28 Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an Export Business in India

How to start export business in India

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an Export Business in India

How to start export business in India: BusinessHAB.com

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The Background:

In recent years, India has emerged as a significant player in the global export market. With its diverse range of products and a burgeoning economy, the country offers ample opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to venture into the export business. However, starting an export business requires careful planning, understanding of regulations, and strategic decision-making. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you kick-start your export venture in India:

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Step 1: Conduct Market Research

Before diving into the export business, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research. Identify potential markets for your products, assess competition, and understand consumer preferences. Analyze trade data, economic trends, and government policies related to your target markets.

Step 2: Choose Your Product

Selecting the right product is fundamental to the success of your export business. Consider factors such as demand, profitability, and regulatory requirements. Evaluate the feasibility of exporting goods that are unique to India or have a competitive edge in international markets.

Step 3: Register Your Business

Register your export business as per the legal requirements in India. Choose an appropriate business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or private limited company. Obtain necessary licenses and permits from relevant authorities, including the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

Step 4: Obtain Import-Export Code (IEC)

Obtain an Import-Export Code (IEC) from the DGFT. This 10-digit code is mandatory for conducting import-export transactions in India. You can apply for an IEC online through the DGFT website by submitting the required documents.

Step 5: Set Up Infrastructure

Establish the necessary infrastructure for your export business, including manufacturing facilities, storage warehouses, and distribution networks. Ensure compliance with quality standards and safety regulations applicable to your industry.

Step 6: Develop a Business Plan

Create a comprehensive business plan outlining your export objectives, target markets, marketing strategies, and financial projections. Define your pricing strategy, distribution channels, and sales tactics. Seek guidance from industry experts or consultants if needed.

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Step 7: Find Reliable Suppliers and Buyers

Identify reliable suppliers for sourcing raw materials or finished goods. Establish long-term partnerships with suppliers to ensure quality and timely delivery. Simultaneously, explore potential buyers or distributors in your target markets through trade fairs, online platforms, or trade missions.

Step 8: Understand Export Procedures and Documentation

Familiarize yourself with export procedures, documentation requirements, and customs regulations. Ensure compliance with export control laws, including restrictions on certain goods and countries. Prepare essential documents such as commercial invoices, packing lists, and certificates of origin.

Step 9: Arrange Financing and Insurance

Arrange financing for your export transactions through banks, financial institutions, or government schemes. Consider options such as export credit, trade finance, or venture capital. Additionally, obtain export credit insurance to mitigate risks associated with non-payment or shipment delays.

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Step 10: Execute Marketing and Sales Strategies

Implement robust marketing and sales strategies to promote your products in international markets. Utilize digital marketing channels, participate in trade exhibitions, and engage with potential buyers through networking events. Build strong relationships with overseas partners to enhance market penetration.

Step 11: Ensure Compliance and Quality Control

Adhere to regulatory compliance and quality control standards throughout the export process. Monitor product quality, packaging, and labelling to meet international standards and customer expectations. Stay updated on changes in regulations and industry norms to maintain competitiveness.

Step 12: Evaluate Performance and Adapt

Regularly monitor the performance of your export business and analyse key metrics such as sales volume, profit margins, and customer feedback. Identify areas for improvement and adapt your strategies accordingly to capitalize on emerging opportunities and mitigate challenges.

Requirement to start export business in India

Starting an export business in India involves fulfilling several requirements to ensure legal compliance and smooth operations. Here’s a comprehensive list of the key requirements:

13. Business Registration:

Register your export business as a legal entity. You can choose from various business structures such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership (LLP), or private limited company.

14. Obtain Import-Export Code (IEC):

Acquire an Import-Export Code (IEC) from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). This 10-digit code is mandatory for exporting or importing goods from India.

15. Tax Registration:

Obtain necessary tax registrations such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration and Permanent Account Number (PAN) from the Income Tax Department.

16. Open a Bank Account:

Open a current account in the name of your export business with a bank authorized for dealing in foreign exchange transactions.

17. Quality Standards Compliance:

Ensure that your products comply with relevant quality standards and regulations. Obtain necessary certifications such as ISO certification, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification, or specific product certifications required for your industry.

18. Registration with Export Promotion Councils:

Depending on the products you intend to export, register with relevant Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) or Commodity Boards. EPCs provide various benefits and assistance to exporters.

19. Export Documents:

Familiarize yourself with export procedures and documentation requirements. Prepare essential export documents including commercial invoices, packing lists, certificates of origin, export contracts, and shipping documents.

20. Customs Clearance:

Understand customs procedures and regulations for exporting goods from India. Ensure compliance with customs formalities, including filing of shipping bills, and obtaining necessary customs clearances.

21. Banking and Finance:

Arrange financing for your export transactions through banks or financial institutions. Explore options such as export credit, pre-shipment and post-shipment finance, and export credit insurance to mitigate risks.

22. Market Research and Product Adaptation:

Conduct market research to identify potential export markets and adapt your products or services to meet the requirements of international buyers. Understand market demand, pricing dynamics, and competition in target markets.

23. Logistics and Shipping:

Develop a robust logistics and shipping plan for exporting goods from India to overseas markets. Select reliable freight forwarders, shipping lines, and logistics partners to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery of goods.

24. Intellectual Property Protection:

If applicable, protect your intellectual property rights (IPR) such as trademarks, patents, and copyrights in target export markets. Consider registering your trademarks and patents internationally to safeguard your business interests.

25. Compliance with Export Controls:

Ensure compliance with export control laws and regulations, including restrictions on certain goods, technologies, and destinations. Obtain necessary licenses or permits for exporting controlled items.

26. Insurance Coverage:

Obtain appropriate insurance coverage for your export shipments to mitigate risks such as loss, damage, or non-payment. Consider options such as marine cargo insurance, credit insurance, and transit insurance.

27. Continuous Learning and Adaptation:

Stay updated on changes in export policies, regulations, and market trends. Continuously adapt your export strategies and operations to remain competitive and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

28. How to start export business in India:

Meeting these requirements will help you establish a solid foundation for your export business in India and navigate the complexities of international trade effectively. It’s essential to seek professional advice and guidance from experts, industry associations, and government agencies to ensure compliance and maximize the success of your export venture.


Starting an export business in India offers immense potential for growth and profitability. By following these systematic steps and leveraging available resources, you can establish a successful export venture and contribute to India’s global trade landscape. Remember to stay resilient, adaptable, and proactive in navigating the complexities of international business. With dedication and perseverance, your export business can thrive in the competitive global marketplace.

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