The Business Chat: Budget 2018, Techweek, and ethical dairying

Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. In our monthly Business Chat special, Simon Pound speaks with Maria Slade of Callaghan Innovation and Rebecca Stevenson, business editor of The Spinoff, about the business stories making the news that month.

This month Simon, Maria and Rebecca discuss the 2018 government budget, Techweek, and touch on the story of Glen Herud’s dairy farming business which was profiled on the podcast two weeks ago.

Either download this episode (right click and save), have a listen below or via Spotifysubscribe through iTunes (RSS feed) or read on for a transcribed excerpt.

Simon: The budget had a lack of things aimed at small business, not even the words ‘small business’ in the 10-page official document.

Rebecca: There’s really no mention of small business much at all. I don’t think that’s going to help with that unsettled business sentiment that’s been sloshing around since Labour’s new coalition government have come in. It didn’t send a great signal that ‘we’re thinking about you, we’re talking about you’.

Maria: Yes, and I think that SME, small business, needs a hand. There was a survey done by CPA, the accountancy body, of Asia-Pacific small businesses, and New Zealand and Australia come out quite badly on a lot of the metrics. And one of the things was that less than 60% of them grew in the last year and only 14% of them put on staff.

They’re lagging a bit and they need a hand. There was a Westpac survey that came out just this week showing that 47% of SMEs site work-life balance as a barrier to expansion. They don’t want to work themselves into the ground trying to grow a business.

Spreading themselves too thin is a problem. They’re having to deal with things outside of their skillset to try and grow their businesses. They’re focussed on the idea or the technology or whatever it is, but not on the execution of a strategic plan to try and turn this into a money-making venture.

What’s the answer? They can either hire in those skills, they can bring in experienced mentors, perhaps they can build the leadership capability within their own business to help them along, and that’s not easy, they need assistance in that regard.

The tax credits coming in will help some businesses but as you rightly point out that’s really for the bigger ones.

Simon: Yeah, if the goals in the business are to raise wages, and personally I think moves to raise the minimum wage are a great idea, perhaps it’s a good idea for the small businesses to have some kind of counteracting tax credit or something that acknowledges the entire cost of raising the wage economy is sitting on small business employers.

Minimum wage increases and GST means that their products are more expensive, and then to kick it off, think about things like extra public holiday, Mondayisation, I mean it’s incredibly expensive but there’s never anything on the other side of the ledger.

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