The Friday SMB wrap-up

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This week, the small business world welcomed the news that the Commonwealth Bank will roll out a world-first in smartphone and Facebook payments, the CatchOfTheDay group announced its revenue had doubled, HTC launched a new smartphone, the Rhyme, and business owners reported feeling pessimistic about seeing revenue rises during the upcoming Christmas season.n

HTC launches latest smartphone

Consumers will have access to HTC’s Rhyme smartphone from 1 November, which the company says has been designed to complement all aspects of a users day.

The Rhyme will come in one colour, ‘Clearwater’, and features a 3.7-inch WVGA super LCD display and high-quality stereo sound. It also has a 5-megapixel camera that includes auto focus, power LED flash and instant shutter, as well as the “refreshed HTC Sense experience.”

Rugby World Cup a winner for NZ businesses

The All Blacks took out the final of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) last night, but new research from MasterCard shows businesses in New Zealand were the real winners of the tournament.

According to MasterCard’s Economic Impact on Global Rugby Part V: Rugby World Cup 2011 Final research, the total regional GDP impact from hosting the 2011 final could be worth as much as A$52.99 million to the New Zealand economy.

Negative politics creating cautious businesses

Economic instability and an inability by the government to make solid decisions is leading local businesses to act with greater caution, despite steady levels of optimism in the private business sector.

According to Grant Thornton’s International Business Report, Australia is one of just nine countries that’s maintaining optimism among privately held business. Despite this positive outlook, they’re moving forward with caution, concerned by Government uncertainty and the troubled environment overseas.

Consumers shopping more on smartphones

Australians are increasingly embracing a sophisticated digital lifestyle, with more than a quarter of consumers now reporting that they use smartphones for online shopping.

The reduced prices of products in the local market have also aided a surge in demand for new technology, with consumers spending $2.8 billion on 6.56 million digital devices in the first half of the year, according to research released today by Canon’s Consumer Digital Lifestyle Index (Canon CDLI) in partnership with GfK Retail and Technology.

Assess the ‘digital readiness’ of your business

Optus will launch an online tool next week to assist small businesses to assess their level of digital readiness, and offer tips for bettering their use of technology to grow and prosper.

The online self-assessment tool will allow SMBs to take a quick survey to deliver their digital readiness score, which can then be compared across a number of industries.

Commonwealth Bank rolls out world-first smartphone payment

The Commonwealth Bank is capitalising on Australians’ predilection for smartphones and social media, unveiling a new service that allows customers to make mobile payments through Facebook and their mobile phone address books.

Commbank Kaching introduces the ability to make peer-to-peer payments using a phone’s contacts and email addresses, and via their Facebook account to friends- a world first for any bank.

Optus and FetchTV launch IPTV service

Optus has stepped into the internet TV fray, matching Telstra and Foxtel with the unveiling of its competitively priced IPTV service, Optus MeTV.

Working in conjunction with FetchTV, the hybrid service combines free-to-air TV and subscription channels, a personal video recorder (PVR), user interface and web video, for $9.95 per month on a two-year contract.

CatchOfTheDay group doubles revenue, as eCommerce popularity spikes

The operators of CatchOfTheDay, Scoopon and Groceryrun.com.au say they’re on track to double revenue this financial year, with strong sales growth recorded across all three businesses.

Year-to-date group revenue is up 100 percent on September 2010 figures, with revenue likely to total $250 million for FY 2011/12, more than double its FY 2010/11 revenue of $120 million.

Christmas unlikely to boost SME bottom lines

Local business owners are feeling pessimistic about seeing revenue rises during the upcoming Christmas season, as many express doubt the economy will improve any time soon.

According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor, business owners are seeing declining revenues and have low expectations about an improvement over the next 18 months. Close to 70 percent of businesses aren’t expecting an economic recovery over the next 12 months, and 30 percent believe sales will be lower in the Christmas quarter compared with 14 percent last year.

Just 29 percent are expecting an increase in sales in the Christmas quarter, compared with 49 percent last year.

iiNet introduces first-ever SMB mobile plans

iiNet has announced its first range of mobile handsets and plans for small to medium businesses, including three Android mobile phones.

Business customers can mix-and-match the mobile phones with iiNet’s existing no-contract SIM plans, which include calls, text, 3G data, social networking and iiNet to iiNet value calls.

Employees believe men still favoured at work

A quarter of Australians believe employers favour men over women for leadership roles in the workplace, a new Randstad survey has found.

The research highlights a significant divide between men and women’s perceptions of gender imbalances at work. When looking for new managers, 40 percent of males say their employers consider existing levels of men and women in higher management, with only 25 percent of females agreeing.

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