10 years has passed since a giant USA food broker decided that international development was not strategic and my job was eliminated. Rough day that turned out to be a fantastic personal move. This event inspired me to create Export Solutions, a platform that has allowed me the pleasure of meeting you ! Our Export Express publications have been read by more than 400,000 people in 154 countries. Export Solutions database covers 93 countries and 6,000 distributors and has helped more than 2,800 companies find qualified partners around the world. I t has been an honor to work with our industries best companies and trade organizations: P & G, Barilla, and the National Confectioners Association to name just a few. As busy as I have been, I wanted to share some of the changes I’ve witnessed in the last 10 years.
1. Coverage: 93 Countries – 5 Continents
In 2004, export usually meant selling to 10 adjacent countries like Canada and the Caribbean for USA exporters and the Nordics, Benelux, and Malta for Europeans. Today, exporters routinely sell to 30 to 70 to 100 countries or more ! Strategic export plans now focus on previously tough to access markets like China,Brazil, and India.
2. Too Many Flags – Not Enough Sales
Track the number of countries where you have the #1, #2, or #3 brand,not the total countries you sell to. No one is impressed if you sell to 70 countries, but your volume totals 1-2 small shipments per year to most of them.
3. 60 Distributors Per Country
Each country offers more distributor options than you think. Every government trade
officer and export manager knows the names of 3-5 distributors per country.
Our country lists track an average of 60 distributor s of all sizes and specialties .
4. Big Difference: Best in Class Distributors vs. Average Performers
Outstanding distributors exist in most countries. These leaders offer similar or better capabilities than multinational sales teams. Many top brands partner in some countries with small, under performing distributors ,failing to consider stronger options.
5. Right Fit: Generalist vs. Specialist
In the past, brands were happy just to have a distributor in a country. Today, high achievers partner with category specialists or distributors with comparable scale.
Many small to mid size brands will secure more focus from a smaller, hungrier distributor.
6. Mexico,USA, India, Brazil – Think Outside the Box
Partnering solutions in these countries normally extends far beyond “finding a distributor”. My consulting projects in complex countries often considers partnering with non-compete manufacturers, co-packing, local subsidiaries, or a hybrid model.
7. Winners Focused on In Store Visibility Metrics
Superior results are obtained by companies with a passion for managing in store presence.Containers sold to distributors are only inventory until purchased from a store shelf.
8. Regionally Based Distributor Managers
Best in Class exporters have established small offices in the USA, Dubai, Shanghai, Sao Paolo etc. These companies are “figuring it out” and dominating distributor attention.
My youngest daughter Ciara is 11 years old, so I will be working at least another 10 years.
Thanks for your support.