Posted by & filed under Import/Export.

Manuel Szulanski is a high school track and field coach in Argentina. 

A couple years ago, Manuel had an idea for a small business, selling novelty and gift ideas with school and business names on them.  But it was hard to find local companies that could supply the products he wanted at a reasonable price, so Manuel jumped on the Internet and discovered a life-changing website.

The site is a trading exchange that enables entrepreneurs and businesses to locate reputable suppliers in other countries around the world and order from them directly instead of going through a middleman.  

Silk scarves direct from India…  Handbags direct from Malaysia…  Electronics from China and Korea.  

Manuel wanted novelty gift items, and he found them in spades. His best-selling items are those new multi-colored silicon bracelets you see everyone wearing. 

He started on a table in the corner of his kitchen…and eventually moved his novelty items online.  Today, he’s got a profitable, global business, that still runs from home.

The import/export market is a thriving multi-trillion-dollar market. It’s a bright spot in the global recession.

Anna Shi also got started at her kitchen table. Since 2009, she’s been busy designing, manufacturing, and selling fashionable ladies’ garments.

In the beginning, Anna could only sell the dresses she had in stock. But then she discovered a brand new market: bulk importers and wholesalers interested in custom designs. 

Anna’s company, Ever-Pretty Inc., has become a versatile dress supplier with the resources to produce whatever designs a customer wants. Most of her buyers are from Australia, Europe, and the U.S. But she also sells to customers throughout Asia and the rest of the world, too.

Today, Ever-Pretty enjoys millions of dollars in sales. 

There is a rise in the number of people starting businesses, working from home, and from kitchen tables like Manuel and Anna.

In fact, I’ve profiled dozens of startup entrepreneurs in my new program, Importing Fortunes.

When I started my first business 30 years ago, the term “home office” was not cool. In fact, if you had a “home office” or worked from a kitchen table you were considered a low-budget entrepreneur and not ready for prime time.

I learned how to run a business from a kitchen table from my father. He was a savvy entrepreneur, with several inventions and patents to his name.

Today, starting a business on a shoestring from the kitchen table is much easier than it was 30 years ago — and even five years ago. 

In fact, I think starting a business from a kitchen table or from a back room in your house or apartment, is a much better strategy than renting office space, obtaining loans, hiring employees, and building a gigantic infrastructure.

There’s nothing wrong with building a big business.

But when you run a business, like import/export from a kitchen table, you can greatly reduce your downside risk. 

A kitchen table may be used as a figure of speech, or it could be literal. But the idea is the same.  

Almost anyone can be a kitchen table entrepreneur if they want to be.  The best results will come to those who act on relevant information and get involved in a growing market with an eye toward reducing costs and expenses.