On August 16, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer released draft legislation designed to stop illegal phoenix activity in Australia. Phoenix companies are businesses that are designed to funnel assets and wealth to another business or individual until they become insolvent, leaving creditors to absorb the cost while the offender profits.
Since its global peak in 2014, seed and early stage venture capital investment has stalled. While the total amounts invested have declined by only approximately 10 per cent, the number of new businesses who receive investment per year has been cut in half. That means larger investments for fewer businesses, and less investment overall for new startups.
Last year’s Payment Times Inquiry revealed that, in regard to the late payment issues it was meant to combat, the Australian government was a major offender. This is a major problem, because government spending accounts for over 36 percent of GDP in Australia. That means it’s particularly important for the government to lead in improving payment times if it hopes to change the status quo. In response, the federal government has cut payment terms to 30 days, ensuring that government contractors are paid sooner and more reliably.
While many successful startups are built on a single disruptive innovation, it takes a consistently innovative company culture to grow into an industry leader. A single brilliant entrepreneur can almost never do the back-breaking work of running a business while also continuing to come up with transformative ideas. Rather, many of the longest-lived and familiar brands we know today rely on the innovative potential of their entire staff to drive them forward.
Entrepreneurs rarely go into business with the goal of remaining small in the long term. While each business owner’s ultimate ambitions might vary, success for entrepreneurs normally means pursuing competitiveness and growth. Considering this, it’s worth noting that over 97 per cent of Australian businesses are small businesses. Growth is difficult, and it’s very common for entrepreneurs with big dreams to join the ranks of small businesses that survive, but don’t quite thrive. That doesn’t mean, however, that growing and scaling up are distant dreams.
Along with co-founder Hayley Barna, Katia Beauchamp has taken the beauty industry by storm, transforming the way millions of people select and purchase beauty products. Founded in 2010, her startup, Birchbox, brought beauty products into the subscription economy, and has since taken over a significant portion of the beauty industry. As of 2017, Birchbox was working with 300 brands in six countries.
When it comes to financial performance, businesses often focus on the bottom line and if they’re making a profit. But there’s another important number to watch, which shows if the cash in your business is being used efficiently. Understanding this figure can be the difference between a business remaining static or missing opportunities and growing.
As startups become larger, their workforces tend to also become more diverse. Business owners, unfortunately, often don’t recognise this as the opportunity that it is. While businesses usually do pursue policies to avoid discrimination, they often don’t adequately consider how to benefit from their diversity. One of the most important, and universally applicable of these is generational diversity.
Since starting out as a co-op student at GM in 1980 at the age of 18, Mary Barra has become the highest paid, and arguably most successful, CEO in the automotive industry. Unlike many of her counterparts, her educational and professional background are centered around engineering, and her approach to leadership has reflected that of an engineer. Since assuming her position as the CEO of General Motors, Barra has been named the 5th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, received an honorary doctorate from Duke University, and was featured on the cover of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.
In their first few years of operation, small businesses are in a very precarious position. Not only do entrepreneurs need to go through the bureaucratic, strategic, and mundane work of getting their business running, they also need to satisfy startup investors and lending institutions, and attract new investment. Those who don’t often rely on personal savings and investments by friends and family members to launch their businesses, which places them under even more personal pressure.