The Friday SMB wrap-up

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This week, NSW Police Deputy Commissioner for Corporate Services Catherine Burn was named the 2011 Telstra Business Woman of the Year, talks between Qantas and the unions fell apart, and a survey showed the Federal Government’s popularity with SMEs is sliding to new lows. Miss anything? We’ve wrapped up the week in news for you.

Health and beauty franchise in receivership

Healthzone Limited has been placed into receivership, though the business’ 80 franchised and 30 company-owned stores are continuing to trade as normal while PPB Advisory receivers and managers prepare the business for sale.

The ASX-listed natural health and beauty products distribution and retail business has around 250 employees, and distributes natural health products to a wide range of independent health food stores, pharmacies and supermarkets across Australia, Asia, Europe and the U.S.

Jump On It named ‘Rising Star’ by Deloitte

Jump On It has been named a “Rising Star” in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 list, the only group buying site to be recognised in the category.

Deloitte’s Rising Star Award recognises technology companies with high year on year growth, but don’t qualify for the Fast 50 list, having been in operation for less than three years.

The winning company in the Rising Star Awards was brandsExclusive.com.au, with Flippa.com coming in second place, and Jump On It third.

Top cop named Australian Business Woman of the Year

The country’s highest ranked police woman was named the 2011 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year at an awards ceremony in Melbourne last Friday night.

NSW Deputy Commissioner for Corporate Services Catherine Burn is the first NSW woman to win the award in its 17-year history.

According to Telstra Business Women’s Awards ambassador Kate McKenzie, Burn was awarded for her success in a very-male dominated environment.

Local employers calling on overseas talent

New research has found Australian employers are looking beyond Aussie shores to address skills shortages, with vacancies being filled by talent from India, the UK and South Africa.

The 2011 Borderless Workforce research by ManpowerGroup Australia shows that 35 percent of employers are looking overseas when recruiting new employees.

Businesses confident about sales growth in 2012

The majority of businesses expect sales to grow in the new year, despite the fact many continue to feel unsure about an economic recovery occurring any time soon.

According to The Executive Connection (TEC) Business Confidence Index, over 60 percent of CEOs and business leaders expect a spike in sales in 2012, with businesses in New South Wales and Western Australia expecting the greatest boon.

Qantas dispute heads to arbitration

Qantas and the three unions involved in industrial disputes have failed to reach a resolution after 21-days of talks, with Fair Work Australia (FWA) to now begin the binding arbitration process.

Qantas failed to reach an agreement with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) and the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), despite three weeks of intensive talks the FWA decreed after months of strike action led CEO Alan Joyce to ground the fleet for 48-hours in October.

Joyce said Qantas’ preferred option was to resolve the dispute through negotiations, but it was now time for FWA to take control of the situation.

Federal government unpopularity with SMEs grows

Local business owners’ dissatisfaction with the Federal Government has reached highs not seen since 2008, as they call for immediate action on five key areas.

According to new MYOB research, just 14 percent of SMEs are happy with the government’s support for business, with government dissatisfaction levels reaching 56 percent.

Christmas search traffic to skyrocket: Google

Google expects shopping-related search traffic to skyrocket in the lead-up to Christmas, as Australians do their online research before heading to stores or placing orders online.

The findings come from Google research into consumer shopping habits based on its search traffic patterns, designed to keep retailers on track over the Christmas shopping period.

Searches for Christmas specific items are up year over year in all major retail categories, with mass merchant retail searches up 47 percent, followed by food and drink, and toys.

Thorn increases profit despite tough retail conditions

Thorn Group, the parent company of Radio Rentals and Rentlo, increased its profit for the half year to September, despite soft retail conditions.

The retail and financial services company increased profit to $14.3 million, up 30 percent compared with a year earlier.

Business positive about incoming workplace safety laws

The majority of managers believe new work health and safety (WHS) laws due to come into force in January 2012 will have a positive impact on their business, a new survey has found.

According to ComOps research, 87 percent of managers believe the new work health and safety regime will be of benefit to their organisation, and  60 percent of businesses feel the laws personal liability provisions are a positive move.