Week in brief August 7 2012

Category: News

All the smaller business-related news to emerge this week, including: Filipino SMEs to work after hours to cut electricity costs?; New staff holiday planner App; Poms in two minds over Facebook marketing; and more.

A new staff holiday planner App is being launched that allows business owners to combine holiday request forms, wall charts and spreadsheets into an easy-to-use, centralised application on their computer and mobile phone. Created by UK company Mediaburst, the Timetastic App is said to make it easier for SMEs to manage annual leave and seriously reduce paper work and processing time. Using the App, team members can review wall charts for different departments, check for leave clashes and send requests direct to their manager, even if they’re out of the office, all of which is intended to help managers/business owners be more informed about their staff availability. You can read more here, or test out the beta version here. Let us know what you make of it if you do… .

The Manilla Bulletin reports that a major electricity retailer in The Philippines has urged the country’s SMEs in the manufacturing industry to move their production operations to outside normal business hours (weeknights and Sundays) in order to save on their electricity bills. The move comes as part of the Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) time-of-use (TOU) program, which allows SMEs with at least five kilowatts average demand to enjoy lower rates during off-peak hours. Meralco says the resultant savings for SMEs could be as 50 per cent of the generation charge which accounts for 56 per cent of the total electricity bill.

A new survey out of the UK claims that, while 24 per cent of UK small businesses use Facebook for marketing purposes, 37 per cent of those that do believe it hasn’t helped their business in any way. The survey, conducted by Constant Contact and involving 1,000 small business decision makers, also found that just 21 per cent of respondents believe they are doing a good job using Facebook to market their business. The survey further revealed that 22 per cent of businesses that use Facebook said that they found new customers through the social network, while 12 per cent credited it with generating repeat sales and 31 per cent say they have seen value in spreading the word about special offers or new products through Facebook.IKEAlg

Interesting SME news out of India – the Hindustan Times reports that the Indian government is considering changing its definition of what an SME is to facilitate investments from Swedish furniture giant IKEA, which has announced plans to open 25 retail stores in the country. IKEA has been pressing for changes in regulation before it invests in India as it will be required to source a particular amount of materials from SMEs – businesses that the Swedes claim may, as a result, experience rapid growth in profits and size and as a result might no longer be considered to be SMEs under India’s current definition of the term. Certainly a good problem to have for those SMEs…

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