Small businesses make up nearly all of the U.S. exporting market. And international consumer markets like China’s growing middle class offer plenty of opportunities for even more small businesses to get in on the exporting game.
Small Business Export Ideas
If you’re interested in starting a business that exports products to other markets around the world, check out these 50 small business export ideas.
The auto industry in the U.S. makes it a great area to focus an exporting business. You can work with manufacturers or even export used vehicles.
Auto Parts Exports
You could also focus your efforts on smaller products within the automotive niche like parts and tools.
Computers and similar tech are also popular in markets around the world. So you could start an exporting business that focuses on computer parts and similar hardware.
Or you could focus on smartphones and used mobile technology products.
Tech Accessory Exports
There’s also a huge assortment of tech accessories for smartphones and computers that you could export from the U.S.
There isn’t a ton of clothing manufacturing in the U.S. compared to some other countries. But you can still create a business that exports clothing from certain U.S. designers or even independent artisans.
Beauty Product Exports
You can also start a business that exports beauty products like cosmetics, hair care and skin care items.
Cotton is a popular export for U.S. businesses. You can ship the raw material to manufacturers in other countries that make clothing and textiles.
You could also start a business that focuses on exporting art to collectors around the world.
There are also a number of other niches that are popular with collectors around the world. So you could start a business with a very specific collectible product line that you ship out to those collectors.
Leather Goods Exports
Leather goods are also popular in markets around the world, making great opportunities for exports.
You can also start a business that exports raw wood material to companies that manufacture furniture and similar products.
Or you could process that material further and then ship out raw paper materials to businesses that use it in various manufacturing processes.
Home Goods Exports
For those who want to ship products to actual consumers or retailers that sell to consumers, you could sell home decor or housewares.
Farming or agriculture businesses can grow by exporting produce to various markets overseas.
Beef and other meat products from U.S. farmers are also popular in markets around the world like China.
If you have a fishing business, you can also export those products to markets around the world that don’t have access to the same types of seafood.
The U.S. recently struck a deal to export rice products to China. So this is another viable opportunity for U.S. food businesses.
For businesses that have the logistical ability to transport animals, you can export livestock to other countries as well.
Animal Feed Exports
Animal feed is another potential area for farming and food businesses to consider.
Packaged Food and Beverage Exports
You can also actually package and brand food products and then sell them directly to consumers or retail outlets in other countries.
Though there are plenty of hoops to jump through when exporting pharmaceuticals, you can work with drug companies to arrange the export of various pharmaceuticals to medical suppliers in other countries.
Various metals can also be popular for manufacturers and other types of businesses around the world.
Or you could focus on a smaller niche and export gems to jewelers and similar businesses in other countries.
Machinery and factory equipment is another popular category for U.S. exporters.
Transportation Equipment Exports
You can also focus on equipment for transportation companies like aviation parts or equipment for railway systems.
Organic chemicals can also be popular with a variety of different organizations around the world.
Medical Equipment Exports
Or you could focus on providing medical equipment to facilities in other countries.
Electrical Equipment Exports
You can also build a business that exports electrical equipment to builders and businesses.
Coal is still used by a lot of outlets as a power source. So you can potentially export the material to those outlets.
You can also export raw plastic material to manufacturers that use the material in various products.
Environmental Technology Exports
Or you can provide products or even services for companies that want equipment and expertise to improve their environmental initiatives.
Handmade Product Exports
Handmade products have become increasingly popular in markets around the world. So you can export your own handmade products or even arrange exports for other handmade businesses.
Used Product Exports
You can also focus on selling a variety of different used or secondhand products to consumers in other countries.
Software Service Exports
If you have the ability to create software or cloud based services, you can focus on selling those products or services to users in other countries.
Financial Service Exports
It’s also possible to build a business around financial services that focus on markets outside of the U.S.
Business Service Exports
Or you could provide services to other businesses and focus on working with companies in other countries.
Information Service Exports
Information services, like IT expertise or consulting, can also provide great business opportunities. And you can easily work with clients outside the U.S. either by traveling or communicating mainly online.
You could also build a business centered around training for workers and companies in other countries.
Since U.S. entertainment like music and movies tend to be popular in other countries as well, you can build an export business that brings those items to international consumers.
You can also start a construction business that provides services in international markets.
Similarly, you can start an engineering business where you work with companies and organizations around the world.
Running an Export Warehouse
You might also consider starting a warehouse business where you store and arrange for the export of various products for other businesses.
Or you could create a more all-encompassing service for ecommerce businesses by working as a dropshipping provider that covers all of the shipping and logistics for ecommerce businesses.
You could also start a business where you serve as a trade agent to help other small businesses manage their exports.
Or you could focus more specifically on helping exporters with issues related to getting items through customs.
It’s also possible to create a consultancy business that helps other businesses looking to break into the business of exporting.
Running an Export Directory
You could also start a business that lists various exporters in a directory format to help importers looking for specific products or services.
Export Marketing Service
If you’re an experienced marketer, you could start a marketing company that helps exporters market their products to their target customers outside the U.S.
Export Insurance Service
There are also a lot of insurance considerations for businesses that export. So you could start an agency that helps those businesses get the insurance they need to protect their assets.