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How To Start Import & Export Business From Home

A lot of recent days businesses involve international transactions. Some of the products are manufactured locally and sold through international market. In the same vein, most of the products sold in local business environment are procured through an international source. The driving force behind this international trade is as a result of the demand of a country’s products in another country. And this can only be achieved through a business relationship known as import and export.

MEANING OF IMPORT: These are goods and services brought into a country that was produced in another country. In a situation whereby value of goods and services imported is above the value of its export, the country is said to have negative balance of trade (BOT) which is also known as trade deficit.

MEANING OF EXPORT: Goods and services that are manufactured in one country and sold to buyers in another country are called export. Business transactions that involves import and export are known as international trade.



Businesses that involves import and export can be profitable at the long run. It really does not require much to get started. If you are still considering how to start up an import and export business from home, then you are in the right place. The necessary tips will be unveiled in this article. The process may not really be complicating but it is definitely challenging if it is not managed effectively.

Such business can be started from the comfort of your home and that’s the best part of the entire process. And it does not require huge investment of resources and this benefits more to every beginner. This implies that the possibility of starting small is sure. But before the unveiling of the step by step approach of starting your import and export business from home, below are the benefits and motivational tips.


  • Venturing into international trade make one to attain entirely high level of professionalism in business.
  • It is easier for those that are familiar with trading activities to start such an adventure.
  • Even as a beginner, it will be very easy for one to know all the right steps to take towards import or export professional part.
  • Existing home business can easily be connected and upgraded to form part of the international trade.
  • It exposes an investor to be versatile by acquiring basic knowledge as regards to other products line especially in African business environment.
  • It is very easy to make high significant profit through import and export business
  • Such line of business does not really require investors movement from one location to another but can be managed from the comfort of your home.
  • New import and export business opportunities can be discovered and harnessed to form part of your trade.
  • It facilitates self-dependent and confidence as it relates to wealth creation.
  • Business hours depends solely on the appointments with the business partners and this gives you control over your business time.

NOTE: You might need to adjust to different time frame to maintain good communications with your international business partners.



Starting import and export business requires reasonable considerations as it relates to the above listed steps. This enables every investor to be always stable and make good progress at every stage of business. The above itemized steps for starting import and export business will be discussed thus;


This aspect of business requires critical decision making. It involves carrying out a feasibility study on the available products for trade and making the best choice of goods you can trade on. Having sound knowledge of product lines makes the decision on this stage easier for every potential investor. There are plenty options available for those planning to trade with African countries. This is because, there are numerous options to explore. In the same vein, there are lots of new products that can be introduced to African markets.

Furthermore, it is recommended that every potential investor should make the choice of dealing on trending and quick selling products and this can be harnessed better if the knowledge of the product line is acquired. This will as well facilitate massive turnover and quick recovery of investment since products are not stored for a long period of time. It is also necessary to determine whether the trending nature of the product line is within short duration or is an all-time business.  This will enable one to know whether to stick in one business or to plan for alternative business(s) to introduce or possibly switch over to another whenever the chosen product line eventually phases out.

The demographic nature of the target country for the import or export business also requires careful consideration when making choice of product(s). it will assist one in making estimates as regards to the quantity and quality of goods to transact internationally so as to recover investment within the best possible period of time.  And finally, any chosen product line requires test run with samples of the said product before dealing on bulk cargo in order to confirm the extent of demand and its profitability.

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Therefore, once the potential importer or exporter have applied the explained tips and have chosen product lines to trade on, he/she will then be qualified to move on to the next stage of starting an international trade.


The extent of awareness and reliability of the present-day import and export businesses are facilitated through the aid of their business website. Through this, it makes it easier for your potential business partners to notice your business and can equally boost motivations on developing interest for patronage. This will equally help the importer or exporter in giving the potential customers that visits the business website an attractive impression to partner with the business. With the aid of the business website, the awareness of your products goes viral online and can be contacted from any part of the world.

Since business website seem to be the initial point of contact to majority of present-day businesses, it is expected that it should be developed and built to be very attractive and recommendable. Luckily nowadays, there are numerous platforms through which business websites can be set up and most of them are even free or in some cases, the platforms offer free trial periods to test-run and enjoy the benefits before subscription.

Alternatively, every potential importer or exporter can build a blog or incorporate a blog on his/her website. In whichever way you want it, don’t neglect the fact that your business website must include contact information and other necessary contents as it relates to your import and export businesses. Comment sections should equally be made available on the site to enable customers give testimonies whenever the service excellence is well harnessed and equally make recommendations for improvement on service delivery. This will give your intending new customer a guide to your service status.

In conclusion, every potential investor planning to go into import/export business should take advantage of business website, harness its importance effectively and win more clients that will patronize his/her business. When this is achieved, the business will definitely experience impressive turnover which will eventually lead to quick recovery of investment.


The business world has recently become a small place due to the effect of social media on international trade. The import and export sector have experienced tremendous development due to the benefits of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tweeter, Whats App etc. It makes the interactions among business partners to be very easy and simple. Irrespective of individual location, effective business communication can always be maintained. And this makes is very necessary for every potential international trader intending to venture into a certain line of business to develop and maintain strong and focused presence in social media platforms.

Lots of business activities are carried out on social media platforms such as marketing and advertising of product samples to attract customers for patronage. Through this, your existence as an importer/exporter goes viral and your business becomes widely known to so many individuals and generate more business contacts.

Furthermore, in accordance with your line of business, you can equally join import or export forums and groups on social media to learn and acquire more tips that will boost your business. So therefore, every individual planning to venture into import/export business should effectively harness the aspect of social media before starting the said business.


Before commencement of import and export business, necessary documentations are supposed to be carried out with the regulatory bodies in order to secure business approval and operational license. Firstly, you have to register your import/export business with the registering authority in your country of residence which will form part of the requirements for obtaining the operating license from the international trade regulatory authorities. When this is achieved, the business become legalized to commence operation and but should not deviate from the object clause within which it is approved.

The benefits of legal documentation before commencement of import or export business can never be over emphasized due to the extent of its importance and recognition. It enables the business to be reliable and recommendable to every potential customer or business partners. Therefore, it should not be neglected but should be ranked among the necessary steps to take before venturing into any international trade.

Note that these norms can differ from a country to another. For this reason, it is required that every potential importer/exporter should adhere and operate in compliance with the regulatory principles and practice prevailing in the partnering country.

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Most importantly, the service of legal practitioners (lawyers) is required during business registration and legal documentation. They will serve as a guild and solicit un-behalf of the potential investor at any stage that requires their legal contribution. And finally, whenever there is need to introduce new business into the existing one, an investor should consult the business regulatory bodies for approval and incorporate it into the initial object clause.


At this stage of starting import and export business, making choice of shipment method is required. This might not be constant and the same to all your products. For instance, some of the products might be required to pass through sea while others might require transporting through air cargo. Under air cargo, the choice of normal cargo or express cargo can still be made. All these available options are dependent on your product line and in some cases, it can be customer induced. But as a sound entrepreneur, you should rank first the best option suitable for your products and customer satisfaction.

In most cases, the shipment methods that works in your partnering countries need to be considered. This can only be known through critical feasibility study and relevant discussions with your business partner in order to agree on the shipment method to adopt and apply to ease transactions and for better service delivery. This stage in starting import or export business should not be neglected for any reason as a result of its importance.

Furthermore, an importer or exporter should be sensitive at all time and ready to make shipment adjustments if need be. This may arise when the delivery of a certain product is urgently required in order to take care of urgent needs. For an instance, products that use to pass through the sea at lesser cost may be needed urgently and this will require speedy shipment adjustment through air bulk cargo or air express cargo depending on the extent of urgency.

In summary, if these necessary steps to be taken before the commencement of import or export businesses are adequately harnessed, the investor can then flag off the business with full expectation and confidence to succeed and make great progress in the said business line.


There are necessary ideas that every potential investor is required to adopt and explore before starting import/export business. These ideas can also work in the cause of day to day running of the business and they include;

  1. SET UP BUSINESS SCHEDULE: it is very important to prepare adequate time table for import and export business transactions and abide to it especial when you work from home. It is never a good idea for not putting this in place. Abiding on a planned schedule facilitates good use of time and discourages unnecessary rest and break. Respecting your busines period is of great importance and business transactions should be carried out within the time frame covered by the schedule. In order to make the schedule work better for you, it is necessary to avoid chaotic activities and equally consider the time zone of your partner in other countries.
  2. REGULAR BRAINSTORMING SECTIONS: There is need to review the business activities on interval bases among the team members or stakeholders. This will give an opportunity to address any issue that may arise in the cause of the business in order make necessary adjustments and recommendations. It could be done through meeting together in persons or through online with the help of internet. The reason for such meetings is mostly focused on making necessary resolutions on way forward for the business.
  3. KEEP FINANCIAL RECORD: Maintaining records of financial transactions is very necessary for import and export business and likewise other businesses. This enables an investor to be acquainted with the financial stand of the said business per time and equally facilitates making adequate and necessary financial decisions. Most importantly, the extent of the business going concern is determined with the aid of financial record. Finally, such record must be updated as at when due and should be kept in right format for easy and better interpretation.
  4. SET UP STORAGE FACILITY: This is a place where the goods in trade are kept for safety purposes and for customers pickup. This is a very important aspect of any business that involves buying and selling. For this reason, it required that every potential importer/exporter should plan for it and fix it in such a way that it will be suitable for the product line.

In conclusion, it is believed that the above tips and techniques will be supportive in starting import and export business and should be harnessed effectively.

Post Author: Odii Kelvin

Odii Kelvin Aka Odiibaba is a well recognized Nigerian expert in Freight Forwarding and runs a Lagos-based Freight Forwarding & Logistics Company, that provides excellent freight & shipping solutions for customers in Nigeria & World-wide.

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