The week in brief April 21 2015

All the smaller - and occasionally bizarre or humorous - business newspieces from Australia and abroad from the past week.

All the smaller - and occasionally bizarre or humorous - business newspieces from Australia and abroad from the past week. 

The Australian Financial Review reports that tax cuts for small businesses could be in place by July after the Greens flagged their support for likely government measures. The AFR reports that the Greens want taxes cut to 28 per cent from 30 per cent for companies with turnover of less than $2 million, as well as restoring and increasing the scrapped instant asset write-off threshold to $10,000 and reinstating a loss carry-back provision. The Greens’ mall business spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson told the AFR, “The Greens could provide the pathway through the Senate to pass a comprehensive package of support.”

The Aussie arm of an international company forced its 150 employees to work from home last Wednesday. It took weeks of planning and IT support, but MEC, an advertising company with offices in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane, pulled off the day-long experiment without a hitch. It was part of a broader initiative run by parent company GroupM called ‘The Floor is Closed’, designed to promote flexible working conditions. Sister companies within the GroupM stable will follow suit in the coming four to six weeks, with around 900 employees in total to take part. Says, MEC chief executive Peter Vogel, “It was a huge success. There is no reason why people can’t work from home and be productive. If you don’t offer flexibility, there may be some talent you miss out on.” GroupM CEO John Steedman added that there was a huge misconception that people working from home were not as productive as those sitting in an office. “I completely disagree. The home environment can actually be more productive than sitting in an open-plan environment where there are distractions. We have people now that work part-time here and part-time at home. I wouldn’t want people working full-time at home as obviously it’s important you have some sort of interaction with people within the organisation, but certainly on an ad hoc basis I have no issues.” The full, and completely fascinating, story can be read in full here.

Starting tomorrow, websites that are not mobile-optimised will be penalised by a tweak to Google’s algorithm that rates based on “mobile-friendliness”. The change is fairly straightforward in that if a site is not mobile-optimised, it is unlikely to appear in the top search result listings on smart phones. The key message to businesses is that if sites are not already optimised for mobile, traffic is set to drop and access to eyeballs will decrease. It's hard to put a figure on just how many websites are not yet mobile-ready, but if anything this move from Google will force a business to finally get its mobile strategy in place. The changes will apply to all signed in users of Android. Read more here.

In case you’ve not yet had your fill of inspiring stories about Steve Jobs – and there are many – a cracking new article on the late Apple CEO and Co-Founder has just been published by Business Insider. This newly published is titled How Steve Jobs became the greatest businessman the world has ever known, so, naturally, it’s worth reading by ambitious business owners. You can do so here.

Adnews reports that a study from Ithaca College in the US has found that digital natives, or ‘millennials’, who are supposedly competent in the online space and used to its associated advertising, are wary of online ads. The research was undertaken by Lisa Barnard, Ithaca's assistant professor of integrated marketing communications. Barnard said there is a positive affect on a consumer’s intent to purchase a product after viewing an ad tailored to them, but there is also an indirect and negative effect based on the “creepiness factor” that comes from being targeted individually. That “indirect effect” apparently accounts for a five per cent reduction in intent to purchase an advertised product. Read more here.

The Courier Mail has published an interesting piece on how a small business owner in rural Queensland has used technology to reach a global market. It’s about Chrystal Henry, who lives on a cotton farm 45 minutes away from Goondiwindi and is owner of children’s clothing brand Love Henry. If you’re interested, you can read the full story here. reports that family-run small businesses on military bases around Australia are about to be shut out – and in some cases bankrupted – by Federal Government organisation, Army and Air Force Canteen Service (AAFCANS). Despite the Coalition Government’s commitment to small business, the canteen service — employed by Defence — notified business owners in March at military bases across Australia that their licences would not be renewed. They include post offices, newsagencies, takeaways, coffee shops and general stores at RAAF Bases Richmond (NSW), Amberley (Qld) and East Sale (Vic), ADFA and RMC Duntroon in Canberra and Puckapunyal army base in Victoria. Read more here.


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