Welcome to Friday, SMB owners and entrepreneurs. The past week’s been a busy one, so here’s a wrap-up of some of the business headlines you might have missed.
This week, Melbourne IT services group OBT was named the country’s best workplace, Apple was fined $2 million for misleading Australian consumers and research found the majority of business owners would open another business, if given the opportunity.
New bill hopes to deliver more flexibility for both genders
In a bid to advance gender equality in the local workforce, a new bill has been introduced through the House of Representatives with the intention of delivering greater workplace flexibility to both genders.
The newly proposed legislation, the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill, aims not only to promote equal pay between men and women but also allow business to offer flexibility to both genders to fulfil family and caring commitments.
According to the latest gender pay gap figures, released late May of this year by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA), Aussie women earn $250.50, or 17.4 percent, less than men. EOWA director Helen Conway believes it’s time Australia put an end to paying lip service to gender equality and actually did something about it.
Apple found to have misled customers over 4G claims, fined $2m
Apple has been fined $2.25 million after the Federal Court found it had misled consumers by advertising its new iPad as being compatible with the Australian 4G network.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission began court proceedings in March, alleging that Apple had contravened Australian Consumer Law.
“I have no doubt that given the promotion by Telstra of the superiority of its 4G network, many purchasers will have felt decidedly short-changed, despite the fact that only a very small percentage took up the opportunity of a refund,” Judge Bromberg stated in his ruling.
Tech businesses dominate the top 50 workplace list
Melbourne IT services group OBS has been named Australia’s Best Workplace for 2012, in a list dominated by businesses in technology sector.
After four years near the top of the BRW list, OBS has finally claimed top spot, followed by NetApp, which gives its employees the chance to interview potential coworkers in a bid to maintain the culture, and Google, which offers eighteen weeks maternity leave at full pay.
The list is determined by the Great Place to Work Institute, with 291 companies entering this year’s survey and over 68,000 employees responding.
Search for gold medal-worthy business motivators kicks off
In the final weeks leading up to the London Olympics, swim coach Laurie Lawrence has embarked upon a national search for gold medal-worthy motivators among the country’s two million-plus small businesses.
The Telstra Business Go For Business Gold competition is open to all Australian residents over 18 who own or operate a business with 200 or fewer employees. Entrants need to visit the Telstra Exchange site and upload a short video showing how their business excels and exceeds their customers’ and employees’ expectations as a motivator.
Twenty four finalists, three from each state and territory, will be brought to Sydney to attend an exclusive small business Master Class, followed by the Olympic-themed Business Gold networking function at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Here, Lawrence will announce the eight winners, one from each state and territory, who have won a package that includes a visit to their workplace from an Olympic or Paralympic athlete, business communications products and professional media and marketing assistance.
Be BYOD safe or risk data loss, warns expert
As the bring your own device (BYOD) to work trend grows among employees, experts are advising that businesses must have policies and procedures in place or risk data loss.
Despite the benefits BYOD offers businesses and employees, which include lower costs and employee satisfaction, a number of hazards need to be addressed, says Protiviti’s IT consultant Ewen Ferguson.
“A key issue is the raft of devices available with their own operating systems. When a device connects to your network you don’t know what it will be or how it will behave,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson warns if employees are downloading potentially unsafe applications to their own devices, your company’s data is at risk – whether it be client and personal contact information to email lists and directories.
Tell Small Business Commissioner about your concerns, SMBs told
Small business owners are being encouraged to voice their concerns and frustrations when Small Business Commissioner Yasmin King arrives in Sydney next month.
As part of the NSW Government’s pre-election Small Business Action Plan, Commissioner King has embarked on a state-wide listening tour to consult with small businesses.
On Tuesday 3 July, the Commissioner will be at the MLC Centre in Martin Place and the NSW Minister for Small Business Katrina Hodgkinson says small business operators shouldn’t shy away from proposing suggestions about how the sector could be better supported.
SMB owners happy to start-up again, despite economic climate
Despite the fragility of the current economic climate, SMB owners have reported they would start up a business again, with research finding 70 percent are happy with their entrepreneurial career choice.
According to the Telstra Business Sentiment survey of 1,000 businesses across Australia, seven out of every ten business owners would be happy to start up again.
The research found the most common reasons people launch small business are to gain independence, freedom, flexibility and a sense of pride. Some 53 percent of owners said their business is their passion.