Performance takes on new meaning with Instant Bank Pay for Matt Zina Acting
When you turn on the TV, there’s a good chance you’ll be watching someone Matt Zina has trained. For more than 20 years, he’s been coaching actors on film and TV sets, helping them to nail a dialect or hone their performance.
As principal and coach at Matt Zina Acting, he runs acting classes for adults and young people in Yorkshire, UK. He also has a talent agency and mentoring services.
“Before working with GoCardless, I had some terrible business practices,” he confessed. “I was working on set with high-profile, celebrity clients. But then, for the acting classes, people were coming to me and paying 10 quid into a tin. How professional is that? When you think about it, it’s quite embarrassing.”
If people didn’t show up, they didn’t pay, but Matt’s costs remained the same. He was still hiring venues and preparing the classes.
“My accountant was tearing his hair out because I had a ridiculous system to just keep track of all the money coming in through cash and standing orders, as well as my expenses. He just sat me down and said: ‘Look, you can’t carry on like this.’”
Increased visibility and conversion with bank payments
His accountant suggested GoCardless. It would give Matt the ability to charge recurring subscriptions through direct debits, and to request one-off bank payments through the Instant Bank Pay feature.
Matt was worried he’d find GoCardless complicated and that it would take time to learn how to use it. “The simplicity of GoCardless was just a wonderful, wonderful surprise. It is brilliant!” he said.
His customers were used to throwing money in the tin when they came to the classes. “I expected there to be a big backlash,” he said. “But there was none because it was so simple getting all of my customers onto GoCardless. I just create a link that I can WhatsApp, email or text to customers and they can convert by signing up or making a payment right away.”
In fact, customers prefer it to paying at the class. “Does a customer ever want to pay cash, really? Or do they want to have to worry about whether they've got their card on them?” said Matt.
GoCardless is by far the easiest platform to use both for you and your customer. You save customers a huge amount of time — and accelerate conversions — by enabling them to pay or set up a direct debit with a link, in comparison to finding cash, or setting up and tracking a standing order. It saves business owners so much time, too, with instant visibility over the ins and outs of their bank account.”
Preventing churn and driving growth in turbulent times
Matt switched to using GoCardless just before the Covid-19 pandemic led to a nationwide lockdown in March 2020. “Because my customers had subscriptions, I was able to pivot,” said Matt. Had he still been dependent on people paying at a venue, Matt would have seen his entire customer base churn almost overnight.
Instead, with a solution in place that meant customers could continue to successfully make payments, Matt focused on creating additional value for his subscribers. Online acting classes came first as a substitute for the in-person events, but he started to create tiered products, too. For the best students, he created an academy as a second-tier product. His new top tier was one-to-one mentoring. “People signed up for these services straight away,” said Matt.
He also ran one-off events including masterclasses with celebrities and industry experts. He charged for these using the Instant Bank Pay feature of GoCardless. Instant Bank Pay enables companies to send a payment request, which the customer pays by authorising a payment. It’s typically 25% cheaper than online card transactions, funds land in Matt’s bank account by 5pm the following day, and the process is fast and easy for customers.
“I could just hit customers with a link and get paid for these one-off events,” said Matt. “Instant Bank Pay from GoCardless is the greatest thing I've ever come across in terms of empowering my business. The positive impact it’s had on cash flow gives me the ability to innovate for customers and the freedom to hire teachers and facilities to help my business grow."
My business has grown by 300%. With the backend finances taken care of by GoCardless, I was able to become a better and more creative businessman.”
Simple payments build businesses
Matt’s philosophy is to move from thought to action instantly, to avoid overthinking and procrastination. “As soon as I have an idea for a product or service, bang! GoCardless enables me to set it up,” said Matt. “I write the description of it, create the link, and all that happens within about 10 seconds. I can send an Instant Bank Pay payment link out to all my members within 20 seconds - this has improved cash flow and enabled my business to grow. Very, very quickly you've turned that idea into another business, another product, another service. It's the simplicity that for me, as a businessman, is amazing.”
Increasing prices, improving cash flow
The GoCardless platform has helped Matt to increase his prices. “This was a big moment for me,” said Matt. “GoCardless made it easy to raise my prices by 10%. I explained how much more I was offering for the subscription, and nobody complained. Across all my customers, that made for a massive jump in revenue. And I certainly couldn’t have made that happen without the simplicity and ease of GoCardless.”
“Thanks to GoCardless, I can be more creative while the business has better cash flow and is easier to manage. Being able to send all the financial information to my accountant from GoCardless makes his life easier, and my life easier, too,” concluded Matt.