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Get paid on time. Let the tool do the work

Get paid on time. Let the tool do the work

Learning to use a handsaw when I was young my Dad would tell me not to strain the tool. He would preach “let the saw do the cutting”. He was right. Technique was more efficient than effort but I always wondered what was in that box labelled ‘Makita Circular Saw’. The same can be said for managing invoices and overdue debtor accounts. Absolutely there’s a time to use the art of relationship management or exercise discretion but for this business chore sometimes technology is simply easier, more efficient and even enjoyable.   Take Promptly for example, a Xero Add-on which uses discounts to encourage customers to pay their invoices on time. Promptly makes it easy to display discounts on Xero invoices and automatically applies a credit note when they are paid early. It kicks late payments to the curb and the reconciliation is clean and easy.   Then there’s Debtor Daddy, a wonderfully simple Xero Add-on whose mission in life is to automatically chase your unpaid invoices. If calling in your overdue accounts is painful, awkward and time consuming then Debtor Daddy is for you. Humorous and personable in it’s hunt for payments, this application is serious when it says it can reduce your debtors by up to 60% in a matter of weeks.   Lastly for those businesses that invoice regular amounts, memberships, subscriptions or monthly fees it’s worth looking at Ezidebit. This online Direct Debit platform is a powerful alternative to automatic payments. It creates professional engagement with customers and puts you in charge payments.   Here are the tools, now go forth and get paid! Written by Alike member – Josh Ambler from Alt Shift....
New Business: You won’t know until you know.

New Business: You won’t know until you know.

I have been running Alike now for 2 years. Over this time, I have seen lots of freelancers and businesses come and go as members. The reasons they come on are generally the same – they want space to work from, with flexible terms, no investment and a community to be a part of. However the reasons they move on vary. Some outgrow the space as their companies grow and they build long term confidence in their business and become ready to commit resources to their own office – a great position to be in. Some change course and move towns, countries or industries – an appropriate move. Yet, some are starting new businesses for the first time which end up not growing as planned and have to either step down to a virtual office solution or stop the company all together. This is not a situation anyone wants to be in yet becomes the reality for some and hard decisions need to be made. I want to make myself perfectly clear when I say that there is NO SHAME in stepping down! The reasons companies don’t grow as planned or go backwards in growth are various. Going out on your own for the first time is not easy and expected growth can simply not go as expected – no matter how much hard work you put in. What I respect are people taking on a challenge and really giving it a go. They learn a lot about themselves and business in the process. As I have, being a part of their journeys. There is only so much research you can do before taking...
My Shared Space Startup. Chapter 3.

My Shared Space Startup. Chapter 3.

Broke, Tired and Frustrated. Over those next few months I started contemplating drastic changes. The word from a friend in the film business in LA was I would need 10 years experience just to get my foot in the door – my one year on The Hobbit didn’t cut it. So the plan then became to get more experience in New Zealand and save my pennies for the shift. I found myself back on the harsh grind of hunting work from tiny Auckland studios that barely had enough for themselves, let alone a spot to be filled. I couldn’t believe I was back where I was before the year in Wellington – scrapping together coins for dinner and having arguments with young film directors on what I thought my value was worth. I remember feeling a fraction of doubt. It was the first time I was starting to ask myself, is it really all worth it? It was time for a change. What I didn’t realise was that this frustration was leading me to make a really positive change in my direction and in hindsight it was a really good thing. The lesson – let your frustration with a situation be the fuel to make a change. You will find you move closer to what it is you really want. Cheers, Ché....
Building a website: DIY or Outsource?

Building a website: DIY or Outsource?

I have found that you need to ask yourself the same set of questions when choosing between DIY or outsourcing – whether its building a website or making a piece of furniture. I built the new website for Alike myself. Not completely, as I have had outsourced specific help from a couple of friends with coding tweaks, specific design elements, illustration and photography. Yet, the overall design and build I did on WordPress. A year ago I knew nothing about building websites and now I know quite a bit. Well…more than I did:) When deciding whether to DIY or outsource the second website, I chose DIY for these reasons: 1. I like technology. Sounds simple but in my experience, learning something new is much easier if your interested in it. Sometimes it can be easy to forget the simple things. 2. Higher level of control. After completely outsourcing the build of the first website, I realised I am pretty particular with design and other designers don’t really like that. This can lead to some difficult conversations and ultimately paying extra for changes. 3. Expected continual change. Website builders generally offer package builds. After they work out what you want, they will suggest a package price to complete it. If you change your mind with what you want during or after the build process, it is most likely going to cost you extra because they will have to spend more time changing things. The catch, is that businesses evolve as new things are learnt about customers, products and/or the business environment and a website will therefore need to adapt to...
My Shared Space Startup. Chapter 2

My Shared Space Startup. Chapter 2

Before settling on a career as an entrepreneur I had a dream of being the worlds best sound designer. I was incredibly fortunate to score a trainee job working on The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey in Wellington. It was hard enough getting a leg in the door ,yet that was nothing compared to what lay ahead. At the time, that year became the gnarliest work year of my life. The weekly hours started at 55 and sometimes hit 100. The intensity during that time was 100% and trust me, they do not take lightly to people making mistakes. They had the success of the Lord of The Rings to live up to and there was no way Peter Jackson would accept anything less than ground breaking. I managed to make it through to the end of the film through hard work, determination and a relentless pride to prove that I had what it took. Then I received my first real world lesson in business. Due the nature of the film industry, (everyone is a contractor) the work I put in on film 1 of the trilogy didn’t guarantee me a spot on film 2. At the end of the summer of 2012/13 I received the call to say that I wouldn’t be coming onto film 2 and that the spot was given to another assistant who had roughly 5 years more experience than me, but would be relatively on the same money as me. I was completely guttered. Yet, how could I argue with that? From a business perspective, why would you pay one guy x amount when...
My Shared Space Startup. Chapter 1.

My Shared Space Startup. Chapter 1.

If you asked me what I wanted to do with my life 2 years ago I would have said I wanted to be a Sound Designer. A startup was way down the list. I certainly wouldn’t have told you I wanted to start a Shared Space. I didn’t know what a Shared Space was. I had never heard of one. Over the next few months I’d like to share my story, in the hopes it might help you to navigate a new career direction, or even begin a Start-Up. I am told I am now at the very front-end of being a young Kiwi entrepreneur having started my company Alike.co.nz from scratch, with absolutely no experience or business acumen to now having expansion plans for here in Auckland and eventually other markets. But first I’ll let you know about my trials and tribulation, an exercise obsession, the complete avoidance of dating and the anxiety of being out there in business virtually on your own, with no one to catch you if you fall. I hope you can join me on this journey, I hope my story will provide you with ideas and inspiration to have a go, jump in, stretch out your shoulders and grow a business. Cheers, Ché....