Pros and Cons of a Business Partnership

PartnerWhen you’re in the planning stages of starting a business, one huge question is whether you should be a solo entrepreneur or find a suitable partner to join you in the business. There are pros and cons for each type of business structure. In my previous post, Do This Before Starting a Business Partnership, I noted important things to consider before choosing to be in business with a friend and/or family members. It is also possible to become a business partner with a casual acquaintance or even someone you just met. Due diligence, no matter how well you know the person, is essential when making this important decision. You don’t want any surprises down the road that could ruin your reputation or the reputation of your business.

When starting a business, there are pros and cons to consider when choosing a partnership.

Benefits of having a business partner

As an entrepreneur, it is all on you. Having someone to share the burdens as well as the successes can be a great thing. Some key benefits are:

  • No one is exceptional in all aspects of the business world, so finding a partner with different or complimenting skills can be a huge boost to your buisness.
  • You will have someone to talk to that understands your hurdles and disappointments.
  • You won’t have the full burden of the financials, lessening your initial investment as well as the ongoing startup and ongoing expenses.
  • You most likely won’t have all the same contacts, so there is a possibility of immediately having double the contacts for prospective clients.
  • When you are ill or experiencing a rough personal issue, you will have someone to pick up load.
  • Even in the early stages of the business, it’s important to take time off for a break from the long hours and total focus on the business. A partner will be able to keep the efforts moving forward while you take turns with a few days off for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Things to consider before choosing to enter into a business partnership

On the flip side, there are also issues to consider when you’re sharing a business:

  • You will be giving up full and total control.
  • You will have to consider a give-and-take when it comes to making major decisions.
  • Though your partner will share in the investment, that also means that you’ll have to share the profits.
  • Sharing the profits means a need to grow the business faster and larger so you can support two families.
  • If your partner’s quality of work suffers, it will reflect on you and your business as well.
  • If your partner chooses to walk away, you will be saddled with any business debts.

If you and your partner have the same values, level of energy, motivation, and goals, this could be a sign of a successful partnership. Be sure you are in sync with these areas, and make sure that you do that one thing before deciding on a partnership, as mentioned in my post mentioned above. A failed business partnership can easily ruin a great friendship and could also tear a family apart. Proper planning will hopefully prevent that from happening.

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Do This Before Starting a Business Partnership

TheTalkSo you’ve been thinking about about starting a business, but don’t want to be a solo entrepreneur. This, of course, means you need to find a business partner. Most likely you’ve already considered the type of business, which helped you decide which friends or relatives would be a good business partner.

So, who will you choose to join you on this new adventure? Choosing someone this close is often a good idea, because you already know the person quite well. You know their good points, and you know their not-so-good points. You also know what they do that annoys you. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend that you consider all of these, as it will help you choose the best fit. Remember, you will be working with them day in and day out, 24/7, 365 – at least at first.  Once you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of those who would be a good candidate as your business partner, you’re set to move forward with your plans. More than likely, you’ve already had casual conversations before your “official” offer, so they won’t be surprised that you’re ready to move forward with your plans.

The next step is probably the most difficult task.

It’s time to have “the talk.” No, not that talk!

This talk is one where you both will need to be straight forward, blunt even. You will need to lay out all of your feelings, your reservations, your expectations.

Business partnership with a friend, relative, or spouse can be a wonderful experience. But without laying the groundwork first, difficulties will most likely arise, often beyond repair. What do you need to discuss? Luckily, My wife and I had many long conversations about being business partners prior to starting a home inventory business.

There are many topics to cover, but here are some very basic areas to be addressed before you go any further:

  • Who will have major ownership – if you are 50/50, and there is a disagreement, a stalemate could cause failure. Someone needs to have the final say.
  • Who will fill what role – consider your skills and decide who will be responsible for the daily operations of sales & marketing, who is in charge of the financials, etc.
  • Set parameters – There will be disagreements, so decide now how these will be handled – by vote, by the person responsible for that area of the business, or by the one who has major ownership of the business.
  • What reservations you have – and you will have reservations, no matter who your intended business partner is. This is the toughest part, as you will be required to be more open and honest than you have ever been. You need to get though any issues that you think just might come up, and face them now. Can you work together? Do you want to be with this person all day, almost every day? In the beginning, at least, you’ll most likely live, eat, and sleep your new business.

As I said, there are many other things that will need to be discussed. But if these topics aren’t fully discussed, and firmly agreed upon, you are probably in for a bumpy ride. A small aggravation could turn into an insurmountable difficulty. Take precautions up front. It will save a lot of arguing and disappointments. It could even save a friendship or a marriage.

Be An Entrepreneur – Be A Kid Again

KidsBusinessI don’t have any statistics on this, so I am basing an assumption on articles I’ve read and conversations I’ve enjoyed over the years. I am assuming there are many more people who dream of being an entrepreneur and never achieved that goal, than who had the dream and achieved business ownership. I was the dreamer for a long time before I acted on my desire to own my own company.

In fact, it was a 30+ year dream. I blamed not pursuing entrepreneurship on the typical “life getting in the way” excuse. You know the one – marriage, children, kids’ college, etc. The time just wasn’t right. There was always a “good” reason to shove that dream in the back of my mind under the category “some day.” But, in reality, I didn’t have the nerve. I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t have confidence that I would make the right decisions.

I didn’t think I could be successful.

I thought I would fail as an entrepreneur

Why? Because I failed at so many things during my childhood – and adulthood – that made me think I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, energetic enough – you name it. What made me think this? When I was a Brownie and Girl Scout, and it was time to sell the cookies, my mom told me to only knock on the doors of people I knew. So, I grew up thinking you only sold things to people you know. That translated to me believing I could not be successful owning my own business, because I certainly would need more customers than my friends and relatives.

Another defining time in my life was when I tried out for the junior high choir. Oh! How I love to sing! When the choir director told me I was cut after the tryouts, I remember asking “Why?” HIs answer was, “You can’t sing!” I was devastated. I told myself if I couldn’t do what I really, really enjoyed, which turning into “What good am I?” I then got a C in music because I refused to sing with the rest of the class.

All children hear so many more minor messages – don’t run, don’t climb, don’t – don’t – don’t because you will get hurt, you’ll fall, you’ll fail. Well, who wants to get hurt? And what adult wants to risk getting hurt by trying to run a business? What wants to fail? No one, of course. So the dream stays a dream, and you live a life that isn’t fulfilling.

Now, I don’t blame anyone but myself for delaying my dream. Not my parents or my teachers. I know now that they did their best, with what they knew, handed down to them, from their parents and mentors, and so on down the line. I do blame myself, though. After all those years, I accepted my self-talk and didn’t question if it was real or imagined. I didn’t take control of my thoughts and my beliefs. After all, I’m adult, and I can believe what I want to believe.

Children know they will succeed

Look at a child who wants to open (the always great example of) a lemonade stand. Kids don’t even consider the fact that they might not sell some lemonade. When the first car drives by and doesn’t stop, do they gather up everything and quit? No! When the first pedestrian walks by and says, “No thank you,” do they cry and feel like they are failures? Absolutely not! They know in their whole being someone will become a customer. And they are usually right. If not, I can guess that they are in the front yard the next day, open once again in anticipation, knowing deep down inside that they will succeed.

The difference from children and many adults with a dream of starting a business is the belief in themselves. Toddlers don’t know they can’t do what they want to do. They learned to walk, even after falling down over and over. Not because someone kept telling them could, but because they had the benefit of not being told over and over that they could not. In fact, people were all there, encouraging them to take that first step. No matter how many times they fall down, they get back up again, knowing this time they will walk.

The same with all the other accomplishments in one’s life. Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up. You’ll hear many wonderful dreams that years later haven’t come true. Somewhere along the line they began to believe others’ opinions rather than holding on to what they know. They settled. Maybe because their music teacher told them they couldn’t sing. Or they were told “don’t bother people you don’t know” when selling something.

Who would have thought I’d be mentoring other business owners as they start their own home inventory business? For a long, long time, I never thought I could be an entrepreneur. And now I not only own one business, but three! Who woulda thought? Unfortunately for many, many years, I thought I was not capable.

For all those who have the dream of starting a business, I recommend that you be a kid again! Find that childhood freshness that tells you that you can do anything you want to do. Find that inner child who just knows that you can be successful. There is too much life to live to not follow your dreams down a road that takes you to success.

Now … GO!

Startup Mode Should Never Stop

BuildBusinessYou have finally decided to start your business. You’ve had the idea and desire for quite some time, and now is the time. You’re ready to enter the startup mode of building your business.

There are many articles, blogs, newsletters, and even seminars that tell people the importance of being “on your game” when starting a business. You need to be confident, professional, interested in others, courteous, and customer-focused. Doing and being all of these will help you connect with others who can help you, it will help you secure clients, and thus, it will help you build your business.

But it doesn’t stop once you’ve passed the startup mode. As the owner of a company that helps people start a business, I learned it myself. I also see it first-hand with those I mentor that you still need to be all of these things, but you need to be them even more once you are beyond startup. Because now you are established and have a reputation to uphold. That doesn’t sound right, does it? After all the sweat and tears, sleepless nights, and sometimes financial stress, you should be able to coast now that you’re successful.

You can’t stop being “it” when you’re a business owner

The reason you can’t stop is evident (I believe this is why many businesses fail). If you built your business on professionalism and being customer-focused, that is now expected of you. How long do you think you’ll stay in business if you stop focusing on these two factors? Not very long. You set a standard for yourself, and it is imperative that you keep that standard, and even improve on it. The saying if you don’t advance, you’re standing still is so true. Even more-so, if you are standing still, you’re really moving backward. There will always be someone entering your industry with that energy, customer focus, and professionalism that you had during your startup. This is the key to remaining in business.

It’s important to always look for ways to improve, keeping the clients’ needs in mind.

Remember how it felt when starting your business

Does this mean you have to always be in high gear? No, there are some things that get easier (getting more sleep is one of them). You’ll have your processes established, you’ll have a great group of happy clients, and you’ll have a reputation of being professional. These won’t stop if you keep the startup mindset you had in the beginning.

Remember how it felt to get that first order. Remember how it felt when you completed the job. Remember how it felt when someone thanked you for what you do. Remember the importance of being professional and customer-focused. These are the startup mode factors that should never stop, as this mindset will help propel your business forward.

What Did You Do On Leap Day?

LeapYearLeap Day, February 29. It arrived as expected. We won’t have another until 2020.

Many don’t know why we add this extra day, other than it has something to do with the calendar. According to BBC News Magazine, “The leap year’s extra day is necessary because of the “messiness” of our Solar System. One Earth year (a complete orbit around the Sun) does not take an exact number of whole days (one complete spin of the Earth on its axis). In fact, it takes 365.2422 days, give or take.

“Until Julius Caesar came to power, people observed a 355-day calendar – with an extra 22-day month every two years. But it was a convoluted solution to the problem and feast days began sliding into different seasons. So Caesar ordered his astronomer, Sosigenes, to simplify things. Sosigenes opted for the 365-day year with an extra day every four years to scoop up the extra hours. This is how February 29 was born. It was then fine-tuned by Pope Gregory XIII.” (If you’re interested in the fine details, they can be found in the article).”

So that sounds quite easy, that every fourth year is a leap year. End of story. But, in fact, it is not the end of the story. It become quite a big more complicated.  The article continues, “A year that is divisible by 100, but not by 400, is not [a leap year]. So 2000 was a leap year under the Gregorian calendar, as was 1600. But 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years. ‘It seems a bit arbitrary,’ says Ian Stewart, emeritus professor of mathematics at Warwick University. But there’s a good reason behind it.” Each of our earth years is actually 365 and a quarter days long. Sort of. Actually, it is slightly less. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII and his astronomers reasoned that there was a loss of three leap days every 400 years. Therefore, this is why 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years.

OK; by now you’re probably wondering why this is on a business blog. Actually, it has a lot to do with how we spend our days and take advantage of opportunities when they come along.

What did you do on February 29?

We all talk about having an “extra day” this year. This offers opportunity! What could you have done on February 29 to work on your business that you didn’t do?

  • Call an extra 10 prospects
  • Clean out your overflowing email box
  • Spend a few hours on your marketing plan
  • Catch up on tasks you’ve been putting off
  • Review your business plan and set new goals

Most likely, you did the same things you do any other day of the week, not really even thinking about this gift.

Year vs Day

So you missed this opportunity. Leap Day is gone. February 29th is over.

Well, the refreshing thing to realize is that it didn’t have to be done on February 29. No one says (other than the calendar) that is is the “extra” day and it’s gone now. Remember, 2016 is Leap Year! So, since there are 366 days in the year, you still have that extra day available. Now – pick your day, and make it extraordinary – you won’t get another one for another four years.

You don’t want to spend this extra 24 hours on your business? That is totally your decision. As an entrepreneur myself, I have to admit that the 29th came and went without me addressing any of the items listed above. One of the benefits of business ownership is that I have picked another day of the year to use my extra day. Some thoughts are:

  • Take the day off of work to have well-earned R&R
  • Spend the day with the family
  • Read a book I’ve been wanting to read
  • Extend my vacation a day longer than planned

I might even do all four! Take a leap, and make it a good one!

New Jersey Licensee Achieves Certification

“When I first met John, I could tell he is a person of high integrity, and my continued contact with him has confirmed my first impression,” stated Mike Hartman, Executive Director of NICA.

Rogerson (2)We at Nationwide Inventory Professionals are pleased to announce that John D. Rogerson, owner of Rogerson Inventory LLC, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) through the National Inventory Certification Association. Achieving this designation confirms his knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents inventory services to his clients in New Jersey, Southeastern New York, and Southeastern Pennsylvania. John just recently launched his new inventory business as our most recent Licensee.

Though we encourage our Licensees to become certified, he was determined to do so very quickly. Since he is employed full time with the New Jersey Air National Guard, and is also a husband and father of two sons, his time is at a premium. Staying up late at night and getting up early in the morning enabled him to achieve his mission to be certified. He believes this extra step is important not only for his own self-confidence, but also to assure his clients that he has chosen to learn all he can about the industry. A requirement for certification and membership with NICA is to agree to conduct business according to the established industry Code of Ethics, and he displays this personal trait in all he does. “When I first met John, I could tell he is a person of high integrity, and my continued contact with him has confirmed my first impression,” stated Mike Hartman, Executive Director of NICA.

After almost a year of research, he chose to start a home inventory business. Rogerson saw the need for this service, and learned that it can be very flexible, thus fitting into his busy lifestyle. The industry is gaining more recognition over the last few years, and this increasing awareness means the necessity of having professional and certified inventory providers to offer photographic and written records of personal property. This greater demand is not only for residential, but also commercial clients. When asked why he achieved his certification so soon after starting his home inventory business, Rogerson explained, “I am a very focused and detailed individual, and decided I wanted to start out offering inventory services with these credentials. I understand the importance for a new business to emit professionalism and this is one of the best ways I felt I could do that.”

The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is nationally recognized as the official education and certification authority for the personal property/asset inventory industry. The certification and continuing education opportunities ensure that members have access to quality industry knowledge as well as business and professional development. 

Based in Howell, New Jersey, Rogerson Inventory provides residential and commercial asset inventory services in New Jersey, Southeastern New York, and Southeastern Pennsylvania. In addition to being certified, he is also bonded and insured. 

7 Reasons January Was Disappointing

7Often business owners enter into a new year with strong hopes of this being their best year yet. They anticipate more new clients, resulting in an increase in sales. Then the end-of-month financial report is reviewed and they find a drop in sales and revenue, compared to last year at this time.

If this happened to you, there is a short list of things to consider as possibly being the cause. As you read through these, answer truthfully to yourself. It might shine a light on the situation early enough to recoup quickly. It’s never too late to correct any situation, but the earlier, the better.

As the owner of a home inventory business some of these have happened to me. I have also heard from other home inventory business owners when mentoring our Licensees who work with us as they start and grow their business. Other insights for this blog post have come from friends who are also business owners and home-based business owners in a variety of industries. By speaking with them, I have discovered some common reasons for a business to have a slow month in January. Below are the 7 most frequent causes for this drop in business.

What might have caused a slow start

  1. After the holidays, people are tired and it might take while to get their energy back.
  2. Another cause that can be blamed on the holiday is a loss of routine.  It can take a while to get your routine back, now that normal business hours have begun, and less “partying” or “relaxed atmosphere” is in the office. It can take awhile to get the sales calls and meeting schedules back on track.
  3. You might have stopped doing something that needs to be done. This can be a monthly review of work processes, failure to measure results, maintaining continued contact with current clients, regular postings and conversations on social media – the list of small things that make a difference is endless. If you stop doing them, it can easily show up in the bottom line.
  4. You might have lost interest in what you’re doing. This is huge – so if this is what you think might be happening, it’s time to look at alternatives such as selling the business, hiring a general manager, or taking a few months off to see if you really have lost interest, or if there is another deeper issue.
  5. If you made a lot of changes at once, you and your employees could have lost focus, or are just unable to focus on everything at one time. Pull the reigns in, set priorities, and get back to basics.
  6. The many changes could also result in failed or a lack of communication. Make sure everyone on your team understands what your goals – and theirs – are and how they can each help make it happen.
  7. Your company might have had some bad press. This can be strongly reflected in a loss of sales. Fix it.

If any of these are happening in your company, an honest review will discover them. Maybe more than one is happening at the same time. That’s OK. You have plenty of time to correct it. One month into the year gives you 11 months of great results to enable you to finish the year as you had planned … as your best year yet.

 

New Jersey Licensee Has Focus and Desire

After a year of research, John Rogerson announces the opening of Rogerson Inventory, serving New Jersey, Southeastern New York, and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

RogersonHotmail

Starting his own personal property inventory business was a decision that John Rogerson did not make overnight. After extensive research and deliberation, a decision was made; Rogerson Inventory LLC, a personal property inventory service launched on January 14, 2016.

One factor that encouraged John, a Howell, New Jersey resident, to enter the home inventory industry was seeing the devastation Superstorm Sandy created along the Jersey Shore and beyond. A prepared list of their belongings would have been helpful for the residents and business owners who faced a loss from this disaster. Rogerson’s desire to always be helpful to others can be fulfilled with this new business; educating the public of the importance a well-documented inventory can offer in the event of an unfortunate fire, flood, theft, or natural disaster.

In addition to owning Rogerson Inventory, John serves as a Human Resources Specialist for the New Jersey Air National Guard, currently holding the rank of Technical Sergeant. His commitment to duty and performance has earned him such military awards as the Air Force Achievement Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal.  Rogerson is a graduate of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, having earned his B.S. in Administration of Justice degree in 2003. He has a varied professional background, which includes 9 years as a Social Studies teacher with the New Brunswick Public School District and 12 years of military service.

Beginning a business from the ground up is extremely time consuming, and his commitment to his wife and two young sons keeps him quite busy. John realized that with a desire to start quickly and professionally, he needed a mentor with industry knowledge. Rogerson said, “After countless discussions with the Hartman’s, and strong recommendations from several licensees, I decided that investing in the Nationwide Inventory Professionals Business Package was the right decision to help me meet my goals.”

Mike Hartman, Founder of Nationwide Inventory Professionals, added “When I first met John, I could sense his focus and attention to detail; both will benefit him greatly while he juggles his many responsibilities. I expect that John will be extremely successful.”

John is certified by the National Inventory Certification Association as a Certified Inventory Specialist.  Rogerson Inventory provides personal property inventory services for homeowners and business owners in New Jersey, Southeast New York, and Southeast Pennsylvania. Rogerson Inventory is insured and holds a Business Services Bond. 

Why You Are Not Alone

AloneOne might think being a home-based business owner would be a lonely life. Working from home can give the impression that I (and all home-based entrepreneurs) are alone. Or even worse, lonely.  We aren’t.

There are many reasons that I am not alone, nor do I feel lonely. First and foremost, I see clients on a regular basis. When I provide my asset inventory service for homeowners and business owners, I am out of the house and at their location. Most often, during these jobs, I am with either the homeowner, or business owner, and often surrounded by all the employees. They are often interested in what I’m doing, so conversations begin on why it’s important to have an inventory of one’s contents. These conversations are fun for me and enlightening for them.

Your next thought might be, but what if your clients aren’t local? My own experience, by being a mentor for home inventory professionals, shows that the telephone can be a lifeline that removes the feeling of being alone. I have regular telephone conversations with our Inventory Professionals Licensees, often covering personal topics as well as business.

Alone as a home-based entrepreneur

I’ll share with you some issues that can appear negative, along with my solutions.

  • Issue: It’s too quiet.
  • Solution: Turn on the TV or radio.
  • Issue: Some say they need to collaborate with others.
  • Solution: Choose a project and invite someone to work on it with you.
  • Issue: I need to talk to people.
  • Solution: There is the telephone, Skype, Google Hangouts. You can also visit or call clients, former clients, and prospective clients. What’s stopping you?
  • Issue: I need to be able to kick ideas around with others.
  • Solution: Join a group of other entrepreneurs for brain-storming sessions.
  • Issue: I need the energy of being with groups of people.
  • Solution: Network, invite someone to lunch, attend business functions, join an organization. The opportunities are endless.

Benefits of being home-based

Of course, one can choose to hibernate and remain in the office, alone, but that would be a choice, not a result of, being home-based. There are many advantages to consider. Some are:

  • Complete control of your time.
  • Interruptions are at a minimum, since a variety of people aren’t stopping by your office to chat.
  • Focus for long periods of time.
  • Comfort.
  • Schedules are extremely flexible, especially when repairs and deliveries are necessary.
  • No commute time.

Home-based entrepreneurs are only alone when they choose to be. The key word here is “choice.” What do you think? If you’re not a home-based business owner, would you like to be? If you’re ready to start a business, would this be your choice?

 

 

Reflections

ReflectingIt seems almost every blog or article written right now is talking about the year coming to an end or the new year beginning. This is always a time for people who want to start a business give it serious thought. New year, new direction, new focus.

You might be thinking that there are only a few days left, and how many items on your goals list haven’t been accomplish. On the other hand, you could be looking forward to next year already, creating your list of things you want to achieve over the next 12 months. Whether you’re looking at it as what was left undone, or what you will, once again, put on your list of goals, you are taking time to reflect.

Reflecting on what you really, truly want helps you plan, prepare, and then achieve. Don’t spend time thinking about what wasn’t accomplished this year, except to determine if you even want to continue to pursue that goal. You can then give it serious thought on how you will prepare for next year so you can achieve this dream.  Think about where you were last year at this time, and honestly write down why each item wasn’t achieved. Was it money, time, or a combination of both? Maybe you really don’t have your heart in it, but it’s something others want you to do. Possibly you have chosen not to move forward with a few items, but for some reason you keep them in your thoughts. Whatever the reason, take the time to figure out why.  Then you’ll have a clear vision to move forward in whatever direction is right for you. Give yourself true, honest answers so you can begin next year with only those items that are truly in your heart.

This past year might have also been completely rewritten, with new goals and dreams being discovered over these past 12 months. Review where you are, are you enjoying the journey? If not, stop now before you’ve invested in something that won’t give you a reason to get out of bed each morning.

As the owner of a home inventory business and a business that helps others start a business, I can assure you that reflection is an activity that is worth your time and consideration. Some who think of starting a business act on it quickly and without hesitation. They think it, research it, and then get started very quickly, jumping in with both feet. Others think it, ponder it for months, then begin their research before choosing what to do. One big decision is whether to start on you own, buy a start-up kit, invest in a business package that will be a great resource and mentor, or go full-out and purchase a franchise. The choice depends on the person’s needs, expectations, and goals. Once you know the direction you want to take, you’re on your way to meeting the goal of entrepreneurship.

Reflection on your past will help pave the correct path for the coming year. There will be less down time due to indecision. You’ll be able to focus on strategic decision-making. The result will be time and energy well spent, moving toward achieving the success you choose – whatever success looks like to you.

Uncover your hidden entrepreneur.


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Home Inventory – A Guide for Homeowners and Renters

Home Inventory – A
Guide for Homeowners and Renters


The many reasons for a home inventory, plus a do-it-yourself guide and templates.

 

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory
Protecting your company assets.

Copyright 2016 Nationwide Inventory Professionals, LLC © 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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