Tag Archives: Business

A certain percentage of young people will always leave South Australia


It stinks, but it’s true.

Steven Marshall campaigned hard on this issue in the recent SA State election (which he won) and I for one am glad that fresh eyes are looking at this problem. However he will never be completely successful.

It remains a fact that 90+ percent of head offices are in either Sydney or Melbourne, and unless we want to double our size (in people, infrastructure etc) we will never attract more than one or two big businesses here, compared to the dozens interstate.

Of course it is worth trying but ANZ, Telstra, Panasonic and the very large organisations will never move here.

I myself spent four years in Sydney because I wanted to see how high I could go, and to enjoy the variety and challenge of working for a major corporation. I ended up as National Product Manager for IT Products for Panasonic Australia, a position I loved and never would have achieved had I remained in SA.

Mind you four years was enough (I spent over three hours a day commuting, thankfully in a company car), and family circumstances necessitated that I return to SA.

I came back to a position as a Corporate Salesperson for Ericsson. This was a big step down from travelling around Australia every few months, demonstrating the latest IT products and teaching distributors and major retail outlets how to sell them. I also gained valuable experience in presenting to the top buyers in Harvey Norman, Myers and so on, negotiating floor space and pricing.

I never would have had that experience here in Adelaide, where the biggest employer is the State Government.

I much prefer working in Adelaide to the traffic, congestion, polluted air and high cost of living in Sydney. However the upsides of working interstate, if you have ambition, far outweigh the negatives.

The attitude interstate is also much closer to the US and Silicon Valley. There, if you have started a business and failed they are actually impressed by your initiative and know that you learned some hard lessons. In Adelaide you are more likely to be shunned.

This attitude within our beautiful State will not change until the current ‘startup generation’ are well into their forties. Unfortunately this is a hard fact that we must face head-on.

So how do we keep young people from leaving SA? By being more forgiving of their mistakes and encouraging them to try again. By recognising that a certain percentage will move interstate no matter what you do, and helping the rest to make the move back ‘home’ an easy one.

You can accomplish this by having a small department that keeps in contact with these talented and adventurous young people, encouraging them to explore outside SA (they will anyway) and yet also ehticing them to return by offering a more welcoming attitude. This same small department could assist them in their transition back to SA, without them having to go backwards in their careers, by facilitating them to find a relevant position here that is of sufficient interest to them.

This small (keep it simple and focused!) government department could help them find interesting roles by assisting local businesses here to create them. This can be achieved by finding the already successful small businesses in SA (of which there are many) and assisting them, without mountains of red tape, to grow.

Up until now most of the emphasis has been on opening startup hubs and announcing unrealistic figures on how many jobs they will create. Yes we need to foster our local startup community but it needs to be coordinated and supported properly. This would involve assisting them by providing long term mentoring, cheap access to accountants, lawyers and investors to steer them in the right direction. Also vital is utilising the founders of already successful startups in SA, by encouraging them to introduce local business people to respected contacts they never would have met otherwise.

All this needs to be done in conjunction with identifying small businesses that could easily become large businesses with the right backing and support.

Such a coordinated effort would make it more attractive for our young people to stay here, and for those that leave it would encourage the talented ones to return. That involves keeping track of them and using a CRM (customer relationship management) system within government, to keep in touch and to entice them back.

This means it would be essential for this arm of government to be run like a business.

I, for one, have hope.

Who needs politicians??


People keep leaving Adelaide for better jobs in other States.

It’s been this way for decades yet no politician has taken it seriously. It’s all up to us to do it ourselves, and to volunteer to help people who need it.

The government does nothing but produce reports and spend our money like they’d won the lottery.

Without the people nothing would get done, and without the politicians MORE would get done!

A benevolent dictatorship looks better every day…

Constantly Working Long Hours? Maybe You’re The Problem.


I’ve always thought that if you’re constantly having to work long hours (the exception being if it’s your business, then it’s your choice and sometimes a necessity) then you are not efficient and don’t use your time as productively as possible.

In the past I’ve heard many people spend an hour a day, or more, complaining that they don’t have enough time to do their job!

A person working long hours more often than not demonstrates a lack of ability or of support, both are toxic in any organisation.

Go home, spend time with family or on yourself, because you’ll never be paid for those extra hours and your boss won’t appreciate it, she/he will just get used to it and soon expect it as your normal day.

Do yourself a favour and GO HOME!

Looking for an opportunity to analyse startup programs in Adelaide


Good morning. My body has given up on me (I now suffer from Chronic Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME) so I’m not working anymore, but my brain is still functioning (mostly!).

I’m looking for a scholarship to do a Masters in Research on startup programs and communities, to find out which provides the most successful outcomes in terms of real, sustainable businesses created, in what industries, analysing the type of support structure (people, finance, relevant mentoring) that produces the best ongoing results.

Any Universities out there who have a program they’d like assessed against their peers and want to discover the most efficient and effective ways to run their programs?

Why Articles and Books on How to be Successful, Suck


Most business articles on how to be successful are crap. You do what works for you, we are individuals. Yes some basic humanity and empathy is required but articles that begin with “The 5 steps to…” are complete time wasters.

Of course this is just my opinion, but the way they make it sound as though it will work for everyone shows a complete lack of objectivity and, basically, reality.

If you’re looking for a magic formula you’d have better luck chasing the next rainbow.

Adelaide more expensive to live in than Melbourne!


Adelaide is now more expensive to live in than Melbourne?? Thank you politicians and greedy utility companies, way to go!! We are so over-taxed in SA it’s a disgrace.

Desalination plants that never get turned on, expensive non-functional hospitals, mounds of money spent on reviews that have gone nowhere…thanks Labor!!

Visit the printed story here.

Why is Common Sense so Uncommon?


Committees, Studies, Senate Reports and PhD’s all have one thing in common…90 percent of them are never read and produce nothing we did not already know.
Politicians and business ‘leaders’ speak in clichés, and when a real answer is demanded escape to ‘as I understand it’ or defer the question entirely to ‘after a Committee has reported on the issue’.
One of the reasons Common Sense is so Uncommon is the need to appease every minor voice, dissenting or otherwise. Unless of course it is the vast majority of PhD’s whose sole purpose are to meet quotas and lift University rankings.

Everyone knows Nokia failed because they stopped watching the mobile phone market (now the smartphone market, but they missed the name change) and yet their top executives believe they did nothing wrong, and cry themselves into stupidity at press conferences.

Everyone knows that government departments, on the whole, are top heavy and waste millions of dollars on salaries not required to meet their core functions. Arrium knew it needed to significantly upgrade its equipment years ago but did nothing. Holden knew people were buying smaller fuel efficient cars yet did not build one (until it was too late).

Yes, stupidity is a factor, yet those pesky minority folks (which include, in addition to car manufacturer executives, the senior people who presided over Polaroid, BP safety, multiple -speed limits in Adelaide city streets and the Frome Street super-hyper bike-way built for an Airbus) who sternly and stubbornly believe they are right and have the right to be heard.

Unfortunately they are heard way too often and, also way too often, are completely wrong.

Please, I understand the need for diversity of views and am the first to listen and consider seriously all new ideas, but the squeaky wheel now receives a million barrels of oil instead of just the needed drop.

The excess energy spent on debating, studying, researching and reporting on aspects of our lives that can be solved by the time-old equation of Common Sense is worth more than our total GDP, yet we spend it willingly in the name of ‘consultation’.

Consultation be damned, give me common sense any day.

Sales – The secret of a successful Lean Startup


The secret to a successful startup..? Sales. Without them no validation, no feedback, no customers, no business!

Follow the Lean Startup approach and do a controlled release of your product or service to some people (or businesses) you think would be interested.

By recording their feedback you will eliminate expensive future mistakes, discover that you were wrong and there is no market or receive a couple of orders which will allow you to beta test.

Another option is to contact one of the largest businesses you believe should be interested and offer to build your product/service especially for them. This gives you a real world test site, honest feedback (you can tell if they have been using it or not) and, if they stay with you until the product/service is finished, a testimonial and reference site for future prospects.

Much more efficient than spending a year building a business only to find there is no market for it!

Office Of Business Within Government


The common statement “the business of governing” is detrimental, as the focus should be upon providing government with the best efficiencies private business experience, and expertise, has to offer. The statement should read “implementing business within government”.
This involves implementing within government the best efficiencies of business by identifying process improvements, removing duplication of effort, improving inter-departmental coordination, reviewing and assessing key personnel (always with the goal of ‘best fit’) with positions allocated by merit, and producing budget savings through operational efficiencies, all with a focus on customer (public) outcomes and improved service.
Quantifiable achievements would include

1. Designate and decide on all areas of Departmental and Ministerial responsibility so no-one can “pass the buck”.

2. Allocate responsibilities and targets to ensure the desired and clearly stated outcomes are achieved within set time-frames.

3. Ensure all cost savings achieved are ongoing, no one-off savings included in targets, by implementing guidelines, overseeing their implementation and educating management.

4. Allocation of necessary resources (from those existing within government), setting applicable Key Performance Levels (KPL) and managing staff to complete set objectives and achieve all desired outcomes.

5. All reports produced to be concise and written in plain English, with detailed analysis provided only when requested.

6. The emphasis will be on outcomes, results, savings, improved service and efficiency not on unnecessary documentation, sub-committees or meetings.

This proposal would require minimal personnel for it would

allocate additional resources from other Departments (not exceeding an agreed limit), and investigate and set goals, priorities and outcomes in simple terms.
Initial targets would be;

1. Documented ongoing budgetary savings through reduced red tape via improved coordination, demarcation and processes.

2. Improved accountability within government departments creating efficiencies and gains in timelines and processes.

3.Improved ‘connection’ between wants and needs of the public and what government provides.

4. Improved public service in all areas, with all agreed objectives (including time-frames) being met.

5. Overall improved perception of government efficiency, thereby attracting a higher class of personnel and additional budget savings through their specialist knowledge and experience.

6. Improved performance measurement and ongoing guidance to ensure operational efficiencies are maintained.

Is the above business-like approach really outside the capabilities of our elected officials? When every vote counts decisions can be compromised. This is an unfortunate fact since Democracy (or what we now know as Democracy) began.

It would therefore be prudent to appoint a successful business person to head such a Department with powers level with that of a Minister, to ensure success.

The saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars would result, if expedited correctly, an amount equal to hundreds of people not having to pay tax for a year. As the appointee would be on a contract they would have no fear of losing votes, leading to decisive and correct decisions being made.

Surely a winner for everyone, especially as the above savings figure is extremely conservative. In fact savings of millions of dollars would be the set target, anything less being regarded as a failure, over the term of implementation (years).

But would politicians have the courage to give someone the power and authority to achieve this? Unfortunately I fear not, for once again they would wonder if introducing such a system might anger some minority groups and lose them votes. Or potentially cause disgruntled public servants to voice discontent. The right person for this role would take note of any such discontent and target them for removal.

Change is far easier to implement when you have new employees who are unaware of ‘old’ procedures, and are more willing to accept new ways of thinking.

Three in four businesses have cashflow concerns: Report


By Michelle Hammond

Businesses are attempting to curb their expenses by delaying investments and the hiring of new staff, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet survey, which shows 75% of businesses see cashflow as an issue during the months ahead.

D&B’s latest National Business Expectations Survey shows the cost of doing business is taking its toll, with businesses delaying plans to hire new staff and putting off investments.

The survey’s index has continued a downward trend through to the June 2013 quarter, falling below its 10-year average level, to a score of zero.

The research also shows no new jobs have been added since the March quarter of 2012, with the actual employment index remaining in negative territory for three consecutive quarters.

In December last year, the index dropped to -7. This was its lowest point in more than three years.

The survey shows 75% of businesses see cashflow as an issue during the months ahead, with 44% of businesses identifying operational costs as their biggest barrier.

Danielle Woods, Dun & Bradstreet director of corporate affairs, told StartupSmart she’s not surprised by the findings.

“To be fair, we’ve seen this real downward trend in sentiment in recent months. The six indices we look at are trending down, so the cashflow issue is not a surprise to me,” Woods says.

“Trade credit is a huge thing for businesses in Australia… Our analysis is showing [trade payment times are] still sitting at 52 days.

“When businesses are taking 52 days, that can be a real strain on another firm’s cashflow.

“With these conditions prevailing, it’s unsurprising to see the outlook for both employment and investment falling away.”

Investment expectations for the June 2013 quarter dropped sharply to an index of five, compared to 14 in the previous quarter.

The outlook for capital spending is now at its lowest level since the September 2011 quarter, while the actual index for the December 2012 quarter is -3.

The outlook for sales has declined for the second consecutive quarter, while expectations for selling prices continues to move lower – the index decreased to two for the June 2013 quarter, well under its 10-year average of 29 points.

The broad fall in expectations suggests operating conditions will remain difficult at least until the middle of this year, with businesses also finding little relief in their cashflow position.

“The current and future challenges for businesses continue to come from a sluggish economy, Woods said.

“Sales growth is weak, businesses face challenging operating conditions and consumer spending is soft.

“We can expect businesses to keep a tight check on their expenses and continue to delay larger investments such as new jobs.”

D&B’s findings are in stark contrast to the latest MYOB research, which shows economic confidence and the overall business outlook of SMEs is on the rise.

According to the March 2013 MYOB Business Monitor, 26% of SMEs expect the domestic economy to improve within 12 months, compared to 19% in the July 2012 report.

The report, which is based on a study of 1,005 business owners and managers, shows 30% of respondents anticipate a revenue rise this year while 42% expect revenue to be stable.