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Barry O'Farrell arrives with the Medai

The NSW Opposition Leader – Barry O’Farrell visited RedBalloon this morning to make an announcement on his ‘Economic Growth Plan’. They were very deliberate in chosing a fast growth business with a strong employee engagement record as a venue for the announcement.

It was an interesting experience having eight or so party people and three politicians visit, however it was the 20 media people with all their equipment which took over RedBalloon.

Barry chatted with the team, I got to have a word in his ear about the challenges businesses

Employee engagement and productivity a focus for Barry O'Farrell

face with compliance and the disincentive payroll tax represents to employment. But also I showed him some of the fabulous work we have been doing in Australian businesses regarding employee engagement. He was particularly interested in the simplicity of our RED (recognition every day) Toolkit and how we are rolling this out to employers across the country.

Some journalists were interest to know my reaction to the announcement ie of ‘reducing payroll tax burden,’ and reducing red tape by 20%’. These things all sound fabulous to me as a business owner. It is not the idea that counts (as in business) it is all about the execution. I look forward to experiencing the results of these policies.

This is what I officially said:

“Small Businesses in NSW have long asked for greater simplicity in reporting and the removal of red tape,” said Simson, whose small business grew from one employee ten years ago to over forty employees today.

“Service industries are fundamental to Australia’s business success. But today’s taxation reporting is stifling for small business. It is the cost of collection as well as the financial burden that puts pressure on us. No wonder so many small businesses term it a disincentive to grow.”

With RedBalloon making the BRW Fast Lists six times, the red tape has not necessarily slowed down this NSW small business, but Simson wonders how much bigger, and faster, the business growth could have been.

“Here we have an opportunity to emphasise and illustrate the potential and value to both the economy and government revenues of dramatically simplified business reporting and taxation systems,” she said.

Reader Interactions


  1. Will you believe Barry’s O’Farrell is able to put NSW back to number one state?
    Barry’s O’Farrell Five Point Action Plan in lower taxes, create new jobs, cut red tape, and boost tourism funding……, believe it or not, every voter can simply put them up in mouth show if they liked?
    Barry’s O’Farrell Five Point Action Plan will not fundamentally change the course in rebuilding the NSW economy as number one state without innovative ideas, innovative resources support, innovative products, and innovative projects in total actions in today’s world knowledge economy?
    When we look at what today’s shrinking industries, such of agriculture (34% of fruit and 19% of vegetables imported); manufacture (10.5% by 2005–6).
    If we think over from the previous terms under John Howard’s coalition government chasing mainly on mining and education revenues that burst the world highest housing price bubble, what the greatest hiding economic residual impacts extent on all states today, and foreseeable future?

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  • Friday drinks must be here soon surely ... or I'm out! #friyay
  • In the 90s I left my cushy job at Apple.

I’d be a squillionaire if I still had my stock options.

I don’t regret it. Here's why:

After 10 years of corporate, I wanted to ‘do my own thing’. I started with freelance marketing.

My strategy? Hard work and build strong brands.

It seemed to work - new clients came from referrals.

But after 18 months, I came to a realisation:

All my clients wanted was “more customers”, not complex branding plans.

SO I thought I’d build a brand of my own. Something to get them “more customers”. RedBalloon was born. The purpose? Give people amazing experiences.

16 years on, RB has delivered 3.8 million customers to 2000 small businesses.

Now, when I give talks, I always get the same question: “How did you build such a strong brand?” Funny how it comes full circle.

I can’t answer that with a time limit.

Though I think I found a way - an online course. “How to Build your Business Brand” - years of experience in one place (link in bio if interested). But, that’s not the point of this post.

If I stayed with Apple I’d be unbelievably wealthy.

Quitting was still the best thing I’ve ever done.

So if you want to take a leap of faith, do it.

All I ask you is this:

Trust yourself and never underestimate the power of brand.
  • #tbt the originals circa 2004 🎈 it reminds that an entrepreneurs journey is long and full of twists and turns. What a ride! @redballoonexperiences
  • I have always been rushing! I need to remind myself of this one regularity. I'm intentional, not frenetic. Choose the one thing that needs to get done to make everything easier! #inspiration
  • If you caught @sharktankau tonight I might have mentioned #gettinglucky @luckybuddhabeer 😂 🍺 @ten_insider @beer.pal


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