Entrepreneurial mindset sets Advancy apart, says founder Eric de Bettignies

14 May 2018 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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Almost two decades after the opening of Advancy’s doors for business, founder Eric de Bettignies sat with Consultancy.uk to discuss the secret to the firm’s consistent growth. According to him, an entrepreneurial mindset has not only transformed the prospects of his company – but also provided the business environment with alumni ready and willing to make potentially revolutionary changes.

Last year, the management consulting market of France expanded by 8.5% to €5.9 billion, on the back of growth of the larger firms, but also a number of boutique firms branching out internationally. Among the consultancies to expand beyond France’s borders were Estin & Co and Exton Consulting, who expanded their presence into Germany.

Advancy is another French brand that has set its sights on growth. The boutique strategy consulting firm mainly works for clients in its three sectors of expertise (retail, consumer goods, luxury and entertainment for B2C, chemicals, future mobilities and business services for B2B).

Eric de Bettignies, Founder of Advancy

Within these focused sectors, Advancy provides clients with a comprehensive set of services, ranging from corporate strategy and business unit strategy to marketing, sales and operational efficiency, and accompany ’s investment funds on their transactions endeavours.

When Advancy launched, the firm aimed to embody entrepreneurial spirit within the consulting sector. Two decades later, founder Eric de Bettignies argues that that spirit is still alive and kicking in the company’s DNA. “We had the chance when creating Advancy to instill a specific entrepreneurial spirit amongst our team. To be honest we had to. High level candidates had to be seriously attracted by the will to create something when they were offered to join a 50 square metre / 3 people office. This spirit immediately animated their work with their clients.”

Speaking to Consultancy.uk, de Bettignies says that almost 20 years down the line, Advancy conducted a survey among its alumni members, asking them what they remembered most from Advancy’s approach and culture. The top answer, he confirms, was project impact. Since launching in 1999, over 2,000 assignments across Strategy & Innovation – the firm’s largest service line – and Private Equity, Marketing & Sales, Operations & Supply Chain, Organisation and Restructuring have been delivered. Major clients Advancy has worked for include many blue chips players to a few dozens of hidden champions and champions-to-be.

“We constantly deepen our focused expertise on our sectors. Within these areas, we must be ready to serve clients whatever their needs”. He points out that in feedback received from clients, aside from the quality of services provided, this sectorial expertise always came back as a differentiating element for working with Advancy.

Beyond this, came two more elements out of the comprehensive external study, which he ties to entrepreneurial spirit; these were dynamism of the company and early responsibility. The most popular feedback in this regard was that “Advancy teaches you to think big,” or “Advancy gives you the tools to succeed,” or even that, “Advancy revealed my entrepreneurship.”

This entrepreneurial drive of consultants is rooted deep in their own career as well. After leaving Advancy, around 40% of consultants decided to pursue roles as entrepreneurs themselves, Also, interestingly, the environment they picked to go to saw 40% opt to enter the startup arena, or launch their own business, with 25% of the total alumni population now owning their own company. 35% still decided to turn to a larger company – yet although the data does not fully address this, de Bettignies asserts that he knows many of them have since become ‘intrapreneurs’.

Intrapreneurs – people that work for company but act like entrepreneurs – are disruptive agents inside companies, that strive for innovation and change the business activities beyond their standard remit of business tasks. “Such people dare do things that have the potential to change their environment, wherever they are,” de Bettignies adds.

Advancy’s founder firmly believes that this entrepreneurship DNA has been key for the firm’s growth. He concludes, “The internal entrepreneur mindset is a formidable external entrepreneurship engine. The growth of Advancy, from start to now has seen us expand into eight offices and to a headcount of over 200 consultants worldwide. I am convinced that this follows for a large part from our entrepreneurial desire to perform and to grow.”