[00:00:05] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.
This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.
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Gordon Henry is the Chief Strategy Officer at Thryv. He also hosts the Winning On Main Street small business podcast series. Gordon is passionate about helping small businesses grow, modernize, and thrive in today's evolving environment.
Gordon has over 25 years of experience in client acquisition strategies and marketing. He's also a leader in enhancing company images through public relations, brand management, and advertising.
Gordon received his bachelor of arts from Yale University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Thryv owns the easy-to-use Thryv end-to-end customer experience software built for growing small to medium-sized businesses that helps over 40,000 SAAS clients with the daily demands of running a business. Thryv's award-winning platform provides modernized business functions, allowing small to medium-sized businesses reach more customers, stay organized, get paid faster, and generate reviews.
These functions include building a digital customer database, automated marketing through email and text, updated business listings across the internet, online appointment, scheduling, sending notifications and reminders, manage ratings and reviews, generating estimates and invoices, and payment processing thrive delivers business services to more than 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses worldwide that enable these businesses to compete and win in today's economy.
Welcome to the Sell My Business podcast.
I am absolutely delighted to have a guest who is going to talk about probably one of the most sensitive points for business owners, and that is, does your business run without you? And even if it does. Are you automating? Are you making it as efficient and as profitable? But I'm getting ahead of myself.
So, first Gordon, welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast.
Really appreciate you coming out and spending some time with us. You're successful. We'll talk all about Thryv, your background, what you've done, where you're heading. It's a success story through and through, but there's always a story behind the story Gordon, and I would love to hear what's your story behind the story? How did you get to where you are today?
[00:03:51] Gordon Henry: First of all, thank you. It's great to be here. And I'm excited to share a little bit about what we do with your listeners. The story behind the story. I started off my career back in the 1990s, I was working for a well-known direct marketer called Columbia House.
They used to sell records and tapes. If you were in college, you probably got your first, 10 CDs for a penny. And it really got my juices going this whole idea of business in general and particular selling a product and being able to test it through direct marketing where you got this sort of instant feedback about what, what was working because you would put them on an offer in the marketplace that would be the workers. Resonate or it didn't. I later moved to a company called Yellow Book, which was a sort of disruptive player in the yellow page industry. Yellow pages industry had really been controlled by the phone companies, monopoly businesses, and yellow book was a sort of upstart challenger.
And we applied some of those direct marketing thoughts and skills to what we were doing in terms of how to reach customers, small business customers in the market. And the other thing we really got needed to. to think about to this day is just how to provide value to customers in a way that allows you to compete or out-compete what sometimes is a bigger competitor. We were going up against phone companies. They were a monopoly. But we took advantage of the fact that they had gotten very aggressive with their pricing to come along with a product that was really a better value for the money.
And that was how we ended up taking away a lot of market share. And we brought that thinking as well as much of our whole team to Thryv and approaching our software business. That's the story behind the story is really having some great experiences with companies that were doing things in innovative in different ways.
[00:05:32] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. That's fascinating. Before we talk about Thryv because that's where we're going to be focusing on and what you do when the automation and really why every business owner needs a Thryv to get out there and make that difference. Let's circle back though, to your background in marketing, because if most business owners are really honest with themselves, they’re saying no to these two questions.
The first question I already asked does your business run without you, even if you have a management team. For most business owners it's no. And then when you go on to ask are you hitting it out of the park from a marketing side of things, which is also an elegant way of saying how are your sales doing as well?
It's usually a no as well. You've been successful on the marketing side. What would you say to those business owners who are saying, you know what? I am the world's best-kept secret. I have the world's best product or the world's best service, but no one knows about me.
What would be some in the trenches experiences or strategies that have worked for you, Gordon, that you can share with our community?
[00:06:30] Gordon Henry: Yeah. I'd start with, listen to your customer. You can never go wrong paying attention to your customers and really asking them, what do you like about what we offer and what don't you like about what we offer? And what do you want to see different or change? It's amazing to me, how many small and big especially big businesses, don't really listen to their customers.
The executives stay away in their ivory tower or they read reports. You really have to be in touch with your customers and ask them and try to dig a little bit, as the customer doesn't want your product, often, they say it's too expensive. What does that really mean?
What it means is they don't see the value in that. You'll have to dig and understand what is it that you could be doing differently. The second thing is communication, and we hear that word all the time. I'll give you an example. I've recently moved into a new house and, you move into a new house you need all sorts of things. You need services. One of the things we needed was all sorts of electrical services. Hanging chandeliers, wiring, things like that. And there was a company that had been providing electrical services to the previous owner. So, we used them. And while the guy's team is good at actual work, he's really not good at communicating. He doesn't answer emails.
He doesn't answer texts. He doesn't call you back. You ask him, can you come this week? And he doesn't answer. And if he does answer, he says now. When can you come? I'll let you know. The communication flow is extremely difficult. And I find that with many small businesses. That is probably the Achilles heel, I think small businesses where they don't do as well as big businesses in terms of just that constant communication flow. And a lot of that can be solved with automation.
You know too many small businesses, get the communication, it just sits on their desk. But if you automate the way you communicate, and we can go into what that means. You can really improve the business and lead to, I think, ultimately a much better customer experience, again, buzz word, but what you do hanging the chandelier is just a small piece of the overall customer experience.
Getting you to show up at my house and what you look like, act like how you show up when you're there, and then what you do after you leave is also a very big piece of the customer experience that you said, you know, nobody knows me. Maybe they tried you and you never got back to them. Maybe you came once and then you never asked them was it a good experience. Maybe you never came to the follow-up that was anticipated. And there's a lot of things that people expect you to do. And if you don't have a way of handling that, it can be a really bad experience and people will just not come to you.
[00:08:50] Jeffrey Feldberg: By the way, as a quick aside, you've got to really tell us how you really feel about this electrician. Don't hold back on us. When you talk about customer experience and how automation plays into that, and I'd like to talk more about that, but taking a step back for just a moment and for our listeners what we're going to be talking about is on our nine-step roadmap.
Step number two is X-Factors that insanely increase the value of your business. One of those things could be culture. And part of your culture is you are just insanely quick in getting back to people or you're courteous or you're consistent, or your customer experience is an X-Factor.
And even something else that we would call a Rembrandt. Sometimes the Rembrandt is hidden in the attic and we bring it out for public display. But those X-Factors and those Rembrandts and we'll talk about how automation can help you achieve that. That's going to do two things. Number one, it increases deal certainty, but it also increases your enterprise value the value of your business.
So, Gordon why don't you talk to us about the overarching customer experience of how automation can make me look like a bigger company than I am. Earlier, you mentioned, one of your specialties was going up against these really big 800-pound gorilla competitors and outmaneuvering them. Out-marketing them, outperforming them, and doing really well with that. So, how do you start to do that with automation and the kinds of things that you're doing at Thryv?
[00:10:13] Gordon Henry: Great question. So, let me start by saying, when people think about the experience you're going to have with a small business or a local business versus a big business, I think most people would say, I expect more of a personal touch from the local business, more customer service, more friendliness, more of a local flavor, better feeling with a small business.
Cause it's local to me than some big faceless business. And I think that for many years, that was true because the local business grow up with him and the big businesses were sort of faceless far away. And unfortunately, I think it's changed. It's flipped
The big businesses now have such good data on who you are and what you buy and why you buy it and how often you need it again.
And they use that super effectively. I'll give you examples. I mean, we've all used Amazon, obviously, you logged on the first thing is that you see everything you bought and maybe sometimes remind you of things you bought or maybe you were in the process of buying something. And then you drop that.
And when you do order something, what a fantastic experience, it's a couple of clicks. They remember your credit card, they remember your location, they remember all those things and they give you transparency about the delivery process every step of the way. It's your order has gone through, it's left the warehouse, it's on a truck. It's at your front door.
All those things. Do you need to return? Oh, here's the label. It couldn't be easier. Domino's pizza. Someone recently called it the hottest tech startup of the past 10 years. Is it because the pizza is so great, the pizza has gotten better, but their mobile app is fantastic.
They remember all the toppings you put on your pizza and you can use one clip and it's at your house in less than 30 minutes or they give you your money back. Incredible experience, not to mention their search engine marketing and optimization, how easy it is to find them if you Google pizza.
How do you translate that into a local experience? If you use software like Thryv. Number one, you'll have a database of your customers. A lot of small businesses don't even have, they don't really even have a digitized customer list. Okay. Shame on you for that.
Number two if you have that automated customer, Thryv remembers what you bought or what you purchased, or what services we provided to you in the past. Maybe if you're on a routinized kind of thing. For example, I mentioned I'm in a new house. So, the old owners had a sprinkler system. Did I get a communication from the sprinkler guy saying, oh, spring is coming?
No. It was up to me to call them. And when I called them, by the way, they said, sorry, we're busy. We'll call you in a month. That was the treatment I got. And everybody's busy now. We all know that small businesses can't find enough good employees, but if you're automated, you would have that information. You don't even need to pick up the phone to call them. You can automate an email out to all your customers saying spring's here. I'm about to come to your house in 30 days. Click here to set up the ideal appointment time. That could all be automated as well. You can give them the list of products and services.
Hey, you've been signed up for the eight grade sprinkler. Do you want the A or do you want the B? Those things can all be automated. And then, oh, we don't have your credit card on file. Do you like to put that in so you can just automatically pay? You don't need to send us a check.
All those things can be put in a system and some people may listen to this and think, oh, that sounds very computerized or depersonal or something. Wrong. Most consumers are living on our phone like it or not. We live on our phone. We're texting our kids. We're Googling things. That's just the way most people are living today.
And that's how they want to deal with you. That doesn’t mean they don't want to say hello when you show up to their house, but they don't want to have to call you and leave a voicemail and not get a callback. They don't want to email you and not get a return. They want it to be easy for them.
You've got to make it easy for them.
[00:13:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: Gordon, this is so interesting and timely because society has changed and the pandemic has sped that up. And more than ever to your point that people are living on their phones. People just don't want to speak to people it seems. One example would be Uber.
You just set it and forget it. Next thing you know, a car shows up, you don't have to fuss around, pay some money, or am I going to do a tip? What's it going to look like? It's just all done for you. You don't have to phone and get a rude person picking up the phone.
Here's the thing though. If I'm a business owner and I don't really know you, Gordon, I don't know, Thryv. I'm thinking, you know, Gordon, this is a wonderful picture that you're painting here where it's automated. My team isn't having to do the manual emails or phone calls or mailings and recording all that information. But I imagine there are some business owners who are saying as good as that sounds.
We're just not tech-savvy. We don't know how to do these kinds of things, or I don't want to pay gazillions of dollars in programming on some computer system that I don't even have in the first place to get that out there. What do you do at Thryv that is saying, here's how you get that done. What does that look like?
[00:14:48] Gordon Henry: Yeah. Great question. On the tech-savvy part, first of all, Thryv is a cloud-based system. And what that means is basically you can access it from your existing device. If you have a smartphone, whether it's Android or iOS, it works. If you have basically any computer that can access the Internet, it works.
So, you didn't need new technology or new hardware. You have the technology or hardware to do this today. From a tech-savvy standpoint, we have unbelievably good customer service, I would say.
And what that means is not just smiley nice faces. When you are first buying the product, we have people who will walk you through every step of getting started with the product so that you will be successful. We pride ourselves on that. That is a differentiator for us, and we know that allow small business owners are great at what they do.
They're great at remodeling kitchens, but they're not necessarily technology people. We understand that we've built our systems to give them the support and believe me, by the time you get through that first phone call or two with us you'll be well on your way to success without having to be tech-savvy. If you can use Facebook, you can use Thryv. If you can use LinkedIn, you can use Thryv. If you can use any of these popular apps you can use Thryv and in terms of the investment. There's a shortage of labor.
Where I live up and down the street there's help, wanted signs. This is a way of improving your business without adding people because this does the work that you would need to hire people to do. And if you have people, it makes them much more efficient because it takes so much waste of time out of their day of just, sending emails or, leaving voicemails, things like that.
So, it will make your business more efficient and it will pay for itself by allowing you to not hire people or repurpose the people you have.
[00:16:34] Jeffrey Feldberg: And what's interesting for our listeners and I hope you're paying really close attention. Look at how Gordon so eloquently said, okay, here's the problem. Maybe you're not tech-savvy. Maybe you don't have all the computers. Maybe you don't have a bank full of zeros. That's okay. You don't need any of that.
Here's how we're going to help. We have outstanding customer service. We're going to get you there. We're going to be there every step of the way. We're going to improve your process. So, you're going to be a small business, but people are going to think that you're a large business and how Gordon did it and how he made you feel when he was saying that that's really all of us as business owners, what we need to be doing. Gordon and Thryv are on their way to creating a market disruption because they've identified a problem, a painful problem. And they're now leading the way of how you solve that. But to turn that back to our business owners, you have to do the same thing.
And that starts with the basics. You may be world-class in your product or service and you pardon my language, but you suck on the before and after. What are you going to do about that? That is a real issue. You can be world-class, but if the before and after just isn't there, you're going to be no class because you're not going to be around to live another day.
So, Gordon, let me ask you this. I'm thinking as a business owner, wow. It's really that easy. I don't need to be hiring programming people. It's in this cloud. I don't have to buy all these expensive computers and they have this customer service that walks me through step by step what to do. Can you give us some examples maybe some success stories of a company this is what they were like before? And here's what happened afterward so we can start understanding even more how Thryv integrates into a business?
[00:18:15] Gordon Henry: Sure. One guy who has a pet business cleans pets, grooms pets, walks dogs, does everything for a customer's animals. And is it the Detroit area. And he was driving to every customer's house and people would not show up for appointments.
And he would waste a half-hour go into their house. And then wasting half-hour going back and his whole team would do the same. When they started using Thryv, they simply started automating their calendar. So, people would book the appointment, and then they would get the reminder
The appointment is in three days, two days, one day, two hours, one hour. And in the rare case, someone does have to cancel, they cancel two days in advance and so he doesn't have a problem. He can book that time.
So, that's one example where his efficiency of his time and his staff time has gone through the roof because they're not wasting time going to people's houses. Another one and this is to this issue of buying and selling your business. There's a guy in Arizona who I spoke to who bought a business.
He bought it. And this business was an auto repair shop and they used to keep track of all the jobs on giant pieces of paper in the shop. So, above each car is like a piece of paper and they'd have to scribble on it, what the job was, and all that stuff. And then all the customers are three giant pieces of paper moving through the system, which I don't know what happened after the job was done.
They probably got thrown away. So, they had this very clunky manual process and probably no customer history about each customer's automobile. If it was on some giant piece of paper that probably got flown in the basement. He adopted Thryv. And this was a very savvy guy who was an expert at buying and selling businesses.
And he put in place essentially an automated calendaring system. And in Thryv, he would capture all the customer information about their car and the year, make and model, and the problem and the history of the car. And so he had a complete customer profile for each one of his customers and each one of their cars.
And think about your car. They develop problems and then you'd go back there are new problems and he had that all in the system. And now he could send you a reminder to come in for your inspection or your oil fills.
And he could automate that. And furthermore, if you were the car owner and you called in and said, hey my car is acting up. He would have that history on you. And you would say, oh you were here last January and you have this problem. And you're here with the prior April and you have this problem.
And now he owns you as a customer because he has all of your information that you would completely forgotten about. So, he was able to automate that business by making the customer experience so much richer and so much easier. Again, this is all about making it easier for your customer.
[00:20:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: What's amazing about that and for our listeners. Whether you're running the business, whether you have other people that are running the business for you, really the question to be asking is how deep are they into the operations and what are they doing that they shouldn't be doing? I'm going to take the position that you're listening to this podcast that you're successful.
You've beaten the odds and you have a wonderful thriving business and you have some incredible talent that goes along with that. And if you figure out what you're paying your talent. And to have them quite openly waste their time on things that they don't need to be doing that can be automated, that can just be quicker and more efficient, which drives your profit.
It drives your EBITDA. To me, it's a no-brainer. And so, we haven't really talked about this Gordon and there are some business owners saying, Gordon, you got me at the service can make me more efficient and I don't have to be technical. And it just automates things. But it probably costs a lot of money to do.
Maybe it's going to be out of my budget or it's just something that I can't do. Can you give us some kind of a range or a sense of what it cost to bring on Thryv and start working with you?
[00:22:05] Gordon Henry: Sure. We have a couple of different levels of product, but we're talking hundreds of dollars a month, not thousands of dollars a month for the basic software depending on which level you want. So, you know, think anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars up to, $500, $600 a month, depending on exactly what you want, which level you want.
And so for most people that is if you're a business that has, a couple of trucks on the road, or you have some staff is affordable compared to what you would do otherwise, the amount of time you would waste otherwise and everything we've just talked about. Making your customer experience better, making your customers, more loyal and freeing yourself up to do, other value-added things.
You know, people who've worked with other software, they may be used to paying thousands of dollars a month or have heard about companies that do this is nowhere near this design built for small businesses, particularly, I would say for service-based businesses. Another thing I want to mention, by the way, we haven't said the word payments an important part of Thryv is the whole invoicing, estimating, and payments process.
That is all done electronically. So, you can send your estimate. You can send your invoice all electronically. You can get paid electronically. And we recently introduced something called Thryv Pay which allows the business to save money on the payments processing piece. So, payments processing, every small business owner knows when you run a credit card, you pay a fee to that credit card processing fee.
Our fee is generally going to be lower than what you're going to find with most of the other processing systems out there. Furthermore, service-based businesses really like getting their money quicker and for them using a credit card, if you're doing a big job, it can be, a multi-thousand-dollar job. Paying that credit card seat can really nick your margins.
If you use our Thryv system, we allow you to do an automatic ACH, like a direct debit on your customer's bank routing and account numbers and you can input those and you get guaranteed payment. And the fee on the ACH is a couple of percentage points lower than a credit card. And that's something we offer that not every payment system does.
So, that's money back in your pocket, right there that in some cases can almost pay for the software right there. And I want to tell you one quick story. I remember a guy told me he was a roofer. There was a roofer in Texas and went to a woman's house and did like a write-up on her roof.
And he said this is what we can do for your roof. These are the tiles we're going to use. And she was like, oh great. I love what you're talking about. And he said, okay, I'm going to get my truck and go back to the office and I'll send you my estimate.
And he did. And meanwhile, I guess she had made a second appointment on a different roofer who came and gave her the description of what he was going to do for her. And she said, oh that sounds really good. And he said, great, I'm going to send you the estimate right here. And he had the electronic capability to do that through Thryv.
And she received it on her phone and she approved it right there in the front yard. He got her approval on it. And he got the job and the guy who had gone back to his office was out of the running. And so just being able to move faster and get the approvals through and the signatures can sometimes win you jobs, just because again, people, want to move quickly. They want it to be easy. They don't have to remember that you're going to mail them.
[00:25:22] Jeffrey Feldberg: A lot to unpack there, but let's go back to firstly, up to $500 a month. And I know you said it could be as low as a few hundred dollars. Come on Gordon that's a rounding error for everyone. That's a rounding error. When you compare that to what are you paying hourly or yearly to your people, however you want to calculate it?
And even if they're spending five or 10% of their time which doesn't seem like a lot, it's huge in terms of the money that you're throwing out the window, whereas Thryv will come in and just take that all away. And when you free your people up from the tedious, boring manual things that no one likes to do anyway, you're freeing them up to really work on initiatives that are going to take your business to the next level.
And Gordon, you mentioned something that we talk a lot about in liquidity events and that when you're the seller speed always wins. The shorter time that you have diligence, the shorter time that you have negotiations, you just never know what tomorrow brings and the quicker you're in the market and out of the market, the better off you are.
And it's the same thing, operating a business. The quicker you can be on everything like you said, it was an instant quote right there in the front yard in this one particular case, and we've come to a society that is now expecting that. And before I ask you this next question, let's not forget, you're talking about the whole payment side of things.
So, this is really, on the one hand, it's a database you can use for customer service. It's a database that you're using for just the internal knowledge of what's happening on the different jobs that you've been doing from customer to customer. And now it's an e-commerce platform with a payment.
So, it's really an all-rounded all-in-one kind of solution. And here's the question for you. So, I know we've been talking about different kinds of home services and in terms of businesses helping home services. How about on other services on the professional side?
[00:27:11] Gordon Henry: Oh, yeah, a hundred percent. Lawyers, we have a lot of legal clients. I think all the topics we've talked about resonate, whether it's the details of the client. We have doctors and dentists, veterinarians. All sorts of professionals using this because it's based around, first of all, getting appointments and keeping appointments and the whole communication around the appointment.
It's based around the client profile, the payment piece we talked about. We also, we didn't talk about social media. There's a social media component to this. And obviously, a lot of small businesses realize they've got out there on social media, so they're visible. And if they don't want to do the social media, we can do the social media for them.
So, we can do the posting for them on a regular basis. Coaches, there are lots of people who coach today, whether they're coaching on how to sell better or run your business better.
Again, they need to know who's my customer? When am I seeing them? What did we say the last time? How do I get paid? Talking on social media, all these things are really embedded now, in any kind of professional service.
[00:28:08] Jeffrey Feldberg: And that's just incredible. And if you think of it from a service perspective, how many of us would love to get from a lawyer as an example by the way, your minute books, we need to make sure that they're up to date. It's been 12 months since you did this last time. Why don't you come in? Or from your dentist, it's time for your appointment or for a tooth cleaning or from your accountant, whatever it is you're doing that which is so nice and making it effortless and just easy for people to do.
[00:28:35] Gordon Henry: Yeah, let me mention, by the way, many of the small businesses who would listen to the show might think it sounds great, but I'm already using QuickBooks for my accounting, or I'm already using, some other app for this particular thing. T Sheets is like time and accounting software.
We integrate Thryv with a wide array of existing apps and it's growing every day. We have an app marketplace where you can go once you have Thryv go into our app market place and you simply connect your existing system. And that sounds complicated, but it's a couple of clicks and basically, then the data flows back and forth.
And so you don't have multiple systems. You have one system where it talks through the systems, talk to each other. So, we've made that easy for. The other thing I'll say on this point is nowadays, many small businesses have thought about this and they don't just have one app. They have 2, 3, 4, 5 apps they've started to compile all the well, I got to do this for email and do this for accounting.
And I do this for payroll. All these different things. It gets very difficult to run a business when you've got all these different pieces of software that don't talk to each other. And what Thryv does is it puts pretty much all of that in one piece of software. So, it's integrated in all the data flows.
And then as I said if you have one thing that you want to connect it to Constant Contact or QuickBooks or one of these popular things you can. So, you want to have a simple, easy-to-use system that's integrated and not a lot of different things that don't work together.
[00:29:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, it sounds as though Thryv is playing a dual role. So, on the one hand, end-to-end complete standalone system, all the way through to your social media. I love that. And you can even help business owners post to social media. On the other hand, if a business owner is working with a particular package on the accounting side, you mentioned QuickBooks as an example, or other kinds of popular packages you can integrate the two together. So, they're talking to each other and it's still seamless and it's one click away for everything. So, you really cover end to end, which is nice to hear.
[00:30:28] Gordon Henry: And again, just to come back to our theme here, if you're a business owner who's thinking someday, I'm going to sell you want to be able to say to your buyer this system in place. I can sell you that business and walk away today. And you've got a system that works. You don't need me here to keep an eye on things and you don't need to be here because the system runs itself and we just need staff who can use it.
[00:30:50] Jeffrey Feldberg: And what's nice about that is speaking of a liquidity event. Technology has become pervasive and it's not inexpensive, but it's relatively inexpensive to do custom things. And so what the last thing a buyer wants to see is to walk into a business and you have an incredible business, but you have this custom software here and this custom software there and oh yeah joe in programming, he's the only guy that knows all the code. And in fact, I don't even think we have the code written down. it's a Pandora's box. So, when you have Thryv and is automating everything it's all point and click and turnkey for you. It doesn't really get any easier.
And it'll give a buyer comfort and confidence that when you, as a business owner are no longer there it's business as usual and everything keeps on running. So, let's talk about business, not as usual business unusual, and we're getting through the pandemic and wonderful things are starting to happen.
And the economy starting to open back up and we're getting back to the new normal, however, like we talked about at the beginning of this interview, you know, Gordon society has changed. In so many ways, I don't even think we realize all the ramifications that have already happened that are about to unfold.
What does this mean for me as a business owner in a post-pandemic world now, what should I be thinking about?
[00:32:08] Gordon Henry: Yeah. Great. Great question. The pandemic accelerated a lot of change in business. I think we've probably heard that from many people and it was true in our world. In a way that I think maybe proves the relevance and importance of using software, like Thryv. Why? First of all, when the pandemic hit, of course, your customers didn't want to see you.
They didn't want to be face to face with you. They didn't want to touch you. They didn't want to be within six feet of you. They had to do business virtually, and that's the way it's been for over a year now, finally coming out of it, hopefully. And I think showed businesses that they were vulnerable.
If they relied on that, hand-to-hand face-to-face contact that they were going to have a really tough time Thryv enables you to do is to do business virtually that's really what it does. It allows you to do business virtually because there's no paper being exchanged.
It's all electronic. So, all that communication is happening again on their smartphone. And so, you don't need to see them. And then if you are a business where some type of physical contact is needed. It makes it easier. Let me give you an example. We found all these drugs stores when people needed to pick up prescriptions. I can't go up to the counter because I don't want to get close to you, but with Thryv, pharmacies were able to set up virtual pickup s where you would just be able to drive by the store and you could just come out of your car and pick it up without having to be near somebody. This was actually happening all over the place, these types of virtual arrangements and having electronic communication.
You have the information on your webpage or your customer portal. All that information can be electronically sent to them. And it made doing business virtually easier. And again, we already talked about the estimates, invoices, payments, all those things. Of course, that's all virtual. That's not going to go away. I think, what we've all been doing the past year and a half, including the Zoom meetings. It's just going to start to continue now. I don't think people are just going to go back to the way they were. I think a lot of people are used to not using cash anymore.
Why do I need to carry around pieces of paper in my pocket? They are used to doing things electronically. And so, all of those things that they learned during the past year and a half will continue. It was a bad time for people in general and we understand that, and we actually took some part of our earnings and donated it to small businesses in the form of grants to the beginning of the pandemic to help through but it was a positive time in the sense that small businesses came to understand the kind of visceral way, why software, like this, was needed. They got it.
[00:34:32] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, true. And I'm just thinking even before the pandemic with the younger generation who are now in business, starting businesses, running businesses, or are your customers. If you ask them what a VHS tape is or the thought of having to watch a show that only comes out at a certain time and a certain day, and you have these commercials and going through that, or even what a record is.
They look at you like you're nuts or crazy that they just don't relate to that. So, fast forward to today where receiving a paper invoice, people didn't want to touch it. They didn't even want to open the envelope. Maybe you lick the envelope, heaven forbid, and you know, we're going to get all kinds of germs or who knows what's going on.
So, the opportunity to be virtual and to do all these things electronically, that's no longer a nice to have. If you want to grow, if you want to be in business, that's a must-have, and it's from Thryv's point of view. That's what you're providing in addition to everything else that you're now following the new social norms that are there, and physically you are contactless because it's all done virtually now and it's all easy and accessible.
[00:35:39] Gordon Henry: And I just want to say to you, I think you touched on this question of who is the business owner? If you're a business owner towards the tail end of your career. I think we've already talked about how this can help you sell your business because your business is now replicable, it's automated.
It doesn't rely on you. If you're thinking of handing your business over your kid is not going to do it the way you did it, and chances are is going to want to put in place an automated system that makes them more current, more modern.
And so either way I think this is the way business is going. And again, most of us would not think of working with a big company that, that sends paper, invoices that forces you to lick stamps that you know, little pieces of paper, you got to cut a tear off the invoice and send it back.
All those kinds of voicemails. Big businesses just don't do business that way anymore. And again, they're using that knowledge of the customer to out-compete you. Thryv is enabling the small business to do what big businesses do, at a small business price tag.
[00:36:36] Jeffrey Feldberg: Oh, it's phenomenal what a big business would spend millions and millions of dollars and years on time to do that. That's no longer the case here because you have instant access to that. And really, you're now playing to a culture that wants that they expect that. And more than anything, and with the internet, people now have choices.
You're not the only game in town. And if we're really honest about it as business owners, If we're not meeting that need our competition is only too happy to meet that need and take your new customers away, but also your existing customers. So, as business owners, it's really important that we stay on top of technology on top of trends and as much as we can, even ahead of it.
Let me ask you this. From a business owner standpoint, I've got this growing business it's thriving pine or no pun intended. Take that whichever way you want. I'm looking to take things to the next level. I want to drive up EBITDA. I want to drive up my productivity.
Knowing what you know, and working with the gazillions of businesses that you work with, what kinds of advice would you be giving to business owners who aren't quite there yet? They're thinking about this as the conversation has piqued their interest, but now what?
[00:37:46] Gordon Henry: I think I would go back to some of the basics. First of all, try to talk to your customers about the customer experience. And not just the product or service you're selling and really try to understand what they do or don't like about the experience of working with you. I think that you'd have to make a big deal about it.
Just call a couple up or next time you communicate with them, ask them that question. It's always good to get close to your customers. And if you ask it in the right way, I think they're going to tell you what's good or bad about working here. And, as you look at your competition, don't just look at do they hang the chandelier better than you? But this whole issue of client experience. So, much of what we expect today from a company is not just the product or service, but the experience of working with them. Like you said, the Uber experience, why the taxi gets me to point A to point B just the same as Uber does.
They both get it. Price is not that much different, but Uber is so much easier to use. They're pretty much demolished the entire taxi industry. So, it's not all about, just the product or the service it's about the client experience wrapped around that. So, I would look hard at that.
Then I would look critically at how I do things today. I would say, am I, making it easy for my customers? Do they say, wow, doing business with you is great? Or do they let me know that it's a little bit of a hassle to deal with me? And as you start to unpeel those questions, I think you're going to realize that in many cases there's a lot of room for improvement.
And if you're not careful you're losing customers simply because you're, you're doing, what's maybe good for you or you think you're, but it's, you're actually not being very customer friendly.
[00:39:22] Jeffrey Feldberg: And, Gordon, what's interesting about that is when it comes time for a liquidity event, you better believe, and this is step four of our nine-step roadmap. You better believe that your future buyer is going to be asking those questions. They're going to do Glassdoor reviews. They're going to be putting your name and their favorite search engine and seeing what comes up.
They're going to be speaking to your customers and every negative comment or touchpoint that they have. Guess what? There goes your enterprise value. So, it's so easy as business owners that we can be proactive, make things seamless, make things easy. We can convert our clients into raving fans. And really when you think about it’s pennies on the dollar in terms of what it costs relative to the return that you get.
[00:40:05] Gordon Henry: I should mention to you on that subject of reviews and Glassdoor and all those kinds of things, we're all familiar with Yelp reviews of restaurants, right? In fact, Most. People listening to this probably have used one at one point or another. You going out to a restaurant and not sure if you'd like this one or that one, you or your wife or kid or whatever.
It looks up on Google reviews or Yelp reviews. What do they say about the restaurant? That's commonplace now for how people shop for restaurants. But increasingly for other services as well, they're looking for reviews. What are people saying? And if you, first of all, if you're not, find-able on a search engine and secondly, if you don't have some good reviews or God forbid the bad reviews without the good reviews you're really going to be in trouble and that's not something that's quick to fix, but it is something that you get on it. You can build up over time. And one of the things we do with Thryv that we actually didn't get into is there is a review module where you can request your review. You can, first of all, you can optimize on your Google My Business so that you have the proper content in your Google My Business profile so that you, that will improve your chance.
Of showing up when someone does a search and then secondly when you've finished service and say, please provide me a review. And that review will help you get found. So, these are all things that are vetted into the software, and that to your point will help you when you're selling the business and your potential buyer looks you up and they see what other people say about you that you actually, get some check marks there.
[00:41:28] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's so amazing that you do that. And I think Gordon that last remark that, hey, we can even help you get good reviews and build up a community of positive reviews to interact with any possible negative reviews, but give you an overall positive image, assuming that you're doing what you should be doing in the first place, but it goes back to as business owners, you need to have the right team around you.
No one person is an island unto him or herself. You cannot do it on your own. And quite openly, you shouldn't be doing what Gordon is doing and what Thryv is doing. Let them do that that while you focus on what you do best, let them do what they do best. And everyone wins in that scenario. And so the takeaway here is for that customer experience for that EBITDA, for just driving the growth of the business so that you can live to tell another day, automate.
And while you're automating, make sure that your business runs without you. And while you're automating, the management team who's running the business without you. Isn't getting bogged down in the silly little details that really don't add any value to them or to the business. So, that's outstanding Gordon in terms of the strategies and what you've done, and how Thryv can help.
As we begin to wrap up the podcast. it's my favorite question. I ask every guest. And this is the question I'd like you to think about the movie Back to the Future. And in the movie, you have the famous DeLorean car that can go back to any point in time. So, I want you to imagine tomorrow morning, you wake up, you look out your window, low and behold it's the DeLorean car. The door is open, it's waiting for you. And Gordon you can now go back to any point in your life. Gordon as the young child or perhaps the teenager or the adult or whatever it would be. What would you be saying to your younger self in terms of do this, or don't do that, or here are some life lessons or some wisdom that you should really start thinking about?
[00:43:20] Gordon Henry: That's a great question. I have thought about this question in terms of my own kids, I may have mentioned earlier, I have three sons they're now great kids, very proud of all of them. One's 20, the other's22. and the other is 25. The older tour already launched on their careers. The youngest one is still in college and I encouraged them, from a career perspective to look at two areas finance and engineering. And the reason I said financial engineering is because of my own career. First of all, I was always impressed with people around me who had one of those two skills. And secondly, they seem to be very durable skillsets in the sense of, the world changes.
But like for example, engineers used to, we used to think of them as like building machines today, they're writing code, there's always a need for that way of thinking and problem-solving. And financial, whether it's a small business, big business, giant business, there's always a need for these financial skills.
wish that somebody had maybe said it to me at that age. Think hard about these two tracks and what they can do for you. I think I will say it's a little unfortunate to me. Here in the US, we let many kids go through school without really thinking about gaining marketable skills.
And they come out of school sometimes with big debts or maybe their parents paid for it. But they don't necessarily have skills that are marketable. I'm actually a big fan of even at vocational schools. A lot of kids can do well just learning how to be a tradesperson. So, anyway, that's one category.
I think the other thing I would just make it clear to myself as a young person is the need for perseverance and persistence. And I think I had a little bit of that embedded in me always. People just sometimes give up on things too easily. And when you look at the successes in life, usually it's because people are stuck with things. Every great book was written by a persistent, stubborn person.
Every great company was built by a persistent stubborn person. Thomas Edison said I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work. Everybody who's really made something successful have usually failed many times or found ways that didn't succeed many times. But they got back up and tried it again.
And that doesn't mean be dumb-headed about things, but don't get discouraged. You will, if you persist enough, you will find a way to succeed and, just need to stick with things. So, I guess those are some of the things I probably wish I knew more of.
[00:45:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, some wisdom from the heart, and I love the stories that you're sharing and just opening up in terms of what you tell your younger self. And it's a great way of paying it forward. So, lessons learned. Gordon, as we begin to wrap this up, I'm going to put this in the show notes for our listeners that would like to get in touch with you, get in touch with Thryv the best place that they can do this online?
[00:46:01] Gordon Henry: Thank you for that. First of all, it's bill T H R Y V Thryv, T H R Y V.com. So, you can find us. I really want to tell anybody who's listening. If you are at all interested in what we have to say for the past hour just go to Thryv.com and find the button where it says get a demo.
You won't have to pay. You won't be locked in. You'll probably talk to some incredible person on the other end who can show you something that you've never seen before, and maybe they'll whet your appetite. Maybe they won't. But you'll probably have, invested, 20 minutes in something that will really open your eyes.
So, I encourage everybody to go to Thryv.com again, T H R Y V.com and click get a demo, and just sign up for one. It won't cost you. And then you'll learn a lot about something that really may be able to help your business. And my name is Gordon Henry, and you can reach out to me at Gordon[dot]Henry[at]Thryv.com
[00:46:59] Jeffrey Feldberg: Gordon to it was great to hear that you not only talk the talk, you walk the talk here. You're automating of, hey, just click this button. We have an incredible person who will walk you through of what's there. And. That's just really, as business owners, you set the example of how we all should be in terms of not just with ourselves, but with an incredible team to help lead the way and make the difference.
Well, Gordon, we're going to wrap up this interview. Thank you so much for taking part of your day to spend with us on the, Sell My Business podcast and please stay healthy and safe.
[00:47:26] Gordon Henry: Thanks. It was great to be here.
[00:47:27] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.
[00:47:31] Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.
[00:47:41] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity
[00:47:45] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.
[00:47:52] Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.
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[00:49:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?
Please visit www.deepwealth.com/success to learn more.
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As we close out this episode, a heartfelt thank you for your time. And as always, please stay healthy and safe.