Since mid 1990's, WSI has facilitated small and medium businesses around the globe in increasing revenues and expand their markets with its lucrative online marketing services. Husam Jandal, Master Licensee for WSI in UAE shares company's future growth plans in the region.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Tell us about the origin and concept of WSI.
Husam Jandal (HJ): We simplify internet or WSI has world’s largest network of Digital Marketing Consultants operating in more than 80 countries internationally and a 100-person strong head office in Toronto, Canada. The company has facilitated several small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) around the globe to drastically increase their revenues and expanded their markets with the lucrative online marketing services since mid 1990’s. It offers advanced digital marketing solutions to suit the needs of businesses from multiple industries. By using innovative digital media technologies and advanced Internet marketing strategies, businesses can have a WSI Digital Marketing System tailored to the individual needs.
NB: What is the USP of the brand?
HJ: Since the inception of the Internet, WSI has been there anticipating and understanding cultural and commerce changes afforded through digital communications – translating advancements in the Internet into practical, revenue-building solutions for businesses. As more businesses begin realising the importance of social media tools and techniques, such as social networking platforms, video marketing and content syndication, WSI is ready to effectively serve their needs with advanced, results-driven digital marketing strategies. WSI Internet franchisees (Digital Marketing Consultants) aim to help businesses elevate their online brand reputation, generate more leads through the Internet, tap into new revenue opportunities and take their profit potentials to higher levels.
NB: How long ‘WSI’ has been present in UAE/Middle East? What were the motivating factors for you to associate with the brand?
HJ: WSI has been in the UAE for more than seven years. I used to work for an oil company as a business consultant and being an avid reader, I read few books about starting own business namely Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad etc. A book called ‘who moved my cheese’ inspired and after six years with the oil company, I realised it was time to change. Wanting to take my capabilities to the next level, I searched for a business that has a good future potential, and also where my experience and background can be utilised to the fullest. I landed on WSI franchise which is a perfect match for any professional, investor, or an entrepreneur, especially those who come from the fields like IT, marketing, management, business, etc.
NB: Kindly elaborate on the nature of the partnership/agreement between your company and WSI?
HJ: I have single unit franchise for WSI Digital Marketing. Also we run the Master franchise license as the brand representative in the UAE.
NB: Being Master Franchisee, do you sub franchise. How many franchisees do you have in UAE at present and do you have any expansion plans for the region at the moment?
HJ: We do not sub franchise. All new franchisees go through head office in Canada. At the moment we have about eight franchisees in the UAE and the company is growing rapidly.
NB: Is there any difference between company’s franchise system in other parts of the world and UAE? What is the scope of Internet Technology franchise industry in Mid-East?
HJ: There is no difference between the franchise systems. It is the same everywhere. Few years back when I started, the demand was very poor. Businesses wanted to be on the interest by just having a website (to stick the address on their business cards). However, in the last two years (since the financial crisis) we noticed tremendous increase on the demand of online marketing, companies moving to digital, and the interest became the focus of marketers, business owners and business leaders. We can always use North America, Japan, and Europe as benchmarks for us here in the middle in almost any field -of course with delay effect. At the moment, online marketing consumes about 40 per cent of total advertising spend in these countries, while in the Middle East is still less than 5 per cent.
NB: Could you share the investment outlay required in terms of space, money and time from the franchisees’ end to partner with the brand in UAE/Mid-East?
HJ: The local license starts at USD 49,700 and we have options for GCC and multinational licenses. At the moment we have eight franchisees in the UAE. Based on the demand of WSI unique expertise, we are looking to increasing our franchise presence in the UAE to 50 franchisees by 2014. At the moment, we receive more than 300 applications monthly and growing rapidly, therefore we have a very strict selection process to make sure that we bring the right franchisees on board.
NB: What are the significant factors that need to be considered before expanding a franchise business in UAE/Mid-East?
HJ: The significant factors to be considered before franchise expansion in the region are demand, industry growth, and availability of suitable franchisee.
NB: What would be your advice for the region’s prospective franchisees seeking partnership with the international brands?
HJ: Franchisee needs to be a complete ‘business in a box’. I looked at the franchise option instead of starting my own business to reduce my risk of failure. 50 per cent of new businesses fail within the first year, and 95 per cent fail within the first five years. That is why acquiring a franchise was the best option. So, make sure that the franchise you are looking for would have a complete support system, top accreditations, good potential for future growth, systems and processes, lead generation programs, marketing and branding resources, and most importantly is to have strong understanding of the local dynamics.