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The Friday SMB wrap-up: The week in review

Yet another week has flown by, so we’ve put together the most important small business headlines from the week gone by for those of you who’ve had your head in the game, and might have missed a thing or two. This week, Dick Smith spoke out against Aldi and Costco’s capitalist business models, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominees were announced and Google revealed that over 80 percent of small business websites aren’t properly optimised for mobiles.

Dick Smith speaks out against “capitalist” business models

Dick Smith has spoken out on the negative impact ALDI and Costco are having on Australian producers, saying blame shouldn’t be directed at Coles and Woolworths in his address to a Senate inquiry into the local food-processing sector.

In his 12-page submission to the inquiry, the entrepreneur said the arrival of the ALDI chain in the country has led to more food being imported from lower cost producing countries and greater pressure amongst the bigger supermarket chains to lower prices, “causing the gradual decline in the Australian food processing sector to the point where some sectors have disappeared completely.”

NAB and CSU offering scholarships to Small Business Management course

Five scholarship positions are now available to Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) Graduate Certificate in Small Business Management, thanks to a partnership between the university and National Australia Bank (NAB).

The agreement will see five of NAB’s small business customers receive a scholarship to complete the online course, with CSU currently the only university to offer a certificate of this kind.

CSU Faculty of Business dean Professor Lesley White said the online course, which was introduced just this year, incorporates a balance of industry best practice and theory to increase student’s management skills.

Win a double pass to Mark Bouris’ business success secrets seminar

Dynamic Business has joined forces with Yellow Brick Road to give away a double pass to a business seminar being held by small business champion Mark Bouris in Sydney this month.

Bouris will kick off his inaugural “Secrets to Business Success” seminar in Sydney on 30 May, which will deliver advice on cashflow management, budgeting, marketing and business valuation.

Bouris and Yellow Brick Road are offering one Dynamic Businessreader the chance to take home a double pass to this must-attend event.

Entrepreneur Of The Year nominees revealed

Sixty high-achieving entrepreneurs have been nominated in the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards, including former Dynamic Business cover stars Simon Crowe and Paris Cutler.

The pool of nominees come from a wide range of fields including clothing, fitness, construction, food and beverage, medical research and financial services.

The 60 nominees will be competing for finalist spots in what’s considered to be the only truly global program of its kind, with entrepreneurs from 140 cities and 50 countries taking part in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program.

Female business owners feeling confident, research finds

Female SMB owners are feeling more positive about being in business than their male counterparts and are driving the uptake of social media for business, according to new research.

The Sage Business Index 2012, compiled from 502 surveys of business owners around the country, found female business owners are also less likely to defer important business decisions as a result of economic uncertainty.

Compared to male business owners, women are less likely to battle to find skilled staff and more likely to have formal plans in place to manage staffing issues. They’re also more focused on sales as a business priority at the expense of technology and web presence compared to last year.

Half of consumers now connect with brands on social media

Over than half of all Australian online consumers are interacting with businesses and brands on Facebook and Twitter, according to new research, again highlighting the importance for SMBs to add these social networks into their marketing mix.

Based on a survey of 1,400 online consumers, ExactTargets’s Digital Down Under report found consumers are connecting with brands across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and email, more than ever.

Research found 55 percent of consumers interact with brands on Facebook, with 16 percent going on to make purchases after reading a marketing message, while 55 percent of consumers have followed a brand on Twitter to stay up-to-date with a company’s products and services.

Government fails to meet small business demands in budget

Local small businesses have rated greater opportunities for growth, additional tax incentives and a focus on delivering flexible employment as key areas they’d liked to have seen on the 2012 budget agenda.

According to a Regus survey of over 400 businesses, SMBs were hoping the Government would meet their demands in these areas to help spur growth and spread risk, given today’s uncertain economic climate.

And that’s not all; half of the businesses surveyed said they’d like to see the Government provide incentives for them to invest in new graduates, suggesting local businesses are willing to support the skills development of the next generation of young professionals.

Table of Plenty’s Kate Weiss takes home Women of Style award

Dynamic Business magazine May cover star and Table of Plenty founder Kate Weiss won top honours in the business category of the InStyle and Audi Women of Style awards this week. 

The ethical business owner and food entrepreneur won the top spot over finalists Lorna Jane Clarkson and Fernwood founder Diana Williams for her remarkable “determination and entrepreneurial spirit.”

“Courageous, brave and inspiring… This InStyle and Audi Women of Style win is a tribute to her professionalism and dedication – and outstanding success in the business arena,” InStyle editor Kerrie McCallum said.

SMBs falling behind in website mobile optimisation

Almost 80 percent of local businesses don’t have a mobile-friendly website, despite the fact that more than half of the population owning a smartphone, according to a recent Google survey.

With 65 per cent of smartphone owners using their device to access the web on a daily basis, 61 percent said they were unlikely to return to a site they had difficulty accessing from their phone, according to a study conducted by Google and Ipsos Media CT. 

The data showed that small businesses who make an effort to be found on mobile benefit significantly, with 86 percent of users sourcing local information on their phone and almost 90 percent taking direct action as a result.

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