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National Small Business Summit wrap-up

Last week, I participated in COSBOA’s National Small Business Summit, which was held at Brisbane’s Convention Centre. The Summit brought together about 400 people who work, own or are passionate about small business. It was an informative and inspiring day and I learnt of some great things that small businesses are doing all over Australia as well as some of the challenges that they are facing.

The sessions included topics such as regulations affecting small businesses, marketing and media strategies, micro businesses (of which I was a panellist), strategies for growth, corporations law, emerging IT trends, sustainable business practices and riding the recovery. The day also saw an address from the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbot and from the Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swann. I spoke with many small business owners and the spirit of positivity and comradeship was invigorating and inspiring.

Rather than give you a rundown of the day, I will share with you three of the key moments that I took away with me:

  1. When a small business owner directed a question towards Michael Schaper of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about predatory pricing and what the ACCC were doing to prevent it. When faced with an answer that didn’t directly address his question the business owner accused the ACCC of being a toothless tiger. The audience collectively took an inward breath of surprise
  2. A moment that made me laugh was when Darren Alexander of Autech told us a story about a local hairdresser. When faced with the prospect of being priced out of the local market by a hairdresser chain which priced their haircuts at $15, he advised the hairdresser affected to not lower prices or their value. Instead he advised them to adopt an interesting marketing technique, a large sign in the window that read, “We fix $15 haircuts”. The rival hairdresser soon went out of business.  It goes to show that small businesses can be highly adaptive and creative
  3. The ‘Riding the Recovery’ session that was focused on turbo charging businesses in the new decade and the advice from the panel of experts had some great insights. Here are the ones that stuck in my mind:

i.     “Price strongly and confidently and stick with your strategies,” – Julia Bickerstaff, finance expert

ii.     Now is not the time to be all things to all people. Find your value market, find your niche,” Linda Hailey, marketing expert

iii.     “Share your good news via social media,” Richard Binhammer, social media expert from Dell US

iv.     “We’re coming into a digital era. 50 per cent of businesses don’t have a website. Get online but get the fundamentals right,” David Chaffey, online marketing expert

v.     “It’s all about the unexpected,” Robert Pennicott, founder of Pennicott Wilderness Adventure.

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Michael Derin

Michael Derin

Michael Derin is the founder and managing director of accountancy firm <a href="http://www.azuregroup.com.au">Azure Group</a>. Derin is passionate about helping small and medium-sized businesses reach their financial and business objectives and achieve success. He has developed sophisticated ways in which SMEs can compete effectively with larger organisations that have more resources. Each fortnight he can be seen on Sky Business News’ Trading Day program.

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