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Lessons Learned : Business Planning 2018

By: Greg Seminara, Export Solutions
Topics: Lessons Learned

Tis the season for 2018 planning. Most of us will dust off last year's presentation, update the charts, and supply conservative estimates on why this years  5 % export shipment increase won't be repeated.
Impress your executive team with some hot new charts and Lessons Learned analysis  for your business review document . Leadership tends to display laser focus on "just the numbers".  Tremendous business intelligence can be gained through a structured review of Lessons Learned: What's working, What's not, and What needs to Change.

Listed below are a few hot button topics to include in this year's review.

1. Business transition from Established markets to " New Frontiers".
Export Solutions segments markets into three groups:Established countries (mature) , Developing (Growing countries,low per capita sales) , and "New Frontier" (new/ future markets) . How does your business split by these three groups ? What are the trends ?  This is a key measure for multinationals.

2. BRIC Performance

Shipments alone do not tell the whole story. Look at per capita consumption, percent distribution penetration, market share, and geographic reach. Extend approach to other high potential countries such as Indonesia,Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.

3. Global Retailers
Walmart,Carrefour, Metro,Auchan, Casino and Amazon exhibit strong growth trends outside their home markets. Compare your progress with global retailers versus the balance of the markets. What retailers and countries are leading the way ? Why ? What's working: sales through local distributors or direct shipments ?

4. Shipments versus GDP
An important metric is shipment performance compared to a countries GDP benchmark.
Flat shipment levels in struggling countries such as Italy, Spain or Portugal may reflect better organizational results than a  5-10 % increase in booming areas such as China or Phillipines.

5. 20/20 Analysis
Markets tend to be judged by the same standards. Look at countries ranked in your top 20 % in shipment performance. What are the common threads and Lesson's Learned ? Are leaders all in the same region , distributor sold, high investment, or have more competitive pricing ? Similarly, do the bottom 20 % of your markets experience common characteristics ? Remember, there is no shame in admitting "problem" markets. All brands feature a regional mix of high achievers and low performing markets.
Consistent under performers limit our ability to meet and exceed our own personal objectives.

6. Pricing,Promotion, and Proximity
Brand results are directly proportional to your fundamental investments in competitive pricing and brand building. Can you cluster markets based upon price gaps versus local competition ? Is there a correlation between high spend markets and results ? Is promotion paying out ? Some of our industries greatest international success stories result when the brand moves to local manufacture through their own plant, joint  venture, or contract packer.

Involve your distributors in the process. Normally,a one-two  page template requesting feedback will reveal critical, market based insights. Create a culture of sharing positive success stories. All sales forces are competitive and want to be identified as the source of the next great idea.