Each month, we interview a WSI franchise owner from the expanded global WSI family. This month, we introduce Nicky and Peter Mckenna, the husband-and-wife team who lead WSI Digital Advisors in London.
Tell me a little about yourself, and where you are located?
Peter: I am from Ireland originally, and I now live in Chiswick in West London.
Nicky: I am English. We got married three years ago and we have four grown-up children between us.
Why did you want to become an Internet consultant and join WSI?
Nicky: I was consulting in retail, and when the pandemic hit, my projects were all put on hold. After a couple of months, I found that no one was kicking off any projects other than digital ones. Peter had been made redundant from his job too. Given his experience in eCommerce and mine in MultiChannel trading, we thought Digital Marketing was a good fit for us. We looked up how to set up on our own, but when we heard about WSI, we felt that the franchise model gave us a great head start: established brand, established process, and a pre-approved supplier base.
What’s the biggest value that you get from WSI?
Peter: The network: the skills and experiences of the people and organizations are incredible - plus the ability to own my schedule and to work when it suits me.
What job/business were you in before you started your WSI business?
Peter: I was the CEO of a watch firm (Rotary Watches), and before that, I spent 20 years as an executive in the online space.
Nicky: I was a Buying and Merchandising Director in Multi-Channel, Multi-product Retail. My most notable role was Chief Commercial Officer at The White Company.
Tell us about anyone who helped influence you into starting your own business.
Peter: There is no single influence; life experiences in general and the disruption of the business environment caused by the pandemic. We mainly wanted to be in control of our own destiny.
How long have you been with WSI?
Nicky: We signed up in November 2020 and went live in January 2021.
Describe your typical work week.
Nicky: I like to keep Monday as my “admin day” – I set up our Social Media, write any blogs, set up any reports required by Home Office – basically make sure we are set up for the week. Tuesday to Thursday is a mix of prospecting and project delivery, depending on what we have on. I try to keep Friday free of meetings so that we can catch up if it has been a big week, or have some flexi-time if it’s quieter.
We are still growing the business, so we are both prospecting, networking and selling. Depending on the client and their requirements, we will decide who is the most natural fit to take the account management lead. Our roles are evolving, and we are confident they will develop further as we get more clients.
We are still getting used to being able to juggle our time – we are working just as hard as we did in our previous lives, but it is great to be able to choose when and where you work.
What highlights have you had since being with WSI?
Peter: There is no one huge highlight - winning business, losing business, meeting inspirational people, and learning new ideas.
Nicky: For me, it was the first time we converted a strategy piece into an ongoing business. We really felt that we had won trust from the client.
What are the biggest obstacles that you have faced in running your business, and how have you dealt with them?
Nicky: Setting up a new business during a pandemic - there is no “normal” to refer to. The advice from the network has been invaluable in helping us to see what we should be focusing on.
What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your business?
Peter: I have been a customer of businesses like WSI for 20 years, so I have a sound knowledge of strategy and a degree of empathy.
Nicky: As a consultant previously, I am good at research, understanding pain points, and gathering solution ideas. I have really enjoyed the Digital Strategy work that we have won.
As Peter says, coming from commercial backgrounds, we know what it feels like to be a business leader under pressure and are able to empathize.
What goals do you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
Peter: To further improve my work-life balance.
Nicky: We are focused on getting new clients signed up to ongoing services so that our sales are steadier and we are not so financially affected by projects starting and ending. Hopefully, we will be getting referrals by then too.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Nicky: As Top Guns!
What advice would you give a new WSI Internet Consultant?
Nicky: There are a couple of things I would say :
- What is different about WSI Internet Consultants vs. most Digital Marketing companies is that they have industry backgrounds. Leverage that, combined with the WSI resources, and you will be off to a solid start.
- It takes time to establish a steady client base. Make sure you have a robust business plan, and use the goal setting and results in process and the Quick Start Program(QSP) sessions as a guide to how you are doing.
What would be your personal motto?
Peter: Keep it real. Make sure everybody wins in any deal or relationship.
If we went to happy hour, what would you order?
Peter: A pint of Guinness
Nicky: A Bacardi and Coke (unless they are offering bottles of wine at happy hour!)
If you could be anywhere other than here talking to me - right this minute, where would you be?
Peter: No place is better than this, but failing that, the golf course. We miss seeing people and places and can’t wait until we can travel freely again, so we are looking forward to that.