Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

A leading multinationals 5 year plan featured a 10-10-5 strategy. this involved focus on 10 countries,10 brands, and 5 product categories. A few years ago, Procter & Gamble unveiled a “Big, Big, Big” strategy. This translated to resource allocation to “Big Brands, Big Countries, and Big Retailers”. Other manufacturers prefer to focus on small-mid size countries that don’t require large marketing budgets to enter and generate solid profits due to lower levels of competition. Most of us dream of having the scale of P & G or Nestle with the ability to dedicate large teams to strategy development. Fortunately, creation of a logical, international strategy roadmap is achievable for all manufacturers.

A good strategic plan should be visionary, conceptual, directional, and compatible with the companies overall business goals for a 3-5 year period. This contrasts with your annual business plan which represents a short term operational plan focused on measurable tactics. Strategy is about making business choices, including tough decisions on which countries to enter, the right brands to support, and where to allocate company resources. One approach that encompasses both the Strategic and Operational aspects of the business is “OGSM”. OGSM stands for the process of developing a document outlining “Objectives, Goals, Strategies, & Measures”.
OGSM serves as a vital link between long term strategy and short term business demands.

The first step is to review your existing strategy document. How are you doing? Based upon 2020 results, are there adjustments in tactics required? Frequently, the international /export division of a company needs to adapt the corporate strategy to a plan more appropriate for international development. Create the right environment to review and polish your strategy. Best bet is an off site meeting, scheduled for a Monday or Tuesday, before the pressures of a work week have drained your energy. Advance publication of key questions in template form sets the tone for meeting participants that are well prepared. For small-mid size companies, it may help to include company board members, peer, non-compete manufacturers or other experts to share ideas. Export Solutions has helped companies all around the world with international strategy development.

Strategy 2025 begins with the simple question of “Where do you want your business to be by the end of 2025?” This includes segmentation and prioritization of countries and brands. Core questions for International exporters include:
Which countries will deliver the greatest growth and best return on investment? Which countries are under developed relative to potential ?
Where are the gaps in your Export coverage Map ?
Where is the profitable “low hanging fruit”?
Which Retailer/Distributor partnerships can be extended into new geographies?
What tactics/countries are delivering superior results?
Problems: Countries/Distributors, Retailers, Brands

Strategy is not a once a year event. All activities should ultimately sync with our strategy in some way. Featured prominently on my messy desk is our company strategy as well as key tactics and measures. Sometimes our strategy gets buried under the minutae of day to day tasks. However, I am pleased to say that Export Solutions has made excellent progress towards of our goal of serving as a valuable resource for the international consumer packaged goods community.