Why Startup exporter Fail

Most exporters think they are going to make huge money on export-import business when they were just getting started.

But in reality, after a few days or months, they realized it’s not a simple job.And over 90% of them fail in their export journey.

A study report from cbinsight shows that over 90% of startup fail within a few years in their startup journey.

And I was one of the 90% of failures.

I thought I would make a significant profit in this business and I was so excited about that.

But how much the export-import business sounds good, is not that simple in the practical way.  

I never thought I would be one of the failures. I never expected that.

And when I was counting my mistakes on this journey, I found not only mistakes leads me to fail but there are so many insights and factors that cause my business failure.

I am here telling you some factors why startup failed in their export journey.

There are more factors in export business if they were not take care or overlooked will potentially cause you to fail in the midst of trading journey.

Here is the 9 factors why exporter fail in the foreign trade.

Run out of cash


Money and time should be implemented in business correctly.

Most exporter couldn’t realize how much money should he need to invest in his export journey. The investment in Export-Import businesses depends on which products are you going to deal with or export and where.  

And not only the product’s type but its need to think about how much it takes time to return your investment from the last deal to make another deal. 

Because if you invested all of your money on an export order but it’s taking too much time to get the payment while you are proceeding another deal, You may unable to run another purchase order due to you are run out of cash.

Most of the exporter experience this situation and there is no way to do something in it until you invest more money.  

If you are not clear about your products, budget, and payment cycle, this type of run out of cash can be impacted your business.

  • Study your market more. Analyze which product required how much investment from sourcing the product to the shipping.
  • Make a list of every potential fact that could be happen in a order proceeding time. And analyze the expenditure of them.
  • Dont invest all of money on a single oreder. Keep some cash in your hand to that will help you to make another order without the first settlement.

Starting with a little investment with a small budgeted order can overcome the out of money situation.

Struggling alone


Want to build a successful export business? Don’t be a one-person exporter.

Invite your friends or family to join you in your business.

Where there is a way, there is a will. It’s just saying a word.  

But in practical hustle and bustle in your export journey, you will experience it’s not that simple and there is a lot of things to do more that no one can effort this alone.  

once mark suster said, “Individuals don’t build great companies, but a team does.”  

From products sourcing to shipping to the destination, there is a lot of struggles that need teamwork or work delegation to create a convenient foreign trading journey.

The essential things to create a successful export startup is,

  • A team of good people
  • The customer intends products
  • Money

If you have loads of money and thinking you could start an export business with solo entrepreneurship, but take note that you can’t do this alone.

A successful business requires a successful team of good people.

A research study mentioned that, in a business, a team with the right people ( designer, marketer, engineer, runner etc) can grow the business more than 2.9x times than a solo entrepreneurship business journey.  

Why the team is important in your export business?

  • Two heads are better than one. Two or more heads will improve your creativity and trading skills in your export busness.

When you got a problem with product sourcing or any payment issue or in the shipping line, the team can easily handle these issues by brainstorming together and make a plan of how to get rid of all of this issue, rather than handle this problem alone.

Unity is a strength. We said.

And is always applicable in you business.

Working together will tend the business growth to the up level.

It will bring each of their talents in a table and when put together and pushed, all of the hesitations in an export business will go away.

As each of the members of a team has different talents, working styles, and habits. It helps to resolve any kind of conflicts in business.

When all of the team member brainstorm their idea will produce a resolution to get rid of any conflict in business.

And also we do not come to this earth just for business, we all have family, friends, personal responsibility, etc. And when you working as a full-time exporter alone, you will experience a gap in your personal life moments.   And this will impact either in your business or in your personal life.

Export business is a wild business. If you are really serious about your business, you must create a team-first to make every movement easy.  

  • You need to find at least one person from different disciplines to join in your export business.
  • A team with good people can make every movement in your business 100 times easier.  

And if you are unable to create a team, you need to stay with a small budget export journey.  

Get Out-competed by others.

It’s a common thing that there is a lot of competitors of yours in the market and you have to compete with them for the same products and market.  

Most of the exporter unable to find why they are not making any sales and why the competitors are making it.  

The study says that 19% of failure cause of ignoring their competitors on the market.

If your competition is economically healthy and/or you are not providing any convenience to your buyer, there is a chance that your competitors may grab this opportunity and throw their value added service to your buyer.  

How to get rid of that?

  • Study your competitors and analyze their products and trading area.
  • Keep track of their pricing and compare it with your products and pricing.
  • You can contact them to know how much they agree to bargain with their mentioned price with the buyer.
  • Keep on eyes on how quickly they respond to their customers.  

You must have a good experience in your competition sector and make it dynamic pricing of your product.

Business without a proper plan


We generally used to think that what we see in our society is the static matter and when it comes to implementing with it, we just follow its old social standard.  

As exporter thinks that there is no need to think for an exclusively plan to start an export business.  

Export Business is more than sending a product to the destination country.  

You need to change your think and implement a proper plan for it.  

The people who fail to plan are actually planning to fail.  

So True.

A proper plan will lead your business to the next level.

Your team with different talents will put their ideas and make outstanding planning for how to get your export business to the next level out of hundreds of competitors, conflicts, hesitation, etc.    

Poor Marketing


Marketing is the main point of the export business. Not everyone is doing the right marketing but the most notable reason to quit an export business is not implement the right marketing strategy.  

Exporter fails due to not understand how to export through different subway when there is too competition on the market.  

If you are a startup export organization or individual, then it chances to get lost your business in the export crowded market. Because you do not know who your buyer or you don’t know how to reach them.  

Everyone says that you need to list your business in alibaba.com like a trading portal to get a buyer for your product. But when you see their subscription plan, it’s actually far away from your capital budget.    


The most exporter is not worth to buy their expensive listing subscription. 

Or they don’t know the alter marketing that brings them a suitable buyer.

There is more way if you opt for a unique marketing strategy in your export business, then you can move your business to the forward.  

for example, you need to opt for Google PPC marketing to rank your site in the top search result when a buyer searching for a product that you are selling.  

Or you can master social media marketing to reach your buyer through the social networking web.  

The main reason to fail in export marketing is not to escape from the traditional marketing concept that everyone does.  

Not to follow the traditional thinking procedure, I would advise you to think and learn different types of marketing strategies to reach and get buyer for your export business.  

Lose Focus

Image credit: cbinsights.com

Losing a business focus impacted a lot in the export business.  

Most of the buyer wants to get a quick reach method in export business.   When some exporters do not see any result from a few months, they generally thought to start a different type of business to overcome their daily outcoming expenses.  

But not to focus on accurately on export business lead them to failure and a vaugee future promicing.  

As I told earlier that export business is a wild business and you may have to wait longer to see sales.  

You have to wait and be patient in your export journey.

And losing focus not only means to keep away from your export business, but it also means by working with unmatched related products.  

Let me clear this.

For example, you are dealing with agricultural products and you have a good knowledge and experience of it. But suddenly you got an inquiry for lather stuff making machine and you thought this is an opportunity to deal with that product.

But instead of having proper knowledge in industrial machinery tools, you are providing foggy information to the buyer which can lead you a poor business experience in the export industry.  

The buyer simply treats you as a fake trader or a broker.  

To get rid of it, try to focus only on specific products category or close related multiple products category. It will identify you as an experienced exporter to your buyer.  

  • Deal with a few categories of products and specialize on it.
  • Provide the right information to your buyer that buyer should know to have reach experience in this field.
  • Show up your product in the right market where your product has chances to sale.

Focus your business with consistency and with the patient. Don’t expect to succeed in overnight. if you do all the stuff in a well manner, your time will come at the right time.

Failed to expansion business Geographically.

The most exciting stage of export business is the scale up the business to the vast overseas country.  

Many people think that as the Export business is related to worldwide business, So selling the product to many overseas is a simple task.  

The export who could not land his market in a specific destination country, he thought then they need to search market opportunity to another country.

Many companies are being lured by the bright light of the International Expansion of their export business.  

Export companies who have a successful business in a specific country, often assume that the expansion in the more overseas country will be just great by requiring the same investment.

It’s not that simple to drumbeat your business expansion by the opportunity of vast untapped markets of your products.  

The consequence of market foray for the first time in an unknown marketplace could be a danger as many exporters experienced this before.

The biggest mistake of the export business is to try to expand their market to the more overseas country without proper study and right plan.  

A survey report adviced that there are vast opportunities to enter some overseas countries because the domestic market has little or no growth.

The allure might be strong but, must be approached with caution.   

The painful lesson of entering many overseas markets is that the same products are not fit in this market.   They need separate product quality and investment budget to just land the market place.  

And also, to trade with many overseas countries requires trustworthy from the buyer side. And not every exporter found the trustworthiness as they are unable to manage their own sourcing agent to the overseas country.

The solution how to expand your export business?

  • Get advice from expert before you expand to somewhere else. Your advisor could be your friends and family who are living abroad or you could talk with a reputed Export Agent.  
  • Find a sourcing partner or agent to the destination overseas country. He could deliver you the right information and forecasting of the market opportunity of your product.  

Be cautious, be clear, be patient. Research well and thoroughly before you enter the hole of a rat. Because if you stuck on there, the result could be wiped out of your business on there.


Challenges are everywhere. Whether you are an exporter or a father or your kids, you have to face loads of challange in life.  

But Challenge in foreign trade are not the same.

The exporter who has a family backgrounded export business can face challenges a few whiles others who have no background business knowledge and starting from scratch.  

It is a large mistake of not welcoming the challenge in export business. If you are just willing to make a profit without facing any challenge in international trade, the export business is not suitable for you.  

There is a lot of challenge waiting for you. It’s wise to consider a thin challenge in your export journey.  

Challenge: Product quality and supply

For example, if you have a solid contract with the supplier regarding price and damage of goods, there is a way to get unexpected results sometimes out of these solid business contracts.

When you finalized everything with your overseas buyer and its time to deliver the product to him, you suddenly found that your domestic supplier has sold the goods to another exporter or increses the price that you quoted with your buyer.    

Challenge: Trust over buyer

And this is common that many of exporter got cheated by the unknown buyer of the overseas country.  

If you are not aware of your buyer’s trustworthiness, there is a chance to get wipe out all of your money in a single trade.  

Challenge: Money

And sometimes it takes more time to get your money into the bank and if you have no recurring budget, you may not able to proceed any orders further.  

How to solve this situation?

As I mentioned above, it’s too common to welcoming the challenges in your life.  

The experience may differ from many other export business owners.   There are no particular rules how could you overcome this challenge.   

By study thoroughly your market, product demand, quality, buyer profile may reduce these conflict situation in your export journey.

Burn Out

Burned out means get distracted from business when exporter didn’t see any sale from a period of time.  

It’s common that exporter didn’t make any sale when they just starting out.

Burnout happens when there is a separation between your hardworking, thinking and unexpected result in your export business.  

Working on long hours in the export field, everyone can expect a satisfying result in return. But instead of it, when they found no positive result, Burn out is a common fact then.  

Burnout is a quiet killer. There is no sign for others that why your business quitting.  

Taking your business to your expected level requires patient and consistency.   

Finding a reliable buyer takes some time. You need to wait more time. You need to understand that it’s not an overnight success path.   

Adopt a slow build approach to stay in the foreign market long last.


So here are some important factors why and how an exporter failed in business.  

And I have elaborated on how to get rid of them.  

There’s should be a simple reason for quitting your export-import business.

You need to find out the right path to way out of these back pulling factors.

Hope these can help you a lot.  

Are you failing in your business?

What method is your mastering to not to give up your business journey?

Let me know in the comment.