Why did I choose Wikane? For two basic reasons: it’s a really innovative concept, both exclusive and differentiated. Because it offered a continuous training Program at a high level which permitted a rapid rise in skills and the frequent sharing of experience with other consultants. In fact, my career had not set me up to follow this path, but my energy and enthusiasm made all the difference. Today I have succeeded and what I care about is to show that I deserve the confidence that has been placed in me.
For me, already the leader of an SME, Wikane has been a revelation. The network embodied everything that fired me up: SMEs, their leaders, high level consultancy and development. But it also included personal contact with the founding director who enjoys such an outstanding reputation in this field. Wikane has both a heart and a DNA.
Wikane is a powerful network, known and recognised, in particular in the market it addresses: SMEs with high potential. The recruitment is very selective with consultants who are very well trained and experienced. What I found reassuring was the strong rapport that fell into place from the start. I wasn’t looking for a network through which to promote myself, I was ‘perhaps’ being lined up to join the Wikane network.
Wikane wasn’t known in Belgium but I straightaway latched onto the concept and its positioning with regard to what SME managers expect: the rapid development of their business. I was convinced that the factors key to Wikane’s success in France were going to be the same as in the Belgium SME marketplace, and I wanted to be the pioneer for its development in my country. After 18 months, I don’t regret it, I am in the midst of creating a highly profitable operation.
What struck me from the start with Wikane was people punching above their weight, their enthusiasm and energy, the positive climate. It is what I have felt at all the subsequent stages: at the initial training, then every month at the CPD or Continuous Professional Development sessions at which one is part of a closely-knit group, with the aim of improvement, of course, but also to experience this in a convivial atmosphere and this contributes to a team spirit amongst consultants. There is a mind-set to win, strongly encouraged by the founding director and even more so by his associate the Olympic champion Edgar Grospiron.
I didn’t want to be the umpteenth consultant specialising in organisations or improving on methods. I was working in a big industrial group and wanted to move on, I knew that I didn’t know anything about SMEs, I needed to learn everything about this market. After a small amount of searching, a network emerged with its exclusive approach, its top-of-the-range positioning, its high status offer: consultant-entrepreneur, I wanted to apply. What convinced me was its reason for being extremely effective: to obtain spectacular results thanks to strategies inspired by using all levers of growth at its disposal. That sentence says it all. We are obviously paid to take companies quickly to success and not halfway there.
During my career I knew very well the franchising system B to C (Business to Consumer), so I was curious to find out what B to B consultancy meant. For me, a franchisee is working alone, a boss at heart, not an employee substitute. I was therefore looking for a brand that would give me a great deal of autonomy and would enable me to succeed faster and better than if I went it alone. I therefore wanted to check that there was a robust programme of actualisation of knowledge and a transferable methodology that was proven and modelled. What actually persuaded me was the honest and above board exchanges in the recruitment phase, I noticed a way of talking straight, without frills, without any fuss, in effect ‘very SME boss-like’, which suited me just fine.
I have been a member of this network practically since it started. What tempted me at the time, over and above the relevance of the concept, was the possibility of being in close contact with the founding director, an affirmed consultant and himself head of an SME. I wanted to be able to progress rapidly and develop in a human-sized structure. The network has grown since but has managed to retain its pioneering and innovative spirit, besides which the founding director is always at hand and operational and I benefit every day from meetings between colleagues.
Personally, I quite simply joined my wife. At the beginning I wondered why she had got into a network, such was the negative image I had of them and their mixed bag reputation. But very quickly, even though I was a specialist in business development, I discovered the strength of a strategic approach when working directly with an owner-manager. You activate all the growth levers, the decisions are immediate, implementation gains in efficiency. This approach changes everything, you are no longer content simply to improve, you take charge of global development. The enterprise quickly rediscovers a higher growth rhythm, blood runs again in their veins, the general climate changes and the boss rediscovers contentment. It is very gratifying for a consultant.
I have been in this network for 8 years. I have seen it grow and I have always enjoyed exchanges with my peers, either by phone or during the training sessions at Annecy. What made me choose Wikane at the time was the powerful statements and the testimony of an old friend who was part of the network. It was a real timesaver, not to have to make pointless mistakes, to benefit from support in a range of matters, built on proven practice in the field. But what has been a determining factor are the fundamentals of Wikane, relayed by its communication process calling on top business people who carry significant credibility and address the ten primary objections generally made to consultants. Thus I was able to sign off rapidly on several jobs and feel relaxed.
Wikane demonstrates at least two strengths in relation to other networks: a ‘human’ size which enables regular group meetings and real exchanges between us on methods, changes in our clients’ markets, etc., and a marked orientation towards strategy, which is above all not simply reserved for big companies, and which I can repeatedly verify that the effects are spectacular on the growth curve of an SME and on its staff. This last aspect corresponds exactly to my last experience of capital investment in SMEs.
There is no equivalent to the added-value Wikane brings to SME managers. The exceptional experience of the network’s founder, Michel Courtois, is an extremely important source of inspiration. The formalisation of this experience in the tools put at our disposal is a competitive advantage for every consultant. In retrospect, the most remarkable thing is the determination to make consultants succeed which brings to life all the work of the founder and the managers of the master franchises.