Want to leave the corporate life to start up my own business – sole trader vs. company?


Hello everyone,

I have this new found urge to leave the corporate world (I’m a marketer with almost 10 years of experience within the financial services sector) and start-up my own business. Simplicity is my new motto.

Having lived abroad most of my life abroad, I have a lot connections in the Middle East and China. I though maybe becoming an export trader in the UK would be good start. However, I know nothing about exporting or importing.

My question is – would it be wise for me to take some courses. For e.g. the ones below:

– Wade world trade certificate, or
– Import/export international trading course – ICI

1. Would you recommend the above courses for someone looking to become a sole trader? Is it worth the money spent?

2. Do the credentials gained hold any value with suppliers and buyers?

3. Will the above actually help me get my business going?

4. In order to become a trader, is it advisable to be a sole trader or setup a company? (Be more professional)

5. Is it worth working in a niche market, such as the ideology to trade green products only

I’m scared of taking this leap of faith and not being able to draw any income. I don’t know where to begin so any help will be much appreciated!

Thanks in anticipation,



I would strongly suggest you take some training. This is not just because I am a provider of training but because in my experience (I have been in the import export business for over 35 years) if anyone is to be successful as an exporter they need to have a good idea of what is required. This is true no matter whether they are an individual or a company.

A company tends to work better as you can control tax more efficiently both for yourself and your customers which makes you more competitive.

It is not the name of the training course that will necessarily impress your customers it will be your level of knowledge and ability that will win them over.

From my own range of courses I would recommend the Introduction to Export or the Comprehensive Guide.

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Hi Ali
I don’t have a training course to offer , but I would most certainly recommend that you should go on one, for the obvious reasons that you need to gain some experience.
Exporting or Importing can sometimes have complications.
Either courses as the ones that Susan suggests or also courses run by the Institute of Export.

It can sometimes be more tax efficient to form a limited company rather than being a sole trader, but that could also depend on what your earning expectations are in your business plan .

There is a wealth of knowledge also on this website as well as http://www.ukti.gov.uk/
best wishes


Thanks Susan and Gilio for your advice – much appreciated.

I guess this gives me a place to start – I will explore the courses and setup/register a company as the first step.

Susan – will have a look at your courses and I’ll be in touch with any questions.

Thanks again for your help both.

Export Action Plan