From bespoke shoe makers to outback adventurers, gallerists to bold new arbour makers, the changing face of small business in Australia has been captured in atmospheric detail at Xero’s Paper to Pixels exhibition. Small businesses have been experiencing a digital evolution, and the newly legislated Single Touch Payroll is only set to accelerate these changes. With photography by pioneering Instagrammer Lauren Bath on display at Sydney’s Gaffa Gallery, in this series we meet the people behind the pictures and discover how they’ve undergone a digital transformation.
The creative industry is due for a shake up. From founding a space for accessible and affordable art to designing bespoke wedding arbours that keep the party going long into the night, curator Laura Main of Signed and Numbered and Oli Sansom and Matt Hedrich of The Arbourists are doing things differently.
Resisting the norm, Laura explains, “With Signed and Numbered I wanted a gallery that wasn’t intimidating and overwhelming – somewhere that had a wide range for all kinds of budgets and tastes. For me, nothing beats someone getting excited about buying art. Especially if it is their first time!”
Oli and Matt are equally prepared to challenge conventions: “The Arbourists offer couples a different way to express themselves at their weddings. Traditional arbours are laboriously set up and used for only an hour before being dismantled. We figured that if they were designed with a more modern sensibility, couples might want to keep them around as an installation piece into the evening – and make it a talking point that photographs like nothing else available anywhere.”
Turning a lens on the digitisation of Australia’s small business economy, Paper to Pixels: The changing face of Australian small business captures the way in which people like Laura, Oli and Matt have transitioned to cloud based accounting. With Single Touch Payroll ensuring more frequent digital payroll reporting from July 1, countless small businesses will make the move to using online technology, some for the first time. Those that have already transitioned to digital systems say it has revolutionised the way they operate.
Creating the time to be creative
“Wedding futurists” Oli and Mat explain, “The analogue world will always have a place, but digital is king. We use technology from head to toe: old gear from the 1970s as upcoming marketing tools, a CRM to manage bookings, and Xero for the financials.”
While Laura has also ditched desktop and embraced the latest developments, “I will use anything technological I can get my hands on to help my business. This means that often there is more that I can do away from the shop, than in it.”
By making the move to digital payroll software, small businesses don’t just discover a decrease in errors and increase in time, money and employee satisfaction, they gain the opportunity to do more of what matters.
For Oli and Matt, “What gets us up in the morning is the chance to use our unique intersection of skills to make a little twist in a very traditional industry. Technology has kept us lean, kept our heads straight, and kept what we intend to enjoy as an inflated side-hustle, manageable.”
Similarly, Laura says, “People can really shy away from technology, but once you’ve got the swing of things it will only serve to help you and your business – I can take my dog to the beach and still get things done if I really need to!”
Paper to Pixels: The changing face of Australian small business celebrates the nation’s 2.2 million small businesses and their owners, like Laura, Oli and Matt. Featuring businesses from around the country, the exhibition will be open to the general public for free at Gaffa Gallery in the Sydney CBD from 14-25th March. Come down and see it for yourself – you just might be inspired.
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