Tag Archives: business owner

How to Take a Vacation From Your Marketing

CHuntly

As a business owner, the most important thing you can do for yourself is take a break. It also happens to be the hardest thing to do if you are trying to run your business because the moment you go silent on the marketing front you will lose audience interest.

With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect time to take a breather from 24/7 entrepreneur brain. Taking both a physical and a mental break from your business (even if it’s a staycation) will help you avoid burn out.

If you’re looking to take some time off this holiday season, don’t let your marketing efforts suffer. Here are a few things to consider to keep that momentum going throughout your time away.

  1. Blog early: You should have a regular posting schedule for your blogs so your audience can come to expect content at a certain time. Keep that schedule going while you are away by writing your blogs ahead of time. Most blogging platforms will allow you to schedule each blog to go live at a specific day or time.
  2. Automation is your best friend: This requires a bit of planning, but if you work ahead of time, you can schedule content to go out while you are away. Work with a program like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mailchimp, etc. Try to stay away from the bots that automatically like and comment on posts as those can seem too contrived.
  3. Delegate tasks: If you already have a team in place, make sure you put someone in charge while you are away. Empower them to make decisions without you, but let them know that you are available for emergencies. If you are a solopreneur, hire someone you trust to look after things while you are gone. Start working with them at least a few weeks in advance so they are fully comfortable while you are away.
  4. Prioritize tasks: Not everything has to be done right now. Have a look through your to do list and rank everything by due dates. If there are things that need to get done before you leave, then get them done. If you have tasks with no due date or ones with later due dates, leave those to get done when you get back.

After taking some time for yourself, you will find that you return more refreshed, which usually leads to more energy to put into your business. Taking time away from your business will allow you to approach your business from a new perspective. It will make you a better business owner – and your marketing strategy doesn’t have to suffer.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

Get organized for 2017

2017-workbook

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Top 5 Reasons why You should Blog for your Business

Jemi

Blogging has become a huge phenomenon in the online world. Anyone and everyone can start a blog. It’s easy and very inexpensive to start. All you need is a computer, the internet, and the time to put together a blog. As a business owner, you can stand out from your competitors by giving useful tools and great expertise to your customers at minimal cost to you. Here’s what blogs can do for you and your business:

  1. Open Communication between you and your customer: You are starting a conversation with your potential client. When they read and follow you, it gives them a direct insight to how you are as a business owner.
  2. Subscription list: If your readers enjoy your blog they can be notified directly via e-mail. This is an opportunity for you to create database for you to promote your services and products. Limit your e-mails to once a month or twice a month.
  3. Affiliate marketing: When you are receiving a large following of readers, you may want to consider using affiliate marketing into your blog. This will create another stream of passive income right into your bank account. Affiliate marketing are just like businesses advertising on your blog, when your readers click the ad from your blog, and a sale is made, you will get a portion of the sale!
  4. Higher rankings: Google analytics like to see different clicks going to and from your website. The more clicks coming to your blog from your social media sites, and vice versa, Google “bots” see it as a popular place to be and will rank your blog and website higher for FREE.
  5. Free publication: Having a blog puts you, as a business owner, on a different and personal expertise level than someone that is competition and not blogging. You never know who may be reading and following your blog that can create a whole new venture for you that will make you even more money!

Hope these tips will get your fire burning to write a blog. Even if the blog is just once a month to start, it will generate a following that will be expecting your great insight. Happy blogging!

Contact Jemi Echevarria by phone: (647)785-5851 or by e-mail:  jemiechevarria@gmail.com

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Choosing an accountant

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No matter the size of your business, or its cash flow position, a business owner should never be without an accountant.

Accountants ought to provide services beyond the scope of tax preparation. Business owners in our community deserve, and should expect more from their accounting and tax service providers. Your accountant should be

  1. Accessible and open all year round
  2. Someone whom you can trust to offer you sound business advice and guidance (a trusted business advisor)
  3. Someone who can interpret your financial results, and hold a meaningful discussion with you about what the numbers are saying about your business
  4. Someone with whom you have an active relationship with right throughout the year, advising you on how to structure your affairs in a tax efficient way. Not just at tax time, because at that point the relationship is reactive, not pro-active
  5. Someone who can advise you on whether or not the systems and internal controls you have implemented in your business are effective. If not, they should be able to help in the re-design and implementation of suitable controls
  6. Someone who can scrutinize the financial performance of a company that you would like to buy
  7. Able to accurately present your company’s financial performance if you would like to obtain financing or are planning to sell
  8. Able to provide or recommend you to an estate planner (for succession planning)
  9. Transparent in the pricing of their services. That is, you should know exactly (or very close to exactly) what your bill will be for the service being provided. There should be no surprises when you open up the bill from your accountant.
  10. A highly trained professional, preferably one who is licensed to deal with the public. If they are licensed, then they belong to a professional body that regulates them, and ensures that their skills and training are current.
  11. Knowledgeable and up to date on your industry and current accounting/tax issues and trends (up to date on current tax and accounting issues)
  12. Adding value with sound tax planning strategies
  13. Properly represent you with the CRA
  14. Ethical, and a right balance between conservative and aggressive, in respect of tax deductions

Note: When looking for an accountant, you should meet with about 2 or 3 accountants to determine what they have to offer, and if they will be a right fit for your company. While fees are very important, your choice should not be made based on fees, but based on what your accountant will save you I time and money, as well as whether they are a right fit.

If you find the right accountant, he or she should be a priceless resource for your business as it progresses through its various stages (start up to maturity).

Green Meikle & Smith Chartered Professional Accountants

Authorized to practice public accounting by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario

 

1020 Matheson Blvd. E. Unit 10

Mississauga, ON L4W 4J9

905-919-3543 Ext 101

647-338-5306 (cell)

www.greenmeiklesmith.com

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Cassandra Scully: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of June 2015

Cassandra Scully

Cassandra Scully, is the Owner and Event Stylist of Creative Elegance. Creative Elegance is a Toronto based event planning company with a niche for creating custom designs for special events.

In 2003, Cassandra became a Certified Wedding and Event Planner through The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, but not before becoming a professional Merchandiser at Seneca College in Toronto.  It was during her Merchandising course that Cassandra tapped into and became in sync with her creative flare and realized that she has a passion and desire to create beautiful and innovative pieces.

Creative Elegance is renowned for their custom bridal bouquets which meets, and at times, exceeds expectations, visions and within budgets.   As an extension to her bridal bouquets Cassandra has added the in-famous toss “Panty Bouquet” which adds a much needed uniqueness to the traditional rose and floral bouquets.  Instead of using typical flowers Cassandra takes the time and her creativity to transform undergarments into beautifully shaped roses and arrange them into a Bouquet… the catcher always gets a surprise!

With the growth of her company Cassandra plans, styles, and coordinates all types of special events and weddings, gearing towards all budgets, size and dynamics.

Cassandra didn’t stop there, she became a certified Stager in 2014 – you can now benefit from the luxury of having the Creative Elegance touch inside of your home whether you are buying or selling – moving or staying! Cassandra sets the stage for your sale and designs for your stay.

Cassandra prides herself on staying on top of current trends in all facets of the wedding, events and staging industry.
Cassandra will always give you an exclusive and custom Creative Elegance experience

Our Q & A with Cassandra:

*What inspires you?
My kids. I always try my hardest to lead by example. I want to show my girls how to be a strong women and show my son that its never too late to chase your dreams and that if you work hard enough you can achieve anything.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
My proudest moment is definitely seeing my client’s reactions after I set up their vision. Seeing how happy they are that their special day is complete is the most rewarding feeling. I think that anyone with a business, big or small, can most certainly relate.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

The advice I would give to an upcoming individual with that creative flair is to be true to themselves, and to live their truth. Let your individuality shine through and do not comprise yourself to “fit in” for being a creative individual because you were born to stand out.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
My brand is expanding, and we are now offering new products and services, some of which are; custom/bridal TuTu Skirts, printed Bridal Tanks & Tees and gum ball necklaces/bracelets for kids events.  As well, my brand is now venturing into the staging industry both residential and commercial. One other thing you can look out for this is my collaboration with two other amazing event planners in Toronto (Heavenz Décor & Ki-Events), together we have formed an organization called CAKEvents. CAKEvents is an organization that focuses on the youths and brides on a budget as well giving back to our community

Connect with Cassandra

info@creativeelegance.ca
www.creativeelegance.ca
www.facebook.com/creativeelegance
Follow us on Twitter @creativelegance

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Don’t Feel Overwhelmed By Your Social Media Networks

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As a business owner, engaging on social media can often feel quite overwhelming. With continuously changing newsfeeds, tweets and posts, and so little time to go through everything, it is very easy to feel frustrated with real-time online content.

Quite honestly, we’d rather forget about this part of online marketing too. I mean, there’s nothing better than looking out a window, instead of having your eyes glued to a (small) electronic screen. Unfortunately, our ideal job as a professional window gazer will have to wait for now.

Seeing as this is no longer the 20th century, social media networks have significantly changed how we as people communicate and do business. Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. No matter how uncomfortable or overwhelming it might make us feel, we have to use it to further maximize our business potential.

So, here are three easy steps to lower your social media anxiety:

  1. Master One Social Media Platform At a Time

Each platform is going to have its challenges, limitations and advantages. It is important to take the time to understand each platform’s functions, as well as the company’s ability to integrate new features to better suit market demands. For instance, did you know that because Facebook is currently gaining ground on Youtube video posts it is ready to promote your video posts over you picture posts? Or did you know that Instagram users are 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users, and 120 times more likely than Twitter users?

Really mastering how to use a social media platform, and understanding its significant tech changes, is important to the well-being of you, your business and your clients. Don’t rush into it, take your time and learn through observation and research.

  1. Scheduling is Your Best Friend

Quality content is Queen when it comes to social media. Have thousands of followers doesn’t guarantee engagement, especially if your content is not relevant, hard to read or outdated. This is why you should take a time or day a week to sit down and research trends, events or news related to your sector or field of business. Combine this with your company’s latest product events and promotions, and you should more than enough material to start scheduling posts for the following week.

By using tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Buffer, your life will be a whole lot easier. Schedule the time and day for your posts (and in some cases even the perfect target market), and forget about the days  when you wondered if you have the time to post online.

  1. Make Time to Engage with Your Followers

Social media is called ‘social’ for a reason. That’s why I like to recommend clients to set time aside to engage with their followers. Retweet, share or repost followers’ interesting, relevant posts. Interact, connect, follow-back and ask for feedback whenever possible. By doing so, you’re actively building brand-recognition and working towards customer loyalty and trust.

Most importantly, be respectful and have fun while engaging with others online. Give your business that unique voice that only you can give it.

Written by Marisol and Silvia Fornoni, Founders of JDC.

JDC supports socially conscious organizations with finding sustainable ways to tell their stories using visual design, engaging content and non-traditional media. We help you with anything from organizing fundraising campaigns to web design and social media management.

http://www.joint-development.com

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PLANTING ONE SEED (INVESTMENT) AT A TIME!

Amina

This past weekend the weather was finally amazing to get out in the garden, dig through the earth with my fingers and pull out all the weeds before planting my vegetable garden. It got me thinking that it takes one seed at a time to harvest your garden.

What if we took the same view on our investments?

When we first start we are so keen to learn and invest in anything that comes our way – but that can be foolhardy – especially when it comes to investing!  WHY?

Ask any successful real estate investor and he or she she will tell you that the secret to their success was knowledge.  They learned everything they could before investing in their first property.  They planted one seed at a time!  Did they stop there? No they keep learning and applying that knowledge to build on their portfolio.

As an investor you must take your time to learn, which strategy suits you best. Is it student rentals, multi-family, rent to own, buy & hold, flipping, just to name a few?  Or is it lending your money for a great return or investing in syndicated mortgages or even 2nd mortgages?

Lending your money or investing in 2nd mortgages, may not provide as big returns as a bricks and mortar property, but you also don’t have the hassle of being a landlord and dealing with tenant issues.

I was recently approached by a financial advisor, who only believed that the road to wealth was paved on people investing in the stock market.  I have nothing against financial advisors, but being a person who lost a lot in the 2009 crash, I did not want to repeat past mistakes, which included investing in the stock market.  Does that mean I don’t invest in the stock market at all? NO – I do but I self-direct my investmetns and don’t leave it to somebody else to do it for me – thus I don’t incur huge MER (management expense ratio) fees, which can cut into the growth of my investments.  He could not understand why I would not recommend him to my clients.

Taking charge of your financial future should not be left up to somebody else – burrying your head in the sand and hoping your money will be taken care of is also foolhardy!  Does it take work to look after your finances? YES, but isn’t it more rewarding to see your garden grow when you have planted those initial seeds yourself?

Planting those seeds takes time but when that garden (investment portfolio) starts to grow, you will reap the rewards!

To your Wealth!

Amina

Please “like” my facebook page here Please follow me on twitter here

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The Importance of Research

Sheralyn

The importance of, and the reliance upon, good, old-fashioned research should never be underestimated.  Whether we grew up using the Dewey Decimal system and Encyclopedia Britannica or more recently, rely on “Dr. Google” and “Wikipedia” – the simple fact is, research can support your thesis, or give your website credibility and it fosters the viability of your business.  So whether you are creating a website, starting a new business, contributing to a magazine article or blog – make sure you do your research and always site your sources. It might sound kind of obvious but fewer and fewer people seem to be doing it these days.

In starting a new business venture research is critical. You are going to want to complete a market analysis, scout locations, survey your potential customer base and thoroughly investigate financing options.  Each of these steps requires research and further, requires you to produce written documentation that you can present to potential backers, even if that backer is your spouse or mother in law. Reliance upon cold, hard facts with supporting documentation is what’s needed when considering investing in business so the research step is important. Ensuring the use of credible sources while on your fact finding mission is also paramount.

When it comes to websites, often this is the first place your customer finds you. Websites with lots of “jazz, pizzazz and razzmatazz” will only take you so far if the product or service you are selling is represented inaccurately.  With websites, not only are you seeking accuracy in the description of your product or service, you also must ensure that whomever designs your site has also spent time researching SEO keywords for your industry, knows and understands the function of font and colour scheme to best attract the type of customer you seek and can provide you with information on where your website is likely to place in Google rankings. You better darn well hope they have also done their due diligence when it comes to logo design and other potentially proprietary information. I write website content for clients and a significant amount of my time should be spent on conducting research to ensure accuracy, avoid duplication and create content that both resonates and ranks.

If you are looking to drive traffic to your website and/or just have an interest in writing once again, whether blogging or submitting articles for publication, research to clarify content and guarantee accuracy is not just important but ethical too.  From a legal standpoint you want to be sure your claims about products are defensible and true and if you are writing about a person, quoting facts is the only feasible option. Writing an article or blog that compares two types of services, (perhaps comparing Naturopathic and Western medicine for example) requires extensive due diligence on the part of the author and research, verifying the accuracy of sources and interviewing key people in the field is what you MUST do. Too many irresponsible people with easy access to the Internet are presenting what amount to opinion pieces that have no solid foundation in fact.  Blogging for business is not the time to share your opinions.

It is incumbent upon us to be sure that whether we are offering information or searching for it, we take the time to verify its accuracy. If you are responsible for content, make sure it is well researched, accurate and sourced appropriately. If you are looking for information apply the same due diligence to your search.  Look for the source, is it credible? Apply the scientific principle – is it replicable? You probably want to place a higher degree of reliability upon a medical site hosted by the Mayo Clinic than one hosted by Facebook, curated by “Tom” and called “Free guide to pain free Home Dentistry!”   This might all seem like common sense but the unfortunate fact is common sense appears harder and harder to come by.  Our reliance upon the web to present factual and credible information and to discern fact from fiction has taken the place of the old-fashioned legwork that used to be involved in going to library, hauling out books and comparing their content or searching through microfiche for factual references in newspapers. I know I’m dating myself and I am not a Luddite “anti-internet” gal by any means. It’s pretty darn convenient. Just don’t forget that the old principles: research, accuracy, credibility, source citing….still apply!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Sheri Andrunyk: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of May 2015

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Sheri believes that we all possess the knowledge of what’s best for our own life and business. She is the catalyst that can (and does) bring those insights to the forefront; especially empowering business owners, entrepreneurs, and authors with vision, wisdom and support.

Upon the release of her first book Hearts Linked By Courage, Sheri expanded her business to share her new knowledge and resources for those embracing the writing and book publishing journey. I C Publishing was officially unveiled in 2011. Since then, Sheri and her virtual team of ten have produced an amazing cross-section of high quality books, including a second of her own called Working From Home & Making It Work© in 2012, and, Do You Have a Book In You? and The All Season Entrepreneur, both due out in 2015.

Over the past thirty years, eleven of which were spent as a successful franchise owner in the beauty industry, Sheri has also had extensive formal training and mentoring in business and direct sales, earning her numerous awards for personal achievement and team development and success.

In addition to working with her author clients, she will always remain passionate about coaching and mentoring business owners and entrepreneurs who are as committed and enthusiastic about work and life as she is. As a coach, mentor, and Master NLP Practitioner, Sheri skilfully guides her clients through many stages of their career, helping to maintain the work/life balance that is best for them… all the while inspiring confidence and providing direction to continually take those next steps in living their ideal life. When assisting clients with marketing projects, Sheri has a unique sense of how best to communicate and express their message, as if they created it themselves. Her extraordinary and obvious passion and expertise in language, communication, and relationships, makes her an invaluable source of support in one’s personal or professional journey.

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Our Q & A with Sheri

What inspires you?

Meaningful conversation, ongoing learning, self-awareness and self-growth, kindness and compassion in others, and the way thoughtful words can move us individually, and collectively, to do great things.

‘And a child’s smile, a friendly hug, the adoring love from a pet, and nature.
As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

On a personal note, it would be my beautiful family life and fulfilling marriage of thirty-three years. There are many business accomplishments, big and small, which I am tremendously proud of; however, they pale in comparison to that of creating a work/life dynamic that serves all in my world—personally and professionally.

On a business note, of course, each stage of my career holds its own special memory for me.

At the very beginning of my entrepreneurial path, in my twenties, I was terribly uncomfortable speaking in front of any audience. Over the years I worked on that, and have studied and practiced and learned so much. Suffice to say, I am very much more at ease sharing and delivering on topics that I am knowledgeable and passionate about. In fact, it’s like a calling to me now.

The other intangible that comes to mind is the wisdom I’ve gained over the years, and how I’m able to draw on this, as well as all of my formal training and real life/work experience. It really helps me to understand and relate to others in their journey.

And at the end of the day, if I’ve been able to help someone feel more encouraged, enlightened, and confident in their own abilities . . . and motivated to take their next steps . . . it just doesn’t get much better for me. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

Believe in yourself, your work, and the difference you want to make. Seek out support that elevates you.

When making decisions and planning ahead, do your homework, and ask questions. Once you have thoughtfully gathered important information and resources—check in with yourself—then trust and follow what resonates with “you” most.

Above all, I encourage business owners and entrepreneurs to be present, in the moment as much as possible. Give others your full and kind attention always. And embrace and enjoy each chapter of your life. It goes by so quickly!
What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

The growth of I C Publishing has been so exciting and significant these past few years, I’m simply enjoying the journey at the moment. Yes, I have more specific goals, for sure; however, I am a little less attached to outcomes than I once was. Beyond my daily passion and commitment to serving my growing list of amazing clients, I’m sure I will complete the writing and e-publishing of my next two books, Do You Have a Book in You?, and The All Season Entrepreneur. I look forward to taking on a few additional speaking engagements this year too.

On a personal note perhaps, as my publishing team continues to expand, I will likely get closer and closer to my four-day work week more often. And being just in my early my fifties, it feels so affirming that my hard work is paying off, and I am afforded more choice with my time, along with the chance to spend more of that time with my family.

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A little more about I C Publishing:

I C Publishing bridges the gap between self and traditional publishing. In many respects, we’re a one-stop shop offering “customized” high level support and services to busy authors and business owners—including consulting, project management, editing, design, production, social media, fulfilment, and more—a la carte, or in packages depending on our client’s needs and budget. We have a team of ten professionals with different areas of expertise to ensure we have all the bases covered. And we work closely with all of our clients, right from the beginning of their projects to set the pace of our work together, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to move forward and realize their dreams.

Connect with Sheri: 

Sheri@ICPublishing.ca 

www.ICPublishing.ca

www.ICBookstore.ca

905.853.1968

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MY CLIENTS NEEDS MUST COME BEFORE MY OWN

Amina

Yesterday I was contacted by an investor, who found me on Linkedin and had been reading some of my blog posts. He and his brother were investing in a smaller market about two hours east of Toronto.  This would be their first purchase in this area and it was a multiple bidding situation.

As first time investors they made some errors, which are common, such as putting in the offer before being pre-approved for financing.  Especially in a multiple offer situation you want to make sure that your bid for the property has no conditions of financing.  The only condition you want is the inspection.   This way if the seller is presented with all of the offers, they will most likely accept the one with no condition of financing as that is a sure thing vs. somebody who still needs to be assessed for financing and does not really know whether they can afford the property.

This investor had put in the offer, ordered the inspection and was now contacting me for financing – however the clock was ticking.  I  immediately asked for an extenstion as I was not certain that I could fulfill financing in such a short time (3 days left).

He went back to the realtor and asked for the extension but it was denied simply because it was a multiple offer situation. The realtor suggested her broker, who lived and worked in that market and could get the appraisal the next day – which would ultimately save the client time and possibly losing the deal.

It was great that they were both organized and could get me the paperwork but I still had to find the lender, who would do the deal.  To further complicate things, the investors were incorporated, which would mean further validation of income.

He kindly called me and said he would stick with me if I could do the deal.  Now, if I was looking out for my own interests, I would have said,  “Yes of course I can do the deal”.  Instead, I was looking out for what is best for my client and suggested he use the other broker with the connections in the marketplace.  If I could not get the deal done, I would not only lose the trust of this client but more importantly I would not be putting my clients needs before my own!

It is hard to give away business but I believe strongly in Karma – what goes around comes around.  The client thanked me for looking out for his interests and said that he would be using me for the next deal.

I believe that if we all focus on putting our clients needs before our own in every situation, it will come to serve us all well.

To your Wealth!

Amina

Please “like” my facebook page here Please follow me on twitter here

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