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Smart Software for Entrepreneurs Series – #1: Nicolas Lakaye

Blog post on Smart software for Entrepreneurs Series - 1

Software is eating the world (as predicted by Marc Andreesen).  But it’s also making the life of entrepreneurs much easier.  We asked our coworking members to list the top 3 software (or apps) that they could not work without.   No need to be a geek: this series highlights on software that require little or no technical knowledge from users.

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Photo Nicolas Lakaye

First in this series is Nicolas Lakaye who runs a series of businesses across Belgium.  First and foremost, Nicolas heads Neco Energie a company specialized in windows frames (PVC, wood and aluminum), doors and screens.  In addition, Nicolas operates an indoor mini-golf in Oostende, a string of holidays apartments with Neco-Room, real estate developments and even a side-gig trading second-hand cars.  

Last but not least, Nicolas is a founder of SmartWork and is currently developing SmartWork’s upcoming coworking space in Liège.    

 #1:  Koalaboox 

Nicolas Lakaye: “Neco Energie delivers 100+ quotes per month.  I started using Koalaboox a year ago for managing quotes, invoicing and bank reconciliations.  I find this solution amazing: it’s quick, intuitive and all my documents are always accessible in the cloud.  Koalaboox even allows to finance invoices.  Koalaboox is also a Belgian company based in Liège and launched by people I know personally.  So in addition to being a great software, it’s also made by people I trust.”

SmartWork’s take:  Koalaboox is a very handy tool for managing accounting and payments in Belgium.  There are many great “small business” accounting software available on a global scale, but interoperability with Belgian bank accounts often remains a challenge.  Koalaboox – a Belgian company – does a great job at connecting its accounting software with your bank account in the main Belgian banks.  Furthermore, Koalaboox also provides a financing tool that can help you get an invoice paid up right away by their banking partner while leaving your customer with your usual payment term.     

 More information: www.koalaboox.com 

#2 :  Podio  

Nicolas Lakaye: “I did not know what a CRM was before I began to use Podio.  Now I turn to Podio not only to record contacts and leads, but I also discovered many other useful features for managing real estate, marketing, team collaboration and more.  I am using the free version so that’s a great deal”.     

SmartWork’s take:  Podio is the swiss-knife software for many business processes.  It’s affordable, easy to use and provides good integration with other great apps such as Dropbox, Zendesk, Zapier…  

More information: http://www.podio.com/   

 #3 Facebook

 Nicolas Lakaye: “I am not an expert in digital marketing.  But I find Facebook is a great tool for documenting the everyday life of my company, as well as the works and achievement of my team.  When I began in business the most common tool marketing material was the brochure. Today I believe that Facebook can provide a real-time and more lively outlook on product and services offered.” 

 SmartWork’s take:  While there is a certain hype for paid marketing and pro tools on Facebook, we cannot agree more with Nicolas: Facebook is a great tool for staying in touch with your customers, leads, and key partners. A no-nonsense use of Facebook can pay off nicely.      


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