Making Money - Export Strategies
At the beginning of a game, unless gold mining is enabled, (and feasible) you should, in scenarios which permit trade, finance your city through exports. Taxes should be a secondary consideration. Don't build Palaces and Tax Collectors until your export trade is up and running, and you have the money to spare to finance them. By the end of the first game year you should be selling something to somebody. By the end of the second year your city should be solvent.
Usually there are several items which you can export. It pays to give some thought to which item you choose to export first. Here's how I go about it:
First, I see if I can export any of the following items:
If so, I give first consideration to those items which can be produced the quickest. Those would be the high-end raw materials. In order of preference they are:
Second consideration is given to those items which can be manufactured using home produced non-farm raw materials. These would be in order of preference:
Next would be any of the above items for which imported raw materials are available. If Ptah can be worshipped in your city preference should be given to Linen, Jewelry, or Pottery. If not, then the following order:
Next, those items which can not be manufactured until farms produce the necessary raw material.
Finally, farm produce or other low-end raw materials. I rarely export food. I will ship stone if it's convenient and manpower is available.
Once I have picked my primary export I take a look at my handy-dandy City Data Sheet and see who will buy it. If more than one some considerations: