• 09/12/2020 9:51 AM | Anonymous

    While there are many who can't wait to say goodbye to 2020, there's no doubt the coronavirus pandemic made sure businesses had to adjust to ensure their survival. This has changed the trajectory of what 2021 will look like and what businesses should do to get ready for the upcoming year. 

    Some small business trends predicted for 2021 include:

    1. Social Engagement 

    During the pandemic, brands relied on engaging with their customers and potential customers across social media. In 2021, there will be a big push toward a more authentic presence on social media and one that's less curated by social media experts, such as real behind-the-scenes looks at a company.

    2. Empathy 

    One survey revealed 93% of Australians would trust a business, buy more, and/or recommend it to friends and family if it demonstrated empathy towards its customers and community. It’s not about asking ‘How can I sell my product to them?’ but being more understanding what their needs are, how they receive that message, or how they want to be communicated to, and then how your services meet their needs.

    3. Workplace Flexibility 

    The traditional structures of the work week, pay cycle and remuneration are decades old and have been steadily evolving anyway. The events of 2020 may accelerate that for a lot of workplaces. "Flexible working is hugely valued. Whether that is for doing the school pick up, going out for a bike ride when the weather’s good, or spending a month working from New Zealand. Well, why not? As an employer, this is a relatively easy benefit to offer.”  - Pamela Phillips

    4. Business tech on the rise 

    Businesses are hurrying to move IT services to the cloud, so employees can work from home. And they’re moving sales online, so customers can shop from home. Business tech that could help your business do this includes:

    • ecommerce tools for setting up online shops

    • payment services for accepting credit cards (and other forms of online payment)

    • cash flow management tools

    • inventory management apps

    Adapted from: Xero, Forbes, Go Local First

  • 22/09/2020 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    1st October, 5:30pm - 7:30pm, Mittagong RSL

    Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Wingecarribee Shire Council are pleased to present the Small Business Commissioner Chris Lamont, as Keynote Speaker, as we launch a significant program of local events in support of small businesses in the Southern Highlands.

    This year we have been exceedingly challenged by two unforeseen disasters. The impact on business, particularly small business, is profound; and is accelerating changes which had already begun. These include technological change and its consequences – good and bad – for retail and main streets, ‘working from anywhere (WFA)’, innovation, productivity and other efficiencies. The future of work is changing forever, and we are especially mindful of young people and their professional prospects.
    The major theme for this year’s festival is re-booting, with a focus on up-skilling with social and digi-tech, revisiting financial foundations and business planning, future proofing your business and managing your team. The Southern Highlands event program includes elements addressing all thematic areas in a range of learning, social and entertainment environments, both face to face and online.

    In addition to skill development, connecting with each other is an important part of re-booting oneself, the business and the local economy. We are looking forward to facilitating networking after a long period of time where face to face events have been restricted. Our thanks to Mittagong RSL for hosting this COVID safe event.


  • 21/07/2020 10:32 AM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 presents a once in a generation challenge for our business community.

    Based on feedback from our recent Business Recovery Survey results, Business NSW have identified 10 Business Recovery Drivers that will protect and steady the economy in the short-term, and will lay the foundation for our future success in the long-term. These recovery drivers are the basis of this special report.

    The onus now rests on our political leaders to work together to get businesses and our economy back on track.

    Download the report here. 

  • 15/07/2020 6:24 PM | Anonymous

    A Business's online presence can help cement its credibility, increase brand awareness, reach a wider customer base and allow people to connect with you. Here are four elements you can't miss when creating a strong digital footprint.


    A website is your virtual shop front, so you need to make it count. A free or paid website template from platforms such as WixSquarespace or Weebly can help get you set up quickly. If you have the budget, you could also hire a web developer to create a fully customised design, tailored to your brand.

    A good website should:

    • be visually appealing
    • be easy to navigate
    • help build brand credibility
    • make it easy to share information
    • be set up to drive conversions.


    Creating a website is the first step, but then you’ll want to ensure people can find it. That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes into play. It helps your website rank higher in search engine results.

    If you’re keen to give it a go yourself, there’s plenty of free information about SEO strategies online, including some online courses. However, there are also SEO experts who can do the heavy lifting for you, depending on your budget.

    Remember, SEO is not a set-and-forget strategy. The landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s critical to keep up to date, to monitor and optimise your approach.


    Social media has become an invaluable tool for doing business. So, once you have identified the right platforms for your business, you should create a strategy that’s in line with your business objectives, such as:

    • brand building
    • increasing conversions
    • audience research.

    Then, it’s all about creating engaging content to support those goals and engage with your followers online to create long-lasting customer relationships.


    Listing your business on platforms such as GoogleMyBusinessBing Places or the Yellow Pages can make it easier for prospective customers to find your business while searching for a related product or service online. To support a frictionless customer experience make sure all listings are current, with up-to-date opening hours, web addresses and contact details.

  • 15/07/2020 6:18 PM | Anonymous

    Join Business Australia's Webinar at 12pm AEST, Tuesday 21 July 2020

    If you are running your business from home, discover how you may be able to claim tax deductions for your expenses such as electricity, gas, computers, rent and furniture!

    The way you work from home determines which expenses you can claim for deductions. Get the information you need in this one-hour tax power session, hosted by Entrepreneurship Facilitator Serviceto ensure your EOFY tax return is making the most of your available tax deductions.  

    During the session we discuss:

    • Home-based business categories
    • Deduction rules
    • Occupancy and running expenses
    • Motor vehicle deductions
    • Depreciation
    • How much you can claim

    You will have the opportunity to submit questions unique to your business during the live session. 

  • 15/07/2020 6:14 PM | Anonymous


    Has tax time prompted you to review how you currently manage your finances? If there’s room for improvement, now is the perfect time to consider moving to the cloud and automating some of your financial processes.

    Cloud-based accounting tools, like QuickBooks Online, automate a number of financial activities, such as payroll, invoicing, payments and expenses. Turn on Goods and Services Tax (GST) tracking and it will even automatically track and calculate your GST, so, when you’re ready to lodge your Business Activity Statement (BAS), it’s quick and simple. 


    Now more than ever, small business owners need to find ways to lower their expenses. One way to claw back the costs is to review supply contracts (e.g. electricity and telephone contracts) that are coming to an end and negotiating lower prices or switching suppliers. 

    Other ideas include buying in bulk, pooling resources with other businesses, paying invoices early in exchange for discounts, and rewarding employees with non-monetary bonuses such as flex-time.

    If you’re struggling to stay on top of your admin, QuickBooks has made life easier with their Smart Receipt Capture function. 


    You’re not alone if managing your cash flow has become a constant struggle, particularly with the impact of lockdown restrictions on business operations and turnover. However, even before the pandemic, cash flow woes were one of the most common reasons cited for business failure. That is why coming up with new plans and tactics to prevent your cash flow from falling short should be your priority.

    QuickBooks’ new Cash Flow Planner tool uses machine learning to provide real-time cash flow predictions over a 90-day period based on patterns in users’ data and bank history. This can give you a clearer picture of where you stand and how to manage expenses. And since it automatically uses your bank history to make predictions, there’s no need for tedious data input on your end.


    According to QuickBooks research, profitable small businesses are about 10% more likely to use an advisor (58% ) than those not using one (48%)*. While the number one piece of advice a small business would give others looking to start their own venture, is to pay for the advice of an accountant or bookkeeper, with almost half (48%)* of small business owners in agreement.

    The hard-to-predict nature of the COVID-19 health crisis means that financial management is already more complex and fast-moving than ever before – a situation that’s unlikely to change in the immediate future.

    On top of reducing your day-to-day admin, an accounting advisor can actively stay on top of assistance programs and regulatory changes to put your business in the best position possible.

    If you aren’t already leveraging an accounting advisor for more than your tax return, it might be time to reconsider. You can find a ProAdvisor near you here.


    As well as leaning on the advice of an expert accounting advisor, you should also update your financial forecasts and goals. This should cover sales and expenses, and projected cash flow. Base these on previous data over the same period for accuracy.

    Creating new forecasts will give you a good idea of what you’re going to make and what your costs will be over the next 12 months. This can help you plan and manage your finances better.

    Once you’ve created your forecasts you should then set your financial goals. These could be related to profitability, margins, cash flow, or a different metric specific to your business. Make sure to update forecasts with a significant bit of fat built-in for ongoing economic uncertainty or new waves of pandemic-related restrictions.

  • 15/07/2020 6:05 PM | Anonymous


    Australians are being urged to buy from small businesses in their local communities in a nationwide campaign launched today in Canberra by the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.

    The “GO LOCAL FIRST” campaign, an initiative funded by the Morrison Government and coordinated by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), will highlight the vital role of small businesses in our nation’s economic recovery and in keeping communities thriving.

    The campaign will encourage Australians to choose local small businesses when they are purchasing products and services to help get the sector back on its feet.

    “Australia’s 3.5 million small businesses are the heartbeat of their local communities. When they thrive, communities thrive and the national economy prospers,” said Minister Cash.

    “Throughout this pandemic, these businesses have done it tough and while some sadly won’t reopen, others have adapted to serve customers and to keep staff employed.

    “Australian small businesses need local communities to back them now, by ‘going local first’ when they need to buy a product or service,” Minister Cash said.

    Research commissioned by COSBOA and conducted by the C|T Group shows Australians are spending more at local businesses since the COVID-19 lockdowns began earlier this year, but temporary and permanent closures are preventing them from doing more to support them.

    The research finds Australians see broad economic improvements as the most important issues for the country, after managing the spread of the coronavirus.

    COSBOA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Strong said “small businesses account for just over one-third of Australia’s GDP and an economic recovery will not be possible without small businesses trading and hiring people.

    “We want to see Australians out supporting their local grocers, butchers, accounting and legal firms, gardeners, tradespeople, and goods producers like wineries and farmers.

    “When you shop locally, your money stays in your community, meaning local small businesses will still be there as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis,”

    Mr Strong said. The Go Local First campaign will be supported by ambassadors committed to supporting Australia’s small businesses. The nbn and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia have signed on as inaugural ambassadors.

    George Tambassis, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia commented “the community pharmacy sector is unique in that it’s composed almost entirely of small businesses because most pharmacies are owned and operated by locals.

    “That means we truly understand small business are the heartbeat of their communities.

    “But right now, they’re doing it tough, so we should be supporting them now more than ever, or we risk losing them.

    “I would encourage everyone to back this campaign and GO LOCAL FIRST next time you need to buy something or need some advice,” Mr Tambassis said.

    Brad Whitcomb, nbn Chief Customer Officer said:

    “Australians have responded in extraordinary ways to COVID-19 social distancing measures, including as people have relied on the nbn to keep them connected to work, study, entertainment, family, friends and shopping.

    “Our recent nbn Behavioural Change Survey highlighted a groundswell of support from consumers wanting to support local businesses online. The research highlights an opportunity for local businesses to strengthen their online presence and to make it make it easier for consumers to find their products and services.

    “Going Local First can mean more than a stroll to the local greengrocer; it also means looking for local small businesses online and thinking about buying from them first.”

    The GO LOCAL FIRST campaign will be rolled out on outdoor, radio, and digital advertising over the next six months with a call to action to consumers to spend locally first.

    For more information on the campaign or to be part of it, go to

  • 15/07/2020 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    The SHCCI Board urges all members to review and comment on this plan which will lead the way into the future of economics in the Southern Highlands.

    Southern Highlands Destination Plan

    Council is seeking feedback on a draft ‘Southern Highlands Destination Plan 2020‐ 2030’.

    It is common practice for local government areas to have separate strategies for tourism and economic development. Council includes tourism with other industry sectors in a whole of destination approach positioning the Southern Highlands as an attractive investment destination; a place to live, work, learn, play and visit.

    Documents can be viewed online here.

    Share your thoughts via the online submission form, email to or post to Wingecarribee Shire Council, PO Box 141 Moss Vale NSW 2577.

    Submissions close 4.30pm, Sunday 30 August 2020. 

  • 15/07/2020 5:50 PM | Anonymous

    Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Duncan Gair is encouraging Highland residents to stay COVID-Safe in the wake of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases reported in Victoria and Sydney. 

    “Now is not the time for complacency,” he said. 

    “The spike in cases reported in south-western Sydney and now a confirmed case in the Highlands is of particular concern.” 

    Mayor Gair said it was the responsibility of everyone to continue to do the right thing and help protect themselves and the wider community and limit the spread of the virus. 

    “This includes maintaining proper physical distancing, practicing good hygiene and getting tested and self-isolating if you’re feeling unwell.” 

    The Mayor said the message was particularly important following the recent easing of social restrictions. 

    “Over the past few weekends our towns and villages have reported large numbers of people visiting as they emerge from weeks of confinement,” he said. 

    “While it’s understandable that people want to venture out of their homes we have to all continue to observe COVID-Safe practices,” he added. “Otherwise we may all be forced to return to the tougher restrictions from just weeks ago.” 

    The warning comes as the Moss Vale Showground prepares to host another Pop-Up Testing Clinic this weekend. 

    “I urge anyone who has any symptoms, no matter how slight, to get tested at either the temporary Moss Vale clinic or the permanent facilities in Bowral or Mittagong,” Mayor Gair said. 

    Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and loss of smell or taste. 

    “I would also encourage any residents who haven’t downloaded the COVIDSafe app to do so as soon as possible. 

    “If we all do the right thing and continue to observe COIVID-Safe practices we’ll be able to continue to enjoy a catch-up with mates, our weekend sport or a hug from the grandchildren.” 

    The Moss Vale Pop-Up Clinic will operate from 10am to 4pm at the Moss Vale Showground between Friday 17 July and Sunday 19 July. No appointments are necessary. 

    The Mittagong Respiratory Clinic is located at 58 Bowral Road in Mittagong. Hours of operation are 9am to 5pm seven days a week. The Bowral Hospital Flu Assessment Clinic operates seven days a week out of the hospital’s Outpatients Department located on Ascot Street in Bowral. Hours of operation are 10am to 6pm weekdays and 10am to 3pm on weekends. 

    Patients must contact both the Bowral and Mittagong facilities prior to any appointment. 

    For more information on the Federal Government’s COVIDSafe app including full privacy details visit

    For the latest COVID-19 updates, advice, testing locations and restrictions, visit

  • 07/07/2020 8:54 AM | Anonymous

    With the 2020 IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards now open, local businesses in the Southern Highlands are being encouraged to have their resilience and excellence celebrated by submitting an entry. 

    In light of the significant challenges faced by our community this year, the 2020 Illawarra Business Awards program will be a very special celebration of the resilience, persistence and excellence of our region’s businesses and business leaders. 

    Local chamber presidents from the Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Steve Horton, and the Moss Vale and Rural Chamber of Commerce, Brigid Kennedy, are encouraging their members to enter 2020 awards, so that the experience, challenges, adaptation and survival of Southern Highlands businesses can be celebrated and acknowledged. 

    Steve Horton said: “Now is the time for business across the Southern Highlands to share their experiences and get the recognition they deserve for the remarkable resilience they have shown in a very challenging year, as a result of devastating bushfires and the current pandemic.” 

    Brigid Kennedy said: “I want to strongly encourage our outstanding local business community to get involved in these awards, as it is so important that we celebrate the inspirational people who have worked tirelessly to ensure the survival and success of our business community,” said Ms Kennedy. 

    Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber Adam Zarth said: “We look forward to welcoming businesses from the Southern Highlands into our awards program this year, which will be made easier now that we have made the judging process entirely virtual.” 

    “The IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards are the region’s largest and most prestigious business awards and given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown this year, it was more important than ever that we celebrate the resilience, strength and adaptability of our business community,” said Mr Zarth. 

    “We are working to arrange another outstanding gala awards night event, with this year’s theme, ‘An Evening Under the Stars’, symbolising the businesses who, despite challenging conditions, are shining brighter than ever.” 

    There are 11 categories open for entry that will recognise the achievements of business across a wide range of areas including innovation and adaptability, workplace culture, sustainability, customer service, import and export, digital service delivery and resilience, as well as the inspirational employees and business leaders in the community. 

    The 2020 IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards black-tie gala ceremony will be held on Friday, 16 October at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong, and finalists will be announced on Wednesday, 26 August 2020. 

    To enter, visit, or call the Illawarra Business Chamber on (02) 4223 0319. 

    Media Contacts: Steve Horton (0428 612 183) Brigid Kennedy (0411 511 244) 

    Key Program Dates 

    Entries Open 9.00am, 17 June 2020 

    Entry Deadline 5.00pm, 21 July 2020 

    Finalists Announced 26 August 2020 

    Black-tie Gala Ceremony 16 October 2020 

    2020 Categories 

    1. Excellence in Innovation & Adaptability 

    2. Excellence in Workplace Culture 

    3. Excellence in Sustainability 

    4. Excellence in Customer Service 

    5. Excellence in Import & Export 

    6. Excellence in Digital Service Delivery 

    7. Resilience in Micro Business 

    8. Resilience in Small Business 

    9. Resilience in Business 

    10. 2020 Inspiring Employee 

    11. 2020 Inspiring Business Leader 

    12. 2020 IMB Bank Business of the Year 

    Check out the entry handbook here.



CALL: 02 4861 6917

WRITE: PO BOX 799 Bowral NSW 2576

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