WSI Interview

January 29th, 2008
Interview with Elizabeth Miranda

< International >

Interviewer : Rodolphe Hatchadourian
Interviewees : Elizabeth Miranda (Vice President Franchising Public Relations)

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Could you please explain the concept of WSI?
WSI, which stands for “We Simplify the Internet”, was founded in 1995 in Toronto, Canada with the goal to be the leading provider of Internet Solutions to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) the world over. The WSI concept is built around the model of franchising and allowing our franchisees to leverage the experiences that they bring to the table from their outside careers – whether that’s a management experience, or a business experience or certainly an entrepreneurial spirit. Each of our franchise units is locally owned with a local presence and global reach of WSI. Our franchisees rely on WSI’s global knowledge through its marketing materials, leading edge products, and its ability to differentiate them from competition.
WSI’s strength lies in the unique way that it has brought two ideas together:
• Franchising to create a global network of Internet solutions experts. WSI is the world’s largest Internet development franchise operation with over 1,500 franchisees operating in 87 countries around the globe. Each franchise is locally owned and operated giving it the ability to provide Internet solutions for its customers that are locally relevant in terms of language, business approach, and culture.

• Centralized product and marketing expertise to feed the local franchisees. Each local franchisee has access to WSI’s stable of advanced technologies such as web conferencing, multi-media tools, video email and e-learning. In addition, each local franchisee has access to WSI’s marketing materials and sales knowledge. As WSI franchisees create new product and marketing solutions they feed these solutions back to WSI to share with the rest of the global network. In effect WSI has, at its heart, a global R&D lab feeding the firm market-tested product and marketing solutions on a continuous basis.

WSI has offices throughout the whole world. Are you looking at any new areas?
Our network is truly international and covers countries in all major regions of the world: North America, Europe and UK, Latin and Central America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is vital for any organization to continually grow the market within which it operates. Clearly, for WSI, the opportunity in the global SME marketplace is enormous. North America, Europe and UK have traditionally been our strongest growth markets. While we do not plan to identify specific markets for opening new franchise operations, we are also seeing promising growth in developing nations. An increasing number of individuals are realizing the potential of entrepreneurship via franchising. Needless to say, entrepreneurial revenues of the kind brought in by WSI franchisees are also having a visible impact on the economies of these countries.

The Internet services market is thus growing organically as well as through environmental stimuli provided by WSI’s educational and promotional efforts of our 1500 plus offices in 87 countries. This reaffirms our faith that our model will continue to generate the success that it has until now.

What are your targets in Europe, and more specifically in France?
WSI recognizes the growth of the SME market as well as the SME’s appetite for Internet Marketing (IM) activities. In any region of the world where we currently have our operations, we want our franchisees to procure at least 10 percent of their local market. Based on this ratio, there is still huge growth potential all around the world.
France is an important market for WSI and it is the third-largest online advertising market in Europe, behind the United Kingdom and Germany. eMarketer estimates that the French online ad market grew more than 34% during 2007, and will total more than $4 billion by 2011. The market for WSI’s IM services is growing all the time as businesses gain a greater understanding of the value of Internet marketing. We are making Internet marketing accessible to SMEs, which would previously have been within the reach of only large companies. It makes us confident and poised for continued growth and leadership of our industry, without needing to identify specific targets, growth countries or regions.
SMEs all over the world, including in France are Profiting from IM, Convinced about IM, Challenged by IM, Demanding IM skill-sets and know that they must Spend on IM. All of this spells opportunity for WSI and our Consultants.

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