Smarter Weekly Roundup: Your cheat sheet to the week in small business

News

Smarter Weekly Roundup: Your cheat sheet to the week in small business

Find out about the new national businesss name registration scheme that will save you heaps of money, turn your Instagram into Polaroids and find out why 'aggressive marketing' is now being blamed for the UK riots.

News

Big announcement for the Gillard camp today, with the news that the legislation for Australia's first national business names registration has been passed. This is great for SMEs, who previously had to register their businesses in every State or Territory separately, incurring huge costs. You can now cover the lot with a one-off registration fee of $70, which cuts through a lot of red tape and will make your hip pocket happy, too. Check the official site for all updates and to register from May 28. 

Tools

ThinkerToys; turning e-Waste into educational toys 
If those ads from PlanetArk asking us to recycle mobile phones are anything to go by, Australians trash tonnes of old technology every year. ThinkerToys believe that there's a better use for all those keyboards, mice, Playstation controls and old SaTNavs that we get rid of when we upgrade. Inspired by the tech landfills and poverty of Cambodia, the movement rescues old goods, hacks them and turns them into educational toys for disadvantaged children. So far they've made a piano out of an old keyboard, a portable radio from used memory chips and more. It's not something many of us think about when we get the next big thing in tech, but it's good to know someone is. Have a play with ThinkerToys here.  

Instaprint: Turning iPhone photography into takeaways
This is a neat one for anybody who works in publicity or puts on events and openings for other small businesses or expos. Photo booths have long been part of the fabric at corporate gigs, but now that every man and his dog has an iPhone and an Instagram account, how do you get people to line up for a snap to make sure they remember your brand later? Instaprint combines these two worlds, mounting onto the wall at an event and printing off instagrams onto Polariod-style invisible ink pages as soon as they are tagged at the location. That's an event snap driven by your guests, they can do as many as they want and it certainly costs less than hiring a portable studio. Invest in an Instaprint module here.

Good Reads

Brand Spirit: Your Favourite Product, Whited Out
With The Olympics around the corner, the fallout from the London Riots of last year are still a pressing concern for many city and international officials. This piece looks at the effect 'aggressive marketing' had on the youth involved in the riots, which essentially means brands have more power than we thought they did. Perhaps restricting advertising fresh sneakers and other emblems of materialism will be the next step in censorship after Australia started curbing junk food ads for kids? It's a slippery slope, it is...

How The World's Oldest Record Store Competes With Digital
There's a lot of hype When it comes to the digital age, nobody was hit as hard as your humble music peddler. Across the globe, record sales are going down the toilet while downloads are increasing, forcing many music retailers to close up shop. Not so for Spiller's Records, which has been chugging along since 1894, and is still somehow selling vinyl of all things in this day and age - and turning a profit. This piece from The Observer details how the staff and their banter are essential to the kind of experience you're never going to get on YouTube or iTunes and how their intelligent business decisions - like rewarding their locals and promoting unknowns, have kept them alive for so long. 

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