How to start
Trading is almost as old as time. And today it’s a very lucrative business, especially with India. If you’re interested in starting an import-export with, particularly in India, then we have everything you need to know to get the ball rolling. Do know it can take some time but if you’re willing to invest in this business, it can certainly be worth it!
Import Export Business in India
There are several things you will need to line up before you can get the business going. Here is a thorough step-by-step process you can adopt for your business launching dreams.
- Choose your product. First and foremost you need to identify the product you will be importing/exporting. If you don’t have something they want or people desire from there, then your business won’t last long. To get a good idea of what’s popular, visit this website for import-export ideas.
- Find a supplier. Now it’s time to find a business that makes the product you would like to import or export. There are websites that can help you with this like Global Sources or Alibaba, or perhaps you know someone personally. Establish a good relationship that benefits both parties and you’re on your way.
- Determine your market/customer. Who wants what you have? Thorough research comes in handy here (perhaps consider a feasibility study). You will want to identify companies that can help you
sobegin making a list of companies and contacts, then, start reaching out. Establishing connections is key and finding distributors and clients who will take on your product and sell to others is foundational to success.
- Find a shipping company. This is a very important aspect of establishing an import-export business. Without shipping, the products don’t get moved. So, do your research and make a list of companies you’d feel comfortable shipping with. You can have more than one company but price it out so that when you’re ready to go, you can get your shipping lined up.
- Write a business plan. You will have trouble securing financing or investors without a strong, solid business plan and one thing to certainly include in your business plan is whether you will charge based on commission or retainer. With a commission structure, you receive a set percentage of the sell. This is great if you believe you will be selling a high volume of product. With a retainer structure, you can secure a set payment per month. Developing a thorough business plan is the sign of someone committed to success.
- Secure financing. The startup costs vary when building an import-export business, which is why it’s important to do your research and write a business plan. Once you know your estimated costs and have determined your investment, you may need to secure financing from a bank or investor(s). The good news is, start-up costs can be comparatively low in this line of business.
- Design a website and logo. Having a place people can go to to learn more about your business is key. Find a professional designer that will design a logo and website for you and thankfully, t
hereare lots of affordable options for both so this shouldn’t be too hard!
- Register the business. You won’t be able to conduct business in India without first registering your business in this country. Learn more about securing a Service Tax registration or a VAT registration certificate here.
- Obtain PAN card. You will need to secure a PAN (permanent account number) card from the Income Tax Department in India for registration. You can do that here.
- Open a bank account. Once you have registered your business and obtained your PAN card you will want to open a business bank account.
- Obtain an Import Export Code (IEC). This is one of the most important things you must to do import and export in India. You can obtain your IEC with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade in India.
- Get a Registration-cum-Membership-Certificate (RCMC). Once you have obtained your IEC you will need to secure you RCMC with an Export Promotion Council. There are several to choose from and the process won’t take too long. Find a list of 14 councils here and choose one to get your RCMC from.
- Contact a customs clearing agent. A helpful step to make in this process is contacting a customs clearing agent for insight. Since customs regulations differ around the world it will prove valuable to talk with an expert about regulations in India, various charges, and getting your product cleared at ports.
We hope this step-by-step guide has been helpful to your ambitions in starting an import-export business in India. Visit our exports to India Stock Lots and Surplus page to learn more.