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The Friday SMB wrap-up: The week in news

It’s that time of the week again, so we’ve put together the most important headlines of the week gone by for you busy small business owners to catch up on. This week, Facebook warned employers against asking employees for their account passwords, businesses reported they were feeling largely positive about the economy and StyleTread announced it had secured $12 million in investment.

Adelaide voted most liveable Australian city

Adelaide has been named the country’s most liveable city, thanks to its affordable housing and low pollution, while Sydney has been voted the second least liveable city due to being unaffordable and for its poor traffic conditions.

In a Property Council survey, over 5000 residents from each state voted as to why their city is most or least liveable compared to all others in Australia – and the organisation believes the results should be an eye opener for the Government.

“This is the people’s verdict on their own city, the ultimate report card for policy makers on how liveable our cities are,” Property Council national policy director Ken Morrison said.

Cashflow shortages threatening SMBs future, report finds

Cashflow shortages, interest rates hikes and increasing global economic concerns are all threatening the livelihood of local SMBs, a new survey has found.

According to The Bibby Barometer Small Business Survey, the survival of 22 percent of SMEs has been threatened in the past 12 months due to cashflow issues, with delayed payments for businesses one of the main contributing factors.

The report found a staggering 49 percent of small business decision makers have experienced delays in payment and 27 percent have experienced bad debts.

Facebook warns employers against asking for employee passwords

Facebook has threatened to take legal action against employers who demand current staff or prospective employees hand over passwords to their Facebook accounts.

Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan released a statement expressing concern that the practice is a breach of user privacy and could open employers up to discrimination lawsuits.

The statement comes after it was revealed an increasing number of employers are asking their employees to hand over Facebook passwords. Even more alarming are reports of interviewers asking for the passwords of prospective employees during the job application process, suggesting they won’t hire candidates based on what they find amongst their personal details.

Businesses positive about economy, despite overall confidence slip

Local businesses remain mostly positive about the state of the economy, despite the fact a sentiment survey registered its first decrease in business confidence in six months.

The Roy Morgan Monthly Business Confidence Survey found business confidence slipped last month, falling from 118.7 in January to 116.6 in February, but despite this dip business owners still have a mostly positive outlook towards economic conditions.

NSW retailers allowed to open on Boxing Day

Retailers welcomed today’s decision by the New South Wales Government to update retail trading laws, the most significant of which will allow them to open for business on Boxing Day.

Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce announced the news today, which also included reforms allowing bank branches to open on the August bank holiday.

“The NSW Government’s reforms are a win for shoppers and will provide an important boost to the State’s economy,” Pearce said.

SMEs warming to flexible working

An increasing number of small and medium businesses are adopting flexible working practices, and they’re seeing rises in productivity and revenue as a result.

According to a Regus study, there’s a connection between flexible working and improved productivity and revenue generation. The study showed 79 percent of Australian SMEs are reporting higher levels of productivity thanks to flexible working practices and 69 percent have recorded increased revenue and improved performance as a result of flexible work, compared with 61 percent of larger companies.

Social media to become biggest consumer purchasing influencer

Businesses that don’t make the most of their social media presence will see brand recognition and sales falter, as the online trend looks set to become the primary consumer watchdog.

It’s predicted social media will overtake traditional press and advertising over the next decade to become the single biggest influencer on consumer purchasing decisions, according to a new report by BDO.

Apple to refund consumers over 4G iPad connectivity claim

Apple will refund any customer who purchased the new iPad believing it could connect to the Australian 4G network, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed an application with the Federal Court claiming the world’s most valuable company was misleading consumers.

The ACCC alleged promotion of the new iPad in Australia as being “Wifi + 4G compatible” is misleading, because it suggests the product can connect to 4G mobile data networks in Australia, when this isn’t the case

StyleTread secures $12 million investment from Starfish Ventures

Online shoe retailer StyleTread has secured $12 million in funding to expand its online presence and explore new overseas markets and international opportunities.

Starfish Ventures joins existing investors Lakestar, Nine Entertainment Co. and Adinvest. The business is also enjoying increased investment from Nine Entertainment Co., and Starfish’s $12 million investment means the majority of StyleTread’s shareholders are now Australian.