Making Export vibrant, visible and viable 

Export Enterprise how to develop an enterprising and sustainable global business

Its global business -but not as we know it
Positive disruption for any enterprise that wants to grow its global business

  • Identifying and implementing, step-by-step, innovative, whole-business export opportunities and solutions

  • Export Enterprise is about constant evolution. It can be a change to your processes, delivery model or your marketing. It is a bit like ‘baby-steps’; you just keep going, learn from each step and if you make a mistake, you adapt and go forward again

  • Export Enterprise goes across the whole business – it is about culture, capacity and capability

  • An increasing number of businesses of all shapes and sizes are looking for growth outside their home markets which is great. We are experiencing an amazing change in how people across the world communicate, get entertained and do their shopping – 18,6% of retail sales in the UK is done online. 33% of Danish online shopping goes through e-commerce sites based outside Denmark (2018)

  • Consumer trends travel at amazing speeds (Pokemon Go had 800 million downloads in just a few weeks) and brands can grow (or fall) because of a few re-tweeted Tweets

  • The rules and speed of business is changing – providing great opportunities for all

From legacy export to export enterprise

- Dylan with text e1536066220852

For years consumer brands and others were living in a world where they would produce some products and then try and then sell them through retailers in the home country.
Then they would get some export people with “a good contact book” and “many years of industry experience” and expect these people to flock their existing products across the world. At a push, they would add a foreign-language label to the packaging to suit local requirements, and then call it “product adaptation”

  • Of course, many businesses have moved on from this approach, but, there are still a large number who still practice what we call ‘legacy export’ and then can’t work out why their export, is at best, stagnating
  • We have also seen a lot of official export support and advice which is focused on the traditional export areas, such as ‘finding an agent’, ‘getting paid’ or ‘governance and operations’. While these have a point, they ignore the whole issue around innovation and enterprise in growing your export and becoming a global player
  • As you move into the global marketplace, you have the opportunity to learn from international best practice. That helps you become more innovative and productive, giving you an enduring competitive edge, both at home and abroad – a wonderful virtuous circle driving further export success
  • Around 15 per cent of Facebook friendships are between people living in different countries, and half of active Facebook users have at least one cross-border friend. Interestingly, that trend is even stronger in emerging countries than in developed ones
  • Beyond building networks and friendships, individual participation in these global platforms has important economic implications. This also means that for businesses digital platforms provide a huge built-in database of potential customers and effective ways to market to them directly (Data 2018)

So honestly…

  • What is the most innovative initiative your business has done in the last twelve months?
  • How well does your business work across the ‘silos’?
  • Do you use local social media to ‘listen to people’s lives’
  • Do you employ and support an Export Innovator?
  • How do new ideas get from ‘the bottom’ to ‘the top’? If at all!

The world is still far from flat, but its connections are beginning to touch a far broader range of countries, enterprises, and people. Multinationals can engage across the organisations and with their consumers directly.

SMEs can become micro-multinationals in their own right, and start-ups can be “born global.

Introducing the Export Enterprise Centre
Introducing the Export Enterprise Centre – at the heart of your business

In the centre of your business there has to be a focus on breaking down barriers, developing an open culture, be able and agile. We call it the Export Enterprise Centre (‘EEC’)


The role of the EEC function is to develop:


  • the enterprising and innovative culture,

  • capacity,

  • and capability of your business.


  • Over the years, we have seen many businesses where the CEO proudly announce that they ‘are going to double their export by becoming a market leader’ and then carry on with the same ad-hoc, short-term ‘solutions’ and then they can’t work out why their ‘strategy’ is not working
  • Your culture also has a strong impact on your organisation’s attitude towards export – is export a key member of the team or a substitute you only bring in when you need ‘a bit of extra business’. (Yes, I’ve heard that being said by a CEO). Also, it will help you break down those silos that exist in so many businesses and gradually introduce a more integrated organisation which can make better, more qualified decisions, quicker
  • The EEC will also help you to determine to what degree your business is a ‘box shifter or a brand builder’. As the name ‘box shifters’ implies these businesses just want to get products out of the door, using promotions and deals galore. The ‘brand builder’ thinks more long term and has a clear picture of where they are trying to get to
  • So the role of the EEC is to help develop an enterprise and innovation culture throughout the whole business. It means being customer-centric and able and agile in all aspects of the business, from the technology and processes used, the business model, packaging (getting rid of plastic!) and the way they communicate with markets and consumers
What does an Export Entrepreneur look like?

  • He/she needs to have curiosity, courage and drive to learn from other places outside your world
  • They also need to possess emotional and cultural intelligence in order to understand and work with the internal and external stimuli, trends and barriers 
  • They also need to ‘know their stuff’ from across the world and different sectors from communication and production to technology and legal. No, this is not an easy role to fill and perhaps you are better off with a team approach (You may also consider enrolling them on our soon-to-be-launched Export Entrepreneur Masterclass).

To keep on top of these important and fast-moving developments we suggest that you should use a balanced scorecard, an Export Enterprise Scorecard.

Optimum Export, the creators of the Export Enterprise concept have developed the Export Enterprise Scorecard where you can

✓ Communicate what they are trying to accomplish

✓ Align the day-to-day work that everyone is doing with strategy

✓ Prioritise projects, products, and services

✓ Measure and monitor progress towards strategic target


Optimum Export can help you build a bespoke scorecard for your business where you can set, track and achieve your key business strategies and objectives. Once your Export Enterprise strategies are deployed and tracked through what we call the Four Legs of the Export Enterprise Scorecard

These four legs are made up of four distinct business perspectives:

• Product lifecycle

• Consumer engagement


• Channels and delivery

An Export Enterprise Scorecard for your business could look like this:

Export innovation scorecard
This is a challenging and rewarding task - and never ending!