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What If ?

By: Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

What If ?

Recently, I completed a distributor search project in Latin America for a multinational. This company was implementing a bold transition from a direct selling organization to a distributor model to secure better customer coverage. This positive move to Distributor sold represented a strategic shift, as this company was famous for maintaining a strong internal sales team. My clients Director for Latin America explained his philosophy. "I get paid to transform  businesses , not manage businesses". Too many times, export managers serve as custodians of brands, executing repetitive plans with predictable results. Best in Class Distributors and managers challenge established protocols to deliver exceptional results. My client was delivering sales growth in excess of 20 % in established markets through innovative approaches to "old problems".

Business transformation is not easy. It involves disrupting status quo and impacts people, partners, and protocols. The potential upside gain is significant, but the risk level can not be underestimated.  Do you view yourself as a change agent ,capable of taking your business to the next level ? Or a professional business manager delivering reliable results in a tough environment ? The first step is to break down conventional thinking and identify what Jim Collins identifies as Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG)

What if you could ....?

1. Double your export business in three years ?

2. Create a major new business in Brazil,Mexico, or India ?

3. Receive category exclusivity at Walmart,Carrefour, or Metro ?

4. Convince management to produce offshore or invest in advertising ?

5. Reduce your prices, but deliver higher profit through increased turnover ?

One recipe for success is to "Think like an Exporter, but act like a Multinational".
See our articles on page 4 and 5 for different execution strategies by multinationals and exporters.

Anything is possible, with the right plan, partner, and focus. During my trip to Latin America, I saw three brands that achieved category leadership in their segments. These brands were "Made in the USA", but I had never seen them on the shelves of a USA supermarket  (or in any market) during my 25 + year career in the industry. In other words, unknown companies transformed their business and succeeded in the global marketplace despite poor results at home.

As we participate at Anuga and look forward optimistically to 2014, What are your Big Hairy Audacious Goals ? Winning will require change!  Jack Dixon stated " If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results. "


Good luck !