4 Tips to Make an Employee's First Day Easier

4 Tips to Make an Employee's First Day Easier

Being the new employee at a company can be overwhelming, so it is important for employers to plan ahead to make their new employee’s first day a success.  Here are four tips to help make any employees first day easier:

1.   Prepare and Introduce Your Team

It is important for employees to know when a new member will be joining the team, so sending out an email prior to their first day will go a long way. It would be beneficial to include the name, title and possibly even some background information about the new employee, so the team knows who to expect and where they will fit in the team.

2.   Prepare Their Space

You don't want your new employee to feel like an afterthought on their first day, so planning ahead and preparing them a space, whether it be an office or just a cubicle, is very important. Make sure their space is clean and tidy, with all of the supplies they will need to succeed at their new position. If they need a computer, also make sure that it is cleaned off and ready to go to prevent the usual technology issues on the first day.

3.   Make Time to Train and Have a Plan

Again, you don't want to make your new employee feel like an afterthought, so having someone escort them to their desk and leaving them there for the rest of the day to figure things out on their own is not the way to go. Reschedule appointments and get important work out of the way prior to your new employee’s first day, so when that day comes you can take at least a few hours off to help your employee get settled in. Teach them what they need to know, show them how to use the software; every company does things differently, so even if they have been in the field for a decade, it is important for you to take the time to teach them how your company runs.

4.   Print the Important Things

Make sure to have all of the necessary paperwork printed by the time they get there to make it run smoother. Along with paperwork, make sure to have all employee handbooks or informational booklets printed out so they can read over the company policies and procedures when they have downtime. Also, it would help to give new employees a list of important people to contact when things go wrong or when they just need a little help.

The 3 Ways to Maximize the Value of Breaks

The 3 Ways to Maximize the Value of Breaks

Taking breaks throughout the work day actually increases productivity in the workplace by helping employees refocus their attention on the tasks at hand. Here are three ways to maximize the value of breaks to ensure increased productivity:

1.   Get Moving

Sitting at a desk can get redundant, which allows you to lose focus of what you should be working, so just take a quick walk around the office if you need to. Walking away from a task, especially one you have been working on for a prolonged period of time can allow you to stop and think about it without the pressure of feeling like you need to do it right away because it is right there in front of you. Many studies have also come out recently detailing the health hazards of sitting all day, so walking for even a few minutes every few hours can both help you focus more on your work and benefit your health.

2.   Meditate

Meditation has been shown to relieve stress, so if you're having a particularly stressful day at the office, take a break, meditate and clear your mind. Clearing your mind through meditation not only allows you to de-stress, but it also allows you to refocus and prioritize the tasks at hand to prevent future stress from becoming a problem. 

3.   Take a Nap

I know this one may seem a little out of the norm for most places, but a short 30-minute nap has many benefits. It can help reenergize the body just enough to finish out the workday, and much like walking, it also increases cognition and focus. Short naps have also been shown to increase memory and mental alertness which can help employees finish more tasks faster than they would have been able to before.

Breaks can be incredibly beneficial to employees, employers, and companies as a whole, but the benefits depend on how you maximize the value of your break time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Freelance Employees

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Freelance Employees

Freelancing is becoming more common in the fast-paced economy, with surveys showing freelancers made up 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2016. With this increase in freelancing, stable, full-time employees are becoming less common, but it is important for employers to know the advantages and disadvantages of freelancers before making the switch.

Advantages

With the freelance economy growing, freelancers offer many advantages to companies.

Freelancers cost less than full-time employees. The freelance economy is extremely competitive, forcing many freelancers to lower their rates to get ahead of the competition, which allows companies to hire qualified workers for less than a full-time employee’s salary. Also, because freelancers work on an as-needed basis, they do not qualify to receive company health benefits that a full-time employee would, saving the company in insurance expenses.

Freelancers can also get more work done, faster. Freelancers typically work project-by-project, allowing them to devote all of their time to a project, which results in a better quality output in a much shorter amount of time. Freelancers make a living through repeated work, which means that their quality of work is higher because they want to be hired again for future jobs.

Freelancers hold a variety of skills, which allow them to complete many different tasks. The variety of tasks that individual freelancers are able to take on prevents companies from having to hire a different full-time employee for each task individually.

Freelancers also do not take up space in already crowded office buildings, as they work remotely, freeing up space for companies that do not have enough rooms to give every individual employee their own office.

Freelancers mostly work remotely, so employers are not limited to the local workforce.  Employers can find the best freelancer to fit their needs without worrying too much about location. Also, freelancers are not as permanent as full-time employees, so if employers realize that a freelancer is not working out as they had hoped then they can simply hire a new freelancer without all of the paperwork.

Freelancers also come with their own networks of connections and resources, which can help employers source more work freelancers for future work.

Disadvantages

Despite their advantages, freelancers do still come with many disadvantages.

Freelancers are loyal to the whatever will make them the most money, so they come with little to no loyalty to an individual company. When a freelancer is hired, they complete a contract to finish the one or many jobs agreed upon, but at the end of that contract if a better deal becomes available then they will go where the money is. Companies often like to hire the same freelancers on a consistent basis because they know that rates will stay constant and the quality of work can only improve. That being said, for companies with that expectation of loyalty from their freelancers, they may want to look into extended contracts with competitive rates to prevent having to start fresh every time they need a job completed.

Freelancers require employers to take a big risk at first. Companies often hire freelancers after simply reading their resume and looking at select work samples, which is not a very good way to measure someone’s ability to complete the task at hand. Potential employees often pick their all-time best work to show prospective employers instead of their most recent, which is not representative of what they are capable of producing at that time. With all that in mind, companies have to take a risk hiring freelancers, hoping that they will be able to make high-quality products that the fit the company’s needs.

Freelancers are independent workers, which means that employers have little control over them beyond the contract. Freelancers do what the contract asks in the time frame discussed, but that is the only control that employers have over them.  If employers decide they want something changed or added, freelancers charge extra for each individual thing, while a regular employee would just make the additions.

Freelancers can be great assets to help companies accomplish more than they would normally be able to. However, employers need to consider all of the pros and cons to decide what is best for their company before making the switch from full-time to freelance.

Top Ten Benefits of Using a Staffing Agency!

Top Ten Benefits of Using a Staffing Agency!

            Companies who have recently received large contracts, urgent work, or seasonal needs have a choice to make: do you take on the task of trying to quickly find people to fill the extra positions or do you hire a staffing agency to do it for you? Here are ten reasons to hire a placement agency to do the hard work for you:

1.Ability to try out an employee before hiring- It is hard to determine whether an employee will fit in just through interviews. This can create a giant headache later on if the employee does not mix well with the other workers, the management, or their skills are lacking. Now you have not only a problem employee, but also a position that needs to be filled immediately. By using a placement agency, if a worker does not fit in they are simply removed from the project and replaced by the next one in line. This allows both the employee and the employer to decide whether or not the placement was successful without having to worry about a long-term relationship.

2.Ability to access very specialized skills and roles for a short period of time- A new project may require skills that your team does not possess or training they cannot get in time. Placement agencies can access candidates with those talents and bring them in to complete their aspect of your project without committing to finding them another job after the specialized task has been finished.

3.Ability to level out resource needs that are not constant or long-term- This point goes along with the previous one. If your resources do not cover the needs of a new project, then an agency may be necessary to bring in a source for a short or sporadic period. You do not want to make a long-term commitment to a short-term problem.

4.Quick way to get employees in without the hassle- Every person who has worked in HR or in a business environment is aware of the mountains of paperwork that come with the hiring process. For a short-term contract, the process of sorting through resumes, interviews, and eventually hiring is excessive. A staffing agency handles all of that paperwork for you, so they get the headache and you get a new worker.

5.Avoidance of the ACA limits- When a company reaches 50 employees, they have to provide health insurance for their workers. If you are a small company, and not at the point of being able to provide insurance or benefits then using an agency to find contractors may be the best solution. This way they are not categorized as full employees, but they do the work you need.

6.Cost appears in a different place on accounting statements- Contract labor, through staffing agencies, can be directly attributed to a project and then capitalized. Employee labor is difficult to capture the complete cost and capitalize. A full-time employee may be credited with working eight hours, but how much of that was used for other administrative duties? A contracted employee is credited based on how many hours of work they put into their project.

7.Finds a much larger talent pool- Placement firms are constantly recruiting so they always have people lined up. In order for your HR group to keep up, they would have to already have jobs posted, without knowing the actual need, in order to gather the number of candidates that these agencies have. This also allows you to see a different group of workers who may be more interested in doing short-term projects instead of those who are looking to come into a career track at a company.

8.It avoids any reputational problems your company may have- Sometimes a company does not have the best reputation for potential employees. Be honest: have there been large layoffs, scandals or public problems that are preventing your company from being an appealing place to work? Contracted workers through staffing agencies do not have as much of a choice in which company they go to. These are not your employees; they do not care if the managers agree with them, they do not pay attention to office politics, and massive layoff rumors do not affect their contract. This person has one job and that is to finish their contract and provide a service.

9.It allows you to provide experienced trainers for on the job training- While the idea of hiring a very experienced person may be appealing, it is not always feasible due to costs and other limiting factors. If you hire one from a staffing agency to come in for a short period of time, then you get all the benefits of their knowledge without the price. This worker can come in and train one of your preexisting staff members. Now you have spent a fraction of the cost to get all of the ability.

10.Avoid fear of firing- Many business ventures can be risky, and no one likes to fire employees when something does not work out. With contract workers, there is no fear of losing their job because the contract has simply ended. They are not relying on you to provide a job that will carry them to retirement. This puts less stress on your ability to take risks with your company and keeps your employees from feeling the pressure if a project goes badly.

Staffing agencies have many attributes that make them appealing to help you hire workers for your company. Here are only ten of the best benefits of using a placement agency, and once you have worked with one there will probably many more reasons that come to mind. 

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Top Three Ways to Improve Productivity at Work

Top Three Ways to Improve Productivity at Work

It goes without saying that productivity is one of the most important objectives that every company has. Employees need to be motivated and focused when they are at work so they can be efficient in completing their tasks. That being said, what are the best ways to improve productivity at work? Here are our top three ways to do it!

1.Define objectives and let the workers figure out how to meet them- An objective is something of actual value to the end customer (the people paying). If it doesn’t hold value to a paying customer, it doesn’t mean much. By creating clear objectives that are tangible to workers, they will feel motivated when they see the direct results of their work and how it affects the customers. The key here is to allow the workers to discover on their own how to meet the objective; this allows them to cognitively think about the best way to complete their work and challenge them to find the most efficient way to do so. Not only will the employees be happier, but they will also be able to think through problems easily and come up with applicable solutions.

2.Encourage actions; praise results- Actions can be defined by using the example of evaluating workflow of the spare part room, but what was the result of doing that task? Actions should include implementing an idea, even if it does not work, that tries to do something and makes it easier on the customer and the other workers. Pay attention to what actually takes up time. This may mean that an employee observes that other workers are spending too much time in the spare part room trying to get screws which are in the very back, so in order to cut that time spent searching the screws are moved to the front of the closet. An action has been turned into a result which can positively affect the company; simply observing the problem does not help anyone, so encourage them to take action and praise them once they have introduced a solution that creates a result.

3.One task at a time- There is no such thing as multitasking; all that is doing is taking multiple tasks and making them last longer than they would. This stresses workers and helps them burn out faster. Multitasking is simply switching back and forth from one project to another and everyone has their limit on how many tasks they can juggle before they become inefficient. This is referred to as a person’s cognitive load and it is important that workers are able to identify and limit themselves based on their cognitive ability. Otherwise overloading projects slows people down and makes a company inefficient. By creating manageable tasks and assigning them one at a time, it may seem counterproductive, but it actually allows workers to complete the project efficiently and without any distractions of other problems and deadlines weighing on them.

Increasing productivity is vital to any company that hopes to continue to grow and make a profit, so use these three tips to help move forward with your employees.

 

How to Dress for Success in Job Interviews

How to Dress for Success in Job Interviews

Job interviews are the first date of the business world, so it is important to dress smart in order to impress the interviewer with both appearance and knowledge. A good guideline to follow is when interviewing for a white collar or office job wear a suit and for those applying for a blue-collar type job then dress business casual; it is never acceptable to wear casual clothing to an interview.

            The most important thing to remember when dressing for an interview is cleanliness. Pig Pen from Charlie Brown may walk around with a cloud of dirt, but that does not mean the rest of us can. Men should have their hair cut and keep any facial hair well-maintained. Some PR representatives even recommend completely shaving off any facial hair for interviews, but that is up to each person’s discretion. Women should brush their hair and make sure it looks styled. This may mean straightening it, adding in some curls, or pulling it back in a clean ponytail. Ladies also make sure to wear some makeup, no you do not need to paint your face completely, but some powder, mascara, and lipstick go a long way in helping you look your best! Cleanliness also applies to fingernails: make sure to clean any dirt from underneath and women may want paint their nails a neutral or soft color. This should be an obvious statement, but make sure to take a shower and put on deodorant. Clean is the best smell there is, so do not load up on fancy perfumes or colognes and let soap do its job!

            When choosing clothing to wear to an interview, fit is imperative. Clothing should not be too tight or too loose, and if you have issues with finding clothes that fit then any tailor can help modify your outfit to fit you like a glove. Also, remember that you should feel comfortable in your outfit, so this is not the day for ladies to test out their new heels. Seductive does not equal attractive. Men should make sure to wear dark socks and polished shoes. It may seem excessive to worry about what goes on your feet, but shoes do matter when it comes to overall appearance. Another thing that should be understood is to wear properly fitted undergarments; bra straps should be hidden and please no visible underwear lines. Your clothing should be another way to help you feel confident as you go into your interview, so you can worry about impressing the employer and not on how much your shoes pinch.

            Tattoos and piercings have been a hot topic of debate amongst employers recently and every person has a different opinion on the matter. Just be aware of any visible body art that you have, and try to keep it looking clean and understated. Small tattoos or pieces are fine, but this is not the time to show off your sleeve or multiple piercings. Some companies may have their policy about body art on their websites, but it is always safe to show less until certain of their views.

            Follow these simple rules and remember the most important one of all: a confident smile and clean look will get you far with any employer. Good luck!

How a Placement Agency Can Help You Find a Good Job

How a Placement Agency Can Help You Find a Good Job

The job hunt is an incredibly stressful process and it has become even more difficult as companies have begun using automated systems to narrow the candidate pool. It can become frustrating as application after application is rejected before a human even sees it. Even if the application gets through to the HR department, there are so many candidates for the one position that it becomes impossible to rise to the top. This is a problem that recent graduates, those who have been laid off, and people looking for a job change all experience: the headache that comes from trying to find a job on their own. Here is where a placement agency comes in.

Many companies have short-term needs either due to seasonality, large contracts, or government work; things they are hesitant to hire long-term employees for especially if they do not work out. Companies pay the placement firm to find workers willing to work for a specific duration. Therefore, the companies do not deal with the hassle to find a short-term employee and outsource to a placement agency to do the work. People seeking employment should consider using a placement agency to help them find a job for many reasons.

One of the first benefits these agencies have is access to a larger network of companies that they are placing candidates at. They can find so many more jobs than you can on your own. When people talking about finding every open door, the agencies know about all the possible ones and will help you find them. Placement agencies are in the business of finding jobs, so let them do the hard part!

Once the agency has placed a candidate at a job, this employee has a chance to test drive a position and a company. They can observe the politics, the culture, and the management style and decide if the environment is suitable to work in. Since the positions filled by placement agencies are usually short-term, this is a great way for employees to see different companies and the aforementioned aspects without any commitment. If the company is not a good fit, then the employee can be moved to a different job with minimal reputation damage to the employee or the company. Many people hope that once an employee has proven their worth through their temporary position the company might decide to hire them for a full-time job while others continue to use placement agencies for a long career in short-term work. Many people hired through a placement agency are later hired by the employer once their contracts ended.

There are many placement agencies of various reputations that fill a variety of jobs fields: from maid service through highly technical specializations. No career is out of reach for these agencies as they have connections for any job people want. This can be especially helpful for recent graduates who have extremely specific degrees or those who have overly general degrees, a placement agency may be the best way to find a position.

The pay is also typically quite good because these companies desperately need someone to fill the position, but the employee will not experience all the benefits the company offers their full-time employees. Most placement firms offer benefits to their candidates in order to supplement what they do not receive through a company. This way you do not have to worry about paying for your own benefits while working part-time through the placement agencies.

A placement agency is a great option for anyone who has struggled finding a full-time position, trying to find a company that is a good fit, or someone looking to always be challenged by a new job and new environment. They can be your ticket to finding a great job or the chance to experience numerous good positions. 

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Five Tips for Organizing Meetings That Get the Job Done

Five Tips for Organizing Meetings That Get the Job Done

We have all been there: the meeting is scheduled to last thirty minutes, but the executive shows up late and the team will not start until they arrive, forty-five minutes later everything but the actual topic for the meeting has been discussed, and half the room is comprised of people who have no say in the matter and are just “silently observing”. This is the reason that everyone dreads face-to-face meetings and has led to the rise of the email and phone team discussions. Here are some easy ways to organize meetings that will be both time-efficient and help the team tackle problems.

1.Start on time and end on time- Employees are busy, and they usually have to run from one meeting to the next while finding time in between to do their actual work. They do not have time to waste waiting for everyone in the room to get their coffee or for catching up on how the weekend went. The meeting is scheduled to start at 1:30 then everyone is seated and ready to start at 1:30. If the most important person is late, it’s even more important to start on time because if everyone else can make it on time, so can they.

2.Have a purpose for the meeting- This can be in the form of an agenda, but overall just a clearly defined purpose for the meeting. Having a clear goal for the meeting allows the team to focus on the task at hand and know if they have done their job. Creating a purpose also prevents time being wasted trying to pick a topic to work on and can direct the flow of the meeting so you do not spend half of it trying to decide who goes next. This is such a simple thing to do but it can really affect the duration and effectivity of your meeting.

3.Everybody in the meeting is there to actually participate- People are not there to listen - they either have a say in the matter or they do not need to be in the meeting. When executives sit in the meeting to listen, it gives a feeling that they do not trust that you are doing work or your ability to do it well. It is imperative that the employees are confident that upper management and executives trust their skills and that they do not need to be babysat while at work.

4.Somebody has to take notes- Afterwards, assemble them and send them out. Especially if decisions were made, or actions were assigned. This will prevent a million emails being sent reminding everyone about what they signed up for in the meeting.

5.Stick to the topic- Do not allow the excuse of having all the right people in the room to warrant talking about another topic. If a meeting ends early, then let it end early. The meeting has a purpose, so that time should be spent on tackling that issue and not a catch-all for every topic that the team wants to discuss. 

Here is a bonus tip to help organize a better meeting:

If at all possible, make it face to face- Well over half of communication is non-verbal and people listening on phone calls cannot get the full message. Face to face meetings are more efficient and effective than phone conferences or email.

            Do not continue to let meetings be a drain on time and resources; use these tips to organize meetings that get the job done!

Four Keys to Improving Employee Engagement

Four Keys to Improving Employee Engagement

Your company is running and you have hired your team of employees now comes the next step: how do you keep your employees engaged and happy? First thing to know is what does it mean to be engaged? Engaged refers to employees who are active participants in the company and they are interested in doing more than just the basic amount of work expected. This is important because a company is only as good as its weakest link, so happy workers make for a better and more productive company. Only 15% of employees report that they are interested or engaged in their work according to Gallup’s State of Global Workplace report (Gleeson). Here are four ways to help improve employee engagement:

1.Recognition of your employees’ time commitments- Every person experiences conflicting needs for a home life and that can make it a challenge to keep them interested in extra time commitments at work. This is especially true for after-hours events such as socials, training, and company sanctioned events. It is important to recognize the challenge that many have in balancing their work and their personal life. Try to keep after-hours events to a minimal amount because employees will not be happy if they are spending every day at company events and missing dinner with their spouses or time with their friends. One great way to resolve this issue is create events that the employees can invite family to come to; try holding a company day at the aquarium, tickets to a sports event, or any activity that allows the employee to have good family time. 

2.Assign meaningful work- Every person wants to feel like they are working towards something or that they are contributing towards a greater cause. Employees do not want to feel like their work is underappreciated or useless; recognize the importance work they are doing and do not waste their time on meaningless busy work. The employee is being paid for the time they put into the project, so do not waste that money. This also affects their overall attitude; if employees feel like they are doing compelling and valued work, then morale will benefit (Gleeson).

3. Recognition of work and effort- This ties into the last point of assigning meaningful work because not only should the task be important, but also recognition should be given where it is earned. Often people feel as if their talents and effort are not appreciated as they should be, and the best way to keep employees engaged is to support their confidence in the work that they do. People will take pride in their work if they know that a good job will be appreciated and recognized. This will motivate employees to work harder to do their best work for a company that they feel values them. Although it is important to note that the level of praise should be appropriate for the work done. Employees recognize unearned praise and it can have the opposite of the desired effect. Also understand when dealing with underperformance, it is important to know the difference between gentle encouragement and brutal honesty. The most important lesson to take from all of this is that employees want to know that their employer is aware of their efforts and contributions whether they are performing above or below expectations. If you are unaware of the employees’ actual work, you are better off saying nothing than overpraising or overcorrecting.

4.Consistently ask for their opinions on how to improve- Employees are the only ones who can decide what will help them be happier with the work they are doing or the company they are at (Gleeson). It is important to ask for their opinions on different initiatives and ways the company treats the employees. A great example of this practice in action is Toyota; their entire area of business discipline is based around their practice of going to the factory floor to get solutions for high level questions. The higher in the hierarchy of management that a person is, the more isolated they tend to be. The workers know the situations and, if they feel comfortable doing so, will share sage advice. Feedback is essential when working within a company setting because things are constantly moving, employees are growing, and engagement must adjust to employee needs.

Employee engagement is an important issue that every company struggles with. Take into account these four keys to promote engagement and watch overall morale and productivity improve.

Works Cited:

Gleeson, Brent. “5 Powerful Steps to Improve Employee Engagement.” Forbes, 15 October

            2017,   https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2017/10/15/5-powerful-steps-to-         improve-employee-engagement/#3b4f866341d5. Accessed 16 October 2017.        

Five Mistakes Young Businesses Make When Hiring Sales Staff

Five Mistakes Young Businesses Make When Hiring Sales StaffNewly developed businesses have unique and exciting opportunities as they begin to establish their systems and hire their members. This is a time when risks should be taken, but make sure to avoid these mistakes when hiring a sales staff. 1.	Avoid unrealistic expectations- This is imperative especially in situations where relationships must be established prior to significant sales. It takes time to earn trust either in your staff or your company, s

Newly developed businesses have unique and exciting opportunities as they begin to establish their systems and hire their members. This is a time when risks should be taken, but make sure to avoid these mistakes when hiring a sales staff.

1. Avoid unrealistic expectations

This is imperative especially in situations where relationships must be established prior to significant sales. It takes time to earn trust either in your staff or your company, so make sure your expectations account for the time necessary to create a trustworthy reputation for your company. Unrealistic expectations can cause many issues because they lower morale when they are not reached, and create tension within the hierarchy as blame is placed.

2. Underestimation of the sale cycle

Recognize that commission and other pay may not happen for months due to the normal cycle of how long it takes to establish and make a sale. This goes hand in hand with having realistic expectations; it is great to have goals and to work towards those, but make sure to think realistically when setting goals especially as you start out.

3.

Mistaking aggression for drive

A good salesman will be self-motivated, but will nevertheless be a team player. Enthusiasm is an excellent quality to possess especially when hiring sales staff. This excitement should not interfere with their ability to work with others or their relationships with their superiors. Aggression creates tension within the office and can hurt potential business with clients.

4. Setting up competition between sale staff

Whether this is done through account assignment, territory assignment, or just contests and competition. Competition creates a winner and a loser when in fact the loser may still be an excellent salesman. When people are labeled as losers, morale is lowered and can cause them to feel that they are no longer able to do their jobs and they will leave. The winners will initially feel motivated by their heightened ego, but eventually, if there is no promotion available or they are passed over they will be dissatisfied and will leave. The ideal competitive scenario is to make the workplace like a golf game. The ultimate goal should be to compete against one’s previous work and be better than they were before.

5. Don’t underestimate the value of experience

Fresh ideas are not the sole property of those new to business. Young workers are often praised for their enthusiasm and wealth of new ideas, but this does not come with wisdom. Experience does not mean stale ideas and an older employee can have the same excitement for their work when given the proper motivation and chances to prove their knowledge.

Keep in mind each of these common mistakes and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that are available with the start of a new business. 

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