Shopping Cart


No products in the cart.


We're Building the World's BIGGEST Online Community for Small Businesses

Author: admin

Coming up with a Business Idea

Developing a viable business idea is a critical first step for any aspiring entrepreneur. As you embark on your journey to become a small business owner, it is essential to carefully consider various factors that contribute to a successful venture. One of the key elements in coming up with a strong business idea is identifying an unmet need in the market. Conduct thorough market research to understand consumer pain points, preferences, and behaviors within your industry of interest. This will allow you to tailor your offering to address a genuine demand. Additionally, evaluate your own skills, expertise, and passions. Aligning your business idea with your strengths can enhance your chances of long-term sustainability and profitability. Leverage your unique experiences and insights to differentiate your venture from competitors. It is also prudent to assess the competitive landscape and identify opportunities for innovation. Analyze industry trends, emerging technologies, and shifting consumer habits to pinpoint areas where you can provide a superior solution or experience. Ultimately, crafting a compelling business idea requires a balance of market awareness, personal capabilities, and strategic foresight. By meticulously planning and refining your concept, you can increase the likelihood of establishing a thriving small business.

Government overhauls privacy laws: Opt-out, right to forget, & more

​ The Australian government is planning to introduce new laws aimed at bolstering privacy protections for citizens and imposing stricter data security requirements on small businesses. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has expressed concerns about the current trend of Australians mindlessly accepting lengthy and convoluted privacy policies without thoroughly reviewing the associated disclaimers. To address these issues, the proposed reforms include safeguards against “dark patterns” that manipulate users into granting excessive privacy permissions. University of Technology academic Kate Bower views these reforms as a positive step, emphasizing the urgency of protecting Australians from potential privacy breaches resulting from advanced technologies. One significant aspect of these legislative changes is the potential introduction of a right for Australians to have their personal data erased, although this right would not override existing legal obligations such as the retention of identification and criminal records. Additionally, the government is contemplating a ban on targeted marketing based on sensitive information unless it can be deemed socially beneficial. Children are also set to benefit from enhanced privacy protections. Entities would be prohibited from directly marketing to children and trading their personal information, with the implementation of a children’s online privacy code ensuring that their best interests are always taken into account. Small businesses may no longer enjoy exemptions from privacy obligations applicable to large corporations, potentially necessitating increased investments in safeguarding personal information and the mandatory notification of consumers in the event of a data breach. While Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson applauds these reforms as appropriately scaled, shadow attorney-general Michaelia Cash expresses concerns that they might place additional complexity and financial burdens on already struggling small businesses. Furthermore, the government is exploring the expansion of personal data protections, particularly in the context of online identifiers like IP addresses and cookies. As modern technologies continue to integrate into public life, these expanded protections would go beyond the traditional safeguarding of names and street addresses. Another noteworthy consideration is the potential introduction of a “right to be forgotten,” allowing individuals to request the removal of certain search engine results associated with their names under specific circumstances. Attorney-General Dreyfus emphasizes that Australians have a legitimate expectation that their data will be adequately safeguarded. While some commend these legislative efforts, think tank Reset.Tech believes that more comprehensive measures are required and criticizes what it sees as the government’s yielding to pressure from large businesses. Executive director Alice Dawkins asserts that participation in the digital world is essential and that individuals’ rights should not be violated during their day-to-day online activities. Of the 116 recommendations stemming from the Privacy Act review, the government has agreed to 38, offered in-principle support for 68, and noted 10. Notably, the proposal to narrow the exemption for politicians was among those noted. These privacy reforms are expected to be introduced into parliament in 2024. Mixed reactions Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, has expressed support for the importance of ensuring public confidence in the safe and responsible handling of privacy and data. However, Willox also voiced concerns about the potential consequences of over-regulation, which could hinder innovation and increase costs for businesses. One major concern relates to the proposed removal of the exemption for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under the Privacy Act. Willox highlights that any modification to the employee records exemption could have wide-ranging implications, affecting how employers manage the employment relationship and comply with workplace laws, especially considering recent Industrial Relations (IR) reforms. Willox emphasizes that what may appear to be a modest and targeted adjustment to the employee exemption could lead to unintended consequences, potentially impacting employee and community safety. While acknowledging the support being offered to assist SMEs in complying with new regulations, Willox emphasizes that compliance is an ongoing process, as technology and business practices evolve. He underscores the need for a long-term partnership between the government and industry to address privacy concerns without stifling innovation. Willox also commends the government’s commitment to consulting with industry stakeholders on this issue and expresses Ai Group’s readiness to collaborate with the government to find a balanced solution. In addition to concerns about SME exemptions, Ai Group raises issues related to the introduction of a Data Protection Officer requirement and a Data Impact Statement. There is a concern that these measures could increase the regulatory burden on Australian businesses, particularly those in the public-facing sector. Ai Group calls for extensive consultation with various organizations to prevent regulatory overreach. Ai Group advocates for the principle of Data Stewardship, which emphasizes the obligations and responsibilities of businesses, regardless of their size or industry, in managing data collected as part of their usual business operations or business models. This approach covers governance requirements, responsible data utilization, technological and behavioral strategies, and the secure disposal of data when it is no longer needed. Bruce Billson, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, emphasizes the importance of safeguarding personal information collected by businesses, irrespective of their size. He supports Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus’s recent decision to eliminate the privacy exemption for small businesses and is collaborating with the Australian Government to ensure the implementation of appropriately scaled and clear regulations. Mr. Billson asserts that it is unrealistic for small businesses to have a blanket exemption from providing necessary and suitable protection for the personal information they hold about their customers, employees, and business partners. He acknowledges that applying the full suite of privacy principles, as required for larger businesses and government agencies, is impractical for small and family businesses due to resource constraints. While recognizing the unique circumstances of small businesses, Mr. Billson welcomes the Attorney-General’s acknowledgment of their limited time and resources. He emphasizes that the exemption will only be removed after conducting an impact analysis, determining suitable replacements through consultation with the small business community, considering support packages, and establishing a transition period for small businesses to prepare. Mr. Billson highlights the need for clear guidance and actionable steps that small businesses can take to protect personal

A quarter of young Aussies eyeing career changes

​ A big change is happening in the job world, especially for young workers. A study by RMIT Online shows that one out of four workers under 30 is thinking about switching careers. This is a major shift in how people approach their jobs. Nic Cola, CEO at RMIT Online, underscores the importance of understanding these shifting priorities among Gen Z and younger millennials. He notes that these emerging professionals are redefining their career paths and are actively seeking new opportunities, even if it means changing jobs. Given their substantial presence in the workforce, Cola emphasizes the need to empower them to bridge the skills gap and pursue their professional ambitions. This, he believes, will contribute to creating a more resilient and dynamic workforce for the future. The primary driver behind this career exploration is the pursuit of an increased salary, with a staggering 50% of workers under 30 ranking it as their top motivation. Career development opportunities and flexible working arrangements come in closely behind, at 33% and 31%, respectively. Furthermore, a remarkable 56% of the younger respondents have plans to approach their employers for external training or upskilling in the near future. For these young workers, training holds significant importance, as one in three expresses concern about lacking the skills necessary to excel in their current roles. Cola emphasizes that while competitive remuneration is undoubtedly a significant motivator, career development and training opportunities also hold considerable sway for most Australians. He highlights that businesses must provide robust support, value their employees, and engage with them effectively. Failing to do so not only risks losing valuable staff but can also impede innovation and hinder competitiveness in today’s dynamic business landscape. For those young workers who report dissatisfaction with their current jobs, the top reason cited is not feeling valued, with a significant 60% highlighting this issue. It is closely followed by concerns related to inadequate compensation for their roles or levels of responsibility and a lack of clarity regarding career progression, both at 55%. These findings underscore the importance of fostering a workplace culture that values employees and provides clear paths for growth and development to retain and motivate young talents in today’s ever-evolving job market.  Job satisfaction on the rise The job satisfaction landscape in Australia paints a positive picture, with 75% of workers expressing satisfaction in their current roles. Senior and mid-level professionals report the highest job satisfaction levels at 76% and 74%, respectively, while junior workers register a respectable 70% satisfaction rate. Interestingly, consultants (87%) and healthcare professionals (86%) stand out as the most satisfied with their jobs, while those in the science and technology sector report the lowest job satisfaction, at 60%. While overall job satisfaction remains high, junior staff exhibit lower levels of satisfaction compared to their more experienced peers, with 70% of junior staff content in their roles compared to 83% of Owners, CEOs, and Managing Directors. Financial considerations play a significant role in job satisfaction, with 47% of respondents emphasizing the importance of receiving an adequate salary. However, salary is overshadowed by cultural factors, with 60% valuing great colleagues and 55% emphasizing feeling valued as critical elements of job satisfaction. Looking ahead, over one-third of Australian workers (36%) plan to request a pay raise in the next three months. Among those who sought a pay raise in the past three months, 53% attributed their request to the rising cost of living, 42% to a positive performance review, and 40% to taking on additional responsibilities. When considering career changes, an increased salary ranks as the top motivating factor, with 47% highlighting it as their primary incentive. Flexible working hours (30%) and career development opportunities (29%) follow closely behind. Moreover, 26% of respondents under the age of 30 have ventured into a side hustle within the past three months, while 53% plan to initiate one in the next three months. Additionally, a substantial 76% of respondents believe that technology will assist them in their roles, particularly among those in senior positions (79%). Gender disparities are evident, with men expressing greater confidence in the uniqueness and irreplaceability of their skill sets (62% compared to 44% of women). Men also report higher satisfaction levels regarding their personal financial security, with 38% content compared to 29% of women. Notably, 25% of women have contemplated a career change in the past three months, reflecting evolving career aspirations. Furthermore, 43% of respondents intend to seek external training or upskilling in the next three months, followed by requesting a pay rise (36%) and negotiating a promotion (28%). Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

How to effectively communicate sustainability initiatives for brand loyalty

​ In today’s environmentally conscious marketplace, businesses are increasingly aware of the substantial impact sustainability initiatives have on both their financial success and brand reputation. The effective communication of these efforts holds the key to nurturing brand loyalty and winning the allegiance of environmentally conscious consumers. As the sustainability trend continues to gain momentum among businesses, it is now more crucial than ever for SMEs to effectively communicate their dedication to eco-friendly practices in order to enhance their brand image. In this edition of Let’s Talk, our team of experts will unveil essential steps and strategies that empower businesses, regardless of their size, to fortify their brand image through sustainable practices. We’ll delve into the art of conveying sustainability efforts convincingly, establishing enduring connections with customers who prioritize ethical and eco-friendly values. Let’s Talk. Discover more Let’s Talk Business episodes Contribute to Dynamic Business Kate Dundas, Executive Director at United Nations Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) Kate Dundas, Executive Director at United Nations Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) “The businesses of the future will be the ones which build regenerative practice into their core purpose and operations. Talk about your reason for being, why does your company exist and what positive environmental and societal outcomes is it delivering. “Transparency is important. Openly share the details of your sustainability efforts, from supply chain practices to product features. This transparency builds trust with your audience. “Educate Your Audience and help consumers understand the impact of your initiatives. Provide clear, easy-to-digest information about your impact goals and achievements, emphasizing how they benefit both the environment and society. For example, Intrepid have recently introduced carbon labelling on itineraries. “Craft compelling narratives that highlight your journey towards great outcomes for planet and people. Avoid broad and unqualified claims like ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’, be specific and use plain language. This recent advert for Icebugs, a Swedish footwear brand is an interesting example. “Obtaining certifications or third-party verification can also add credibility to your sustainability claims. However, you should ensure that the certification scheme is independent, reputable and suitable for your needs. “Set specific, measurable, and time-bound goals, allowing customers to track your progress and listen to customer feedback, and engage in conversations about social and environmental impact. “The ACCC recently outlined 8 principles for trustworthy environmental claims. Be cautious of overpromising or exaggerating sustainability claims. Ensure that your actions align with your words to avoid greenwashing.” Rob Malkin, Senior Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand at Bentley Systems Rob Malkin, Senior Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand at Bentley Systems “In today’s climate, customers, employees and stakeholders aren’t just expecting more from companies on the sustainability front – they’re demanding it. The most effective way we as businesses can communicate these initiatives is through setting concise targets that are impactful, measurable and grounded by the Sustainable Development Goals framework. “Clear targets are important to ensure all involved in the business are aware of the bigger picture, this extends to stakeholders and customers as well. Being as transparent as possible – particularly on issues pertaining to the environment is crucial as it shows an organisation’s commitment to its goals and allows for a degree of accountability where the business is held answerable. “To further demonstrate commitment to sustainability initiatives, it’s vital to share regular updates on progress. We communicate this through a number of ways from case studies that demonstrate real-world impact, to publishing an annual report that tracks advancements year-on-year against organisational goals. “This level of transparency enables an organisation to attract and retain partners who not only share in the commitment to minimising environmental impact but are actively contributing to global solutions that address the environmental challenges that we are faced with.” James Johnson, Director, Technology Services & Enterprise (APAC) at Shopify James Johnson, Director, Technology Services & Enterprise (APAC) at Shopify “While Australians are increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint, Shopify research shows it may not always be the primary driver for purchasing decisions. In fact, according to Shopify’s Australian Retail Report, 78% are prioritising value for money, but there is some nuance in how different consumers perceive value. What this means is that in order to effectively craft and communicate sustainability initiatives that build loyalty, it’s critical that brands understand their target audience’s values, and shape their strategies with that in mind. “For example, one cohort we identified was the ‘Local Loyal’, comprising 24% of Australians. If your business’ sustainability initiative includes localising supply chains, it may be valuable to communicate this. However, if your target audience is a price-conscious ‘Savings Seeker’ (22% of Australians), perhaps a message highlighting that less wasteful production processes will save them money as well as helping the environment would be most effective. “Ultimately, as consumer priorities shift amid the rising cost of living, it’s vital brands look to reconnect with their target audiences and ensure their sustainability initiatives reflect what their core consumers – need and care about – in order to make an impact.” John McCloskey, Managing Director, ANZ at Lenovo ISG John McCloskey, Managing Director, ANZ at Lenovo ISG “Lenovo’s 2023 Smarter Data Management Playbook Survey highlights the pressing sustainability priority for Australian leaders: reducing waste through improved resource utilization. This shift is driven by the conscious consumerism movement, underlining the importance of not only adopting sustainability initiatives but also effectively communicating them. “Such communication serves a dual purpose: 1) Reduce their environmental impact, and 2) Foster strong brand loyalty. To achieve this, businesses can employ several strategies: Customer-Centric Focus: Start by understanding the evolving priorities of your customers. This approach ensures that your initiatives align with what your audience values most. Collateral Communication: Utilize tools like whitepapers and market announcements to reinforce your commitment to sustainability. These materials provide tangible evidence of your sustainable practices in action. For instance, Lenovo ISG’s 17th annual ESG report proactively informs the market about the company’s focus on building a sustainable planet, promoting inclusivity, and bridging digital divides. It showcases transparency and progress. Sustainability Services

Unlocking the full potential of your enterprise software investment

​ In today’s ever-evolving business climate, business leaders face an array of challenges while balancing budget constraints combined with the pressure to accelerate innovation. This means well-thought-out technology strategies considering both short-term deployment goals and longer-term improvement in operations are more critical than ever. According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), software spending in 2022 across Australia and New Zealand grew 12% year-over-year (YoY), reaching US$18.7 billion, demonstrating that software is a key focus for businesses in the region.  The investment in researching and developing software applications can take many months or years leading to the ‘go-live’ day becoming a major event and relief for many of the team members. The post-implementation phase can often be undervalued, resulting in adoption challenges and limited expansion of the software solution to capture its full value and capability. The pitfall of neglecting the post-implementation phase While an organisation’s main objective may be to deploy a solution focused on meeting the existing ‘as is’ business requirements ‘on time’ and ‘within budget’, this approach only scratches the surface of the software’s true potential delivering the Minimally Viable Product (MVP), without considering whether MVP can make a positive business impact.       Employees may become frustrated if the software does not feel as though it helps or improves the way they operate, resulting in many workers not using it or partially using it when they must, thereby reducing the benefit of the investment. Return on investment (ROI) for most software solutions comes with time; the more it is used, the more benefit it will deliver so user adoption is critical to realising the planned benefits. The good news is that consulting services from your software vendor or their partners can ensure the right features are unlocked and user adoption is maximised for your investment, amplifying the value in many ways: 1. By sharing tailored expertise  By working closely with a team of seasoned professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in configuring the deployed software, employees and IT teams will be able to determine the specific needs of each stakeholder and identify which of the software platform’s features and functionalities align with this unique set of business goals. They can guide stakeholders through the process of turning on and integrating each recommended feature within the tech stack and workflows. Depending on your service level agreement (SLA), they may even be able to execute that integration on your behalf.  2. By uncovering hidden gems in the software      The beauty of software is that innovation is always happening, and new updates are being pushed via new releases all the time. But given that new features and product enhancements are introduced often, it can be hard to keep up with what is available. As companies do not typically have a team member solely focused on one or two software applications, software provider’s consulting teams can help stay abreast of these changes and prompt the updates when necessary. With their in-depth knowledge of that solution, they can also highlight lesser-known features or “hidden gems” that may significantly impact operations, making it easier to streamline workflows, automate processes, and unlock new efficiencies that will save time, reduce costs, and boost productivity.  Recently, in one of Zebra’s Workforce Management (WFM) consulting sessions, two simple configuration changes to enhance the exception management journey for the retail customer’s store managers resulted in a time saving of approximately one hour per store per week. Considering that the retail client has 500 stores, that is 500 hours saved for the business per week. The impact of that one hour saved per store per week reverberated across the entire operation, positively impacting employees and customers.  3. By amplifying knowledge to build an effective in-house workforce Good consulting services can instruct businesses and their employees on how to use specific features, but great consulting services go way beyond that. Instead, they aim to empower teams with a deep understanding of the software’s capabilities, enabling them to become self-sufficient problem solvers and innovators with time. Furthermore, by imparting their knowledge, consultants empower everyone in the organisation to harness the software’s full potential, not just IT teams or end users, helping foster a culture of continuous improvement and growth. 4. By being proactive about problem solving Technology is ever evolving, and challenges may arise as businesses expand or adapt to new market trends. With ongoing consulting services, companies can have access to a reliable partner who can provide proactive support and problem-solving. 5. By helping leaders manage cost optimisation   It is no secret that inefficient software usage can result in wasted resources and unnecessary expenses. Constantly unlocking new value is a way to render software “useful,” and having a healthy return on investment (ROI). One of the main reasons why many organisations opt to procure consulting services is because these experts are highly skilled at recommending software optimisations that eliminate redundancies. They are also adept at fine-tuning processes and configurations, and identifying areas where a stakeholder may need additional training. By helping to ensure teams are deriving maximum value from their software, consulting teams are helping companies achieve a higher ROI, making ongoing consulting services a cost-effective choice in the long run. Unlocking long-term success Investing in ongoing consulting services can be considered a good investment in long-term success. By partnering with the Professional Services team from software suppliers, business leaders can leverage their consultants’ expertise, unearth hidden value through regular updates, and eliminate redundancies to amplify the impact of the software on business operations. The innovations that companies invest in are only powerful if people use them to their full capacity.  Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

SMEs find stability as RBA keeps rates

​ For the fourth consecutive month, the Reserve Bank of Australia has opted to maintain its key interest rate, offering mortgage holders a continued respite. This decision aligns with the central bank’s ongoing endeavours to find equilibrium in the economy by addressing persistent inflationary pressures. In a statement released after its latest meeting, the Reserve Bank cited the need to assess the impact of previous interest rate hikes and the ongoing economic uncertainty. Inflation in Australia has passed its peak but remains elevated, particularly in the services sector and fuel prices, while rent inflation continues to be a concern. The central bank’s forecast suggests that Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation is expected to gradually decline and return to the 2–3 per cent target range by late 2025. Despite stronger-than-expected growth in the Australian economy in the first half of the year, the nation is still experiencing below-trend growth. High inflation has been putting pressure on real incomes, resulting in weak household consumption growth and reduced dwelling investment. However, the labor market remains tight, even though it has eased slightly. The unemployment rate is expected to rise gradually to around 4½ per cent late next year, while wages growth, though picking up, remains consistent with the inflation target. The Reserve Bank emphasized that returning inflation to its target range within a reasonable timeframe is its top priority. The bank pointed out that high inflation negatively impacts savings, household budgets, business planning and investment, and income equality. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have remained consistent with the inflation target, and the bank aims to maintain this stability. While the recent data supports the forecast of inflation returning to the target range and continued growth in output and employment, significant uncertainties exist. Persistent services price inflation overseas could spill over into Australia, and uncertainties regarding the effects of monetary policy and firms’ pricing decisions on the economy remain. Household consumption is also uncertain, with some experiencing financial pressures while others benefit from rising housing prices and increased interest income. Additionally, global economic uncertainties, particularly concerning the Chinese economy, persist. The Reserve Bank indicated that further tightening of monetary policy might be necessary to bring inflation back within the target range, but this will depend on evolving data and risk assessments. The bank pledged to closely monitor global economic developments, household spending trends, and the inflation and labor market outlook in its future decisions. CreditorWatch’s Chief Economist, Anneke Thompson noted that the continuing weak retail trade and consumer confidence data is giving the board the clear sign that their efforts to reduce demand in the economy have worked very well. “While some items in the CPI ‘basket’ continue to record price rises, these rises are by and large not related to high consumer demand, and therefore not enough to convince the RBA to move again to cool demand further. All groups monthly CPI rose 5.2% over the year to August, up from 4.9% the month prior. Whilst a higher figure is not welcome news for the RBA, the figure is heavily impacted by the higher cost of fuel this month. Excluding volatile items like fuel, holiday travel and fruit & vegetable items, monthly CPI increased 5.5%, down from 5.8% the month prior. “The unemployment rate is still very tight, at 3.7 per cent, and almost 65,000 people gained employment over August. Business confidence in all sectors except Retail Trade is also relatively healthy. However, quarterly Job Vacancy data released in late September showed that job vacancies are now falling well off their post-Covid peaks, and this should result in the unemployment rate creeping up over the next few months. “The economy appears to be maintaining a steady slowdown, and thus far business activity is not falling precipitously. However, CreditorWatch BRI data from August 2023 does show a significant fall in the average value of invoices since their peaks in late 2019. The slowdown has been more apparent since the start of 2023, and does indicate that monetary policy tightening is impacting the SME sector already.” Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

One in four young Aussies now has a small business

​ Young Australians are turning to starting small businesses to help secure their financial futures amid the growing cost of living. New research survey from GoDaddy has revealed nearly one in four 18-26 year olds have a small business or side-hustle, a jump from one in eight in April last year. The survey of 1,000 members of Generation Z in Australia also found these digital natives have been among the early adopters of Artificial Intelligence (AI, with almost half using the technology already). Almost a quarter of Gen Z respondents said they were using AI at work, while two in five were using it at home. The survey also revealed young Aussies were increasingly worried about financial security as the latest official data shows living costs for employee households jumped nearly 10 per cent in the past year. Half of those surveyed this year said having a regular, secure income was one of the top two most important factors in their career, as compared to April last year when only 31 per cent rated income as a top two priority. At the same time, work/life balance has become more important to Gen Z, with 44 per cent nominating it as a first or second order priority in 2023 compared to 36 per cent in 2022. The cost of living hasn’t dampened Gen Z’s ambitions though, with the survey results showing three-quarters of respondents said they would still make a financial sacrifice to run a business they were passionate about. Kalista Thomas and Emily Barker are just two of the many young Aussies who’ve recently launched a small business, founding Glamour & Co Beauty Studio in March 2022. The two friends and beauty experts said they were motivated to go into small business for themselves to have more freedom to travel for work offering wedding services. “We saw a gap in the market for a fun, creative beauty studio environment and it was always our passion and our dream so we created Glamour & Co,’’ Emily says. Like many of the Gen Z cohort surveyed, GoDaddy customers Kalista and Emily are passionate about their work and providing the best service to their valued clients.  “The services we provide are what we are truly passionate about,’’ Kalista says. “We have a fun, friendly environment which is a place where our clients can be themselves.” According to GoDaddy’s survey, three in five Gen Z workers said they were primarily motivated in their careers by work they felt passionate about. Half said they valued having work or a career they could be proud of while less than a quarter said they were motivated to change the world or be their own boss. Although more than three-quarters of those surveyed said they preferred traditional employment over being their own boss, Gen Z are highly receptive to small businesses. More than 60 per cent of those surveyed believed launching a side hustle was a much more attractive way to earn extra money than more traditional Gen Z roles like hospitality or retail. In fact, nearly half of all Gen Z have plans to start a business or side hustle, with one in five planning to launch their business in the next 12 months. For Emily and Kalista, launching a small business was the best thing they’ve ever done, and they encourage other young Aussies to back themselves and go for it. “Never be afraid to put yourself out there and take control, it could be the best decision you’ve ever made,’’ Kalista says. With one in four young Aussies already small business owners, it’s clear this entrepreneurial generation are not afraid to take their careers into their own hands. Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

Visa ventures into gen AI with $100m investment fund

​ Visa has introduced a $100 million venture fund aimed squarely at nurturing startups in the burgeoning field of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). As a global payments leader, Visa is fully dedicated to providing robust financial backing to firms devoted to pushing the boundaries of GenAI technologies. According to David Rolf, Head of Visa Ventures at Visa, this strategic move acknowledges the profound potential of generative AI as a groundbreaking technology. Rolf expressed his enthusiasm, asserting, “Recognizing generative AI’s potential as one of the most transformative technologies of our era, we’re thrilled to broaden our investment focus to encompass some of the most disruptive startups in the generative AI, commerce, and payments realms.” This substantial fund will be overseen by Visa Ventures, the corporate investment arm of Visa with a commendable 16-year track record of actively investing in and collaborating with enterprises within the payments and commerce sectors. GenAI technology, at its core, harnesses advanced computer models to craft text, images, or diverse content by tapping into extensive pre-existing data, responding to prompts with precision. Visa’s infusion of $100 million capital will be channeled towards companies that are diligently crafting generative AI technologies and applications poised to reshape the landscape of commerce and payments. Jack Forestell, Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Visa, underlined the transformative potential of generative AI. He pointed out, “Although generative AI has primarily focused on tasks and content creation thus far, this technology is poised to not only revolutionize our lifestyles and workplaces but also significantly transform the commerce landscape, necessitating our comprehension.” David Rolf, Head of Visa Ventures, offered insights into their investment approach, emphasizing their flexibility concerning the number of investments and the scale of financial support. Rolf elaborated that, given the early stage of the industry, they anticipate a range of smaller investments. “With generative AI’s potential to be one of the most transformative technologies of our time, we are excited to expand our focus to invest in some of the most innovative and disruptive venture-backed startups building across generative AI, commerce and payments,” said David. Projected $1.3 trillion growth In a recent analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence (BI), the generative AI market is poised for remarkable expansion, with projections soaring to an astonishing $1.3 trillion over the next ten years. This monumental surge marks a significant leap from its modest $40 billion market size in 2022, with BI’s research forecasting a robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42%. The dynamics propelling this exponential growth are expected to evolve gradually. In the short term, the primary emphasis will be on strengthening training infrastructure. In the medium to long term, the focus will shift towards customized inference devices designed for large language models (LLMs), digital advertising, specialized software, and a wide array of services. The escalating demand for generative AI products is anticipated to inject approximately $280 billion of fresh revenue into the software sector. This upsurge will be driven by the proliferation of specialized assistants, innovative infrastructure products, and the acceleration of coding through copilot programs. Prominent tech giants including Amazon WebServices, Microsoft, Google, and Nvidia are poised to be the principal beneficiaries of this transformation, particularly as more businesses migrate their workloads to the public cloud. BI’s estimates underscore the sweeping impact of generative AI, as it is projected to grow from contributing less than 1% of total expenditure in IT hardware, software services, advertising, and gaming markets to a substantial 10% share by 2032. Key drivers of this incremental revenue will encompass generative AI infrastructure as a service, projected to reach $247 billion by 2032, primarily catering to the training of LLMs. Closely following is the digital advertising sector, expected to generate $192 billion, along with specialized generative AI assistant software contributing $89 billion. In the hardware sector, revenue growth will be buoyed by AI servers ($132 billion), AI storage solutions ($93 billion), computer vision AI products ($61 billion), and conversational AI devices ($108 billion). As generative AI continues its transformative journey across industries, its profound influence on the technology landscape is poised to be both sweeping and highly lucrative. Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

AI will shape finance but pose challenges in choice, compliance

​ According to Moneytech Founder and Director Hugh Evans and CEO Nick McGrath, they are confident that the technological trends of the past two decades will experience an even more rapid expansion due to the increasing integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes.  The duo envisions a future where AI’s influence in the finance sector continues to grow exponentially. As of now, there are already numerous AI-enabled tools available in the market, and the prospects for AI in finance are boundless, with thousands more innovations anticipated. This undeniable surge in AI’s presence indicates a significant role for the technology in shaping the finance sector’s future. However, with this vast array of AI solutions comes a considerable challenge for the industry. Financial institutions will need to navigate through a multitude of options, carefully selecting AI tools that not only enhance efficiency but also ensure compliance and security. Striking the right balance between innovation and risk management will be paramount to deliver a seamless and secure customer experience. “Since Moneytech commenced in September 2003, the finance sector has been undeniably changed by technology. Responsive decision-making tools assist with real-time approvals, and quicker application to settlement timelines are now considered standard,” said Moneytech Founder Hugh Evans. “In this same time period, customers have become savvier, increasing their knowledge of how finance can help them grow their business. This is a good thing for the industry as it drives us all forward.” Increasing exposure to AI-driven technology will accelerate change in the finance sector according to Moneytech CEO Nick McGrath. “The challenge for the industry will be to embrace AI to deliver greater value. With customers attuned to immediate, responsive engagement through their personal banking channels, non-bank business finance providers risk becoming redundant very quickly if they don’t meet customer expectations.” Along with AI and digital transformation rapidly changing the landscape, Hugh and Nick identify Open Banking and APIs, Cybersecurity and privacy, and Alternative Lending and Microfinance as trends which will shape finance for the next decade. Limited access to credit for small businesses is acknowledged by Nick as an industry-wide inefficiency which could be addressed more appropriately. “Microfinance for small business presents as an opportunity in the finance sector, and can potentially play a significant role in  improving this segment of the economy.” Hugh and Nick have pinpointed specific tech-driven sectors that will increasingly require financial support for their expansion over the next five to ten years. These sectors, including Green Energy, Health and Biotechnology, Fintech and Digital Finance, Supply Chain and Logistics, and Agriculture and Foodtech, are expected to become more prominent clients for Moneytech. Currently, these tech-driven businesses already constitute 40% of Moneytech’s clientele, and this proportion is projected to grow significantly in the coming half-decade. A recent report underscores the substantial economic impact of the tech sector in Australia, with a total contribution of 167 billion Australian dollars in 2020. This figure is anticipated to surge to 250 billion Australian dollars by 2030. What’s noteworthy is that a significant portion of this contribution stems from businesses in other sectors adopting technology. As industries such as energy, health, finance, and food continue to embrace technology-driven innovations, the need for financial backing to support their growth becomes increasingly apparent. Looking beyond these specific sectors, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Innovation in Business Report highlights a common obstacle faced by businesses across the board — a “lack of access to additional funds.” This underscores the critical role that access to finance plays in driving innovation and growth in businesses of all sizes. Moneytech remains committed to aiding Australian SMEs in overcoming this barrier and facilitating their growth in an ever-evolving tech-driven landscape. For more information visit Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

Daily average spending down 1.3% in September

​ In a recent release, ethical fintech innovator Beforepay unveiled its much-anticipated September 2023 Cost of Living Index, offering a deep dive into the financial dynamics of the Australian landscape. The report delivers a captivating look into the spending habits of Australians during this period. The headline grabber? A noteworthy 1.3% month-on-month dip in daily average spending, sliding from $61.92 in August to $61.14 in September. This marks the second consecutive month of financial belt-tightening. These reductions were predominantly witnessed in discretionary spending, while non-discretionary expenses saw modest increases. Year-on-year comparisons painted a compelling picture, with daily spending registering a remarkable 4% increase compared to the same period in September 2022 when it clocked in at $58.81. The star of the show in this financial drama was undoubtedly the surge in petrol and auto expenses. In September 2023, these expenses soared by a substantial 2.6%, reaching $8.30 from $8.09 in August. This ascent coincided with the meteoric rise in petrol prices that the nation experienced during September. Notably, this increase in September represents a whopping 3.9% jump compared to July’s $7.99 and a staggering 12.9% leap compared to May’s $7.35. In response to the challenges posed by inflation and the escalating cost of living, Australians have been diligently cutting back on non-discretionary spending. For instance, daily average spending on groceries saw a 1.7% dip in September, landing at $15.34 compared to August’s $15.60. Conversely, utility expenses edged up by 1.1% month-on-month, settling at $6.21, an uptick from $6.14 in August. Notably, utilities also took the crown for the highest year-on-year increase, surging by a staggering 16.7% from $5.32 in September 2022. However, amid these economic ebbs and flows, the September 2023 Cost of Living Index does offer a glimmer of optimism. Entertainment and leisure expenses, for example, witnessed a 2.1% boost in September, ascending to $3.35 from $3.28 in August. Nevertheless, spending in other discretionary categories appeared to hit the brakes. The most striking month-on-month declines were observed in durable shopping, plunging by a substantial 4.5% to $6.77 from $7.09, and food and drink, which registered a 3.5% drop from $11.65 in August to $11.24 in September. Daily spending on general shopping expenses, encompassing items such as clothing, shoes, and consumer packaged goods, also dipped by 1.5%, settling at $7.36 from $7.47. Furthermore, fitness and health expenses witnessed a 1.2% drop to $2.57 from $2.60. Jamie Twiss, the CEO of Beforepay, weighed in on the findings, stating, “Our latest Cost of Living Index reveals that average daily spending has exhibited a remarkable degree of stability over recent months. This is an encouraging sign that Australians are proactively adapting to manage the fluctuations in their living costs. Given the surge in petrol prices and the sustained uptrend in utilities, it’s an opportune moment for consumers to revisit their budgets and make necessary adjustments.” Beforepay’s September 2023 Cost of Living Index is a comprehensive analysis, sourced from a robust dataset comprising more than 385,000 Australians. It encompasses a wide array of household expenditures, ranging from utilities and groceries to food and drink, shopping, petrol, and fitness and health, offering a panoramic view of consumer spending patterns across the nation. Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.