Grow your small business by exporting to India

Grow your small business by exporting to India

Posted: Mon 14th Aug 2023

With a rapidly expanding consumer market, a booming middle class and a quarter of the world's under-25s, the Indian market is an attractive prospect for ambitious UK businesses looking to expand their global footprint.

However, before you venture into this market, you must understand the challenges – and the benefits – that come with selling in this competitive environment.

To help you make this move, we've put together a detailed guide that sets out the key steps involved in preparing to do business in India and outlines the necessary requirements for a successful trade.

Download now: Selling to customers in India – A guide for SMEs in the UK

What the guide contains

Selling to India: Main benefits and challenges

Understanding the advantages and hurdles of selling in the Indian market is essential for developing a winning strategy. Get an overview of the main benefits, such as a diverse customer base, a thriving start-up ecosystem, and the fact that English is widely used in business.

Learn about the challenges, including vast cultural differences, a major problem with bribery and corruption and time-zone differences.

Business culture in India

Many Indian business people speak English fluently, which is a huge benefit for UK founders looking to export to the subcontinent. However, you must understand the diversity of cultures, languages, identities and religions if you're going to forge successful business relationships on the Indian subcontinent.

While you have to be extremely cautious about making any generalisations about Indian culture, it's important to know the rules of engagement when it comes to greetings, dress codes, small talk and the use of formal titles.

Preparing to do business in India

Thorough preparation is crucial if you're to make a smooth entry into the Indian market. This section of the guide highlights the importance of first being clear on your reasons for exporting to India.

If you're wondering where to begin, this section provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide specifically tailored for UK businesses aiming to sell their goods in India.

You'll find guidance on doing market research, which is vital in understanding the demands, preferences and competitive landscape. Find out what methods and resources you can employ when analysing consumer behaviour, identifying target demographics, and assessing market trends.

The guide also explains how a well-crafted business plan serves as a roadmap for success.

Getting things in order to start trading

Before you begin selling in India, you need to familiarise yourself with the laws and regulations governing overseas trade to avoid any legal issues arising later.

This section gives an overview of key regulations, including customs requirements, taxes, intellectual property rights and labelling rules.

Getting your goods out of the UK

Exporting goods from the UK to India means planning carefully and following specific procedures.

In this section of the guide, you'll learn the various steps of the exporting process, such as getting an EORI number, securing an export licence (if necessary), determining the appropriate incoterms for your shipments and checking for trade barriers.

It also covers the crucial aspects of making a customs declaration and arranging for transportation.

Getting your goods into India

Successfully navigating the Indian customs process is vital in making sure your goods enter the country seamlessly. This section of the guide provides insights into completing the relevant documentation, preparing a detailed packing list, and addressing any additional requirements for businesses in the food and drink sector.


Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to sell to customers in India. Download our guide tailored for UK small businesses.

Learn how to sell to customers in India

Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to conquer the German market. Download our guide tailored for small businesses like yours

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.