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  • First 5000 & the NSW economy

    Barry Buffier     |      October 25, 2010

    On Wednesday 20 October 2010 I had the pleasure of being invited to say a few words at the launch of First 5000.


    I was actually standing in for the Minister for Small Business Frank Terenzini, who had to attend to some urgent business at the last minute. It was a great pleasure, because First 5000 ties in perfectly with my normal role.


    This blog is based on the address I gave on the day.

  • Uncategorised

    Middle Business Syndrome

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

    Virginia HarrisonAustralia is suffering from a clear case of middle-business syndrome. A highly-profitable but largely disconnected segment of the economic landscape exists without a united voice, or space to engage with one another.

    Small business is often described as the engine room of the Australian economy, while large corporations wield their own brand of power. Both groups enjoy strong united voices that shape policy decisions.

    But what lies the middle? Wedged in between these two well-represented groups is an often overlooked slice of the business landscape.

  • Medium Enterprises to lead productivity boom through innovation

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

    Jonathan CoppelMid-size companies hold the key to boost Australia’s innovation record and narrow the global productivity gap, according to top-ranking economic official.

    Jonathan Coppel is the economic counselor to the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Economic Development (OECD), a role which contains a particular focus on preparing the OECD’s contributions to the G20.

    He said the small and medium-sized enterprises are “squarely on the G20 agenda”.

  • UPDATE: Don’t ignore the power of direct mail

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

    When was the last time you hand-wrote a letter?

    As we become increasingly tied to our computer and mobile screens, it’s easy to overlook traditional means of communication in favour of the instantaneous and often cheaper digital alternatives.

    But commercial insights firm Dun & Bradstreet warns businesses not to ignore direct mail in their marketing strategies.

  • Tax breaks not the recipe for economic growth

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

    Prof Beth WalkerMEDIUM-size enterprises are the poor cousins of big business with little policy influence, despite their powerful productive capacity.

    Professor Beth Walker from Edith Cowan University (ECU) School of Management argues both sides of politics have failed on business policy. Perhaps it’s time for a medium-enterprise caucus.

    “Neither side had any policy this election. They always talk about reducing the tax rate, but it’s such a tiny amount for most businesses. It doesn’t add up to much. They talk about putting in some small incentive. None of them came up with any new initiatives about how to get more productivity.” She said.

  • Getting old gracefully: how to prepare for the ageing workforce

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

    Adrian WalshBUSINESSES are in a race against time as more workers enter retirement and leave companies parched of skills, experience and resources.

    Managing Director of Adrian Walsh & Associates Adrian Walsh has provided human resources, consulting and business development services to the mid-size market for more than 20 years.

    He says employers underestimate the threat the ageing population will have on their business.

  • Beware the inside job

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

     


    Smaller businesses face a much higher chance of employee fraud than large organisations. Forensic accountant Arnold Shields tells how companies can minimise the risk of an inside job.

    The $20 million embezzlement by a former accountant of Clive Peeters which brought the electronics retailer to its knees sounded a fresh warning to management on fraud controls.

  • Price-fixing: Using technology to raise retail margins

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

    Michael WaymarkAt nearly eight o’clock on a Friday night a liquor-store owner scans his shelves and makes a competitive decision – time to bump the prices up 10 per cent.

    It’s a move many retailers execute at peak times, requiring manpower to print the updated labels and manually change them throughout the store.

    Imagine if with the press of a button, you could change all the prices across your store at once.

  • Invest in people and exploit digital tools to understand your customers

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 19, 2010

    Nicola FeeneyMarketing guru Nicola Feeney explains how mid-size companies can brand better.

    ‘Make sure you have a unsubscribe button’ is a key message marketing expert Nicola Feeney offers clients trying to come to grips with advertising in the digital age.

    Telling potential clients to ignore you might sound odd, but with more than two decades of experience Ms Feeney’s approach of ‘communicate, don’t stalk’ has paid dividends for scores of organisations.

  • Cafe OZ: OECD economist putting theory into practice

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 14, 2010

    Jonathon CoppelAfter decades spent advising on the economy Jonathan Coppel decided to roll up his sleeves and hit the frontline. 

    Several years ago the OECD economist launched Australian-themed bar Café Oz in his adopted home town of Paris

    “We saw the emergence of Irish bars in Paris and people would always say oh Australia, we’d love to go, but it’s just too far. So we thought we’d bring a bit to Europe.”

    It took nearly two years to get things off the ground, and Mr Coppel said getting investors on board was the hardest part.

  • To market, to market: tips and traps in commercialising an idea

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 14, 2010

    It’s every entrepreneurs dream. A killer business idea, a new product or specialised service, hits the market and finds instant success. 


    But the road from creative concept to genuine money-earner can be a rocky one.


    Intellectual property (IP) lawyer Geraldine Farrell specialises in the commercialisation of IP and technology.  As Special Counsel at Griffith Hack Lawyers, Geraldine sees plenty of ideas in their embryonic stage, along with the best and worst attempts at taking an idea to market.


    She spoke to First 5000 what to look out for on the pathway to commercialisation:

  • Human Capital Matters

    Les Pickett     |      October 14, 2010

    Imagine you came to work tomorrow morning to find that the buildings, plant and equipment are all in place. The computer is chugging away collecting and processing data but there are no people. They have all gone.


    How much would it cost to replace your entire workforce? These are people with expertise, knowledge and experience. People with an understanding of your industry and your company. People with professional competence.


    Add to this the cost of lost profits and lost customers… the impact on your suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders.

  • Retail trade strengthens in August

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 14, 2010

    Caffe Latte Photo Courtesy of avlxyz's Flickr PhotostreamRetail trade rose for the sixth straight month in August but the pace of the gains has eased.  

    Sales were up 0.3 per cent for the month compared to a rise of 0.7 per cent in July according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

    Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were the best performers, up 1.5 per cent.

  • OECD official on Australia’s standing in the global recovery

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 14, 2010

    Jonathan CoppelJUST over two years on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers the recovery is slow, but international policy-shapers maintain economic rebuild and reform efforts are on track.

    “Globally we’re in a recovery phase, a very mild one. We’re seeing modest recovery in consumption with very high levels of unemployment and limited increases in wages.” Jonathan Coppel economic counselor to the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Economic Development (OECD) said.

    “At the moment we are looking at frameworks for strong, sustainable and balanced growth. We are looking at what contributed to the GFC and what can create growth, including the impact of different structural policies.” He said.

  • UPDATE: A merry Christmas to drive growth

    Virginia Harrison     |      October 11, 2010

    Detail from Christmas retail scene Photo courtesy of Digital Cat's Flickr PhotostreamOctober 2010: Strong Christmas trading is expected to drive economic growth, as executive’s fears about interest rates ease slightly

    The latest Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations survey reveals improvement in all 6 key indicators of business strength.

    That includes a small lift in employment expectations which weighted on the index last month.