Imagine the disappointment of having to walk away from blue-chip clients, not because you can’t supply them what they need but because you simply can’t work with their payment terms. It’s a perverse situation where you turn down lucrative work because it’s too risky for your business.
Imagine the opposite feeling if suddenly you’re able to return to those clients, give them the terms they want, while at the same time getting the terms you need.
Invisible Artists is a team of creative designers and animators who create high-end video and animation for leading brands. Dan Day set up Invisible Artists in Sydney during 2011. While Dan always had an ambition to start his own business, it happened almost fortuitously.
“I was working at an advertising agency and doing a bit of freelance work in my spare time,” tells Dan. “At the time my sister worked in marketing at the Sydney Opera House. The commercials they were producing weren’t great and I knew I could do better. So I did some edits and produced a few commercials. From there I got more work and more clients and before I knew it I had too much work. I now needed help so I set up Invisible Artists and in five years it’s grown from me and a desk to twenty-five people around the world.”
Since forming, Invisible Artists has worked with some big-name clients. However, Dan is quick to point out that he doesn’t chase big names, “I aim to work with good people, both clients and suppliers – one doesn’t exist without the other.”
From an early stage Dan knew he needed to grow the business. But growth brings its own challenges. Dan explains, “The first worry is cash flow. We have to look after our suppliers and pay them on time or they’ll stop working with us, and having the cash to find and recruit key people is vital. URICA helps both our cash flow and working capital by giving us the confidence that we have cash in the bank to pay people.
“Also, before URICA we lost clients because we couldn’t accommodate their payment terms – they were too long. URICA has meant we’ve revisited those clients to tell them we can now give them the terms they want. It’s just a better way to get paid, up and down the supply chain.”
“…Before URICA we lost clients because we couldn’t accommodate their payment terms – they were too long…”
Dan discovered URICA when he heard Lord Digby Jones speaking at an event and felt that URICA could make a difference to Invisible Artists. “URICA allows us to buy time, and that makes a huge difference,” he says. “We can now plan projects more strategically, chasing unpaid invoices consumes time and stops you moving forward.
“Before I came across URICA I looked into factoring. Lloyds approved us but then I discovered it was going to take someone six hours a day to manage it. URICA is great; there’s no contract and we can use it as little or as often as we want. With Lloyds it was all or nothing and the technology was archaic. URICA has easy-to-use software, it’s simple to log in, the communication is great, and the customer service is excellent. It’s the perfect package.”
So what does the future look like for Invisible Artists? Dan explains, “I can see us moving to a subscription model, making us more agile and mobile. Old and new methods will coexist though, and we’ll still need a presence in local markets with people we can trust. I also expect the way customers interact with their supply chains to change dramatically.
“…It’s just what we need…”
“URICA fits the subscription model perfectly as we can switch it on and off as we feel necessary. It’s just what we need.”
Dan also sees big opportunities for Invisible Artists in China. “There’s an opportunity for us to fit in to the Chinese economy and sell western quality to eastern markets. From our base in Singapore we’re well-placed to maximise this opportunity.
“URICA helps. Chinese payment terms are different to western terms: ninety days after the finished job. By getting paid immediately while still offering Chinese clients ninety days we can be a success in China. I’m excited about going into China with URICA as our partner.
“URICA is a real game-changer.”