How to Start an Import Export Business

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Before starting an import-export business, you should understand what the terms mean. Importing means bringing goods or products from a foreign country and brought passed the borders of your country. These are called, “imports.” On the other hand, if goods or products are made in your country and shipped to other countries it is called, “exports.” You can begin a business in the import-export business by learning about international trade and how to move merchandise without becoming a salesman.

Basics of Import and Export

Think of the business of importing and exporting goods as in need of a good matchmaker. An agent helps to find the goods which need to have a buyer and be shipped. The agent then locates buyers and sellers and establishes a good connection between them which then produces a business relationship between the two companies.

The global market is vast. There are unlimited products around the world which need foreign distribution. The U.S. government encourages exportation because it is from exports that the nation as a whole will profit. The government encourages this by setting up agencies which will help businessmen and women establish their business.


You can begin your import-export business with minimum start-up costs. All an agent needs is a telephone, a file system, business cards, an answering machine, and an Internet connection. An important step, in the beginning, is finding contacts and meeting them in person to establish trust. Foreign consulates living in the United States who have exporting business of their own may be the perfect people to begin offering your services to. If that idea is too big for you, then start small. You can visit your local chamber of commerce to see about local goods which the owners would like to take global.


To begin a home-based business of importing and exporting goods it is important to know that you will need to research not only the basics of this business but also the government requirements. Dealing with the global marketplace can be a lucrative decision.