for someplace to sell it! You will improve the odds of picking a winner if you cultivate a knack for tracking trends or even spotting potential trends.

Getting on the ground floor and importing or exporting a product before it becomes a super-seller in a country could be the business breakthrough of a lifetime!

Do your homework and research the market beforehand to locate the best potential foreign market for your product or service. Two places to check are The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Busines and globalEDGE’s Market Potential Index.

You might also want to check with local government officials to best determine sources for conducting market research. For instance, in the United States, there are the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s Data and Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade which governs the reporting of import/export statistics.

These resources are beneficial for determining where in the world products and services are moving to and from, and why and how to get in on the action.

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4. Source a Supplier

Once you have an import or export product in mind, learn everything there is to know about it. If you were its creator, how would you improve or maintain it? Go to the manufacturer and suggest product improvements to turn a mediocre product into something slightly ahead of its time. Your suggestions may mean the difference between a Sony Walkman and an Apple iPod.

Easiest access to reputable suppliers may be Alibaba, Global Sources and Thomas Register.

There are considered the holy grail to finding high-quality suppliers, manufacturers, exporters, importers, buyers, wholesalers and trade leads.

In the continuity of our first installment which covers how to start and map out an import/export business, here we provide the sales and distribution aspects of establishing an import/export business.

5. Price your Product(s)

The business model for an import/export business is based upon two critical elements within the international sales operation. These are:

Volume (number of units sold)

Commission on that volume

The goal is to price your product in that way your commission (markup on the product to customers) does not exceed what your customer is willing to pay and offers you a healthy profit. importers and exporters take a 10% to 15% markup over cost which is the price a manufacturer charges you when you buy a product from them.

The more you sell, the more you make. stay your product pricing separate from logistics because, at some point, you combine the two to determine a landed price per unit. A good transportation company can assist here.

6. Find Customers

Provided you have done a great job with search engine optimization on your blog or website, customers will find you. But do not rely on it. Find customers locally as well. Check with local contacts, such as trade organizations, Chambers of Commerce, embassies and trade consulates, etc. They generally have a good sense of who is doing what in the international marketplace.

They can offer contact lists specific to your industry and also recommend trade shows that are taking place locally and internationally that might help you connect with customers in a faster and more efficient manner.

Great service on the exporting end is the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) Gold Key Matching Service. The U.S. CS can give help to find potential overseas agents, customers, distributors, sales representatives, and business partners.

work on your social media and networking platforms (your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) by posting information about your product or service and asking specific questions about your audience’s needs.

This gets the conversation going and keeps it going while making sure it is related to your business. The point is to keep your business on the minds of strong customers worldwide.

Other Things To Consider

Transport Your Products

Focus on logistics. Transport the product to where you will be selling it. You have located a customer who appreciate your product, solidified the terms of the sale with them and established a means for getting paid. Now you must move your product. Hire a local or global freight forwarder who serves as an all-around transport agent for moving cargo, typically from a factory door to another warehouse.

The service saves you a lot of time, effort and anxiety for a very reasonable fee. Based upon the information you provide, they take care of all shipping arrangements, which includes but is not limited to handling documentation, arranging insurance, if requested and determining necessary licences, permits, quotas, tariffs and restrictions, which can be one of the most complicated aspects of importing/exporting for a newbie international trader.

You can search freight forwarders online under “transportation,” or check listings in trade magazines or other international handbooks. choose two or three that seem like a good fit for your product or shipping destination. The Two well-known companies are eager to work with brokers, consultants and small businesses are UPS and Fed Express. Either can also assist with getting paid an important part of the international sales process.

Provide Customer Service

The relationship between you and your overseas customer should not end when a sale is made. If anything, it requires more of your attention. Think of your after-sales follow-up on your import/export business as part of your product or service offering.


The world of importing and exporting is a complex system that balances both emotional and economic needs. If we want something that grows or produces in another part of the world, how can we get our hands on it? How can we let others get the opportunity to enjoy it, while still making a sustainable lifestyle for those producing it and for those who transport it from point A to B? If you are interested in answering these questions, do not let the enormity of the task overwhelm you. Just do it.

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