Exporting goods and services from India can be a profitable business venture, but it can also be challenging to navigate the complex rules and regulations. In this article, we will guide you through the process of starting an exports business in India, from registering your company to shipping your products overseas.
Step 1: Conduct Market Research
Before starting an exports business, it is important to conduct market research to identify potential customers and competitors. You can use online resources, such as trade directories and government databases, to gather information about the target market and demand for your products or services. You can also attend trade shows and conferences to network with potential customers and learn about the latest trends in your industry.
Step 2: Obtain Necessary Licenses and Registrations
To start an exports business in India, you will need to obtain various licenses and registrations. These include:
- Import Export Code (IEC): You need to apply for an IEC from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). This code is mandatory for all businesses that import or export goods or services from India.
- Registration with Export Promotion Council (EPC): EPCs promote and develop exports from India by providing market intelligence and trade-related services. You need to register with the relevant EPC for your product category to access their resources.
- GST Registration: You need to register for GST (Goods and Services Tax) with the GST Network (GSTN) to pay taxes on your exports.
- Registration with other relevant authorities: Depending on your product category, you may need to register with other authorities, such as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for food products, or the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for pharmaceuticals.
Step 3: Choose Your Product or Service
Before starting an exports business, you need to decide on the products or services you want to export. You can export various products from India, such as textiles, handicrafts, leather goods, and agricultural products. You can also offer services such as software development, business process outsourcing, and consultancy services.
Step 4: Establish Your Business Entity
Once you have decided on your product or service, you need to establish your business entity. You can choose from various business structures, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or a private limited company (PLC). A PLC is the most common structure for an exports business, as it offers limited liability protection and is easier to raise funds and attract investors.
Step 5: Secure Financing
To start an exports business, you need to secure financing to cover the costs of production, marketing, and shipping. You can obtain financing from various sources, such as banks, venture capitalists, or government schemes. The government of India offers various schemes and subsidies for exports businesses, such as the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC).
Step 6: Develop Your Export Strategy
Once you have secured financing, you need to develop your export strategy. This includes identifying your target markets, pricing your products competitively, and establishing relationships with customers and suppliers. You can also use various channels to market your products, such as online marketplaces, trade fairs, and direct sales.
Step 7: Secure Shipping and Logistics
Shipping and logistics are critical to the success of your exports business. You need to find reliable shipping and logistics partners who can handle the transportation, customs clearance, and documentation for your products. You can also use online marketplaces, such as Alibaba or Amazon Global, to find overseas buyers and suppliers.
Step 8: Identify the Products You Want to Export
The first step in starting an exports business in India is to identify the products you want to export. This requires research and analysis of the market demand, competition, and regulations. You can explore different sectors such as agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, automotive, and technology to find the products that have the most potential in the global market.
Step 9: Conduct Market Research
Once you have identified the products you want to export, you need to conduct market research to identify potential buyers, competitors, and the demand for your products in the global market. You can use different tools such as trade directories, online databases, and market reports to gather information about the market trends, regulations, and opportunities.
Step 10: Register Your Business
To start an exports business in India, you need to register your business as per the legal requirements. You can register your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or a private limited company (PLC). The registration process varies depending on the type of business you choose. You may also need to obtain a trade license, a tax registration number, and other legal permits to operate your business.
Step 11: Obtain Import-Export Code (IEC)
To export goods from India, you need to obtain an Import-Export Code (IEC) from the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). The IEC is a 10-digit code that identifies the exporter and allows them to participate in international trade. You can apply for IEC online through the DGFT website or offline by submitting the application to the regional DGFT office.
Step 12: Find a Supplier
To export goods, you need to find a reliable supplier who can provide high-quality products at competitive prices. You can explore different sourcing options such as manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors to find the right supplier. You may also need to negotiate the price, quality, and delivery terms with the supplier before finalizing the deal.
Step 13: Arrange for Transportation and Logistics
Exporting goods requires transportation and logistics arrangements to ensure the timely delivery of goods to the destination. You can choose different modes of transportation such as air, sea, or land depending on the type and volume of goods. You may also need to hire a freight forwarder, customs agent, and insurance provider to handle the logistics and regulatory requirements.
Step 14: Build a Network of Buyers
To sell your products in the global market, you need to build a network of buyers who are interested in your products. You can attend trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences to meet potential buyers, showcase your products, and establish business relationships. You can also use online platforms such as B2B marketplaces, social media, and e-commerce platforms to connect with buyers.
Step 15: Develop a Marketing Strategy
To promote your exports business in India, you need to develop a marketing strategy that includes advertising, branding, and promotion. You can use different marketing channels such as digital media, print media, and outdoor advertising to reach your target audience. You may also need to develop marketing materials such as brochures, catalogs,