Because of my move to Brazil we have to change the company, we also had to change how we worked ourselves. And that was just the part of the projects in The Netherlands. To work in Brazil and also extend our business in South America was another thing that was on our list now. We called it an opportunity in stead of a problem. First thing that we need is a good communication between our offices and so a stable internet connection became very important.
In Brazil for me it was going back in time if you talk about internet stability and speed. But hey, i am here so i have to cope with it. I was situated at that time in Santos and over the years i upgraded the broadband from 0,5 til 30 Mbit download… upload stayed always slow, just 1 Mbit. At the moment i did the first upgrade in 2008 to 4 Mbit it became possible for me to work remotely on computers at my office in The Netherlands. We used programs like Remote Desktop from MicroSoft and Remote Desktop from Apple. For these options and also VNC you need to do some action called “port forwarding” in your internet router. A more simple way can be by programs like Splashtop or Teamviewer. We have good experiences with all these programs and online solutions.
From that moment on i could do all administration tasks, like bookkeeping, invoicing and more by logging in from Brazil on our computer in The Netherlands and work on it like i was there. One day a co-worker watched me working from Brazil on the Blue Apple G3 we used for our administration in the Netherlands, making some invoices. he watched the mouse-arrow moving by itself. When i hit the button PRINT in Brazil, the printer in our Dutch office start to print all invoices. VOODOO , it’s VOODOO he screamed :) Another step that we did is the change to digital invoices. We started to send invoices to our clients by an email. Some of them did not like it at first, but most of them agreed. Past years i receive also almost all invoices from our deliverers by email, the rest is scanned at our Dutch office and is uploaded to our server so i can download those. At the moment 99% of all administration and communication in this is done in Brazil. But i also started remotely some webcasts productions in the Netherlands. Our webcast crew had to make it possible that i could acces the live encoder and start the webcast. Pretty handy when we had some jobs at the same time or when a webcast must start early in the morning or at night. Nowadays i even do video edits for clients outside Brazil in our edit suite in Socorro. We upload the footage to our server, i download it to Brazil, edit a great video from it and upload it for preview to the client. The clients love this… i will explain this later.
Like i said before is communication important for us, we were early adapters from Skype. Of course is email our main source of communication, but sometimes you must talk with people. We added a landline number from Brazil to our Brazilian Skype account and suddenly the Brazilian office had phone number. Now i could Skype with our clients and deliverers… if they did not use Skype i could call them by phone… and it was cheap. It worked just great for us. Nowadays we use besides Skype also FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook chat and Twitter to communicate with our clients and deliverers.
For additional communication we sync our agenda’s, first we did this by our own server but nowadays you can achieve this easily by a cloud solution. In this way the both directors but also co-workers can look in each others agenda. In the beginning of 2015 we also started to use Slack to keep track on all our on going productions, by Slack we know about the status of a project. Everybody in our company can add projects and change the status of a project they working on. Besides a desktop version Slack also has apps for Smartphones. For following Leads projects we use another online service called Clinchpad, also here we all can add and change things. All apps that i use on my iPhone to communicate i will explain in another blog post later in this series.
Than we have another thing called “time difference”. It depends the time of year but in the dutch summertime the difference is 5 hours, in the winter time it is 3 hours. Summer and winter time changes happen for us also 4 times a year in stead of 2 times because Europe and Brazil do not change them on the same date, very handy! We go from 5 hours to 4 hours to 3 hours difference, and later in the year vice versa. When i wake up, they have lunchtime in The Netherlands. This can work against you because i always answer late or delayed on emails and such. But for us it just worked out positive by changing the way we are working. I started to begin with my workday a little bit earlier.. mostly at 7 in the morning just to be more in sync with Europe. After the Dutch lunchtime it becomes quiet in my email Inbox and it is all more relaxed to work concentrated on a video-edit or website coding without being disturbed too much. Sometime we just have to inform clients that i am working from Brazil, just to prevent they start calling me at 4 in the morning ;)
Our clients love the time difference, often we record on location in the Netherlands in the morning, after the dutch film crew uploaded the footage i download it. In my ‘quiet afternoon’ i start to do the video-edit in which i upload for the client to view. Because of the difference in time our office is longer “Open”… so when the client opens it’s mail in the morning they find the first video edit preview already there… all within 24 hours after we recorded it.. all because of time difference. And without any extra costs for the client!
As you can read is communication the main thing when it is about running a company in one country while you live in another country. A good and stable internet connection is a must, broadband at the office and 3G/4G on your phone when you are on the road and as backup. But one thing is more important than all i mentioned before is a great partner in which you can trust fully. Because it is all not easy, with a lot of problems to solve. In my case this is the dutch director of Connecting Media Netherlands and co-owner of Connecting Media worldwide Michiel Overeem… thanks mate!
Change yourself …. To turn things in your profit.
Next time i will talk about networking in Brazil.
Connecting Media : website - facebook - twitter
Skype : website
Facetime : website
Microsoft Remote : website
Apple remote Desktop : website
Splashtop : website - facebook - twitter - youtube
Teamviewer website - facebook - twitter - google+
Slack : website - twitter
Clinchpad : website