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Business and Marketing Featured

The Key to Data-Driven Digital Transformation: Qlik’s 3rd Generation BI Approach

The business intelligence (BI) and analytics landscape has and is continuing to evolve rapidly in Australia. We’re now heading into what’s termed as 3rd Generation BI to help businesses better harness the potential within their data for a competitive edge.  Qlik is at the forefront of this new approach that revolves around a crucial principle, the democratisation of analytics. Here we’ll explore how BI has evolved and what makes Qlik’s 3rd Generation BI platform and approach unique.
Data has always held tremendous value, but for decades, most of that value has remained inaccessible due to technical limits and complexities. The centralised approach of the 1st generation of BI, known as ‘The Ask/Wait/Answer Cycle’, was based on a centralised approach to BI, usually too reliant on a few people within IT that possessed the necessary technical skills, often overworked and under-resourced, and therefore slowed down and diluted the full potential of value from analytics.
With the 2nd-generation of BI, a user-friendly, more decentralised approach to data emerged and eliminated technical complexities and enabled users to freely explore and discover connections within their data. This data discovery approach to BI emphasised data visualisation, self-serve analysis and transformed how users engage with data. But as the technology gained the capacity to analyse more types of data, the need to develop a secure and governed structure to deliver accurate data and reliable analysis also grew.
What has remained steady throughout an era of rapid technological development is Qlik’s pioneering and innovating ethos. The decentralised approach of 2nd generation BI has been the stepping stone to the development of a new wave of BI- the 3rd generation.
3 waves of BI pic
Nonetheless, data literacy has persistently remained an obstacle as insight without action cannot lead to value. As of 2017-2018, only 24% of business users considered themselves to be data-literate in a study conducted by Qlik.
The need for data literacy is crucial, Gartner talk about this in their latest 2019 Analytics & Business Intelligence Magic Quadrant Report, as data is the currency of the digital economy. The ability to extrapolate intelligence and anticipate customer needs to fully capitalise on discoveries requires available data to be accessible and actionable throughout the entirety of an organisation, in turn transforming how a business operates.
The 3rd Generation approach to BI is about bridging this data literacy gap, still enabling users to freely explore data to garner insights in the way they need to but with structure and data governance in place. This is about democratising analytics.  Qlik is one of the BI platforms pioneering this innovative BI approach.
 
Key to Data Driven Digital Transformation
 

What makes Qlik’s 3rd generation BI approach truly unique?

The answer lies in the interaction of three innovative technologies as the foundation of Qlik’s 3rd generation BI approach, which also encourages more widespread adoption of analytics across the organisation.  
 

The three-pronged approach underlying Qlik’s 3rd-Generation BI Platform:

1. The Democratisation of Data

All data and any combination of data is accessible to all users through governed, analysis-ready, enterprise-wide information catalogues. Qlik’s approach enables the creation of an enterprise-wide data schema that fully integrates all your data, from any source, regardless of how big it is or where it’s stored.

2. Associative Indexing Engine – Augmented Intelligence = AI2

Qlik combines the power of machine learning with human intuition, highlighting new insights and accelerating discoveries for users to explore whilst also increasing data literacy and trust. This combination of Associative Index with Augmented Intelligence (AI2) simplifies advanced analytics, eliminates bottlenecks, and elevates data literacy and insights.
Like the unique Associative Indexing technology, Augmented Intelligence combines human interactions with machine identified patterns. The Associative Technology maps associations among all the data, preparing it for analysis and creating meta-data and indexes that represent the data.

3. Embedded Analytics from the Edge to the C-Suite

Qlik’s open and extensible platform allows analytics to be deployed or embedded in a range of environments from enterprise servers to public cloud infrastructure to edge devices and IoT applications. This means analytics enters the streams of daily business processes from edge devices all the way to your core applications within the business.
 

Why 3rd Generation?

Combined, Qlik’s approach helps businesses extract the most value possible from data for competitive advantage, making it easier to prompt and discover insights and trends within the data, regardless of the level of technical skill of the user. Qlik has managed to strip out the complexity, technical limits, resource bottlenecks and skills gaps that have previously kept analytics out of the hands of business users. A radically different approach that will help achieve data-driven digital transformation and competitive advantage for businesses.  
To find out more, read the full report in this whitepaper, 3rd-Generation BI: Unlocking All the Possibility in Your Data, to discover Qlik’s innovative approach to BI.  

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Business and Marketing

What sort of disputes are common for franchise owners?

Typically, franchise relationships are formalised through contracts which state the nature of the relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee. Consequently, these contracts are known as relational contracts and are left incomplete purposely. The reason for this is that it is impossible for either party to foresee what issues they will have to deal with over the course of the franchisor – franchisee relationship that has the potential of spanning years or even decades.
The legislature often struggle to understand incomplete contracts. Franchise disputes also reflect the fact that at every level in franchise systems there is a tension between ownership and control. This is direct result of the nature of the franchisor – franchisee relationship itself. Most people tend to think that ownership and control are one and the same thing. This assumption comes about due to the nature of a typical business (a non – franchised business) in which ownership and control are largely in the same hands. Ownership refers to the individual (person or entity) is legally entitled to the business’ net assets. Control refers to the individual who makes the executive decisions as regards to business strategy. In a typical business the business owner owns the assets and makes the decisions about which direction the business will take and how it execute on this strategy. However, in a franchise system, the franchisor makes most of the strategic decisions, particularly those that affect the franchise brand. In some cases, franchising contracts grant entities known as master franchisees the power to control the franchising activities in specific regions. These franchisees may make local decisions but the franchisees themselves often have little input even though their assets are the ones at risk.
 

Poor communication

Poorly communicated information can lead to disputes. This may be poor communication in KPI (Key Performance Indicators) targets communicated to the master franchisee or miscommunication on the development targets. All the same, this miscommunication leads to disputes.
 

Unfeasible KPI’s and Targets

Franchisors may demand continual improvement on the part of the franchisee. Remember that the franchisee has their assets at risk when they enter into this franchise relationship and as such, they are the ones to bear the costs of this continual improvement. Another typical demand is for the franchisee to increase market coverage which may add further strain on the franchisee’s assets. This seemingly unfeasible targets may lead to a dispute.
 

Failure to meet KPI’s and Targets

As with any business, KPI are an essential tool to diagnose if the business is well on track to being successful. As such, franchisors may dictate which KPI’s the master franchisees should meet. Note that these KPI’s may be in the form of contractual development targets that the master franchisee must achieve. Disputes arise when the master franchisee fails to meet these development targets. Research shows that most master franchisees do not meet performance targets.
 

Failure to terms of supply

Franchise – franchisor agreements often have clauses in which the franchisors dictate which suppliers meet their standard of quality. They often approve suppliers of goods and services from pre – specified companies that they have long – standing relationships with. The same applies for software supplies. Franchisees, on the other hand, may have local suppliers who they feel they have better relationships with and so may opt to source their supplies from these suppliers. This is obviously a breach of the franchise agreement. As such, failure of dealing with the franchisor – approved suppliers on the part of the franchisee can lead to a dispute.
 

Misuse of trademark

Trademarks are a key item in the franchise’s brand. As such, they are only allowed to be used under very specific conditions in the franchise agreement. Any misuse on the part of the franchisees (such as using the franchise’s logo for personal promotion or use) during or after the end of the franchise is a source of dispute.
 

Disclosure of trade secrets

Most franchisors have a competitive advantage in their capabilities or knowledge. This knowledge is treated as confidential information and is shared with the franchisee under the franchise agreement. Any disclosure of this information to other parties voluntarily or involuntarily in a manner that so breaches the terms of the franchise agreement can lead to a dispute.
Whenever one of the parties within a franchise system lodges a claim, the typical response is for the counterparty to lodge an even larger counter claim. A franchisor might claim that the franchisee has not been acquiring goods from the suppliers the franchisor has approved. The franchisee, in turn, may claim that it has not been receiving the support it needs and was offered under the franchise agreement. Generally, it is important to be cognizant of the terms within the franchise agreement to avoid the pitfalls that may lead to these disputes.
 
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Business and Marketing

Confidence in Taiwan’s Economy improves in September

Surrounded by the Philippine Sea, the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan is a territory of the Republic of China. A notable geographical feature is the rugged mountains in its eastern side. Through the centuries, Taiwan’s economy has had its highs and lows. In the 1980’s the country moved to forward to knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries. As a result, the country’s economy expanded due to a high rate of savings, increased labour productivity, privatization, and considerable foreign investment. Taiwan soon became one of the world’s largest producers of computers and succeeded in establishing shipbuilding and steel industries. Taiwan is now a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Currently, Taiwan’s economy is a free market economy where there is little government involvement, and the prices of both goods and services are determined within a free price system. Its economy is significantly huge and occupies the position of being the 5th largest economy in Asia. To add to that, it has the highest Global Entrepreneurship Index in the region.
On a global scale, Taiwan holds a significant position as the 15th largest economy in the world with regards to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and is considered by the International Monetary Fund as an advanced economy. Concerning purchasing power parity, the economy is 19th in the world. In March 2018 the country’s nominal GDP was USD 149.9 billion, which was a rise from USD 147.5 billion in the previous quarter. Investing in this economy can be seen to be a wise decision and can be an excellent opportunity for non-citizens of the country who want to indulge in overseas trading.

Given that Taiwan has a capitalist economy, the production techniques are decided by the privately-owned companies whose primary goal is to earn a profit. Moreover, the industrial companies and banks that were previously owned by the state are now privately owned. This can be said to have considerably contributed to the impressive unemployment rate of only 4% with a workforce of over 11 million people. Across the industrial spectrum, Taiwan is a major supplier of goods as well as being one of the major players in the information and communication technology industry in the world.

Confidence has increased on Taiwan’s economy after the government said that the economic growth in the first half of the year, had surpassed what had been originally projected. This was according to a survey done by Cathay Financial Holding Co which is one of Taiwan’s leading financial holding companies. Cathay Financial also stated that this optimistic outlook toward the country’s economy was a result of upward revisions of the previously projected GDP. This gain in confidence toward the economy has led to a more upbeat mood where consumers are more willing to spend, according to Cathay Financial.

There have been positive remarks from the people, according to surveys that were conducted, who believe that the economy is on steady growth. Experts in the Directorate General of the Budget, Accounting and Statistics also concur with this optimistic trend, through raising its forecast GDP growth from 2.60% to 2.69% for the year 2018.

This expected growth in the economy can also be attributed to improved levels of demand on world markets. Based in Taipei, the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) is the securities trading centre in the country and has been operating since 1962. It facilitates international share trading for those who invest in overseas shares from other countries.

Investors prefer to invest their money in economies that have the promise of growth, and Taiwan’s economy sure is proving to be on an upward trend. This year the country’s economy has been seen to rise from 3.10% increase in the first quarter to 3.30% in the second. This is a great leap for the economy and one that has surpassed even the optimistic previous projections.

With the above in mind, it is easy to see that one has good reason to have confidence in the Taiwanese economy. When looking for a good market to help diversify your portfolio, Taiwan is definitely worth your consideration

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Business and Marketing

Some Useful Collection KPIs

To measure recovery on receivables, key performance indicators are important for any business to develop a successful credit and collection plan. As there are many different KPIs used in debt collection, finding out which ones will work for you to improve your business’ operation is the key. To investigate whether your current collection practice needs improvement by introducing new KPIs, first step to do is analyse your existing customer accounts data. Such a record will help you to identify trends and find out which part of the collection process might need tending to. It is advisable to go through the data with a member of your finance team who may have more insight into what tactics have worked best and may even have some new ideas to try.
 
As there are a number of useful KPIs to work with, we have put together some that are most likely indicators of success when it comes to evaluating performance goals in the world of collections.
 
One very popular account receivable KPI used among nearly all finance departments is the reduction in average days to pay. Debtor days stand for the average number of days it takes for the business to receive payment from its customer once the invoice was handed to them. The smaller the number of debtor days, the more cash is available for the growth of the business. If the number is high, the business is hampered, as the creditor must invest and pay expenses out of the company reserves.
 
Another helpful KPI is the reduction in average outstanding receivables. Businesses with small collection periods tend to be more solvent as they have better cash flow. A slow collection process can compromise an entire business; hence it is best to train personnel to tighten up the procedures by offering favourable terms to customers who pay early, one example could be a percentage on the next bill. For steady cash flow, it is also common practice for some departments to send out reminders a week prior to a due payment date.
 
Reduction in bad debt is another useful collection KPI since lack of cash flow can weaken a business’ ability to compete and grow. There are several ways to reduce bad debt, one of them is credit screening any new customer to identify clients who might be severe credit risks before signing a deal. Another way to reduce bad debt is to let a debt collection agency handle your accounts receivables as such professionals are specialized in preventing and collecting bad debt in a timely manner.
 
Consequences can be severe if money does not come in at a rate that helps pay the bills, especially for a small business. To ensure proper cash flow management, accurate accounts receivable forecasting is vital and requires close monitoring. There are certain practices that help to make sure such forecast is accurate and helpful in order to reduce collection problems. Keep a close eye on your business indicators when preparing your cash flow forecast. Look out for upcoming big deals, which could bring positive cash flow or internal investments that need to be made in the near future. Your forecast should be estimated weekly or at least monthly to assess when these deals will close and might generate cash.
 
Without successful collections, it is impossible to stay in business for long as wages need to be paid, as well as office supplies and licences and maybe even rent for the building you’re in. This makes debt collection one of the most important areas of your business and you might want to consider investing in account receivables software to be able to not only store all information in one central place but save time by letting the software create invoices automatically and remind you of the upcoming due dates.
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Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

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Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Having to borrow money has unfortunately become a part of life for some of us. As we often cannot pay cash for our homes, university loans or the car that we use to get to our workplace, we are likely to get a credit. But being in debt is not always bad, since there are things, which are worth going into debt for, whereas others might leave you in a big financial mess.


 
To differentiate between good debt and bad debt the key is to think about debt as a sensible investment that can help you build long-term financial stability or achieve future goals. For example, a student loan might help you to secure a better-paid job after graduation, or by getting a mortgage you take advantage of rising property prices. If your debt is not an investment in your future that will generate a net-positive return on investment, or you cannot afford the long-term monthly payments, it’s a bad one.


 
Good debt is used wisely and the sort of credit that you buy essential items to save you time like a washing machine or helps you to invest in yourself such as further education. Especially a mortgage can be filed under good debt as house prices in Australian cities are increasing every year. This means, your home might even gain value every year and living in a house for a few decades that you might even be able to sell off at a profit is a great way to make money in residential real estate.
 
business loans are harder to get because they are a big risk to the creditor, nevertheless, they might be the best investment you’ll ever make if you want to start working for yourself. After all, it takes money to make money. If you have ambition, skills and the right portion of luck, investing in your first business might be the smart move towards a big monthly pay check, but keep in mind that sometimes even the best ideas don’t always work out as intended before you take the risk of getting into large debt.
 
Bad debt, however, concerns any purchase, which decreases in value soon after you buy it, or is used for things you cannot really afford. If your purchase won’t go up in value or generate higher income, you shouldn’t go into debt for it. For instance, if you can’t pay cash for either designer clothes, the newest mobile phone, a large flat screen TV or that fancy holiday in Bali but use a credit, all these examples are considered to be bad debt.
 
To have and live these temporary dreams, credit cards are often used for payment, as the consumers often don’t pay attention to the interest rates. Some credit card companies enjoy rates higher than 15% and are the reason why credit cards are often considered as the worst form of debt since the payment schedules are mostly arranged to maximize costs for the consumer. Hence depending on how long you have to pay off that TV or holiday, the rate might ruin your financial health.
 
If you can’t afford the repayments, any credit can become a nightmare and you might even end up receiving calls from a collection agency. To prevent this from happening, you will have to find out first if what you are aiming for is actually affordable for you. So how do you know you will be in too much debt soon after the purchase?
 

To give you a general clue about your financial situation, the most common metric is your debt-to-income ratio. To find out about your ratio, simply add up all your monthly repayments and divide them by your monthly income. For example, if you have monthly repayments of $1,225 and your income is $3,500 per month, it means your debt-to-income ratio is 35%. This ratio is pretty good and means, you won’t be losing sleep over it. Any ratio higher than 43% suggests that debtors might have problems with their repayments and it will be difficult for them to find a potential lender.


 
Suffice to say, when you’re about to go into debt it depends on how you use it to make it a good or bad one. Always be careful about borrowing money and using credit for something that goes down in value.


 
Read Also:
How to Manage Debt of Any Size
5 simple debt management tips to get you back on track

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Business and Marketing

Tips for shopping for promotional flags

When you think of promotional flags, you’re probably thinking of the little national paper flags that fans are waving around at the world cup. They’re sometimes attached to the side mirrors of diplomatic vehicles too. While these are part of the family, there are lots of other options you may be unaware of. You can use buntings, feather flags, teardrop banners, fabric banners, and much more. Your selection depends on your promotional needs.
The most attractive feature of promotional flags is their ability to draw attention. Unlike regular banners, flags can flap in the breeze (or be flapped by fans). That movement grabs eyeballs. If you think about it, you’ll spend more time looking at a moving piece of paper or fabric than you would staring at a stationary one. The movement interests your neurons so you focus on it longer. This is good, because the longer customers are watching your ad, the more likely they are to retain your brand message.
 

Check your palette

Flags can come in a single colour or they can be patterned. Figure out the scope of colours that you need, based on your branding options. There are lots of different styles. Buntings and Bali flags are good for colour-coded displays. You could divide your venue into coloured sections, or you could weave a pattern of contrasting or complementary colours.
Be sure to ask about colours early enough. This ensures you can get a full selection in the volumes you require. Think about whether you want plain flags, or if there should be a visuals printed on them. Balis and buntings have a small surface area, so at best you can print a single letter, number, character, icon, or logo on each flag.
For this option, you could get different buntings printed with different letters of the alphabet and use them to spell out a message. Just make sure you have all the colours, letters, and numbers you need. Always have duplicates – you never know when you’ll need them. You should also ask about the availability and pricing of double-sided printing.
 

Think about your venue

The location of your event will also influence your choice of promotional flags. For indoor venues, paper buntings are adequate, but if you’re outside, you may want fabric. It responds better to breezes and movement. Feather flags rotate on their axis, giving you an additional element of movement, while Bali flags flap fabulously, offering beautiful colour displays.
Your venue will also determine seasonal banners. If you’re expecting rain, you could opt for vinyl. It’s waterproof and is less likely to leach colour than – say – a cotton or polyester flag. On the other hand, vinyl offers less movement than cotton or polyester, so you’d have to balance out your requirements. Similarly, vinyl and paper flags can offer a slightly more reflective surface than cotton or polyester.
This matters if your banners will be spot-lit for evening or night time events. Soft fabrics won’t catch the light as well as the slightly stiffer quality of glossy paper and vinyl. At the same time, you want banners that roll up or retract, because they occupy less space. This could be essential if your promotional gear is travelling a long distance, because you need to save on time, fuel, and storage space.
 

Make a promotion map

Before you make any purchases, get your promotional plan down on paper. Make a sketch of your venue, and of everything you need to brand, from booths and stands to stages and vehicles. This will give you an overhead view of the type of flags you need, the volumes, and the colour scheme. It reduces your chances of buying supplies you don’t need.
Seeing the entire venue design at a glance can also help you decide the types of flags that will work best for your set-up. It’s better to mix and match on paper than to go out and buy a hundred buntings only to discover teardrops would have worked better. As you shop, ask practical questions as well.
Find out how long it will take to print, whether your supplier delivers, if their flags are re-usable, and whether they have poles for different floor types (concrete, grass, turf, murram, wood, plastic etc.) For hand flags and car flags, ask if poles are part of the package, or whether they’re sold separately. After all, having to buy 10,000 disposable flag poles could ruin your budget, so ask, don’t assume.

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Business and Marketing Featured

Korea’s Rising Stocks to Watch

South Korea is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant economies in the globe. With the world’s fastest broadband speeds, and a strong digital economy across commerce, education, entertainment and government, it is one of the world’s most technologically advanced economies. Despite an inherent hindrance to doing physical business due to their complex immigration system, it is a lucrative market if you are interested in international share trading. It goes without saying that in the digital age we live in, you do not have to have your two feet planted on Korean soil to do so, you can do so from anywhere in the world.

South Korea comes with a plethora of opportunities due to their free trade agreements, grants and tax breaks which boost investing from overseas. Local businesses are not left out of the banquet, enjoying advantages such as subsidies on costs of industrial premises and a financial helping hand with expenses for start-ups. This amplified by a vast domestic market with sophisticated consumers driving demand. With a geographical advantage of proximity to the huge markets of China and Japan and an established a global FTA network that connects U.S., ASEAN and EU the world has definitely taken to it without reservation, for over half of the Global Fortune 500 companies have invested in Korea.

As if that is not enough, worth notable mention, the “Korean Wave”, a name ascribed to the growing popularity of all things Korean. Everything from fashion and couture, cosmetics and beauty, film, music to cuisine, has been largely gaining acclaim all corners of the world.  The name “K-pop” resonates worldwide, as the colourful pop genre with its genesis in South Korea continue to spread across the world like wildfire.  This worldwide Korean cultural popularity creates unprecedented business potentials for one who is looking to diversify their portfolio and to tap into one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Korea can provide access to some of the leading companies at the forefront of growth and technological innovation, being already competitive in shipbuilding, electronics and fast-growing automotive industries. Among the already powerful stock giants hailing from the Korean nation include international technology powerhouse Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors, Lumimicro, Seojin System, Ssangyong Motor, Semicon Light, Posco and Pan Entertainment, just to name a few. Moving to the some of the emerging stocks, Korea is by far the cheapest market in Asia and has the strongest earnings tailwinds. One industry to look at is Healthcare, with what was dubbed as “the biggest potential” for growth in Asia by said Kim Jae-Hyun, a fund manager at Mirae Asset whose healthcare fund made 64 percent in 2017.”In 2018, some healthcare companies, especially those that can export their technology, could be targeted,” Kim said. Celltrion Inc., which soared 81 percent this year, produces FDA-approved drug Remsima, a biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson’s blockbuster Remicade.

A similar expected growth is being seen in Cosmetics as well, Sam Le Cornu, co-head of Asian equities at Macquarie Investment Management in Hong Kong, said Korean healthcare and cosmetics companies are “very-high quality and robust in terms of their margins and earnings power.
Seoul’s rally has been driven by tech stocks like Samsung Electronics (up 53% last year; LG Electronics (066570.Korea), up 71%; and SK Hynix (000660.Korea), up 74%, while other names like cosmetic brand owners like Amorepacific (090430.Korea) and LG Household & Health Care (051900.Korea)—as well as Korea Kolmar (161890.Korea) and Cosmax (192820.Korea), which make ingredients for global cosmetics players—have been among the laggards.

SK Hynix, the second-largest memory chip player in the world behind Samsung, is a big favourite among analysts. Another analyst favourite is Hotel Shilla (008770.Korea), which runs a chain of upscale hotels as well as duty-free shops. Growth in tourism and improving margins are helping Shilla’s bottom line, notes Cara Song, Nomura’s consumer analyst in Seoul. Song has a KRW110,000 price target for Shilla, a 56% upside.

These are among the rising stocks to watch in Korea performance last year. With big gains set for this year’s first and last two quarters. These are just among the few among the stocks to watch in Korea, which are critical if you are interested in investing in offshore stock trading.

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Business and Marketing

Shop Around for Banner Stands are Built to Last

Outdoor events are made or broken by the quality of advertising media. Fans, customers, and attendees might enjoy the food, the ambience, and the DJ. They might post selfies all over the social media, or call their friends to join them at the venue. However, from your perspective as an exhibitor, none of that matters.
For you, the only important factor is whether they connected with your brand. Even if they enjoyed themselves, your entire event was a wasted effort if you didn’t develop a sales lead. Your banners are the main way you’ll attract prospects, so you should invest adequately. The print on the banner needs to be weather-proof, so it won’t be damaged by rain, dust, or sunlight. It should be well printed to ensure solar reflections don’t render it illegible.
Any visuals and wording should be clear, catchy, and in sharp focus. Choose your fonts and messaging carefully, and make it relevant to the event. A pull-up banner that’s contextual and directly linked to the fair will create better recall than generic brand information. Ensure you get good quality stands to support your banner. Here are some features to look for.
 

Stable

When you buy your stand from a reliable supplier, they’ll give you multiple anchoring options. It’s always a good idea to get all available versions to ensure you can use the same stand in different set-ups. For example, flag banners can be wall-mounted on brackets, screwed or riveted to a concrete floor, dug into the soil or grass on spiked poles, or held on a flat surface with sand bags and water weights. Have adequate sets of each so regardless of your venue, you can prevent your banner from being tipped over in the wind.
 

Lightweight

This seems to oppose the point about stability, but that’s not necessarily the case. A stable stand keeps your banner vertical and visible despite the crowds. However, a stand that’s light and sturdy is easy to carry around. That means you can transport more of them, offering versatility in your exhibition booth. It can be especially helpful if the parking area and the display area are positioned far away from each other. It’s even more helpful for road show equipment that will need to be driven from state to state.
 

Easy storage

How often do you present festivals and trade shows? Most companies do it once a season, with particularly active brands having a show every weekend. That still leaves five days when your banners need to be stashed in a shed. They can easily get damaged in storage, being scratched, torn, or nibbled by rats. You want banner stands that are easy to store.
Banners that can retract or fold are ideal, because they fit in a smaller space and you can stack large volumes in limited room. It helps if they have zipped carry-cases to prevent physical damage and accumulated dust that could affect your prints. See if you can find dust-proof bags with wheels at the base for added portability.
 

Re-usable

When you’re in a rush to get something done, disposables seem like a good idea. However, for scenarios you can plan, predict, and replicate – like trade shows or seasonal festivals – you want something long-lasting, even if it costs a little more. Cumulatively, it works out cheaper than consistently throwing stuff away. Banner stands are items you should only buy once.
Top quality banner stands can be reskinned for years. You retain the stand itself and simply stretch a new tarp over it with fresh visuals. Check the mounting mechanism on your stands. It should be easy to thread or loop your paper, fabric, or vinyl onto the frame. Don’t go for a cumbersome banner that will tear your visuals as you mount or dismantle them.
Banners don’t have to be plain or boring. There’s a lot you can do with them. You can pick double-sided prints, or rotating ones that flap in the wind. You can pick prints with holographic effects, where the messages changes depending on the angle you’re viewing it from. It should have backlighting options so you can highlight relevant portions of your banner, or display them in darkened rooms or after-dark events.
All this depends on the type of stand you have. If it’s retractable, or can be interlinked with other stands for a more complex display, then it leaves you more wiggle room. Above all, you want a stand that assembles and dismantles in minutes, letting you focus on your show.

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Business and Marketing

Choosing Between Vinyl and Fabric Banners

Fabric or vinyl, vinyl or fabric. This question gets asked a lot in the world of display banners. Each fabric is unique and has pros and cons that come with using either one. To get the best out your display banners, it’s a good idea to take into consideration the intended use, such as location and logistics. Some materials work better in certain situations. Transport and storage should also come into play as vinyl can be heavier and bulkier. Today we will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of vinyl and fabric banners.
 

Vinyl

Vinyl backdrops are known for their durability. They really can stand up to the harsh Australian climate and with the option of UV protection can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. Vinyl can also be used in wet weather, making them ideal for outdoor sporting events. The colours on vinyl banners are more vibrant and really pop off the banner. Vinyl banners can also be printed on both sides making them great for urban environments and large-scale signs. With vinyl, you also have the option of mesh. Mesh cuts down on wind resistance and is a lot lighter than conventional vinyl.
However, vinyl creases easily and the downside is that you can’t iron these banners out like you can with fabric. Another con is that vinyl is quite heavy and cumbersome, so it will take up more storage space.  Vinyl also requires more hardware to install the banner correctly. Caring for your vinyl banners in the correct manner is essential if you want to keep them in good condition and crease free. For storage, vinyl banners should be rolled rather than folded, as folding them will create unsightly creases.
 

Fabric

Fabric banners are lightweight and easier to install. They are ideal for indoor use and look more streamlined and sleek than their vinyl counterparts. Fabric banners come in a range of finishes such as satin, which will make your display stand out more and have a more professional appeal. With ideal lighting, your fabric banners will make your display look more elegant. Fabric can be used outdoors, although they do not withstand the elements and will perish at a more rapid rate than vinyl. They are best used indoors. Fabric banners are significantly lighter than vinyl making then easy to transport, install and store.
The downside of fabric banners is that they can only be printed on one side at this point in time. They are also not as durable as vinyl and are suited to indoors – although can be used outdoors but will degrade quickly.
 

Vinyl or Fabric

Well, each banner material has pros and cons; it all depends on where and how you’re going to use them. For outdoor use, I would definitely choose vinyl for the durability and option to print double-sided. For indoor use, fabric all the way. They are lightweight and have a classier finish when installed correctly.
If you want a great all-round banner I would probably choose vinyl, as it will work indoors and outdoors. If cared for properly, vinyl will outlast the lifespan of fabric. The older fabric gets the more raggedy it will look regardless of if you wash it or not. So when choosing your material for your banners always bear in mind where and how you will use them. Better yet, contact your supplier and they will happily help you out and provide you with the best product for your needs. Hopefully, this post will help you in making the right choice when it comes to choosing the material for your banners.

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Business and Marketing

Is it smart to invest in Tech unicorns?

A unicorn in the financial sector is defined as a start-up company valued at more than one billion USD. The 1 billion USD value here has no special meaning, it is purely arbitrary. These are typically in the software and technological fields where the actual real market value can be heavily influenced by time and expectation. Where the current value can be augmented by projections on what the future value of the technology will be, there arise various problems in determining the financial prudence of investing in technology unicorns. These are included but not limited to;
 

Valuation

The valuation value of a unicorn is not determined by traditional metrics like a balance sheet but rather by what investors are willing to pay for the company. According to a 2017 study by two professors [one from the University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder School of Business and another from the Stanford Graduate School of Business] examining 116 unicorns found that over half were overvalued and about 11% overvalued by over 100%. This is a shocking statistic. Over-valuations are achieved using what can be kindly called new era funding trickery. Investment is encouraged in a cyclical basis which separates shareholders, there are minimum funding caps that shut out the less able investors and initial investors are offered lower share prices and less rights than late stage investors. Late stage investors are considered more precious as they are the ones who help start-ups achieve unicorn status. Late stage investors are also offered various perks such as guaranteed minimal share returns, preferred payment on dividends or more voting right per share than early stage investors.
The end goal of the valuation is an IPO or acquisition. Messaging service Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook for a record setting 19 billion USD, despite having no way to generate revenue and no determination that the end user would be willing to pay a cent for a service they have so far been using for free. The only thing Facebook gained here was goodwill from the end user who keeps enjoying the free service and relates this to Facebook generosity.
The willingness of investors to put so much stock in a high – risk investment takes away from the funding opportunities that would have assisted more traditionally valued enterprises.
The devaluation of ordinary shares and perks associated with late stage investment thus demands the prudent investor seek to be a late stage investor in order to have more preference and to maximize return potential. Inflated valuations offer start-ups a competitive edge as they give them a greater bargaining position.
 

Unpredictability

The other issue with technology unicorns is the unpredictability of trends and lack of guarantee on returns. With an inflated valuation, the risk of loss on investments is greater than with real on the ground valuations. Admittedly, the potential profit is greater too and this risk is borne onto the investor.
From an investor standpoint, start-ups also come with higher risk than already established businesses. This is made more complex as valuations are based on what the future will be rather than what actual returns might be. Technology innovations are expected to grow exponentially and this might not necessarily be the case on the ground. Take Google Glass Incorporated for example, they invented smart glasses. These are optical head-mounted displays that were expected to revolutionize computer interfacing, with a forecast of 0.83 million units sold in 2014 and 21.15 million units sold in 2018 (statistics from statistica.com). This was not the case. The smart glass technology did not catch on and many an investor in Google Glass is crying all the way from the bank!
It is impossible to accurately predict the future and as such, one must be ready to be disappointed after investing in a technology unicorn.
 

Faith and Discipline

Due to the unpredictability of returns on a technology unicorn, the investor must be ready to invest in the long term and have a predetermined cut off point. This raises the risk of staying in for too long and losing on investment; or cashing out early and missing out on the next Apple or Samsung. This requires a level of faith and discipline that few have, coupled with the financial intelligence to make smart moves to maximize returns on investment.
In conclusion, knowing what you are getting yourself into is key, thus all available information should be processed and used to make a decision. As with any other investment, there is inherent risk but this can be minimized by knowledge. Perhaps a good place to start would be Dropbox or Spotify for local traders as well as international share traders alike.