For more than 20 years, Tariq Hussain has put everything into his Melbourne window tinting business, My Dream Windows. But missing his kids’ sports games with his head buried in invoicing put Tariq’s work/life balance into perspective.
When Tariq Hussain started My Dream Windows in 2001, he was building his dream home.
“I was building my house – I went through a lot of different energy-saving options and saw this,” he tells Kochie’s Business Builders. “Straight away I wanted to get into it.”
Tariq had previously worked for Coles Group in international logistics and supply chains, but found himself drawn to learning more about window tinting, frosting and safety.
“In an average household in Australia approximately 60-70 per cent of energy actually flies out through windows,” he says. “You need to do something to make that more efficient, and the solution is energy-efficient window films, which can actually stop the heat from escaping or even stop the heat from entering.”
With a staff of five, Tariq has made My Dream Windows a leading home and office window tinting service with a focus on improving the sustainability and durability of residential and commercial spaces.
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The trouble is, work was taking over his family life
Like a lot of small business owners juggling the demands of family life, Tariq found himself so swamped in business admin he was missing out on spending time with his kids, aged 16 and 12.
“They have their sports, and I didn’t have the time [to go] because on Saturday I’d just be sitting and going through these invoices and quotations,” he says.
Tariq realised that most of the business’ processes were done manually, from taking customer notes in a notepad to window measurements to creating spreadsheets to work out the size of the job and price of the invoice.
“There was no time for me to actually follow up with the client to see if they want to go ahead and move forward,” he says. “If they wanted to move forward they’d send the deposit then that’s how we’d know, OK we had another job. So that’s how the business was running. It was a lot of work, but not much streamlining of process.”
Two months ago, Tariq decided to review his business processes
It was Operation: Streamline. So, Tariq took on board a recommendation to try a new-to-Australia small business software platform called Thryv. Thryv provides more than 45,000 businesses globally with a platform to help automate business operations, including time-saving tools for everything from invoicing to CRM (customer relationship management), all integrated into one dashboard.
In just two months of using the platform, Tariq says he’s already saved “at least three hours” from his daily admin tasks. That’s less time spent in spreadsheets, sending customer invoices, quotes and reminders, and managing social media and search marketing.
“It’s like a personal secretary working for me 24/7; that’s how I look at it,” he says. “The whole thing is in one platform rather than 20 different platforms. The process is very simple right now.”
It’s not only changed the size of Tariq’s daily grind, but his customer’s experience too.
“When I see the client, all the measurements are not written into a notebook anymore. There’s a notes section in Thryv, that’s where I write all of the information,” he says. “At the end of the day I just figure out what’s the size of the windows and then we have all of the products stored in Thryv with the current pricing. It’s like product management for me. I just open it up, select the client, select the product, quantity, price, terms and conditions – everything is there. All I have to do is click Send.”
‘My Google reviews have doubled’
Thryv’s Google Review Link Generator is a key feature that’s making a major difference for My Dream Windows.
“In the past, every time we did a job I’d call and I would say, ‘I’d be grateful if you could leave a Google review’. Every time they’d say, ‘Yeah, of course’, but 99 per cent of the time they don’t because they don’t have the time to go into Google, find my business and leave a review,” Tariq explains.
“Now, after the project is finished, two or three days later I’m sending an automated message to all the jobs that we’ve done, they receive it with a link so instead of searching for the business, they just click in the link and it takes them to my page and they can leave a review.
“I just started it a couple of weeks ago – 10 review requests went out, five of them left a review. It’s more than doubled. It’s successful, I can tell you that.”
A window to more family time
Unquestionably the greatest benefit from using Thryv’s tools has been the amount of family time Tariq has managed to find.
“I don’t have to worry about finding other work. So I’m spending a lot more time with the family,” he says. “And the productivity – I’m looking for new ideas because it’s got a social media platform – that’s another bonus. I just spent two hours and I’ve done two months’ worth of work. Every alternate day I have something getting published on Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”
Tariq is quick to point out that he didn’t feel alone in the process of changing his business operations, too.
“You have to take it seriously – if I signed up for it and I wasn’t serious about it or thought it was too difficult, it’s not gonna work,” he says. “You have to try. There’s training available, and the people who work for Thryv are just fantastic. Every time there’s an issue, it doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, you can actually call and speak to someone. If you don’t understand something you can book in a Zoom meeting and they go through it with you.”
To any other small business owners looking to make more time for family and spend less time on manual admin, Tariq has one key piece of advice.
“My advice would be to seriously consider simplifying business processes. I was so used to it that I never thought this can be actually improved,” he says. “Have an open mind and try different things to make life more simplified.”
Find out more about My Dream Windows here.
For info on how Thryv can help your small business, head to thryv.com.au to sign up for your free demo.
This article is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with Thryv.
Feature image: Supplied.