Business and Technology Articles Contributed by UWA Students

Month: February 2019

Going solo: Considerations prior to starting your own agency


After getting your education in a field related to marketing, advertising, or public relations, you may consider the possibility of starting your own agency. Being an agency owner comes with several perks; you’ll get to control who’s on your team, you can pick and choose who your clients are, and you’ll enjoy the potential of practically unlimited income.

That said, starting an agency can be difficult, so you’ll need to think a few things through before you pursue this route.

Things to Consider Before Starting an Agency

Consider these questions before you decide to be an agency owner:

  1. Do you have the experience? Having a marketing background is essential to be a successful marketing agency owner. Ideally, you’ll have a long history of working in different roles in the industry, as well as leadership and/or entrepreneurship experience. Merely having a degree in marketing, public relations, or business management may not be enough. If you don’t have this experience on your own, you may be able to get it secondhand by working with a partner—but this isn’t always ideal, either. Plus, you’ll need to find a partner with experience who’s willing to share the reins with you.
  2. How will you accomplish the work? You’ll provide some kind of core product or service in your marketing agency and you can’t do all the work yourself, so how will you accomplish that work? You could make full-time hires, but this puts a heavy financial strain on your business from the get-go. You could rely on independent contractors, but they may not be as reliable as your full-time employees. Outsourcing to a white-label service provider is often an efficient choice, but there are also some risks you’ll need to plan to compensate for.
  3. Who is your target audience? Successful marketing agencies tend to focus on one or a handful of specific target demographics. If you try to be a generic, all-consuming marketing agency, you won’t have enough to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and your marketing will be all over the place. Will you target big companies or small firms? New startups or legacy businesses? One industry or several?
  4. What’s your unique value proposition? You’ll also need to have a unique value proposition (UVP)—a distinguishing feature that compels people to buy from you, instead of one of your competitors. There are several ways to market your agency as different and/or better than your competitors; for example, you could specialize in providing one type of service, or you could plan to offer lower prices and more flexible terms than a typical agency. You have significant wiggle room here, but you need to find something that both sets you apart from your competitors and seems attractive to your target demographics.
  5. What’s your end goal? Entrepreneurs often get caught up in dreaming about the many possibilities of business ownership without having a firm goal at the end of their path, but it’s much better to know your end goal in advance. Are you in this to make as much money as possible? Are you trying to retire early? Do you want a business that you can pass onto your children?
  6. How will you grow? No matter what your end goals are, you’ll probably want to grow your agency eventually. Attracting new clients can be problematic, especially for an inexperienced agency owner, so it’s good to have an idea for your growth trajectory long before you enter the game. Will you invest heavily in marketing and advertising? Will you use a referral program? Will you try to merge with or acquire other agencies?
  7. Do you have a backup plan? Finally, you need to be prepared for the reality that the majority of new agencies (and new businesses in general) end up failing. If your agency can’t support its own weight, or if you find agency ownership isn’t right for you, do you have a backup plan? If so, what is it?

Building Your Experience

If you’re feeling intimidated at the idea of starting an agency now, but you still like the idea of owning one in the future, your best path forward is to gain experience in areas that will help you be a successful agency owner in the coming years. See if you can work at an existing agency in multiple different roles, so you can see how an agency functions from the inside (and from multiple different perspectives). It’s also important to develop your leadership experience in a managerial role, or as a team leader.

There’s always time to start an agency, so don’t rush into it if you’re inexperienced. In the meantime, work on developing your skills so you continue making steady progress toward your ultimate goal.

Advances in Sleep Technology


In 2019, when people lay their head down on their pillow and get comfortable on their mattress, they shut their electronics off or turn them on silent so that they don’t have disruptions during their sleep. However, the three products below are the newest and most technological sound electronics for sleep.

  1. Sleep Coach

The Sleep Coach, invented by Eight mattress cofounder Alexandra Zatarain, is an AI that provides users with insights into their sleep practices. It is backed by 2.5 million nights of data. The Sleep coach works in conjunction with the Eight smart mattress, which allows for sleep tracking, a smart alarm, temperature controls for the different sides of the mattress, and integration with Amazon’s Alexa smart home. The AI works by taking gender, age, and location into consideration when making recommendations for that users sleep improvements.

  1. The ZEEQ Pillow

It is important to get the best mattress for you and your loved ones, but a pillow even plays an important role in ensuring that we get sound sleep. The ZEEQ Pillow, which can connect to smartphones, apps, and the Amazon Alexa features 8 wireless speakers, motors, a gyroscope that tracks movement, and audio wave technology. Created and sold by REM-Fit, the $299 pillow is said to help with snoring and other minor sleep issues.

The creators of ZEEQ decided that a pillow would be more capable of providing users with sleep data so that their cell phones aren’t too close to them during their sleep, where it can be disruptive or distracting. ZEEQ uses a 3D motion sensor to track activity throughout the night, including how hard someone is snoring, how much a person is moving, and the amount of rest gotten each night. The app, which is available on both Google Play and the Apple App stores, also includes a music sleep time to help users fall asleep- which the pillow turns off once a user has fallen asleep. The anti-snore control feature alerts a user when they are snoring so that they person can switch positions to help open up their airways. And, although users may not want to leave their cozy bed with their advanced pillow, the pillow also features a built-in alarm that uses gentle vibrations to wake users without disturbing their partners.

3. iOS 12’s nighttime mode and usage monitor

Coming in September to iOS devices, iOS 12 will feature some technological developments that may help users sleep better. The newest tools, which were introduced at the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference, include a monitor that shows users how much time they are spending on certain applications on their device, including how often they are on their phone and what applications send the most notifications by day, week, or month. Users can then set a limit for themselves, which cuts users off from using all of their iOS devices when that limit has been reached. The Do Not Disturb mode for iPhones now includes a nighttime feature so that messages, calls, and alerts will not disturb users during the night. When users awake, they will tap their phone and all of those notifications that they missed overnight will appear.

Enhancing online security against ransomware


When it comes to advocating for and protecting our data security and online activity, it is safe to say that we have had more than a little trouble keeping our online activity and subsequent data safe from prying eyes and criminal minds. The single biggest issue comes on the back of the realisation that no matter how hard we work to protect ourselves online, there is likely always going to be a threat that will try – and even potentially succeed – to steal our information via vicious cyberattacks. There are of course avenues we can access to remove ransomware, spyware and other malware from our devices, but ultimately the best prevention is consistent and conscious action.

The average person now has three devices that they interact with weekly, if not daily. The first, of course, is the mobile phone. Second is a laptop or desktop computer set up. And third is a tablet or a Kindle. We are more invested in technological progression and digital advancement than we would perhaps like to admit. When we consider the fact that we are more invested in our digital devices than we are in the world around us (generally speaking, of course), then we can begin to discern where we have gone wrong and how to right the ship. There is a very real mentality that all digital devices will be hacked, so why bother protecting them? And this is where the danger comes in.

Here is the thing. Sure, you can never be 100% certain that your devices are absolutely safe from cyber attacks. They never will be. The risk will always be there. But, you can safeguard and aim to prevent your devices from being attacked by actively and consistently engaging with multiple forms of online security systems and privacy settings. Malware like ransomware and viruses (to name a few key players) is still one of the key focuses of a cyberattack, and the reality is that there is no sure-fire way to protect a device always. But actively engaging with online security measures like password systems, two-factor authentication, secret questions, and cyber security programs (to name a few) is the best way to prevent your devices from coming under malicious attack.

When one considers the fact that there is an ongoing issue with cybersecurity – and there has been since the dawn of technological advancements’ innovations – they can also ascertain that there is no feasible way to ensure that devices can be protected without fail. It is the inherent understanding and drive to do what we want to protect our data and information online that is most important. Ignorance might be bliss for a while…until you find out that your data has been stolen in a vicious ransomware attack, and there is little to nothing you can do to find the perpetrator/s.

In a world that is inherently connected via technological advancement, the need to be conscious and aware of our level of security online has never been higher – and it will only evolve more as the world moves towards complete digitalisation in the coming years.

The key to developing an app for the first time


The world that we live in today is so fundamentally focused on strengthening technological and digital progression, that it is difficult to imagine it any other way. Technology has fundamentally changed the world as we know it, and there is no going back now. We have created the world to be so comfortable, even reliant, on technological influence, that stripping it back to the way it was before now would be virtually impossible without creating a negative domino effect. Everything from education and healthcare, to entertainment and business, has been fundamentally changed, shifted out of focus and then realigned with the way the world is moving.

Business is undeniably one of the most impacted industries. Technological infiltration and further advancement has resulted in businesses having to adjust to a world – and a consumer base – that is more reliant on their electronic devices than ever before. Because consumers are placing so much more attention on these devices, businesses are realising the value in marketing and extending their business models through these devices. The internet gave us websites, and those are still crucial business concepts. These days, however, it is not enough to have a website anymore. Businesses that want to truly stand out must also have an active app. But what are the most important parts of developing an app in the first place?

Know where you want the idea to go

Having the idea is great. But a key concept in app development is knowing where you want the app to go, how to get it there, and why it is so important to not only you, but the world, that the app comes to fruition. Having help is the best way to do this – bouncing ideas and concepts off another help keep things fresh and in perspective. Investing in the professional assistance of a company that specialises in app development (like Appscore, for example) is valuable beyond comprehension. You can go back and forth all day long about strategy, but nothing compares to having a dedicated, trained professional team on board to help carry the weight.

Understand your idea down to the finest details

When it comes to developing any idea, it can be easy to have a concept that is shallow. Any idea can sound exciting if you are passionate about it, but more than that, the idea must have substance – and you must understand it. As with any concept, when you got to pitch or market it to others, you must be willing and able to answer any question that comes at you. No matter how well you think you have prepared, you can always prepare more. Go over even the most miniscule details a hundred times over, and then do it again. You are more likely to gain investors and interest from prospective consumers when you have a strong, key understanding of every aspect of the app’s purpose. You do not have to know every aspect of the app’s development, just its key purpose.

Keep the initial app simple

In the beginning, the app does not have to be complicated or incredibly detailed. You are not expected, nor is it terribly productive, to have an app that has a million features straight off the bat. Simplicity is key. New users want to be able to easily navigate new applications, so keeping them relatively simple in the beginning wins favour among consumers and draws in more business. In short, begin with the most important features, and go from there.

The balancing act of traditional marketing and modern marketing


It does not matter which kind of business you are in. If you run a photography business that focuses primarily on family portraits, if you work in publishing, or even security, marketing plays an active role in the success of the business you are a part of. The nature of business is that any successful business is so because it offers a solution to a problem, because it caters to a select audience. Advertising and marketing are the portals to bringing awareness to the public – and henceforth the potential client base – about a business and what it offers, what sets it apart from the competition, what makes it worth investing time and money into, from every angle. When it comes down to it, marketing is the heart of any successful business.

The nature of marketing is that it is always shifting, always evolving. As the years move on, new innovations are introduced, and we enter new eras, it stands to reason that marketing changes as well. Traditional marketing efforts still hold their place as pillars of business branding in present-day society, but they are becoming more and more unreliable as sole marketing strategies as time goes on. The fact is that we are living in a digitally-enhanced era, and that digital era is moving more and more in the direction of becoming a digitally-reliant age. Consumers today are more wrapped up in their devices than ever before, and the traditional marketing grabs are no longer as efficient as they once were.

Traditional marketing efforts are still utilised today, but with the way of the world shifting evermore decidedly towards complete digitalisation, there is no telling just how much longer this will last. Traditional marketing tactics like print marketing, door-to-door marketing, and phone marketing can and are still used by businesses in collaboration with their digital counterparts, but modernisation has well and truly hit the marketing landscape, and the result is that the further time moves us on, the more reliant we are becoming on digitalisation. Businesses are taking notice. Even some of the world’s most established businesses and whole industries, who have survived and thrived through generations, are shaking things up.

Modern marketing efforts, like digital marketing, are becoming more and more popular and widespread as time moves us on. The reality of the way the world is moving is something that is always in the back of our minds, especially when it comes to marketing. Businesses of all shapes and sizes can no longer afford to be out of the game when it comes to marketing strategizing, and they are finally catching on to this fact and using it to propel their marketing strategies into modernisation, and in turn, their businesses. The modern consumer demands digital efficiency, and businesses are obliging as quickly as they can. No one wants to be the last to adapt, especially when that adaption is likely to be the thing that will save them from losing their footing in an increasingly competitive worldwide market.

Making marketing work for any modern business


At the core of any business’ lasting success is their marketing efforts. Even the strongest business idea can (and perhaps will) fail in the face of poor marketing strategizing. In the world of marketing, it can be difficult to grasp which marketing tactics are best suited to any given business idea. This is especially true given the fact that there are countless marketing strategies and collaborative advertising efforts available at any time. It can be overwhelming. It also does not help when the business is created from the mind of an individual who is entirely new to the concept of business management.

This is nobody’s fault; it is an inevitability. Nonetheless, figuring out how to make marketing work for any modern business is key to success in this shifting economic landscape. Every business is inevitably different, and so each business’ brand development is going to be different and unique as well. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is having the mind and the dedication, as well as the common sense and motivation to keep the business thriving, rather than flailing. Every successful business is built on a strong understanding of which marketing strategies will work best, and that understanding is built atop a foundation of three key concepts.

Accepting that mistakes are inevitable

With so many different marketing strategies floating around at any given time, it can be immensely difficult to find and then master the marketing strategies that feel like the best fit. Often, it can require some trial and error before the perfect marketing tactic is nailed down, but as with any great innovator, practice makes perfect. Making mistakes is not only okay, it is genuinely preferable. After all, it is better to make mistakes early on, learn from them, and move on to greener pastures, than to enjoy success to a heightened position and then spiral downward. Accept that mistakes are inevitable, learn to adapt when they happen, and even how to see them coming before they have arrived.

Understanding the needs of your business

It might sound strange at first, but look to your competitors. Take note of what they are doing with their marketing – what works, what doesn’t, what can you do better? The needs of your business always start with the consumers. Always. But after that, they hinge on the examples set by the businesses that are your active competition. When businesses take note of how their competitors handle situations and challenges, they can incorporate similar – or better – strategies to counteract and/or cope with certain situations and challenges.

Using professional assistance when necessary

The worst thing that anyone can do to their business is to be stubborn against accepting help. We all need help, and running a business is no different – if anything, running a business is one of the most important moments to ask for help. When starting a business, nobody has a concrete handle on every single aspect. They need help – especially with marketing. Marketing is a fickle thing, so taking the time and the financial investment to get it right can – and often does – mean the difference between a success story and a failure to launch.

Be assertive enough to ask for help, but bold enough to push back when it feels like you are no longer being heard. You are the voice of your business…make sure that voice is being heard. Scream from the rooftops if you have to. Just do it.

An update on the home tech industry


As technologies and gadgets make their way into the everyday lives of consumers, they are just as quickly maneuvering their way into homes of regular people. The movie industry has foreshadowed for years the possibility of houses becoming “smart homes” and they were right. Although not all homes come with a talking technology mom that micromanages the lives of the family that lives in like many movie stories told, artificial intelligence and virtual assistants are becoming more prevalent in the daily routines of many people.

Home and housing technology is something that holds different connotations for different home owners. The type of technology in the home is heavily reliant on the needs of the owner(s). For example, for some homeowners, having some type of surveillance technology in the home is of high importance to them. It is understandable that many homeowners would feel it is highly necessary to protect their homes in all ways possible. Home security technology systems are able to not allow provide surveillance for the home on the interior and exterior, but also provide some type of alarm system that alerts the owner and local task forces about possible intruders on the property. This type of technology in the home has more widespread consumer knowledge. From Motorized Roller shades to door alarms, there are many ways a home can have decorations and security.

Another newly popular type of home technology is the utilization of virtual assistants. Virtual assistants are able to do exactly what their name calls for, assist the homeowner(s). These types of small devices come in varying sizes and shapes. Some look small and circular and from the outside mimic a bluetooth speaker. The newer virtual assistants provide consumers with a screen for an entire interactive experience. The entire point of having a virtual assistant is that they allow you the ability to learn from them, get help from them, and also integrate them into varying home technology devices. For example, many virtual assistants are able to actually be synchronized with other home technology devices to turn the lights on and off or even dim them. They are able to be of aid in the event of a security alarm going off. When an alarm goes off, virtual assistants can be programmed to perform varying functions throughout the home. Some tech savvy homeowners are using their assistants to set up intercom functions throughout the home to better their family communication in widespread areas.

There are other functions for these assistants as well. They are able to make phone calls and for the ones that come with screens, they can even make video calls. Some homeowners use them to make shopping lists and check the weather. The assistant is connected to a mobile app where preferences and settings can be managed. Through the preferences function on the app, the user is able to control the type and source of news that is given if one wishes to get a news brief each day. Many users check the weather using their virtual assistant. There are so many different ways to use and interact with the devices that it can take a while to learn all the new and fascinating home technologies available to consumers.

Being Smarter About Finances in 2019


Some people excel at finances and some need, well, a little bit more guidance. Looking forward in 2019, there are some things that you can do this year to maximize your financial situation. New year, better financial situation—you can only hope. Take these tips in 2019:

Think about Ways to Save Money on Your Transportation

Think about the best way to save money on transportation. Does your family have extra cars that aren’t being used? You can get cash for cars pretty easily in many locations. You can make some quick income on an old car by trading it for cash. This is especially a good idea if you can cut your family cars down to one or two cars. If you live somewhere with good public transit, this is also a great idea to take advantage of.

Talk to a Financial Advisor Who Specializes in Your Financial Position

Whether you are wealthy, middle class or anywhere else, there is a financial advisor out there that can help you figure out what percentage of your money to save and what to do with the rest. Paying the extra to speak with a professional will pay off. Financial advisors advise for a living—they will know exactly what to do with your money. They can most importantly help you reach your financial goals in no time!

Open a High Interest Savings Account  

There are online banks out there like Ally that provide unbeatable interest rates. This essentially rewards you for saving your money. Putting money in one of these accounts is a great way to save while earn money on your savings. Take into consideration how much you should set aside from each paycheck you receive. Then, make sure to allocate this amount in your budget every month. Before you know it, you will have enough money to buy a house or pay off school loans. 

Set Financial Goals and Stay Organized

You need to have goals when thinking of finances. If you don’t, then you will have a hard time prioritizing saving. Think of your goal for 2019 and stick to it. Be realistic as well so that you don’t get discouraged. Setting realistic long term, monthly and weekly goals will help you stay on track and focus on the bigger and smaller picture!

Write down your expenses and savings every month to see where you can cut down costs and where you have been saving the most money. For example, maybe you spent way more money on clothes in January than in February. This allowed you to max out your savings goal in February. Next month, try to copy February while treating yourself to a $30 clothes spending budget. It’s about balance and organization when looking to meet financial goals!

Invest Your Money in a Variety of Places  

Spread your wealth in a variety of investments to make the most out of it. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! This is a way to achieve financial success and maximize your investment returns.

These tips will have you reaching your financial goals in no time.




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