Are You Ready to Become a Full-Time Entrepreneur? Here’s How to Quit Your Job

In most cases, resigning is an exciting but scary experience. On one hand, you’re likely pursuing a better opportunity, such as a new job or starting your own business. On the other hand, letting go of a stable job is always tough. This is especially true if you’re leaving your job to launch a company, or commit to your existing business full-time.

Regular employment provides more than just a regular paycheck. It provides a network of relationships and opportunities. Fortunately, you don’t have to give those things up.

By resigning professionally, you can make sure you don’t close any doors or sour any relationships. In this post, I’ll cover how to do just that.

Get Your Ducks in a Row

Resigning from your job, especially a good one, isn’t a decision to make suddenly. Many people spend years building their business on the side before taking the leap. Only you know when you’re ready to leave your full-time job behind.

Before you take the the plunge, there a few things to consider.

Line Up Your Savings

Do you have any savings to fall back on? Being a successful entrepreneur is about balancing risk with reward. You can remove some of the risk if you have money in the bank to get you through the hard times. Even very successful businesses sometimes run into cash flow shortfalls, so make sure you can cover your personal expenses if you don’t get paid for a while.

Whether you’re starting up or scaling up, you need to plan for how things will change once you commit to your business full-time. What additional responsibility will you be taking on? How will you grow? If your business doesn’t grow, you may regret leaving your old job behind. Have a plan to make sure it does.

Prepare for a Lifestyle Change

Things are going to be different when you’re working for yourself. And that’s ok. Great actually. You’ll have more freedom and the control to work how you want, where you want, and when you want. This includes control over your own compensation package.

1. Do you have unused vacation days? Use them up before you go. You may not get another chance to take time off for a while.
2. Do you rely on company health care benefits? Get your own plan lined up before you let go.
3. Can you work at home or do you need an office away from home? Don’t forget to account for the cost of a workspace.
4. Are you willing and able to hold yourself accountable for getting things done? You have to be your own boss now.

How To Resign Professionally

If you’ve made your decision and laid the groundwork for resigning, here’s how to do it right.

It doesn’t matter what your relationship with your employer is. Whether it’s awesome or awful, don’t ruin it. You never know when you’ll run into people in the future when they could help—or harm—you. Keep things friendly.

If you have had a negative experience, take a moment and tell yourself how right you are. And then move on. Now is not the time to air your grievances. Do not try and prove a point.

No matter what, give your employer two weeks notice. This is widely accepted as the standard and it’s the professional thing to do. If you have a good relationship with your employer, you may want to offer more notice to give them ample time to fill your shoes.

However, just because you give notice doesn’t mean your employer will accept it. It is within their rights to terminate your role immediately and some employers prefer not to have people around after they’ve resigned. Be prepared for this outcome.

Also, consider how much support you’re willing to provide during the transition. Plan your limits ahead of time. How involved will you be in finishing up projects, handing over responsibilities, and hiring and training your replacement? Decide on this ahead of time so that you don’t over-promise let your employer down.

Oh, and before you do anything else, read over your contract or the terms of your employment. You don’t want any surprises!

Write Your Resignation Letter

When it comes to actually writing your resignation letter, there are a few best practices to consider.

Be Direct

Don’t take too long to make your point or beat around the bush. Be upfront with what your message. Your boss shouldn’t be left wondering what you’re trying to say. They should know right away.

Don’t Explain

You don’t need to explain yourself. I repeat, you don’t need to explain yourself. You are under no obligation to do so. However, if you want to, you can. Just know that whatever you say could be held against you in the future. Especially if you end up trying to come back.

Be Polite

Even if you hate your boss, you should be polite. Remember, there’s no point in destroying relationships just to make a point. Ideally, go beyond polite and include something nice. Thank your employer for the experience and opportunity.

Outline Next Steps

Your resignation letter is also a good time to outline how much help you’re willing to provide during the transition. How long you’re willing to stay and how involved you’re willing to be in this process. Lay clear boundaries and don’t overcommit yourself. Remember that you don’t have to provide any support, but it is a nice, professional thing to do.

Resignation Letter Sample

Below is a sample resignation letter. Note that it includes three parts: the resignation, the thank you, and next steps. You can modify this sample for your own purposes or download the free template below.

Dear {Manager Name},

I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my position as {Job Title} with {Company}. My last day of employment will be {date}.

I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at {Company}, as well as your professional guidance and support. The experience and skills I’ve gained will stick with me throughout my career.

I’d like to spend the rest of my time wrapping up {project} and handing over {responsibilities}. I am also willing to help with hiring and training my replacement during that time. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need from me during the transition.

I wish {Company} continued success, and hope to keep in touch in the future.

Sincerely,

{Employee First Name} {Employee Last Name}

What Happens Next

After you submit your letter of resignation, your boss may want to chat with you. Especially if they didn’t see it coming. At this point, you may want to discuss more of your reasons, such as wanting to focus on your own business—but you’re not obligated to.

There may also be some steps you need to take with your human resources department. Once you’ve confirmed your resignation with them, consider making a personal statement to the rest of the company.

A personal statement allows you to take control of the messaging around your departure, rather than letting the rumor mill run wild. Let your fellow employees know that you’re leaving, why (you can be vague), thank them and let them know you enjoyed working with them, and share contact info so they can keep in touch.

That’s it. It’s a big, sometimes scary, step, but you’re moving on to better things. Best of luck with your next opportunity. If you’re resigning to start or grow your own business, subscribe to this blog for great tips and advice.

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HOW TO BUILD YOUR CREDIT WITH JUST YOUR EIN

Business Credit is credit that is obtained in a Business Name, with business credit the Business builds its own credit profile and credit score and with an established credit profile and score, the business will then qualify for credit.

This credit is in the business name and based on the business’s ability to pay, not the business owners since the business qualifies for the credit, in some cases there is no personal credit check required from the business owner.

The business can use its credit to qualify for revolving store credit cards like Staples, Lowes, Sam’s Club, Costco, BP, Wal-Mart, even MasterCard, Visa, and AMEX. The business can also qualify for credit lines and loans.

A credit profile can be built for a business that is completely separate from the business owner’s personal credit profile. This gives business owners DOUBLE the borrowing power as they have both Personal and Business credit profiles built.

Business credit scores are based only on whether the business pays its bills on time. A business owner can obtain credit much faster using their business credit profile versus their personal credit profile.

Personal Credit Scores are based on 5 factors :

Payment History 35%

Utilization 30%

Length of Credit History 15%

Accumulation of New Credit 10%

Credit Mix 10%

Dun & Bradstreet’s Business Paydex Score are based on Payment History:

Expect payment may come early 100

Payment is prompt 80

Payment comes 14 days beyond terms 70

Payment comes 21 days beyond terms 60

Payment comes 30 days beyond terms 50

Payment comes 60 days beyond terms 40

Payment comes 90 days beyond terms 30

Payment comes 120 days beyond terms 20

Approval limits are much higher on business accounts versus personal accounts. Per SBA, credit limits on business cards are usually 10-100 times higher than consumer credit.

When done correctly Business Credit can be built without a personal credit check . Business credit can quickly be obtained regardless of personal credit quality and there is no personal credit reporting of business accounts.

Most business credit can be obtained without the owner taking on personal liability, or a personal guarantee. This means in case of default, the business owner’s personal assets can’t be pursued.

When a business owner applies for financing, their business credit IS reviewed. Not having business credit established will get an owner DECLINED for financing. There are no regulations that require the lenders notify the business owner for their reason for denial, so most never know.

ANYONE can pull your business credit reports without your permission. Clients, prospects, potential buyers, even competitors can see YOUR business info. This means they can see payment history, high credit limits, employees and revenue, past payment performance and much more.

Almost any business can get business credit as long as it has an EIN number and entity setup. You don’t need collateral, you don’t need financials, you can be a startup and you just need to know the proper building steps.

ALL highly-successful businesses have business credit, it’s a “right of passage” to ever reach TRUE success

A business starts building a brand new credit profile much the same as a consumer does. The business starts with no credit profile. The business gets approved for new credit that reports to the business credit reporting agencies.

The business uses the credit and pays the bill timely. A positive business credit profile is established. As the business continues using the credit and pays bills timely it will qualify for more credit.

The perception lenders, vendors, and creditors have of your business is critical to your ability to build strong business credit. Before applying for business credit a business must insure it meets or exceeds all lender credibility standards. There are over 20 credibility points that are necessary for a business to have a strong, credible foundation.

It is very important that you use your exact business legal name . Your full business name should include any recorded DBA filing you will be using. Insure your business name is exactly the same on your corporation papers, licenses, and bank statements.

You can build business credit with almost any corporate entity type. If you truly want to separate business credit from personal credit your business must be a separate legal entity not a sole proprietor or partnership

Unless you have a separate business entity (Corporation or LLC) you might be “doing business” but you are not truly “a business“. You need to be a Corporation or an LLC in order to separate personal from business +.

Whether you have employees or not, your business entity must have a Federal Tax ID number (EIN). Just like you have a Social Security Number, your business has an EIN

Your Tax ID number is used to open your bank account and to build your business credit profile. Take the time to verify that all agencies, banks, and trade credit vendors have your business listed with the same Tax ID number.

Business Address must be a real brick-and-mortar building deliverable physical address. It cannot be a home address, cannot be a PO Box and cannot be a UPS address. Some lenders will not approve and fund unless this criteria is met.

Address only, receive mail and packages at your dedicated business address.

Virtual office, professional business address, dedicated phone and fax numbers, receptionist services, and part-time use of fully furnished offices and meeting rooms.

True Office, your own full-time private office with receptionist services, dedicated phone and fax, internet, full furnishings, meeting rooms, and more.

You must have a dedicated business phone number that is listed with 411 directory assistance, under the business name. Lenders, vendors, creditors, and even insurance providers will verify that your business is listed with 411. A toll-free number will give your business credibility, but you must have a LOCAL business number for the listing with 411 directory assistance.

Lenders perceive 800 Number or toll-free phone numbers as a sign of business credibility. Even if you’re a single owner with a home-based business, a toll-free number provides the perception that you are an even bigger company. It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive to set-up a virtual local phone number or a toll free 800 number.

A cell or home phone number as your main business line could get you “flagged” as an un-established business that is too high of a risk. DON’T give a personal cell phone or residential phone as the business phone number. You can forward a virtual number to any cell or land-line phone number.

Lenders perceive a credible business as one with a fax number. As a business you will need a fax number to receive important documents, you will also need it to fax in some of your credit applications. You can setup an e-fax that goes directly to your email.

Credit providers will research your company on the Internet. It is best if they learned everything directly from your company website. Not having a company website will severely hurt their chances of obtaining business credit.

There are many places online that offer affordable business websites so you can have an internet presence that displays an overview of your company’s services and contact information.

It is important to get a company email address for your business. It’s not only professional, but greatly helps your chances of getting the thumbs up from a credit provider. Setting up a business email address is just too easy and inexpensive to neglect.

Avoid using free email services like Yahoo and Hotmail . There is nothing worse than credit providers seeing an email address like partychic2015@yahoo.com

The Email address should be yourcompany.com. A great example is an email like support@yourcompany.com or john.smith@yourcompany.com.

Your business banking history is vital to your future success of being able to secure larger business loans. The date you open your business bank account is the day that lender’s consider your business to have started.

So if you incorporated your business 10 years ago, but you just opened the business bank account yesterday, then your business started yesterday. The longer your business bank in history, the better your borrowing potential will be.

Having a high account balance is essential in obtaining an excellent Bank Rating. Having a good Bank Rating is essential for loan approval down the road. Try to keep a bank balance of $10,000 or higher for a 5 Bank Rating.

One of the most common mistakes when building credit for your company is non-matching business addresses on your business licenses. Even worse is not having the “required” licenses for your type of business to operate legally.

You will need to contact the State, County, and City Government offices to see if there are any required licenses and permits to operate your type of business.

On licensing State business, County license and/or permit, City license and/or permit filings and IRS filings listed correctly.

Take the time to verify that main agencies (State, IRS, Bank, and 411 national directory) have your business listed the same way and with your Exact Legal Name.

Also take the time to ensure every bill you get (power bill, phone bill, landlord, etc.) has the business name listed correctly and comes to the business address.

Business Credit reports are offered by Experian, Dun & Bradstreet, and Equifax. You will first want to get a copy of your business credit reports to see what is being reported.

Visit http://www.smartbusinessreports.com/ for a copy of your Smart Business report and $49-99 for Smart Business Report. Find out how many trade lines are reporting, see if you have a business credit score assigned, see if you have an active Experian Business Profile, and check on recent inquires.

You can purchase a copy of your Equifax Small Business Credit Report here http://www.equifax.com/small-business/credit-report/en_sb. It typically takes more time to create a file with Equifax Small Business than D&B and Experian

This is why it’s important to apply with the credit providers who report to Equifax and $99.95 for a full report. Obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet number (D-U-N-S #) begins the process of building your business credit profile with them.

Your D-U-N-S # will also play an important role in enabling your business to borrow without a personal guarantor, http://www.dnb.com/. DBC will “roll” this into a package and charge you 2k or possibly more.

You can also enroll for the DNBi SelfMonitor to monitor your credit during the building process. A subscription for D&B Self Monitoring is $39-99 per month.

A business credit report can be started much the same as a consumer report commonly is, with small credit cards. The business can be approved for small credit cards to help them build an initial credit profile. These types of initial cards in the business world are commonly referred to as “vendor credit”.

A vendor line of credit is when a company (vendor) extends a line of credit to your business on “Net 15, 30, 60 or 90” day terms. This means that you can purchase their products or services up to a maximum dollar amount and you have 15, 30, 60 or 90 days to pay the bill in full. So if you’re set-up on Net 30 terms and were to purchase $300 worth of goods today, then that $300 is due within the next 30 days.

You can get products and services for your business needs and defer the payment on those for 30 days, thereby easing cash flow

And some vendors will approve your company for Net 30 payment terms upon verification of as little as an EIN number and 411 listing.

Here are some vendors who will approve you for initial credit… even if you have none now:

Laughlin and Associates

Quill

Reliable

Uline

Always apply first without using your SSN. Some vendors will request it and some will even tell you on the phone they need to have it, but submit first without it.

When your first Net 30 account reports your “tradeline” to Dun &

Bradstreet, the DUNS system will automatically activate your file if it isn’t already. This is also true for Experian and Equifax.

You need to have a total of at least five (5) Net 30 day pay accounts reporting/Some vendors require an initial prepaid order before they can approve your business for terms. Your vendors do not necessarily have to serve 100% of your business needs.

Pay your Net 30 vendor accounts in-full and on-time. You must be patient and allow time for the vendors’ reporting cycles to get into the reporting systems .It typically takes 3 cycles of “Net” accounts reporting to build credit scores.

Most Merchants and major retailers do offer business credit, they just don’t advertise it. There is no benefit to the merchant to promote credit with no personal liability if the business owner is willing to take on that liability so they don’t promote their business credit cards and regularly ask for a SSN.

After 5 trade lines are established using vendor accounts, obtaining revolving accounts is the next step. Revolving accounts are cards a business owner can use and not be required to pay the full balance owed each month.

Revolving account approvals will begin coming from stores. Store revolving credit must be obtained before the business owner starts getting Visa, MC, Amex, type cards.

Most stores will NOT approve a business owner for business credit unless the owner has an established credit profile and score, just like in the consumer world. Vendor accounts must be used first to establish a profile and score, then store credit can be obtained. It usually takes only 90 days or less to establish a score and profile with trade lines.

Most major stores do offer business credit including: Home Depot and Lowes, Office Depot and Staples, Best Buy, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon, Dell, Apple, BP, Chevro, Racetrack and most others.

Once 10 total accounts are on the credit, an owner can then start applying for Visa, MC, Amex type credit. Approval amounts will be equivalent to the highest credit limit account on the business report. Try to have 10 accounts with at least one of hem having a 10k high limit.

It is essential to keep using the credit, keep applying for more, and talk with credit providers to raise credit limits. If you do this, business credit will keep growing until higher limit credit lines are obtained, within 6-12 months.

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Should I Form an LLC While Employed or Working at Another Job?

Have a brilliant idea for a new business but personal circumstances won’t permit you to quit your job to start up a full-time business? Or maybe you just need to make some extra income to supplement the money you take home from your day job? If you’ve been thinking about starting up a side business while you’re still employed, and an LLC, or Limited Liability Company, seems like the ideal vehicle for this side business, you may be wondering if you can form an LLC while employed or working at another job.

Starting a business on the side while still holding down your day job is an ideal way to dip your toes into entrepreneurial waters. It’s also a good way to earn some much-needed supplementary income. But in most cases, you want to hang onto your regular job, whether it’s because the regular paycheck will help your new start-up business stay afloat until it becomes financially viable or whether you’re just wanting to start a side business to earn some extra money. It’s therefore a good idea to make sure your idea to start an LLC won’t lead to unwanted consequences when it comes to your job.

State LLC Formation Rules And Regulations

You may think you are barred from starting an LLC while employed at another job because of state regulations for forming an LLC. State laws regulating LLC formation do vary from state to state, but while there are different procedures to follow depending on the state in which you live, states do not look into your employment status when you’re submitting an application to form an LLC. When it comes to complying with the legal rules required to start an LLC, whether or not you’re employed at the time you start a business is irrelevant to your state’s LLC registration regulations.

Your Employment Contract

Probably the most important thing you will need to consider when starting a small business on the side is the wording of your employment or job contract or, if you don’t have an employment contract, your employer’s policy concerning employees running side businesses.

For example, is there a provision about ownership of inventions or innovations created or developed by you as either part of your job, or during company time? Often, any innovations an employee has developed while on the job or while using company resources will belong to the employer, so this is an important thing to keep in mind if your new side business involves the use of such a new invention.

But what if your new business doesn’t involve a new invention or innovation? In that case, will your side business compete with your employer’s business? Or is there some other conflict of interest with your employer that might arise as a result of you starting a business while you’re still employed? Many employment contracts have non-compete provisions prohibiting employees from starting businesses that puts them in competition with their employer; job contracts may also contain clauses prohibiting employees from engaging in work outside of their job that gives rise to a conflict of interest with their employment.

Should You Tell Your Employer?

There’s quite a bit of debate as to whether you should tell your employer you’re operating a side business. On the one hand, if your employer knows of your new business venture, he or she may start worrying about your commitment to your day job; there may also be some worry you’ll use company resources and company time to work on your own business. On the other hand, your new business might provide a good or service that’s ideal for your employer, who could become one of your business’s first customers. While it’s often best to be as upfront as possible with your employer, only you know your employment circumstances well enough to decide whether you should tell your employer about your new business.

Dealing With Tax Issues

Unless you choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation—in which case your company will be paying LLC taxes as a separate corporate entity and filing its own corporate tax return—you’ll be reporting your LLC income on your own personal tax return by filling out Schedule C to Income Tax Form 1040

Making It Work

So you’ve checked your employment contract, and there’s nothing stopping you from starting your new business while you’re still employed at your day job. Here are a few tips to help smooth the road to running a successful side business while remaining employed:

1. Be aware of the time commitment a side business requires. While you’ll be working part-time hours on your new business venture, these hours will take place on top of your regular work hours. This means you’ll have a lot less free time for your personal life.

2. Be conscientious about not working on your business while you’re at your day job. It might take only a few seconds to answer a customer’s email, but those few seconds should not be done on your employer’s time. Clearly separate your job’s hours from your new business’s hours; giving in to the temptation to work on your own business while on the job is unethical and could also end up placing you in hot water with your employer.

Just as you shouldn’t work on your business while on company time, you also shouldn’t use company resources and equipment for tasks you’re doing for your own business. It might be tempting to make a few copies after work hours on your employer’s photocopier, but again such conduct is unethical and could also lead to unwanted consequences.

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How To Supercharge Productivity and Your Online Business

Morning rituals. To the untrained ear, it sounds like some new-age fluff concept. It’s not. To put it simply, a morning ritual is a set of actions you do immediately upon waking up to prepare and optimize yourself for a more productive and laser-focused day. As an entrepreneur, this is important, so listen up.

Most people get into the habit of waking up late, rushing to get out door and grabbing a coffee for breakfast while on the go. A poor routine that sets a bad tone for the whole day.

The good news is that every morning you have a choice to craft a better day. So get up and get ready, because today you’re going to switch things up and build a morning ritual to supercharge your day.

It’s Common Sense

It’s not rocket science. Lots of articles try to prove their weight and worth by referencing scientific studies and psychology. But studies shouldn’t be necessary nor should that be your motivating factor. So we’re not going to talk about human psychology and studies, we’re going to talk common sense.

Let’s look at two options for waking up and starting your day:

Scenario #1

You wake up and immediately grab your smart phone, slightly blinded by the bright screen on your still sleepy eyes. 12 notifications between various apps, social networks, emails and text messages (likely some urgent and some not so urgent things to deal with). You turn on the TV while you’re getting ready and watch the morning news (crime, heavy traffic, maybe some rain). You’re running late for a meeting so you head out the door without breakfast and rush to your meeting to start your day.

Scenario #2

You wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal and immediately spend several minutes in silence, appreciating the stillness before you start your day. You sit up in bed, close your eyes again and spend the next few minutes meditating, just focusing on your breathing and practicing controlling your thoughts. At your own time, you go an fix yourself a fresh fruit smoothy. While you’re taking the time to enjoy your breakfast, you write down your goals for the day. The most important one first, followed by the rest, less important goals. Finally you pick up your smartphone to check notifications from the night and adjust your goals and priorities accordingly. With some time to spare before your first meeting, you take the walk that crosses through the park.

Which scenario do you wholeheartedly believe will lead to a better day? Which scenario is closer to your current situation?

These might sound like two extremes, however, the difference between these two mornings is really a few small and very simple choices. Even if you’re currently closer to scenario #2, there’s still likely lots of room for improvement.

Why is Starting Your Day Right so Important?

Baring extraordinary circumstances, you’re going to wake up tomorrow morning, the morning after that, the one after that, and likely, the next 10,000-20,000 mornings after that. Why would you not spend some time to figure out what will create better, more productive days since you have a whole lot of them ahead of you?

Ask yourself, is it possible that you can feel better each day? Is it possible you can work harder? Is it possible you can be more alert, focused and relaxed if you changed a few fundamental things on starting your day? Is it possible?

A logical person would likely say yes.

What Does a Morning Ritual Look Like?

A morning ritual and it’s complexity will depend on the person implementing it. It can be just one or two things, or it can be a half dozen. There’s really no definition of what a morning ritual looks like or has to look like. In the end, it’s really whatever makes you feel better, more productive and alert for the day ahead.

Here’s some examples just to give you an idea:

Wake up 10 minutes early to meditate
Here’s another example:

Wake up 30 minutes early
Stretch for 10 minutes
Write down goals for the day in order of importance
Here’s another example:

Wake up 1 hour early
Read for 20 minutes
Write down some ideas for your business
Drink a fresh fruit smoothie
Work on the most important task of the day
Finally, here’s one last example:

Wake up at 6 a.m.
Meditate for 10 minutes
Exercise for 5-7 minutes (pushups, jogging etc.)
Drink a tall glass of water
Define your tasks and goals for the day
Begin your day
Again, crafting a morning ritual can be as simple as you want, but you should test and focus on the things that give you the greatest benefit for the day. This will only come from you testing different elements over time.

What Are Typical Elements of a Great Morning Ritual?

There’s a lot of options when it comes to building a morning ritual, in fact, your options are endless. You may find that 15 minutes of drawing helps you with your creativity for the day or you may learn that playing with your dog puts you in a good state of mind for the rest of the day. There’s really no limit.

With that said, there are some common elements of great morning rituals that are worth noting that can serve as a great start point. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular:

Water – It’s said that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Additionally, we all know that our bodies and especially our brains absolutely need water and hydration so it makes sense to start your day with a glass. Consider that you rarely go a few hours while you’re awake without drinking, yet when you wake up in the morning, you’ve likely been without water for 6-8 hours. Try drinking water first thing when you wake up.

Breakfast – Most people eat some type of breakfast in the morning, be it a full, heavy breakfast, yogurt, a granola bar, or maybe just a coffee on the go. How often have you truly experimented to figure out which type of food gives you the most energy and clarity?

Everyone’s bodies are different, however, try to avoid sugary foods, and experiment with high-energy foods like fruits and vegetables and nutrient rich smoothies. Keep in mind the food intake in the morning can be one of the biggest factors that will set the tone for the day so pay extra close attention to what really works for you.

Exercise – Exercising is a great tool to add to your morning ritual arsenal. Exercising, especially in small amounts actually gives you more energy. It doesn’t have to be a full workout at your local gym, just a few minutes of pushups, jogging around the block or yoga can have a massive impact on your day ahead.

Family – If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re busy all the time. A business isn’t built from 9-5, it’s built from 7am-11pm. There’s always more to do and there’s never enough time. Adding some dedicated family time to your morning routine can be important not just for starting your day right but also the rest of your family members.

Reading – Very few people would argue with the benefits of reading. It stimulates the mind, expands your thoughts and challenges your opinions. If most of your current daily reading is done online, try changing it up and actually grab a book you never finished, or choose a new one. Maybe even try a book completely different from what you’ve read before. Remember, the goal is to set the tone for the day so you should stick to positive books.

Writing – Writing has a lot of benefits. It helps you better form thoughts and flush out ideas that are stuck in your head. This doesn’t mean you need to write a book, a blog post or even a journal. Just a few ideas, be it product ideas, business ideas or marketing ideas can be extremely beneficial and help spark your day.

Silence – There’s something to be said for silence and in a world where we are constantly bumbarded with the sounds of the city, advertising, dings and rings from your smartphone. A few moments of pure, uninterrupted silence can be a golden way to get your thoughts straight and in-line for the day.

Meditation – Many people are initially adverse to meditation. Maybe it’s a branding problem, however meditation definitely has its benefits and many successful people swear by it. In fact, at a recent conference, Tim Ferriss said that if there’s one thing he’d change about his past, it would have been to start meditating earlier.

Meditation, can be really as simple silence+focus. Do you think that some silence and focus can help you? It’s pretty hard to argue against a bit of silence and focus in your life.

Set Your Goals For The Day – As an entrepreneur, and maybe an entrepreneur that still has a day job, you likely have hundreds of tasks on your to-do list. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed and lose focus of your goals for the day. Try writing down your three most important goals and objectives first thing in the morning, beginning with the one that you absolutely must finish.

These are just a list of several, more common and traditional elements to add to your morning routine. Like mentioned previously, your recipe of morning rituals will vary based on what works for you.

How to Create Your Own Morning Ritual

Your ritual is just that, your ritual. It doesn’t need to be complicated and you’ll need to experiment to see what works best for you.

1. Begin with your anchor – Start by choosing one ritual you think will have the most impact and make this your anchor by practicing it and making it a part of your morning. Speaking with UJ, founder of The 5 Minute Journal and behavioural change specialists, UJ said:

“Stick with your first task for at least a month before adding anything else onto your morning ritual. It should become so much part of your morning that your day feels strange if you don’t do it. Just like brushing your teeth.”

For many people, this anchor ends up being waking up a certain period of time earlier. This is a big one because it allows you the time to implement other rituals.

2. Add elements as desired – Once your anchor ritual has become part of your routine, begin adding others in the order you feel most comfortable, and again, slowly implement each one so that you don’t overwhelm yourself or overcommit. Overcommitting is the biggest reason people give up on building an optimized morning ritual and go back to old habits.

3. Switch things up and always be testing – If a particular ritual isn’t working for you and you’re not seeing or feeling the benefits after giving it a fair chance, don’t be afraid to toss it out. Not every ritual is for everyone. Over time, you’ll learn what works best for you. You keep the best, discard the rest and soon you’ll have a morning ritual that truly prepares you for an optimized day of productivity and hard work.

4. Stick with it – Most importantly, once you’ve discovered what works for you, stick with it. Make it an unwavering part of your morning like brushing your teeth. In time, it will become second nature and you won’t even think about it anymore.

Tools to Help Build & Optimize Your Morning Ritual

For the most part you really don’t need anything to create a morning ritual. However, there are some great resources out there should to want to take things a step further that have helped many people create better morning and days for themselves.

Some of the most popular tools and resources are:

5 Minute Journal and 5 Minute Journal App

The 5 Minute Journal and App was created by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas as a very simple framework for getting your day started, and it only takes a few minutes each morning.

“The Five Minute Journal is one of the simplest ways that I have found to consistently ensure improving my well being and happiness. Both in terms of achievement and actual measurable, quantifiable results.”

Tim Ferriss, NY Times Best Selling Author

Headspace Meditation (App)

Headspace describes itself as a gym membership for the mind. A course of guided meditation, delivered via an app or online. The perfect app and intro to meditation for beginners and intermediate meditators alike.

Coach.Me (App)

Coach.me employs coaching, community, and data to help you be your best and achieve your goals. A great app to help you stick to the goals you implement in your morning ritual.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (Book) – 4 1/2 Stars from 918 Reviews

The Miracle Morning is regarded by many as “one of the most life changing books ever written”. This book is can help you transform each day by showing you how to wake up each day with more energy, motivation and focus to take your life and business to the next level.

Conclusion

Your morning unequivocally sets the tone for the entire day. It will take time to develop a optimized morning routine that works well for you, but what’s important is that every morning you’re in charge of the decisions that start your day.

With so many days ahead of you, there’s no reason not to spend some time optimizing your routine and building a morning ritual that will take you and your business to the next level.

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The New Facebook Dislike Button Is Finally Here – I Think….

Early last year Mark Zuckerberg announced that a “dislike” button would appear on Facebook. The intent of the button would be to express support when someone shares something sad… but just imagine scrolling along lazily to be confronted with a sweet photo of your ex with his or her new significant other – an impulsive DISLIKE!

Enter Reactions. Facebook’s new feature will give users the option to express seven different sentiments: angry, sad, wow, yay, haha, love, and like. Facebook chief product officer, Chris Cox, clarified in a post: “It’s not a ‘dislike’ button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request most broadly, we studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun.”

Users can access the Reactions by long pressing the “like” button of a post (mobile device) or hovering via computer. Besides expanding the range of emotions users can express, the feature will provide more insight into what interest its users. Further, this is a major opportunity for businesses to better understand how people are responding to their published content.

While internet trolls are sure to be sorely disappointed at the absence of a strong DISLIKE, the new feature is certain to bring new life and raise the level of engagement of the News Feed. Facebook will initially beta Reactions in Ireland and Spain before rolling out to users worldwide.

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Nine Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Know When Negotiating with a Landlord

If you’re like most small business owners, you rent your office, retail or restaurant space. Which makes your relationship with your landlord an important one. How can you best manage that relationship and negotiate for what you want from your commercial lease? Here are 9 rules you must know.

Rule 1: Everything is negotiable.
Commercial real estate leases are much more complex than residential rental leases, so don’t assume the landlord is handing you a “standard contract” that you can skim and sign. Landlords carefully craft commercial real estate contracts to protect their interests and maximize their profits. As a result, you need to review every lease carefully and negotiate for any modifications you want. (You may not get them all, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.)

Rule 2: Educate yourself.
Whether you’re moving into a new space or renewing your lease, it’s important to educate yourself on the state of the commercial real estate market before you negotiate. Are there lots of similar properties sitting vacant, or is commercial space at a premium? What types of rent are other businesses in your area paying for similar spaces? (You can find out from a commercial real estate broker or at CIMLS.) This information will reveal if you or the landlord has the upper hand in negotiations.

Rule 3: Value yourself.
If you’ve been a good tenant in a space for several years, don’t be shy about promoting that fact as you negotiate. Most landlords would rather keep a good tenant and get a little less rent than spend the time and effort to find a new tenant who may or may not be reliable. If new tenants in the building or shopping center are getting discounts or two free months rent, why shouldn’t you get the same? Again, you’ll never know until you ask.

Rule 4: Read the fine print.
Commercial leases vary greatly as to what is included in the cost. In addition to rent on the actual space, you may be paying for repairs and maintenance to your unit or the entire building and grounds; utilities; property taxes; insurance; janitorial services; security costs and more. Other times, the landlord pays for some or all of these costs. Know who is paying for what and, if you are paying for variable costs (such as utilities), see if you can negotiate a cap on these costs so you don’t face an unpleasant surprise.

Rule 5: Time it right.
Landlords tend to prefer long-term leases, which lock tenants in. Businesses generally benefit from short-term leases, which give them more flexibility. You can often get better lease terms on a long-term lease, but that can put you at risk if you need to move to a bigger space before the lease is up. At the same time, a short-term lease can expose you to sizable rent increases when the lease is up. To strike the best balance, see if you can negotiate a one- or two-year lease that includes an option to renew, and sets a cap on the amount of annual rent increases.

Rule 6: You don’t have to exercise your renewal option just because you have one.
Exercising the option to renew basically renews your contract under the same terms. Don’t automatically exercise this option. Instead, review current conditions in the market, the state of your business, and what you’re dissatisfied with in your current lease. Then figure out whether it makes more sense to negotiate a new lease altogether.

Rule 7: It’s not all about you.
Keep the other tenants of your building, office park or shopping center in mind when negotiating a commercial lease, because they can make or break your business. One clause you may want to negotiate for is an exclusivity clause, which keeps the landlord from leasing a direct competitor of yours a space in the same property. (Be sure you define what constitutes a “direct competitor.”) Another useful clause is a co-tenancy clause. If a key anchor tenant (such as a large retailer that attracts lots of customers) moves out of the development, your business may suffer. In this situation, a co-tenancy clause gives you have the option to break your lease if the landlord doesn’t find a replacement for that tenant within a certain time.

Rule 8: Keep your options open.
As you negotiate a real estate lease, you hope your business will grow, but it’s important to have a Plan B for the worst-case scenarios. Try to negotiate the flexibility to sublease all or part of your space to another business without violating your lease. Also make sure that any options to renew your lease are transferable. If you ever decide to sell your business, this enables the new owner to stay in the same space, and can be a big selling point.

Rule 9: Get professional help.
As you can see, there’s a lot to deal with when negotiating a commercial real estate lease. No matter how skilled you are at negotiating normal sales for your business, it’s worth enlisting the help of an experienced real estate lawyer in reviewing and negotiating your lease.

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NOW HERE’S SOME GOOD NEWS FOR YOU EMAIL MARKETERS

A spokesperson for Yesmail says their study has “debunked the idea that email marketing is a dying tactic,” adding that the “never active” subscriber segment fell below 69% for the first time. For retail, it fell below 60%. In other words, the amount of people who are never active with email is decreasing.

The study also found that half of all emails deployed in Q2 were responsive, which is up from just 28% for the same period the prior year. That’s some pretty impressive growth in an increasingly important marketing channel.

“Marketers have been claiming the death of email is near for years,” said Fisher. “That myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Consumers are engaging with email more than ever, in large part due to improved email marketing strategies with lifecycle triggers, relevant content and data-driven contact strategies.”

Q2 2015 saw the highest number of emails sent per opener (roughly 4 messages per week), which is an 11 percent increase year-over-year, according to Yesmail’s study. At the same time, open rates across industries were above 9 percent and as high as 30.1 percent for financial services. For retail they were nearly 15 percent.

Meanwhile, opens increased by 10 percent year-over-year and by 17 percent over the last two years.

“We’re halfway through 2015, and it’s safe to say that this is the year for email marketing,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and Chairman, Yesmail parent company Infogroup. “But not all email marketing is created equal. For brands to be able to capitalize on the opportunities the email channel has to offer, it’s essential for them to invest in analytics that uncover the consumer preferences, data-driven communication strategies that cater to these preferences, and innovative technology that enables flawless program execution.”

Not only are more people opening and engaging with emails more than ever, they seem to be largely enjoying the experience. In case you missed our article earlier this week, a study from Digital River’s Bluehoret, which surveyed close to 2,000 consumers about how they interact with and perceive marketing emails, found that they acknowledge the impact these emails have on their purchasing behavior.

That study found that most people prefer to hear from companies with marketing emails on a weekly basis. That’s the preference of 43.8% compared to 18.8% for monthly, 14% several times per week, and 13.9% for every couple of months.

“With the proliferation of mobile devices they are more connected than ever – with more than a third now checking email continuously throughout the day,” said the report. “And our target audiences are savvier than ever… they know what they want, and their expectations are personal. According to our data, consumers now expect us to understand who they are, and what they do and don’t want. They expect us to give them control of how frequently we email them. They expect a seamless experience across, and informed by, all channels.”

“Our consumers acknowledge that they are impacted by what they receive every single day,” it later said. “They get daily emails from flash sale sites. They are connected 24/7 and receive personalized content from their favorite brands on most of those days. They are asked not only to convert, but to engage, interact, and share. Simply put, all this digital exposure means our audience is smarter than ever when it comes to digital communications. They’ve reduced the number of email addresses they use (who has time for all those accounts?), and use multiple devices to stay connected throughout the day. Today’s consumers expect personalized content and when they get it, appear to be happy with higher frequency.”

As discussed in previous coverage of that particular study, the holiday season is creeping up, and businesses need to be getting their email marketing’s strategies planned. Last year, email was huge for the holidays, and it will likely play an even bigger role this year, especially considering that consumers are engaging with emails more than ever.

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A Few Tips On Ways To Save Your Small Business More Money

One of the challenges small business owners face is dealing with a small budget. With ever tightening regulations and increasing levels of competition, there is a greater need to improve efficiency; to be able to get a bigger bang for the buck that they can then pass on to their clients. Thus, especially for small business enterprises, there is an enhanced need to find ways to save on expenses; nothing can be taken for granted. No matter how small the potential savings may be, they contribute to overall efficiency.

Here are five different ways you can save your small business money:

Don’t Run Your Own Servers

Unless your main line of business has to do with IT, there is no reason why you should maintain your own servers. In fact, it would be very unwise to have to deal with software issues either. The cost effective alternative is to avail of cloud based services which does not cost anything in terms of equipment and software purchase. It is cheaper to use cloud based servers, storage and software because these are offered on pay-as-you-go basis. This means you only pay for the services you actually use. When the time comes when your business needs more capacity, all you need is to notify your cloud provider and they will scale it up for you. You will realize additional savings because you will not need an in-house IT systems administrator.

Take a Closer Look At Your Contracts

Review all your contracts and look for anything that will translate to savings. One of the biggest contracts you’ll ever have is the one for business space lease. Compare your contract to prevailing market prices and terms, and then try to negotiate a rate reduction with your landlord. You will never know what is possible if you don’t at least give it a try. Then there are various supplier contracts. In this day and age, it is quite easy to find similar suppliers for comparison through simple internet searches. By showing your suppliers you have alternatives you may be able to convince them to give you better terms and prices.

Outsource

Outsource as much of your non-core activities as you can. Just as you are an expert in your main line of business, other companies would be experts in other fields. Trying to do everything in-house will be more expensive and distract you from the income generating aspects of your business. Some of the things you can outsource include accounting, payroll, tax, and temporary or seasonal work.

Try Digital Marketing

Try non-conventional modes of advertising and marketing to save costs. Advertising and marketing through websites cost a lot less than gigantic billboards, events, or TV ads, yet they are very effective; many people do an internet search before deciding to buy anything. Social media campaigns are also highly effective because many people keep smart devices at hand almost 24/7.

Know Your Customers

Learn to serve your customers better. Get to know what your customer likes about your products or services and how they want them delivered. Then you can gear your processes toward better and more efficient product or service deliveries. This is sure to cut down on customer dissatisfaction and reduce sales returns. As a bonus, this will help you build a loyal customer base.

There are many other ways to help your business save money, but these five should give you a good place to start.

Lendio’s mission is to empower your business by making small business loans simple through options, speed, and trust. Visit us today to find the best loans for your business, at the best rate, guaranteed.

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It’s Finally Here, Instagram Instasearch What Do You Think?

Instagram introduced a newly overhauled search feature to its .com website this past Monday. Instagram created instagram.com, a web-based platform of its popular photo sharing mobile application in 2013. Originally just a larger (some would say more beautiful) representation of the app, instagram.com’s new update marks the first time the company has added search features to the website. Users can now search for people, places, and hashtags via the web platform. Additionally, a “top posts” feature has been added to the website, which will provide results for most frequently searched photos, as well as recent posts.

An Instagram spokesperson shared that, “the web search is part of a broader commitment to improving discovery across our platforms.” In many ways, this update can be extremely beneficial for small business owners, as your posts can broaden your notoriety through proper use of hashtags and user searches.

The Instagram app has also been revamped to greatly improve search as well. The new explore features on mobile are, “intended to make it easier to follow moments, trends, and conversations in real-time.” Reportedly, these Instagram updates are very similar to what Twitter planned to roll out later this year. Twitter’s update includes human editors to organize and group tweets based on live events, in addition to a “Place Page,” which, like Instagram, can be used to search locations.

Although Twitter leads in the number of users by about two million, Instagram believes that this update will help them close the gap. In reality, many users of the respective networks overlap. But in the ongoing battle to be the One Social Network to Rule Them All, each platform is becoming significantly more like the other creating rivalries and friction.

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Six Of The Most Common Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs

6 Common Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs

There’s no definitive formula for success. However, as entrepreneurs, we don’t really need a formula.

We can stand on the shoulders of giants. We don’t need to guess or try to figure out our path to success from complete scratch. We can look to the successful entrepreneurs out there and emulate their habits, common qualities and characteristics.

Here are the six common qualities I’ve found among the entrepreneurs I try to model myself after. This isn’t the definitive list nor the only important qualities. These are just the ones I think you can take the most away from right now. With each quality, I’ll show you a successful entrepreneur that possesses it and how you emulate them and apply that quality today.

1. Perseverance

Arianna Huffington faced rejection after rejection when trying to publish her second book, After Reason. However, Arianna did not give up. When she was 23 years old, she was rejected by 36 publishers before her book was finally published.

Years later, in 2003, Arianna ran for governor of California in the California gubernatorial recall race. However, after seeing only 2 percent support in early polls, Arianna dropped out of the race. Despite this, and seeing the power of the internet through her fundraising campaign, two years later she launched HuffingtonPost.com, which later sold to AOL.com in 2011 for $315 million.

“My mother said failure was a stepping stone to success”

Arianna understood the importance of perseverance despite her failures and roadblocks. A successful entrepreneur knows that failures and rejections are not signs for stopping but instead signs to keep pushing forward and persevering.

Begin looking at failures and roadblocks as learning experiences and stepping stones. Remember that if it were easy, everyone would do it. You will encounter failures, setbacks and other obstacles. But that’s okay. Persevering despite the struggle is one of the most rewarding experiences for entrepreneurs.

2. Self-Improvement and Always Learning

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is known for being someone who learns very fast. Before Elon Musk started the SpaceX program, according to Esquire’s interview, he read and consumed as many rocketry and propulsion books as possible to learn how to build rockets.

When Elon Musk participated in an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit, one user asked how Elon is capable of learning so much in such a short amount of time. Elon replied “one bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree—make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

Even with Elon’s success with PayPal and Tesla, and all of his accumulated experience, he understood he would have to learn about rockets and rocket propulsion systems if he wanted to be a competent leader of a space flight company.

Successful entrepreneurs strive to learn more. A part of this is realizing that no matter how successful you are or how much you think you might know, there’s always an opportunity to learn more and work on your personal growth.

Start reading more, listening to more podcasts, and watching more YouTube videos on subjects that can help grow your business. Put together a regiment and daily routine where you set aside an hour a day to work on yourself and becoming a more knowledgeable entrepreneur.

3. Risk-Taker

Bill Gates risked his future when he dropped out of Harvard when only 20 years old, to co-found the software company, Microsoft.

From Bill Gates’ book, “Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System”, Bill describes his risk-taking as “to win big, sometimes you have to take big risks. Big bets mean big failures as well as successes. Today, looking back, it’s easy to believe that Microsoft’s current success was inevitable. But at the time we made our big bets, including starting the company as the first personal computer software firm, most people thought we would fail.”

“Business is a money game with few rules and a lot of risk.”

What are the things you are most afraid of doing that has the potential to grow your business the most or put you on the most direct path to where you want to be? One way to overcome the fear of taking risks is simply through exposure. Entrepreneur.com suggests surrounding yourself with other risk-takers. To break out of your comfort zone, and start taking more risks with your business, spend more time with people who encourage you, not the ones who think you will fail.

4. Leadership

Howard Schultz’s leadership helped quickly turn Starbucks around when it was on the brink of failure in 2008, during a massive recession. In an interview with London Business Forum, Howard Schultz talked a lot about leadership and what it took for him to revive Starbucks. One of the most notable things Howard says in this interview is “leaders need to be decisive, and you have to be willing to make decisions without perfect information.”

“I think the currency of leadership is transparency, you’ve got to be truthful. I don’t think you should be vulnerable every day, but there are moments where you’ve got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it.”

Leadership means being decisive and executing on the things that lead to the growth and betterment of your business. If you have employees or people that you work with, part of being a leader is also explaining how and why the decision is made.

Taking initiative and taking responsibility (and ownership of problems) are two things you can start doing now to work to develop your leadership skills.

5. Hustle and Tremendous Work Ethic

Even while Oprah Winfrey hosted The Oprah Winfrey Show, she was not shy to take on other projects. She appeared in 12 movies and cameoed and produced dozens of other TV shows, movies and documentaries. Oprah took on many different projects, all while keeping her show at the top of TV ratings and winning awards, including 9 Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Talk Show.

Even after the series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2011, Oprah continues and continued to be a media mogul with her own television network, Oxygen, her own channel, OWN, a magazine, a website, a XM satellite radio channel and several more movies and television show cameos.

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

Success requires a little bit of grit and hustle. In Oprah’s case, her success came from how she built up her personal brand. She hustled to put herself on nearly every channel available to her without sacrificing quality.

How many platforms can you put your business and brand on? Get active and use the channels available, to bring awareness to your brand.

Go out there and work for it. Don’t be passive or wait for the traffic to come to you. You need to go out there and proactively market your product and proactively make a name for yourself. Nobody is responsible for your success besides you.

6. Focus

When Steve Jobs returned to a failing Apple in 1996, he saw that Apple was losing focus on what made them successful and great. By 1997, Steve reduced Apple’s product line from 350 to just 10.

At a developer’s conference in 1997, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying “When you think about focusing, you think ‘Well, focusing is about saying yes.’ No! Focusing is about saying no.”

Around this time, Steve Jobs had to make a lot of tough decisions to kill off a lot of the products and projects Apple was involved in. Apple’s poor management caused the company to spread itself out too thin. Steve noticed this and began to focus the company which inevitably helped Apple be the powerhouse brand and company that it is today.

When you think about focusing, you think ‘Well, focusing is about saying yes.’ No!” Focusing is about saying no.

Successful entrepreneurs know the importance of focusing and not spreading themselves out too thin or allowing their business to lose focus from its’ original vision.

Take time to step outside of yourself and your business and see where you have started to lose focus. A simple strategy to employ is to keep it simple. Focus on making the best one product instead of making 10 “okay” products. Focus on growing the best ecommerce business in one industry instead of trying to decently serve several niches.

Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

You don’t have to adopt all of these qualities today, just the ones you resonated the most with. Does your business feel unfocused? Work on your focus. Are you not grinding enough? Start hustling more to get your business and products out there.

Entrepreneurs are not born with these qualities, they learn and adopt them through mentors, influencers and their own personal experience. You can start today to do the same to be a better entrepreneur and business leader.

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