Interview with Frederic Foschiani

Following a graduation in a French law university in 1987, Frederic Foschiani began his career at American Express, serving as Operations Manager, Risk Manager and finally Head of global projects. In 1999, he joined GE Money Bank, taking the lead of the internet activity launch in France. Serving as Internet Leader for France, he took the European Internet leadership for the Mortgages activity from 2003 to 2009. In 2009, he joined a french insurance company as member of the board and Director of the Internet and Direct Business Unit. In 2010, he founded QSN-DigiTal and became a recognized conference speaker and teacher in High schools about eReputation and personal branding.

When did you decide that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

Sometimes, it's frustrating when new ideas that could drive innovation breaktrough are not apply especially when you finally discover that a competitor took the risk and succeeded. When you trust on your ideas and you can prove with benchmark and figures that you are on the right direction, you definitely want to take the lead on your own. It took some time but it finally became obvious last year, that based on my previous responsibilities and experience, it was time to achieve a new step, and try a new challenge.

How did you know your business idea was the right idea?

Leading an internet activity for years, I faced some cycles and crisis followed by new business models and changing trends building new consumer expectations and behaviour. With internet it's faster. The usual marketing approach that we know online is efficient: search, affiliation, seo,etc... But the ROI of some e-marketing channels is no longer so obvious. We discover new medias, new technologies and new behaviours that brands must have to deal with. The online positionning of a brand could no longer be the same. I was convinced that e-marketing should evolve based on customers behaviors. And where are they know? On social medias! They express themselves, they generate content, they want to collaborate online with brands. More and more crisis situation encountered by some companies came from social medias. And today, companies are not really aware about what happens on social media and what are the impact for their eReputation. Marketing and Communications Departments are not trained or don't have human resources to manage these new channels and the eReputation. Furthermore, small businesses are concerned as well. Most of them could not afford a usual online marketing campaign too expensive, and a social media strategy is a way to build an eReputation and a link with prospects or customers at a very interesting cost.

What does “QSN-DigiTal” stand for ?

Originally, “Q” codes were used as Morse codes to reduce length of words and sentences.
“QSN” means “Did you hear me?” So, “QSN-DigiTal” is revamping of the original Morse code applied to digital and new medias.

What was the most difficult part in getting started?

Obviously, acquiring clients. The interest of ereputation and social media strategy is not obvious for everyone. It's the reason why I decided to extend my offer with training and educational sessions on those subjects. Boards, HR, Marketing and Communication head of, need to be educated and are more receptive following a training. So, I take all opportunities to attend and participate as a Speaker on any marketing, communication, HR or internet conference.

What is the top skill (or skills) needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Being multi-tasks: marketing, communication, business development, management, networking, speaker, event organizer, accounting, legal, follow up on new trends and...keep sometime for you and your family.

What motivates you and/or keeps you motivated?

There's no word to express how you feel satisfied in building your own work. Everyday is challenging and motivating. It's like a daily brainstorming everyday. You are forced to think out of the box which is, on a personal side, really positive.

What do you think is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

The answer is in the question! You are in charge. Even if in my previous roles I had responsibilities, you still have to report to someone and you don't always have the final cut. As well, working for someone else, you could disagree with decisions, strategy or personal management behaviour and anyone could open the umbrella. Being an entrepreneur, there's no umbrella. You make your choices, right or wrong, but it's always your decision.

What has been one of your failures, and what have you learned from it?

I was too confident about my professional network but I quickly be disappointed about how my existing contacts didn't react as expected. It was surprising but important to discover how a network must be managed permanently and always trying to make new contacts.

Vince Lombardi once said “We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

If you are not on the same base, you can't be an entrepreneur. If you don't try something, you definitely have no chance to achieve it. You have to take so many decisions and sometime you will not make the good one. But next time, you are sure that you will not make the mistake twice.

Michael Dell once said “There are a lot of things that go into creating success. I don't like to do just the things I like to do. I like to do things that cause the company to succeed. I don't spend a lot of time doing my favorite activities.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

Just take the example of administrative tasks. It's boring and mandatory. But it's part of the job and finally you are satisfied when you did it because it means that you achieved a step and you can move forward.

Henry Ford once said “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

I have no regrets about any decision I took or decision decided for me. I really think that there is always a good reason when something happens even when it's not positive. In this way, I take the failure as a positive opportunity to react in a different and better way.

What was the most crucial thing you have done to grow your business?

Building contacts and efficient relationship/partnership with other entrepreneurs. You can't do everything alone. I built strong partnerships with other entrepreneurs. All together, we are complementary and we are able to offer more global services if needed. Moreover, everyone can bring new clients to others. It's a way to accelerate our business.

What advice would you give an entrepreneur who is just starting out?

Networking is the key word. Take all opportunities to build new contacts using Social networks online and off line events like conference, club, lunch party, cocktails. Using online social networks is key to identify potentials and influencers. But it should not stay online. You have to create the opportunity to meet people in the “real life”. You will encounter interesting people who are motivated as you are to create links, share ideas and find professional opportunities.

Company Description:

QSN-DigiTal is a digital marketing agency providing best in class and innovative services on e-Reputation consulting, monitoring and management; social medias strategy; community management; training and conferences.
Our clients are multinationals, SMB, start-up, self-employed, high-schools,...


Twitter: @ffoschiani / @qsndigital
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