13/06/2013 - 14:29

Alyka crosses the digital divide

13/06/2013 - 14:29


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Alyka crosses the digital divide
FULL SERVICE: Alyka directors Douglas Lim (left), Bernard Chia, Michelle Kember, and Zion Ong at their digital agency. Photo: Bohdan Warchomij

The founders of digital agency Alyka have grown their business from a partnership of three to an operation with 26 staff and dozens of corporate and government clients in just five years.

Alyka started out in 2008 with three partners: Bernard Chia, who started designing websites in his teens; Douglas Lim, who honed his technical skills working with Honeywell and Motorola; and Zion Ong, who began his career as a bank manager before focusing on client management and sales.

They created Alyka as a full-service agency, providing custom webpage designs, software developments and online marketing services, having become frustrated by what they saw as an absence in the Perth market of tailored, cutting-edge digital solutions.

In Alyka's first year, the business operated from sub-leased desks in a small architectural firm that shared its office with three other businesses, putting in long hours and heavily discounting its web designs and digital services to start a client base.

Alyka joined small complementary businesses, such as marketing firms without a digital focus, accountants and business planners to form a network of like-minded entrepreneurs who could assist each other grow.

After putting more than 300 hours into its pitch, and at its 10th attempt, Alyka won its first large government tender in 2009 – for the City of Rockingham.

In 2010, Michelle Kember joined the management team, with her public-sector experience helping with tenders for large, complex, local, state and federal web development projects.

Alyka has pursued a diverse business development plan over the years, drawing on seven different marketing and business development strategies –up-selling existing clients, encouraging word-of-mouth referrals, nurturing existing contacts' networks to identify new potential clients, working in partnerships, networking, through to traditional and digital marketing.

Rather than enforcing a nine-to-five workplace routine, Alyka management makes its team accountable for their work through a scheduling system that tracks all work requirements, billing, deadlines, monitoring and reporting, and future needs.

This flexible approach runs on the cloud and automatically triggers notices to help account managers stay on budget and keep cash flow strong.

A lot of time is spent ensuring the business has a healthy cash flow, assisted by organising a strong billing cycle, and paying suppliers on time to foster strong relationships.

Staff training sessions are held weekly to ensure Alyka can offer clients new technologies and the right advice in a rapidly advancing technological environment.


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