How to Start an Export Business

By Jennifer Henczel, Import Export Coach

Trading goods and services allows small businesses around the world to compete on a global basis with their larger competitors. In the past, it was very costly to acquire the commercial intelligence needed to play in the global market place.

Now, armed with the internet we can access valuable market information and find foreign buyers and local suppliers, anywhere, anytime.

One of the most common questions I receive is how to start an import export business. So, I've prepared a list of my favorite online import export business start-up resources and tools.

First, start by learning a little more about import and export. Try our Ultimate Import Export Learning Package.

As you become more knowledgeable in the field of international trade, you may want to consider these options:

Import/export merchant:
An international entrepreneur who identifies opportunities and buys goods directly from a domestic or foreign manufacturer, then sells them to various markets. You take title and risk for the goods, but the profit can be very lucrative.

Export management company (EMC)
An EMC handles all export activities for specific companies, including shipping, marketing, packaging and compliance issues.

Export Trading company (ETC)
Represents a line of domestic products to foreign buyers for a commission. Basically an agent for several companies in the same or related industry.

(Reference: Entrepreneur Magazine)

When you are convinced of the vast opportunities that the field of import export offers, you need to register your business with the government. In Canada, start out by looking at Small Business BC or Canada Revenue Agency In the US, similar business start-up information can be found through the Small Business Administration website.

Both the Canadian and US governments provide excellent international trade information and resources for starting, operating, and growing your EXPORT business. Remember, contact Foreign consulates and embassies in your city for assistance with your IMPORT business and finding suppliers and manufacturers.

The next step is to find out about any export finance programs, federal export programs, market reports and trade regulations that your government may provide. US entrepreneurs should check out this website: U.S. Export-Import Bank and Canadians can go to this website Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and Export Development Canada.

Be sure to register as an exporter in these important directories Thomas Register of American Manufacturers and Strategis.

As an International Trade Consultant, here is one of the most important tips I can offer you: To obtain funding or apply for a government program you will need a business plan, a communication plan, or ideally, an international marketing plan.  Developing a strategic marketing plan is the key to succeeding in any business. Research and planning are especially important for global ventures. It allows you to identify your opportunities and risks. Look at the International Marketing Plans page of our website.

About the Author: Jennifer Henczel is a Business Trainer and International Trade Consultant known as The Import Export Coach. Her award winning website has helped thousands of entrepreneurs around the world start an import export venture and grow their business.

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