Getting back time – why smart solutions matter for small businesses

digital evolution, tech

Most small-business owners get into business because of passion and love for their craft, but most will agree they didn’t start their business to spend their time doing basic administration work such as filing documents and chasing payments. For many business owners like these, day-to-day admin tasks could be dealt with automatically via a digital solution – giving them enough time back in their day to focus on what really matters – from core business growth all the way through to spending more time with friends and family.

According to Elise Balsillie – who leads the all-in-one business management software company Thryv Australia – nearly half of all small-business owners polled would welcome a digital software solution to support their operations, with six out of 10 understanding that being digitally savvy is key to moving their business forward. She has seen those who do make the transition use that momentum to grow, putting branding on their cars or moving into a factory and hiring staff. For Balsillie, there’s immense satisfaction in being able to play a part in the success story of these small businesses through providing robust digital tools and assisting in the onboarding journey. It’s these tools that bring back time in the day for business owners, allowing them to recover their original passion for their work.

“I think today more than ever, communicating with customers has become more complex,” says Balsillie. “It’s no longer just over the telephone, they’re getting emails and WhatsApp messages, they’re getting posting support and ratings and reviews online. Just managing all of that general communication with customers and potential customers is very time consuming. They’re now needing to look at solutions about accepting and embracing technology, from appointment setting down to managing estimates, invoicing and quoting – because their time is incredibly precious.”

That sense of having their own time is something that business owners and consumers alike have in common. Consumers’ expectations have changed since the advent of COVID-19, and many now tend to demand services immediately – which includes receiving estimates and quotes in a timely manner. Most small-business owners know that if they’re not able to meet those basic requirements, this issue will probably cost them opportunities, with so many other businesses able to be far more responsive.

“For a lot of our customers, things like getting paid is such a pain point,” explains Balsillie. “They send out invoices, but even having to follow up and remind people to pay those invoices is incredibly time consuming, let alone finding new customers and knowing where to find them. So, I think there are so many ways that embracing technology can really help a small-business owner.”

By way of example, Thryv client Breakwater Kitchens is a longstanding Australian kitchen renovation business that has just undergone a process of digital transformation, prompted by recent owner David Webb noticing the sheer volume of admin work involved in running the business. Breakwater had previously booked all appointments over the phone using a pen and paper to capture clients’ details (resulting in inaccurate data, missed and late appointments), but now uses Thryv’s digital solution to allow clients to input their own information into their job sheets, ensuring 100 per cent accuracy. Their clients receive a reminder that Breakwater is coming out to see them, and the office and admin staff no longer need to follow up. 

“By using Thryv, Breakwater has saved time on manual tasks within the business and significantly increased productivity,” says Balsillie. “The increase in productivity has improved the client experience that they’re delivering to customers, and they’ve also seen a measurable uplift in sales within the business, because they can spend more time on tasks that generate money rather than admin tasks in the background.”

Like most small businesses in Australia, Breakwater Kitchens knew that spending great lengths of time on manual tasks that could be automated, rather than on tasks that directly generate money, has a great impact on business. Digital platforms such as Thryv now support small business owners in delivering service to their clients – from acquiring new business to managing relationships with existing clients. These solutions are not only helping small businesses get paid, they’re ultimately helping them get credit and positive reviews for the amazing work that they do. Platforms like Thryv alleviate the pressures of business administration by digitising tasks that are keeping small-business owners up at night and bringing back the passion.

For more information about Thryv, check out