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It’s Time to Hire an Assistant When….

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

It’s Time to Hire an Assistant When….For many years I did MOST of the work in my business myself. I didn’t trust other people to run my business the way I wanted them to do it and I thought the only person who could do it the way I needed it to be done was me. Allow me to say, that will KILL YOU… and I know MANY black entrepreneurs who are burning the candle at both ends as you read this stuck in auto work mode and never freeing themselves up to enjoy life or to reap the benefits of their hard work. We are in business to ENJOY our lives not to wear ourselves out. Here are a few tips to let you know that you are doing way too much by yourself…. Enjoy and best in business (click “NEXT” above or below to see next section of the story)
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You Find that you are the Go-to Guy for Everything

This can be EXTREMELY exhausting after giving 110% of yourself to your business already. This is certainly the time when you need to create two of you and we make it MUCH more difficult that it is. There is always someone out there who can do the job and eliminate a large part of your daily stress.

It may take you a while to find them but you will. I have a friend who is literally stressed out everyday because she can’t find a good manager for her business. She keeps hiring the wrong people then she keeps firing them and then she has to retrain someone else and go through the process again and again. I asked her what she thinks the problem is and she admits that she does not have the money to pay the person.

I told her to eliminate one of her other positions and increase the salary to find the right person OR post what the job pays and see if you can find a good candidate based on that. In this economy, you can get great help for less than you’d expect to pay. The only problem is the person may leave when they finally find something else BUT as least that will give you time to organize the business.

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People Call you and want to chat like they have known you for years

I have come up with quite a few strategies to handle this. In my business of entertainment and doing a national blog where I am often open and personal. People really do THINK they know you and they want to call and shoot the breeze about absolutely NOTHING. They talk to you like they have known you for years and figure they can be your friend. At times, it used to creep me out but then I realized the impact what I did had on others.

While it may mean nothing to me, it may be very personal for others so I often call people back RIGHT before a meeting and I tell them I have a few minutes to talk and have to go to a meeting or I tell them I have a conference call to make, this is often a great strategy to get them to say what they called for and quite often, they get tongue-tied and don’t know what to say because they didn’t have anything to say in the first place.

I have also learned to call people back and block my cell number if I’m on the go. It’s up to them if they don’t answer but I don’t know them and once people get your cell number, once again, they think they can call you whenever they want and have a conversation with you. I used to wonder why some execs that I know have 3 and 4 cell phones, now I know.

One black entrepreneur told me “This is the business phone, this is the family and friends phone and this is the bullshit phone which I almost never answer. He carried 3 cell phone everywhere with him. I am seriously contemplating getting another cell phone myself for the same reason. business and personal calls should be on separate phones in order to keep you in one mode or the other. There is some validity to that.

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Potential Clients keep asking for discounts

When I started working with major labels which has pretty much been since my inception, I didn’t quite realize my value and I would often be unsure of myself in the early days. This is dangerous because people pick up on it and they may take advantage of it. If they call YOU they NEED you. There is no if, ands and buts about it.

Understand who is in charge but still maintain a level of respect for the potential client AND for your value. When you give discounts it’s like lying. You never stop. So why do it? Perhaps you need the money. Well one black entrepreneur had a great idea when I brought this up to him, he stated, if they don’t have enough money, I never leave it on the table, I still provide them a service, they just get less than I give my full paying clients and I let them know that. That is a great idea. Never give the full package to a particularly paying client. They can certainly get SOME of what you offer but not ALL of it

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Former colleagues or Clients Give Your Cell Number out without Asking Your Permission

This is one of my greatest pet peeves. First of all its disrespectful and second all it takes a minute to call me and ask if it’s OK or you can tell the person, I will call Kevin and give him your number to call you.  One of my friends who also happens to be a client, who I mistakenly gave a discount to once and it never stopped, gave my number to a woman one day who needed a picture of Whitney Houston. How hard is it to find a picture of Whitney Houston online?

apparently it was impossible for her, she told me this person gave her my number and she needed for me to find a picture of Whitney Houston for her. Can you stand it?

I actually did it but I let my friend have it. I don’t work for anyone, that’s why I became an black entrepreneur. You give my number to a stranger who want to put me to work for FREE… REALLY? Now, if I don’t know the number I usually don’t answer unless it’s from a major market. Ironically, most people who call me from NY, LA or Chicago are about business, however they got my number.

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People don’t respect your time (or lack thereof)

Stick and move. I heard that in a movie and I never forgot it. An black entrepreneur who wants to make a lasting impression does just that, stick and move NEVER linger or hang out. Appear then DISappear to create a lasting impression. It really works. If you want more tips like that let me recommend a great book. The 48 Laws of Power. I must have read that book 10 times. It’s excellent for black entrepreneurs.

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You decide to expand and you want to free yourself up for ordinary tasks

You won’t grow if you don’t know. Doing EVERYTHING yourself will get you two things: a heart attack and/or a stroke. You are NOT in business to die, you’re in business so that you can enjoy your life. Bit the bullet and hire someone to free you up from the everyday bullshit that you do that you don’t have to do. Customer service calls, paying bills, ordering things, checking and answering email, checking social networks. You would be AMAZED at how much time you waste doing this.

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You want to IMPROVE your reputation

Free time is ME time and what a great time to take care of yourself and make appearances or take clients out to lunch. Most of your clients are used to people calling them ans saying gimme, gimme, gimme, can you imagine how good they would feel if you were one of the few people who called and said “Let me take YOU out to lunch!” Having an assistant in will help you improve in all of these areas. Good luck.

When we Stop Learning, We Stop Growing

I have always been very adamant about the direction, goals and focus of my business, never letting anyone or anything change that. I realize now that’s a mistake. If you notice, most older business owners think they have their formulas patented when it comes to the success of their business and we don’t. Trends change and we have to be willing to keep up with them and to keep learning or we stop growing.

EBONY magazine is struggling and I remember I stopped reading that magazine in the 80s because it never moved past that period. The stories were boring and predictable and the owner John H. Johnson thought the formula that he had been using for decades would continue to work forever and it didn’t. The magazine didn’t hone in early on technology and quickly fell from grace. They have been struggling for years finally making the changes when it was WAY too late.  Readers had moved on long before. They want to stick to the tried and true from 65 years ago and do business the way they had always done it. That’s an immediate recipe for failure and disaster.

We get older and we are out of touch if we don’t surround ourselves with education.  I passed a music store the other day while walking down the street and the owners where well into their 60s and they had a dirty beige carpet on the floor and paneling on the walls from the 70s (remember that fake wood paneling).

There was not one sole customer in the store. Next door was a Mac repair store that was very state of the art, they were packed. As business owners we realize how important our businesses are to us, we are married to them and they are our children. When someone insults your children by saying they are misbehaving you are apt to stand up in defense of your child but what if they really ARE misbehaving?

A man who has rarely been supportive of my businesses and I had a long conversation yesterday and he insulted my business, so I thought when he compared me to other urban industry sites that I don’t consider to be competition for me. Long ago, I surmised he was an arrogant bastard who wanted to see me fail instead of someone who was willing to take the time to tell me the truth. Clients who pay us are certainly valuable but so are the clients who don’t do business with us… especially when we can find out WHY.

Yesterday I did something different, I shut up and listened to this man. I took the emotion out and heard what he said for the first time and when he was done, I realized there were at least two or three things that he was right about when it came to my business. Things that I had never explored and needed to in order to grow.

The one thing that older people do which often makes us unemployable is we are indeed set in our ways and not willing to learn or listen to anyone younger. Just about EVERY person that I know who is over 45 is like that and they wonder why they can’t get any work.

This man is actually older than me but he works in another part of the industry that is one of my targets.  He comes face to face with this side of the industry everyday whereas it much more rare for me. Today I’m working on implementing those changes to grow my business and at the end of the day, I greatly appreciate what he had to say. Sometimes you have to just shut up and listen and realize value is not always monetary.

How To Be An Entrepreneur and What You Can Expect

I learned how to be an entrepreneur by trial and error and since I am celebrating my 25th year in business I’d like share the truth about Black Owned Businesses

I learned how to be an entrepreneur by trial and error and since I am celebrating my 25th year in business I’d like share the truth about Black Owned Businesses

So I’m celebrating my 25th year as an entrepreneur this year. I was prompted to write this after someone called me about someone who has just lost their corporate job and they asked me “Why doesn’t he last anywhere more than a few months?” I thought about that knowing that I’m blessed to be a successful entrepreneur and I believe this person has the same passion and potential from their past experiences. It’s not that they can’t keep a job, they may be better suited to work for themselves.

The longest job I have ever had in my life was at Urban Network, a now-defunct magazine in Los Angeles. It was one of the most educational music industry jobs I’ve had in my career but I lasted there under two years. I’m glad the late Jerry Boulding hired me because working there was like college for me and I learned SO much from Jerry.

A few months after I started, I was assigned as the rap editor and I HATED that job and I begged them to give it to someone else. I believe Harry Akaki wanted the gig and I would have given it to him on a silver platter but I didn’t have the power to do so.

I was not that guy that you would find hanging in the hip hop spot, or playing hip hop music in my car so I was not qualified to rank hip hop songs on a chart. Then again I have worked at many organizations in the industry where a LOT of MFs were far removed from their titles, but they were not the same color as me and they made/make a LOT more money so I was/AM not an anomaly.

I was not into hip hop music and it reminded me of how I grew up and I wanted no part of that again. But they made me do it and I’m glad they did. My job was not only to do the chart and ACT like I was interested in the genre. I knew that I looked like a damn fool ACTING like I was interested in hip hop. Wearing baseball caps backwards, speaking hood dialect and not smiling for pictures and trying to act pissed off and hard. I was a happy MF, but I was also an actor and that was the hardest role I EVA had to play and I didn’t do it well. So the Oscar DIDN’T go to … To make matters worse they wanted to fire me for a job I didn’t want in the first place, dirty MFs (lol).

I’m embarrassed to even admit it. You would have thought I would have caught a glimpse of my damn self even in a rearview mirror while thuggin’ my way down these LA streets wearing Tims. I should have just stopped and said “Um, hey Kev, yeah … this shit isn’t working! WTF are you doing?” But I needed the MF money, I had to do what I had to DO. I had just moved to LA. I wasn’t trying to be on deese damn streets.

FEMALE POWER COUPLE BRANDÉ ELISE & DANIELLE GRAY DEBUT NEW PRODUCTS AT EXCLUSIVE PRESS CONFERENCE/PRODUCT REVIEW OF THEIR CBD LIFESTYLE BRAND “UNOIA”

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Last night, power couple and entrepreneurs Brandé Elise & Danielle Gray welcomed media and VIP guests into the wonderful World of UNOIA for an exclusive press conference/product review of their Lifestyle and CBD line. The event took place at Real Housewives of Atlanta Star Cynthia Bailey‘s Wine Cellar. Guests were able to sample UNOIA products, enjoy complementary wine and hors d’oeuvre’s, get the first look at UNOIA’s commercial, and mingle with the company owners.

Brandé & Dani kicked off the exclusive event with an encouraging speech. Detailing how they were able to relaunch their brand in the midst of an international pandemic, and offered advice to couples and aspiring business owners. The power couple showcased their luxurious line of CBD products including: CBD Honey & Agave, CBD Oil Drops, CBD Muscle Relief, Soothing CBD Salve, & CBD Pet Tincture’s & Treats. After showing their new commercial to guests, the couple made a champagne toast to Beautiful Thinkers. All guests received UNOIA gift bags and masks to help them stay safe during the pandemic.

“I’m really excited that you all get to witness this relaunch and see how far this brand has come. Not only are we creating healers in this world, with our certified beautiful thinkers, but were sharing another natural way to cope.  We are inspiring people to sit with themselves, accept themselves and love themselves. We have meditations and digital journals as resources on our website because we really care about the long term health of our customers,” says Brandé Elise.

Brand Expert Sheila Coates Talks to Blog Wallet

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Brand Ambassador Sheila Coates Talks to Blog Wallet

Blog Wallet talked to Sheila Coates recently. Coates is considered to be one of the best in the business of branding and this description from her site says it best.

Sheila Coates, the creator of BYOB, brings two decades of entertainment experience with expertise in branding, marketing, artist development, lifestyle & business strategies and creating great images.

Her successful career includes memorable red-carpet appearances and marketing campaigns for “A” list celebrities such as: Diddy, Babyface, Mary J. Blige, Monica, Angie Stone, Faith Evans, Lenny Kravitz, Deborah Cox, Barry White and numerous others. Sheila’s held executive positions with: Sony/BMG, EMI/Capitol, Arista, Virgin, MCA, Perspective and Hidden Beach Records leading multi-million dollar marketing budgets.

Her creativity, visual presentation, imaging and branding talents have created numerous performances for: The Oprah Show, The Grammy’s, American Music Awards, The Today Show and others.
Sheila has the passion; confidence and expertise to help people “Be Their Own Brand” by helping them define their unique “visual” DNA! She recently appeared on the national Steve Harvey Morning Show to talk about branding.

KEVIN ROSS: Greetings Sheila, thanks for talking to the Blog Wallet audience today. From my many years in business, it’s apparent that some people really don’t understand the importance of branding. Can you explain what branding is and why it’s so important?

Sheila COATES: Branding is influencing and persuading as opposed to marketing. You have to get people to see the difference. When you are talking about branding it’s about leaving an impression not so much making an impression but getting people to believe what you want them to see.

KR: How important is branding to a new business? Should you be focused more on money or branding when starting out?

SC: Well you definitely want to make money but I think in order to make your income more sustainable, you have to create a (click next above or below to read more) —————————– brand. In other words, why would I come to your company as opposed to someone else’s. Why am I buying from you? We can get anything we want from several locations right?

KR: So then branding is what brings the customers back…

SC: Exactly… and it tells the client what they can expect. More importantly, if I buy Tide, I expect to get the dirt out. If I go to to BMW, I’m expecting to get the ultimate driving machine. Even if you have similarities you have to tell me what makes you a little more unique.

KR: What are some of the most common mistakes you see with start-up businesses?

SC: I’m in the process of teaching a couple of small business courses and I was talking about one of the ways I was able to get Macy’s in my first year of business. They said, “Your brand looks like it can represent the Macy’s brand.” What many small businesses fail to realize is that a major business is not going to give you a shot to diminish their brand that they have been working on for years. So you have to make sure you represent yourself properly. There is a perception. You may be the only one in that business…but a brand must have the perception that it can handle the business at hand. Macy’s told me they got the same perception from my website, my business card and my stationary. You can’t give people your business card and tell them, ‘don’t use that email address” or ‘don’t go to my website right now.’ There has to be consistency and professionalism. Logos, colors etc. When you get a card from Macy’s you will see there is a consistency. You will see that logo everywhere. A lot of times with small businesses we have too many excuses for not creating consistency which is essential to branding.

KR: Considering more people DON’T succeed in small business would you say that’s what set them apart from those who do? It would appear the perception is reality in the case where someone’s brand is not defined neither is their business?

SC: It’s best to define your brand by looking at what makes YOU unique. There is a reason why some people listen to Steve Harvey over Tom Joyner. They both offer something different. That’s not saying one is better than the other it’s not about competing but businesses have to define what makes them unique and what makes people come to them. There are only two to three things that you need to define that make you different.

KR: So are you saying you should define your uniqueness and ignore your competitors?

SC: No, not at all but when you look at Beyonce, her brand influences. It’s very strategic. Her brand is ‘hot, sexy, pretty.’ Whenever you see her she’s consistent always hot, sexy and pretty whether she’s on stage at a Basketball game or in Cuba. You never see her dowdy unless it’s an acting gig. She understands that’s part of a brand. Then you look at Jennifer Lopez who is also hot and sexy but she is also funky. J Lo owns her lane and Beyonce owns hers, you never see them compete. If you want hot, sexy and pretty you go to Beyonce and if you want hot, sexy and funky you go to J Lo. You can’t let people tell you who you are, you have to define it for your business. The first step is defining. The second step is to be what you define.

KR: What about expanding the brand?

SC: When you look at Apple, Steve Jobs’ thinking was “Think Different” well in order to think different you have to BE different which is why he created the iPod, iPhone, iPad. Had he stuck with the iPod it would have become boring. When I started I took classes and they always said “your business will expand.” I fought that, I didn’t want to do that but now after four years of being in business, I realize it’s true. Create things that go with the brand to help you grow.

KR: I understand that it’s important to state then to be your brand but after 28 years in the business and 18 years doing Radio Facts I have to maintain a level of creativity and determination and that means surrounding myself with positive, innovative and creative people. I think there comes a time when we must grow and let the younger generation enjoy the industry too. I send people that work for me to many events and have them cover it. I was recently told by an industry vet that I need to go to more industry events but I don’t enjoy them in LA. It’s always the same people talking about the same thing. Should you go to all events that have to do with your brand?

SC: You have to pick and choose the events that you go to, to represent your brand. I would suggest asking yourself WHY you need to go or WHY you are going and that should help you make a decision. I think it’s important to show up every now and then.

KR: A couple of years ago, I went to a private event for another one of my brands. I took a friend with me who has not worked in a few years. She got drunk at the event. I was very embarrassed.

SC: Everything that you do to represent your brand is a reflection on you. You have to be strategic. J-Lo will never go down as one of the greatest singers but she has 15 brands because she’s consistent and authentic. Once I get you to see that I can get you to do what I want you to do.

KR: If you have a slip up can you recover?

SC: Absolutely.

KR: So what do you think about Paula Dean?

SC: When you hurt yourself people are more forgiving but when you hurt other people it’s hard to recover. Paula will be able to rebuild to an extent but not to where she was before. Look at Michael Jordan. Most football players and basketball players are broke 5 years after they quit. Jordan was always professional, hard-working and first class. That’s the way he is now too. He had handled everything negative the same way, his divorce, his father’s death, gambling etc. His brand is truly what he is. You won’t always be perfect but a MAJORITY of the time there is a consistency.

KR: I am burnt out on FaceBook, I don’t get a lot out of it. How important is it for people who are trying to brand to be on social networks.

SC: I don’t use FaceBook because my interactions with clients are personal and I don’t want to be on there talking about what I talk about with my clients. I do like Linked in.

KR: Thanks so much Sheila, I’m sure our Blog Wallet readers will get so much information from this interview.

SC: Thanks Kevin, Have a great week.

Business Management, 10 Ways to Make more Money for your Small business

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Congratulations black entrepreneur….you’ve made it through another year of doing business. There is always room to improve and my golden rule is “If a client is not coming back for more services from you, you are doing something wrong.” Too many time we are living in the business moment and looking for instant financial gratification instead of building a great relationship with a client(s). There are ways you can improve your services that you may be overlooking. I would strongly suggest avoiding all debt that you can like small business loans or small business credit cards but if you have to do it, then you just have to.

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Good business Ideas

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I made this decision last year, you can offer great service all day but just like there are some clients who will be dedicated to you there are others who will be dedicated to your competitors or who may not believe in what you have to offer or see the benefit or they may just not like you. In order to have the best business management and business strategy, you have to stop wasting your time and your business self worth and esteem by chasing dead clients who no matter how much you say or do, they will never support you. Move on and spend your time looking for clients who do want to support you.

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Improve Customer Service Skills

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Once again, if NONE of your clients are coming back to you repeatedly, you are doing something wrong and there is a great possibility that you may offer a great service by the way you do business sucks. There is no room for growth in you keep begging for support and after a while you will appear desperate and you will annoy your potential clients who will steer even further from you and they will start avoiding you. Look at your competition to see what they are doing better than you. You may not be able to offer what they are offering but you can offer SOMETHING that they don’t or are not that will make your service more valuable to clients.

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Over Deliver

customer-service.0822.12\If you expect to deliver something on Tuesday…. tell the client you will have it by that Friday.  This has a two-fold benefit. The client will get what they want early and if you have a problem you have more time. Once you deliver, you will shine bright in your client’s eyes and this is a great way to establish a great client/business relationship.

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Ask You Clients How you CAN Help instead of asking FOR help

ServiceSignIn my business I never “beg” and neither should you. Calling someone and saying ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’ is annoying and it’s usually the mistake most of the other people calling that client is doing. Study what the potential client is working on and then call them with suggestions on how you can help. That’s very impressive and you can work something in the deal where they spend money with you.

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Do  a Client Visit or Luncheon

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This is a dying art and proper good business etiquette. Unfortunately, it is one that I too have been guilty of not doing enough. How are you going to establish a relationship if you don’t get to know your client one on one? Take them out to lunch and pay for it.

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Treat everyone with Respect, You Never Know who you May Need.

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The other day I was talking to a client who once needed someone to help him, the person refused and was a complete jerk about it, taking complete advantage of his power. Now years later, the shoe is on the other foot and this the guy who couldn’t get any help is not refusing to help the guy who would not help him. It is best, if nothing less to at least respond to people who reach out to you and it takes very little effort to do what you can to help in certain situations, if you are in a position to do it…. do it.

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Update your website and hire an SEO Expert and Website Builder

Update

Many sites in my industry leave a lot to be desired. It is beyond evident that many people in my industry are still not convinced of the power of the internet and they are going to pay dearly for that. Make sure you understand the advantages of social networking and how the internet works so that you can be in a position to offer your client FULL service. If you are not doing anything online, your business will look antiquated and out of touch. If you don’t know what you are doing when it comes to building your business website, it’s best to hire someone. It can be extremely cumbersome.  You want to have the absolute best website design for the money.

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Keep a Diary

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Keep a diary of your transactions with clients. Many times they will tell you to call them back on a certain day and it’s easy to forget that. If you don’t keep a diary at least consistently update your calender

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What are your Competitors Weaknesses

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Any competitor who does what you are doing has strengths and weaknesses. instead of trying to be better, be different. What can you offer that your competitor is not?

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Offer Additional Services

Could your business benefit from offering additional services? Think of ways you can add to what you are presently offering to improve your services.

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Read more stories to help your small business, click one of the boxes to the right… 

Want to Succeed as a black entrepreneur? Get a Mentor and…

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Mentors Key to Small business Owner Success

You have a compelling business model … ambition … black entrepreneurial spirit. Add in a solid business plan and the necessary capital, and you may be well on your way toward launching a business. But before you take the leap into owning your own business, it’s worthwhile to consider adding in another important element — the guidance of a mentor.

According to a recent survey conducted by The UPS Store, 88 percent of black entrepreneurs believe having a mentor has been invaluable. As evidence of the value this unique relationship brings, more than two-thirds of business owners who had a mentor prior to starting the business are still in contact with their mentor.”For many, starting a business can be overwhelming — it’s not just about exploring a passion or following a dream,” said W. Kenneth Yancy, chief executive officer of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground. “A mentor can help navigate the complex challenges that often come with being a business owner, and the guidance from someone who has been there themselves can be a real asset.”Beyond the intangibles — access to knowledge and the confidence that comes from having a respected colleague rooting for your success, for example — a mentor relationship can have a very real impact on your bottom line. In fact, 70 percent of black entrepreneurs who receive mentoring survive for five years or more, double the rate of those who do not.

“Many black entrepreneurs feel like they’re all alone when it comes to facing challenges,” said Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store. “Getting help from an expert, or advice from another business owner who’s already experienced something similar, can be invaluable.” A mentor’s contributions can take many different forms, so it’s important to find a partner whose expertise and approach to business is similar to yours. Through organizations such as SCORE, black entrepreneurs can — at no cost — pull from a pool of more than 11,000 certified experts from every industry to find a mentor that fits their personal work style and needs. Before choosing a mentor, consider the following questions to help you find a match who can maximize your business potential:How strong a role would you like your mentor to have? Are you looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, or someone who will guide youWhat timeframe does your schedule allow? Are you looking for a mentor to connect with weekly? Bi-weekly? As needed?

Where are you most comfortable meeting with your mentor? Is an electronic or phone-based relationship acceptable, or do you prefer chats over coffee?
Are there specific skills you lack that a mentor could help develop?
What credentials does your mentor need in order to provide you the greatest benefit?

To access tools, templates and other resources to help you find a mentor, and to search for a mentor with expertise in your field, visit www.theupsstore.com/score.

The Bottom Line


Small businesses that receive mentoring are 20 percent more likely to experience growth than those that don’t.Small businesses that receive 3-plus hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased business growth.
70 percent of black entrepreneurs that receive mentoring survive for five years or more. Marketing Your business – A smart business plan includes a marketing strategy to help guide the communication and growth of your company. As you consider how you’ll approach marketing for your new business, you’ll need to consider things like your marketing goals, your target market and what the competitive landscape looks like.For help creating your marketing plan, visit the SCORE Marketing Assessment Tool at www.theupsstore.com/score. The free tool offers a survey to help black entrepreneurs plan and execute an effective marketing strategy.

Family First

John Davila, third generation architect and founder and CEO of LBCT Architectural Engineering and Design, learned everything he knows about architecture from his mentor.In 1919, John’s grandfather started an architecture business in Scotland. He mentored John’s father for many years, who eventually took over the business and finally, when the time came, his knowledge and expertise were shared with John.”My father is my mentor, I took the knowledge from him to create my own business that incorporated some of his principles with my business goals,” said Davila. “Having a mentor helped prepare me for obstacles I faced as a black entrepreneur.”

Just like his father, John has found great joy in mentoring. John is currently mentoring a past client’s daughter who has interest in entering the architecture and design industry. John knows the importance of being educated in the field you are hoping to turn into a career and feels that a mentor’s experience is extremely helpful when making the transition of opening a business.

5 Small business Ideas To Keep Finances In Check

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“Small business idea: How to clean up your finances and keep your company in the black,” managing a business can be both rewarding and stressful. While keeping an eye on their small business finances might not be an owner’s top priority when first establishing their business, it should become ingrained into their daily routine. This article says this might be difficult at first, but with a few tips, business owners can begin to maintain their finances and clean up their accounts. Lawrence Teicher, founder of CFOConsulting Services and leading Long Island CPA, discusses five tips to help business owners clean up their financials. (click NEXT to see next idea)

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EEOC AND FTC OFFER JOINT TIPS ON USE OF EMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND CHECKS

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EEOC AND FTC OFFER JOINT TIPS ON USE OF EMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND CHECKS

User-Friendly Documents for Employers, Job Applicants, and Employees Explain Laws Governing the Acquisition and Use of Personal Background Information

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today co-published two technical assistance documents that explain how the agencies’ respective laws apply to background checks performed for employment purposes. One document is for employers; the other is for job applicants and employees. This is the first time that the two agencies have partnered to create resources addressing concerns in this key area. The documents are available on the EEOC’s website: Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know and Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know

The agencies emphasize that employers need written permission from job applicants before getting background reports about them from companies in the business of compiling background information. Furthermore, they reaffirm that it is illegal to discriminate based on a person’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information, including family medical history, when requesting or using background information for employment, regardless of where the information was obtained.

At the same time, the agencies want job applicants to know that it is not illegal for potential employers to ask about their background, as long as the employer does not unlawfully discriminate. However, when people are turned down for a job or denied a promotion based on information in their background reports, they have the right to review the reports for accuracy.

“The laws enforced by the EEOC and the FTC intersect on the issue of employment background checks, so this was a unique opportunity for the agencies to work together to provide user-friendly technical assistance to our stakeholders,” said EEOC Legal Counsel Peggy Mastroianni. “The No. 1 goal here is to ensure that people on both sides of the desk understand their rights and responsibilities.”

“The FTC is pleased to work with the EEOC to help ensure that employers and potential employees have a solid understanding of their rights and responsibilities,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The EEOC enforces federal laws against employment discrimination; more information is available at www.eeoc.gov. The FTC enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the law that protects the privacy and accuracy of the information in credit reports. More information is available at www.ftc.gov.

Save Time: Easy Tips to Spot Free Information Clients

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history-biographies

Without question if you want your business to grow you have to upgrade your business repeatedly as well as things that you do and the people you deal with. It’s unfortunate but everyone is not going to grow with you and some people will even hold you WAY back from forging ahead. Finally, success is not defined by millions of dollars, it is defined by success and leadership. the man or the woman who does their own thing and does it well. Successful black entrepreneurs are looked highly upon and we are few and far between.There are hundreds of thousands of people who have fake business cards and  fake businesses with email addresses that end in gmail.com or yahoo.com and they are telling people they are black entrepreneurs. They are not and they give us a bad name but for those of us that are successful

This week, a friend in Atlanta called me to tell me about a guy that he knew that is trying to promote his exercise business.  I knew this kind of call so well and I don’t like doing businesses with friends.It never works out well. My friend was trying to impress his friend by telling him that he knew someone in show business, marketing and promotion. My friend, who I talk to every few months went on and on about this guy and how he really believed in what he was doing and wanted me to talk to him. At times, I am far to concerned about the feelings of others and I felt obligated to finish the conversation as if I owed my friend that much but I didn’t.I did not ask him to do what he did.

This is incredibly uncomfortable for me because I am too busy to follow though with fake clients. I asked my friend, “Does this guy have a budget” he said “I’m sure he does” which in no way means yes, so I suddenly got another call (not really) because I didn’t want to waste another minute having this discussion. A few minutes later, my friend called again, I answered and he asked me to talk to the guy because he told him I would talk to him (why am I obligated to fulfill YOUR obligations?) I told him I had to take another call and that I would call him back. I’m not sure if you have had to deal with these kinds of people before but perhaps it’s a good idea to reevaluate the friendship because you begin to realize you are being used. At any rate I cut the conversation short again and told him I would call him back hoping he would get the message that I did not want to be bothered with this but trying to be polite at the same time.

The next day my cell phone rings and I see that it’s a number I don’t know. I answer and it’s the guy. My friend gave him my CELL number without my permission. I was angry but it was too late and I felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing. I was being preyed upon by a situation that I knew was a waste of my time. I told the guy I would call him back. He called me back an hour later. He was already coming of as inconsiderate which was a turn off. A person who has money to spend has no problem waiting for you to call them back. I am always suspicious of clients who are too eager.

A few days later, I called him back and indeed, it was a waste of my time but I knew the experience would be great for readers of Blog Wallet who have their own businesses to know the warning signs. Here are a few tips for you to look out for. At the start of the conversation, this guy went on and on about how his business worked and how successful he was. He told me his product was in several countries and that it was very successful. I knew this statement would come back to haunt him as we talked further. He was lying and I could tell….  (click “Next” for the next story)
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1. Look for Keywords Like: “We’re looking to Team up…”

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…but that’s not what I’m looking for. He told me, “We are looking to team up with a great company so that we both can make money.” I knew IMMEDIATELY this was bullshit. I have an established business that reaches the target, I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years.  I get paid from clients who pay the full price. I’m not looking for a “team” or to join one especially with businesses that are not established. This is a game fake clients play to make it appear that they are here to help YOU when you don’t need help… THEY do.  He wanted me to push his brand for free and if anyone purchased it, he would give me a percentage, so he says. He was asking me for credit based on my friendship with the guy who introduced us. Now I was being used by two people.

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Look for Keywords Like: “Build a Relationship”

Building a relationship takes the cooperation of two people or businesses doesn’t it? What if I don’t want to build a relationship with you? How can you assume that I would be enticed by this? This all SOUNDS good but how do I know that you will honor what you say? I don’t and it’s too risky.

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Look for Keywords Like: “What can you do for us”

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Really? You need me and you want me to explain what I can do for YOU ? My time is totally being wasted here and the fake client is grandstanding.

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So Tell me about your History”

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If I have been in business for many years and it’s YOU THAT NEEDS ME, you should do your research. To ask an established business person to state their history is an insult and the greatest sign that you are wasting your time. Many fake clients will play a game with you to see if they can screw with your self esteem. If they can break you down a bit they may be able to get something for free or at a very steep discount. Don’t fall for it. Tell them they can research your company on the website or ask them, “Did you get a chance to research us?”

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“I don’t want for us to waste each other’s time”

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Too late, you are already wasting my time because you are playing games. Once again grandstanding.

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“We have talked to many people who can’t deliver”

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Oh so now I’M the bad guy? You want me to prove my value to you before you spend any money? No, ironically this is another game to get something for free. It is possible that they worked with someone who ripped them off because they didn’t know what they were doing now they want everyone else to prove themselves by going out of their way to get their business when it’s actually THEM that needs the help.

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“Are you familiar with what we do?”

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Why is it my job to do that? Remember YOU NEED ME! You have to figure out if we can benefit each other. At this point, I don’t care. I’m getting very bored with the conversation and I’m ready to deal with real clients.

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“Send me Some Info and your Stats”

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The conversation should have ended 30 minutes ago. My time is still being wasted here. You are trying to sound important and you can’t afford to buy our services. It’s beyond evident. Let’s be done with this.

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“I Saw Some Things that can build your business Right Away”

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OK this was me having a bit of fun. I KNEW how he would respond to this statement. But after wasting my time, it was time that I wasted some of his.He asked me,”So what are the things you think I can work on?” I told him we don’t discuss those things with people who are not clients, sorry. He then told me,well we are trying to work that out. I told him, “Well when we do and my company is paid we can talk about your needs further.” He was lost and could say nothing. He was trying to get free info across the board and it didn’t work but there were times that it did. I had to learn about these kinds of clients the hard way. BUT I did learn. I’m sure I won’t be hearing from him again.

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Finally, you can ask them..

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“We really like working best with honest clients. It works best for us and the client.” I’m telling you, a majority of the time, this is when they usually come clean and admit they can’t afford it. So there goes 30 minutes of my life I can never get back wasting on you bullshitting.  He admitted he could not afford my services. So every negative thing that he applied to everybody else now applied to him. I am sending a text to my friend to ask that he not give out my cell number without my permission from this point on.

30 Days to Two New businesses

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For the past 10 years, I have been unchallenged in my current main business which is a blog for the music industry. It does well and I make a great living from it but I don’t have that leap-out-of-bed-to-face-the-day feeling anymore. True black entrepreneurs know what I’m talking about. Those of us who have had success have experienced that feeling of achievement and gratitude with our business, it’s like being head over heals in love but when that feeling is gone it’s up to you to move on or to get others to run your business for you. In my case, since it’s a specialty business it’s not only difficult, it’s almost impossible to find people who work in the entertainment industry who can write. You can find people who are WRITERS in the entertainment industry but it’s rare that you can find someone who has a major skill besides that.

I’m getting older and the industry will not be the way it is right now for me forever so when you have a few pennies stored, contrary to popular belief that’s not the time to REST… it’s the time to GET TO WORK. Think about how LONG it took you to get to the point where you have extra income!!! Many of us have worked so hard to get here we think we deserve a break and we do, but that’s called a vacation NOT a new car or home yet (unless you have REALLY hit the jackpot)

The two businesses I am getting off the ground are my art business The Art Dive and my Voiceover business. I have assigned someone to handle my main business while I work on getting these two off the ground. Since I am a full time student, I’m actually juggling 3 balls at once. Stay tuned.

Starting a Business? A Few Things You Need to Know

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Starting a business

Starting a Business? A few things You Need to Know

Starting a business? Here are a few tips to help you along the way. I’ve been in business now for 23 years. I’ve been very lucky because it’s been estimated that up to 85% of new businesses fail within the first four years or less. Some studies state as high as 60% of new businesses fail within the first year. During the past two decades, I have seen many examples of why small businesses fail via my own experiences and I’d like to share those with you.  if you have considered diving in and trying your efforts at a small business, here are the things that you should ABSOLUTELY NOT DO if you don’t want to fail IMMEDIATELY.

Starting a Business? YOU MUST HAVE …  PASSION for What You Do

Start Your Small business: Have you ever been in love? REAL LOVE? The kind that makes you forget the rest of the world exists and EVERYTHING is about the other person? You can talk on the phone for hours to them but it seems like minutes? You leap out of bed ready to take on the day with a huge smile on your face because you’re experiencing true happiness?

Unfortunately, for most, this feeling is temporary but not if you’re a small business and you constantly reinvent yourself. Why? Because business is the SAME WAY! “Do what you LOVE and the money will Come” is exact and true but at some point, you have to put the “passion” on the backburner and focus on sales. Probably after the first year. If you do it the opposite way and you are only in business to make money … you will fail miserably. What is it that you LOVE to do, that you could do ALL DAY, all week, all month and all year and when you are doing it, it feels like you are not working but doing what you love? Have people offered to pay you to do this thing for them? If you can answer the question …There’s your potential business!

Starting a Business? YOU MUST … Have a Budget

Start Your Small business: I would STRONGLY suggest not taking out loans if you don’t have to for three  reasons:

  1. I don’t like dealing with middlemen, they can rob you of your passion and it’s always best to start off NOT owing someone the loan back PLUS interest. You are starting BEHIND the 8-Ball and it’s very difficult to EVER catch up. How you start is how you finish in business.
  2. It ALWAYS helps if you have money stashed to start your small business for those lean times and THERE WILL BE LEAN TIMES. When a check or payment doesn’t arrive on time and personal bills are due etc. If you start off begging for business, your entire business will most likely be based on you begging. If you have to beg people to convince them of your value, you are in the wrong business. They should SEE the value at a certain point. You never want clients running FROM you, you want them running TO you. Provide great service
  3. In the game of running a business, it is YOUR objective to make money and everybody else’s to separate you from that money and to leave you broke and starving. Read Rich Dad Poor Dad and you will know what I mean. (get the audio version if you are like me and don’t like to read). You want to avoid all interest, penalties, and services you don’t need because you WILL need the money at some point and you SHOULD be able to enjoy what you have worked for SPEND VERY WISELY and make your money work FOR you not you for it.

Starting a Business? … Have a Vision…

Start Your Small business: I am surrounded by other black entrepreneurs or people who are on their way to being black entrepreneurs. We attract each other and most of my closest friends are black entrepreneurs. I had a former tenant who loved to experiment with cheesecakes. He worked for the gas company for his full-time gig but he would do things like making Peach Cobbler Cheesecake, German Chocolate Cheesecake, Cheesecake Pound Cake, Oatmeal Raisin Cheesecake and even Sweet Potato Cheesecake. People would go NUTS over those Cheesecakes and he started taking them to work and his coworkers would offer him up to $30.00 to make them ONE of his Cheesecakes. Before he knew it, he had to rent a kitchen and he was making at least 50 Cheesecakes a weekend as word spread. He LOVED doing it and he became a different person while he was doing it. He really enjoyed it.

He wasn’t bound by the work grind and the stress he had to often face working with broken gas lines in the field. Who could be passionate about that? To make a long story short, he was not comfortable with the lack of security he felt he would have without a full-time job. I along with several other black entrepreneur friends tried to convince him that he could triple and even quadruple his current income and have continued growth over the next 5 years that would make him incredibly successful but he did not have VISION. He let the opportunity to own a business pass him by and sticks with making cheesecakes as a hobby. Of course, he will never grow.

12 REASONS YOU SHOULD NEVER HIRE FRIENDS

Starting a Business? YOU SHOULD BE … ORIGINAL?

Start Your Small business: Doing what someone else does because you have the same contacts or you see that they are making money is doing business competing. It’s the opportunist’s way of duplicating what someone else is doing to make the same money.

It may work for a minute because the clients get confused but chances are you don’t have the talent and you are not churning out the same quality product that they are and you will eventually fail. If your business is based on mimicking what someone else does, it’s NOT time to start your small business, it’s time to either do a better job or think of something else. The greatest part of being an black entrepreneur is the passion that you AND ONLY YOU have for what you do.

Starting a Business? YOU ARE READY IF … People Keep Coming Back?

Start Your Small business: One of the GREATEST signs that you are able to start your small business is if whatever it is that you do has the same clients coming back for more WITHOUT you calling them. Your clients are the best friends to your business.

If you have been in business for more than 3 years and you don’t have at LEAST one or two MAJOR clients, something is wrong. Prospects are not seeing the value of what it is that you do.

Nine Cruel Truths About Most Industries for Older Workers

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Truths about Older Workers

I cannot tell you how many calls and emails I get from industry people who are so stressed out and concerned about things that have not happened yet. There are certain things that we must all face about the industry that we LOVE to make our lives and careers easier…click “next” below

Blog business: Making the Most Money with Google Adsense

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making money with adsense

Making the Most Money with Google Adsense

CONTENT IS KING but the way you POST the Content is law
Copying a story for your blog that is already on 10,000 other sites is not going to win over many fans. Why should they come to you when they can get the same information 10,000 other places? If you DO repeat a story, add a twist to is and REWRITE the titles. You can check to see how many other people have used your title already by searching for it in Google BEFORE you do the actual post. The title of this story is Make MORE Money with Google Adsense.

7 Ways to Make Sure You Get Paid For Your Services

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Get Paid for Your Services Faster and Know that it’s Not as Difficult as you may Think

Get paid for your services and move on to the next client. Many of us have been ripped off in the past. I can honestly say, I have only had it happen to me twice in 18 years but advanced technology should certainly make it easier for us to get our money these days. There is NOTHING worse than completing the work then being lied to and misled about the check being in the mail etc. The worst part is like a fool you are waiting for the mailman for a check that the client KNOWS is not coming. You can save yourself from all of this by doing a few simple things. First: Always have high esteem when it comes to your business. By high esteem I’m not saying “Arrogance” I mean believe in your business, KNOW your VALUE and have an appreciation for what you do. If you show signs of weakness potential clients can see that and they will take advantage.  Here are 5 tips to collect your money in a timely fashion without chasing the cash.

Ask for the Money Up Front

Get paid for your services

This is simply the best way to do it, however, you can’t blame them if they are suspicious and wonder if they will get what they have paid for. Nevertheless, that’s not for you to worry about, IF they came to you. If you go to them, then this method may or may not work. Imagine you ask someone to support your business then give you the money before you do the work, that’s kind of an insult and it looks like you are desperate for money. Treat each situation accordingly

Offer a Discount if they Pay Up Front

Get paid for your services

I would not give them more than a 20% discount. Keep in mind whatever you offer them is what they are going to expect each time

Tell them New Clients Have to Pay up Front

This is a good rule but only if they come to you. If you go to them or if it’s a corporation, you should not expect to be paid upfront, you can offer independents a “new client discount” if they pay up front.

Ask them if they use Paypal … NO, Tell them you ACCEPT PaypalGet paid for your services

If you ask them they may make up an excuse because they don’t have the money up front remember who is in the driver’s seat TELL them you accept Paypal instead of asking them. Technology is changing the face of business and helping you to get paid for your services faster. (thank God) now you don’t have to pay outrageous fees to have someone pay you with a credit card, you can just use a small device on PayPal called the PayPal Card Reader and charge them over your cell phone. There is a small fee but PayPal also offers pay by email and more features and they don’t have to be a PayPal client. Did I mention I LOVE PayPal

If They are a New Client, they come to you and they Can’t Pay upfront…

Don’t walk… RUN. This is a sure sign you are about to get ripped off and you will not get paid for your services.

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They Come Back After Being a Slow Pay the Last time?

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Tell them you have to collect up front. Remember, have esteem in your business. Your bill collectors do not want to wait to be paid after they provide a service so why should you. You have obviously made a good impression on them if they come back now it’s their turn to show good faith for their mistakes. If they can’t pay up front at least get half or walk.

Avoid Small Talk Get Straight to business

If someone comes to you for business MAKE IT business avoid small talk at all costs, you are a busy black entrepreneur and you need to be paid for your services. The small talk is a set up to ask for a MASSIVE discount or some kind of deal that’s gonna work more in THEIR favor. Don’t fall for it. If they can give you small talk to get the business, they will BS you when it comes time to pay too.

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