Published on July 25, 2013
Essential Attributes of a Successful Entrepreneur For many people, entrepreneurship has become the job choice of the 21st century. That's understandable given the challenges and rewards of building a successful business. An entrepreneur is a businessperson who not only conceives and organizes ventures but also frequently takes risks in doing so. Not all independent business people are true entrepreneurs, and not all entrepreneurs are created equal. Qualities or Personal Entrepreneurial Characteristics (PEC) of successful entrepreneurs refer to the desired traits, which enable the entrepreneurs to do what is expected of them and succeed in business. It is the combination of these characteristics that is required to enable any one to perform effectively as an entrepreneur. The characteristics of entrepreneurs being numerous, a successful entrepreneur possesses a combination of traits that show both innovation and leadership qualities. Scholars from around the world have worked tirelessly to discover just what characteristics make a good entrepreneur. While a lot of the findings are still open to debate, there's no doubt that great entrepreneurs have these traits which are presented below. It is possible for people to develop these characteristics and succeed in their careers as entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs have many common characteristics. For convenience these are divided into five clusters namely: (1) Personal Traits, (2) Inter- personnel Skills, (3) Achievement, (4) Planning and (5) Power. PERSONAL TRAITS These attributes are the inherent qualities of a person, and following are the ones which most entrepreneurs possess: Positive Mental Attitude This is undoubtably the most important of all the characteristics. Nobody can be a successful entrepreneur without a positive attitude. The one thing you can be sure of is that you will experience difficult times. If one maintains confidence, persevere and continue to stay positive, one will be successful. Conversely, if one allows doubt and uncertainty to prevail, then one will probably fail. POSITIVE SELF-CONCEPT They know themselves. An achiever channelises his fantasies into worthwhile, achievable goals and sets standards for excellence. He can do this for he knows his strengths and weaknesses, as well as adopts a positive approach. He is seldom negative. Entrepreneurs have a Positive Attitude towards Failure Entrepreneurs understand very early in their journey that failure is a part of the learning process. They don’t get carried away and fall to the depths of sadness when something doesn’t function the way they would have wanted it to. While the whole of society may shun them because of their failure, they still hold up and perform, because the lesson that they have learnt from their failure will come in handy when they attempt the next venture. This attitude towards failure is what gives them the power to rise like a phoenix again and again.
Prudence Too much enthusiasm, however, can also be an entrepreneur's downfall. Too many hopefuls have fallen prey to overconfidence. It's easy to gloss over some glaring faults to your entrepreneurial blueprints when you're extremely excited with the prospect of your business becoming a success. A good entrepreneur knows when to step back and look at the big picture. Entrepreneurship is one of the biggest risks they'll ever take in their life, and prudence allows them to take calculated risks. Prudence will act as their safety net, making them question every move they make so as to avoid any serious problems. Creativity When problems do arise, one can count on creativity to bail one out. Creativity is probably what leads the entrepreneurs to envision their company in the first place, and it'll be creativity that will help them realize the possible solutions to any hitches that might come their way. Successful entrepreneurs find inspiration throughout the entire process, and often discover ways to turn roadblocks into opportunities. When creating a business idea, many entrepreneurs have to be very creative. There is a good chance that someone else has already established himself as the authority for the niche that a new entrepreneur chooses. However, with a little creative twist, new entrepreneurs can take old ideas or business models and revolutionise them, making them attractive to potential clients or customers. Entrepreneurs are very Optimistic A positive outlook is essential for the entrepreneur, who learns to see setbacks as bargain priced tuition for the valuable business lessons gained through firsthand experience. Past shortcomings, failures, or disappointments are relegated to the past so that they cannot continue to haunt the present or obstruct the future. And when things go right and business prospers, this further fuels the optimism and positive mindset of an entrepreneur, helping to give impetus and momentum for greater accomplishments and increased hopefulness. Entrepreneurs by their natural tendency are very positively inclined, desire-driven and solution-oriented. Hence they normally become very trustworthy and tend to trust everybody they meet, with the hope that they also share the same thirst and commitment to the cause. As a result of this, very often entrepreneurs get cheated and are vulnerable to people who look for short-term gains. Possess Technical Skills and Knowledge Every business requires unique technical skills and knowledge on part of the owner. You have to be good at what you do for your business to succeed. This often means getting additional education and training on an ongoing basis, sometimes for the purpose of obtaining specific credentials (e.g., certifications, licenses). Knowledge As entrepreneur is soul of organization he is required to have knowledge about all the operations carried in organization so that he can direct and regulate activities of his employees from time to time. Passionate about Learning
Entrepreneurs are often “autodidactic” learners, which means that much of what they know they learned not in a formal classroom setting but instead on their own by seeking out information, asking questions, and doing personal reading and research. They also are quick to learn from their own mistakes, which means they are less prone to keep repeating them due to arrogance, ego, or a blindness to one’s own faults, shortcomings, or errors in judgement. To teach is to learn. And to lead, train, and impart experience to others the entrepreneur is constantly striving to learn more and get better educated. Because of the passion for education, true entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who either know more than they do or know things that are different from what they know. They entertain the views of others and perspectives that may be unlike their own, for instance, in order to be better students of human nature. In this way they continue to enrich themselves with knowledge while also making a concerted effort to grow that knowledge by sharing it with others who are also front row students of life’s valuable and unlimited lessons. Entrepreneurs are typically Multi-Skilled & Multi-Faceted Most entrepreneurs are very enterprising people. While they may be introverts or extroverts, the moment they strike a chord with what they believe in or what their passion is you will find them just change and blossom immediately. They are the people who are multi-faceted with a lot of skills and talents. And because of this, they are normally very successful generalists, who can put together and quickly understand a lot of things across the breadth of subjects and topics. They generally donot have the patience to spend all their time on just one thing, but when needed, they may have the perseverance to see it throgh as well. Independence Entrepreneur needs independence in his work area as they are not known to follow their rule of thumb. They dislike working for others. Entrepreneurs do not like to work for others and therefore start off on their own. They wish to be their own masters and be responsible for their own decisions. Flexibility They are flexible. Successful entrepreneurs have an open mind and do not hesitate to change their decisions, if after weighing the pros and cons, find that the situation so demands. Analytical Ability They have a dispassionate approach to problems. Entrepreneurs will not let personal likes or dislikes come in the way of their taking a business decision based on ground realities. They seek out experts for assistance rather than friends and relatives. Their decisions are objective and not emotional or impulsive. Orientation for Future Entrepreneurs think ahead. They have the ability to look into the future. They won’t allow the past to bother them and think only of the present and the future. “Bygones are bygones, what of now?” This is their usual response. An individual may not have all
these qualities, but most will have many. The first step for a person aspiring to become an entrepreneur is to make an inventory of his traits. This self-awareness and analysis will help him define his strengths and overcome weaknesses. Hardworking Entrepreneur are know to be workaholic. They put in continuous efforts to achieve success and know that their is no substitute for hard work. They are self-motivated Successful entrepreneurs do not need someone who holds them accountable or forces them to be efficient and productive. Unfortunately, without a manager, many people can not take their business past the planning stages. It takes hard work to create your own business; most people need someone who forces them to keep working. Moreover, when people do not have someone to hold them accountable, they may let their work’s quality suffer. INTER-PERSONNEL BEHAVIOUR They Enjoy being around People Being a successful entrepreneur means one will continuously interact with a diverse array of people such as customers, potential customers, colleagues, competitors, suppliers, lawyers, accountants and coaches. It really helps if one enjoys being around these people. Entrepreneurs know that firsthand, from their own experience, and they tend to be a fun-loving group of people both on and off the job. They are Gregarious Because business is all about people, entrepreneurs tend to be socially outgoing. They get excited about sharing ideas, products, and services, and that excitement is contagious to their employees, clients, friends, and other contacts both within and beyond the business sphere. But women and men who work hard as entrepreneurs also relish the unique opportunity to have fun doing something that they love as their primary vocation. Human resource experts, career counselors, and business psychologists all agree that those who do jobs they enjoy and are good at have higher rates of success and broader measures of satisfaction. They have Excellent Communication Skills Entrepreneurs recognize that the most important part of any business is the human element. Human resources – whether in the form of clients, employees, or strategic partners – are what makes or breaks a business, and communication is the key to successful relationships with people. Communication can be defined as the accurate exchange of information between two or more parties. This is important because one needs to be able to accurately exchange information in a fast--moving world using a variety of communication methods (e.g., interpersonal, electronic). Of particular importance is the ability to listen and truly understand where another person is coming from. The entrepreneur works to hone communication skills, whether those are written, spoken, or non-verbal messages conveyed through body language. And to support communication, he or she will take advantage of all available tools and resources. Those
might include foreign language or public speaking classes, computer and telecom technology, search engine optimization or neurolinguistic programming as it relates to sales and marketing, or specialized writing such as that needed for grants, business proposals, mission statements, or policy manuals. Above all, the entrepreneur develops a keen ability to listen and hear what others are trying to say, because the best communicators got that way by first being the best listeners. They have Interpersonal Skills Entrepreneurs can deal with people at all levels and come across all kinds of people. They have to make them work for them and with them to help realize their objectives. They like working with people and have skills to deal with them. They are Good Motivators They are great in motivating people, and can influence others. A successful entrepreneur can influence others and motivate them to think and act in his way. They are Self-Driven with High Energy Levels Most entrepreneurs are self-motivated and self-driven. They don’t need any external push to do what they are doing. They do it for a reason. They derive energy from this thought and the desire to succeed. They have Excellent Negotiation Skills Entrepreneurs deal with all kinds of agencies, like the suppliers, customers, builders, contractors, govt and semi govt people, investors, financiaer, bankers, etc. and frequently they are required to negotiate for something or the other to their own benefit. They can very cleverly perform this responsibility with accuracy and a win-win situation. ACHIEVEMENT CLUSTER This cluster emphacises the attributes for “Achievement”, which are given below: Need for Achievement A strong desire to win. Most people dream of success, but seldom do anything to implement it. In contrast, entrepreneurs have a strong desire to continuously hit new goals and will not rest till they win. Successful entrepreneurs are achievement--oriented. They value accomplishment and the intrinsic rewards that go along with achieving difficult goals. It is a strong motivator for most business owners. Entrepreneurs are driven by Strong Desire Entrepreneurs are recognised in society because of their varied mindset and high dreams which motivates them to bring in invention and innovation in are of their business. It is important to understand that desire is very different from hope. Desire is the strong and burning need to achieve something. Almost every entrepreneur has some reason in the mind which they want to achieve at any cost. Entrepreneurs compromise all of their personal and professional aspirations to achieve that singular objective, albeit within the the ethical and moral framework. Opportunity Seeking
Entrepreneurs can see opportunity in a problem. They act upon new business oppor- tunities even in situations where other people see nothing but problems/hopelessness. It also encourages them to seize unusual opportunities for obtaining the necessary resources such as financing, equipment, land, workspace, technical assistance, etc, which will enable them to implement their business ideas. Ability to find and Explore Opportunity Alert to opportunities and seizing them to their advantage. Entrepreneurs are innovative and can convert crisis into opportunities. But they are realistic enough to ensure that the opportunity suitably dovetails into realising their goals. They are Strong-Willed Successful entrepreneurs start their business with a vision - a dream. They act on their dream by taking small steps towards accomplishing their goals. With every step, entrepreneurs get closer to attaining their ultimate goal or vision. However, not all steps are easy to take. Unfortunately, nothing worth fighting for is easy to attain. Successful entrepreneurs only made it past the difficult times by being strong-willed. They never let pessimism, difficulty or any other problems stand in their way. Ambition A good entrepreneur is driven to make something of himself. He knows what he wants, and he sets a course to get it. His motivation to achieve something can sometimes be overwhelming, and the urge to establish himself can be quite consuming. An entrepreneur's ambition is often the key ingredient that gets him off of his chair and puts him into action, turning his daydreams into reality. Enthusiasm Often coming hand-in-hand with ambition, enthusiasm plays a great role in the entrepreneur's motivation. While ambition may be the key to the entrepreneur's ignition, enthusiasm is the gas. Every successful entrepreneur has a positive outlook giving him the energy to pursue his endeavors. Without enthusiasm, an entrepreneurial project will slowly wither into inactivity and failure. Commitment Building a successful business requires an absolute commitment. It takes a lot of work and there will be times when you become discouraged. It is during these times that the entrepreneur must be steadfast, faithful and committed to his vision. Commitment to the Work Contract This is the ability to accept final responsibility for completing a job for the customers. Customers expect entrepreneurs to perform and honour their commitments. It follows therefore that the entrepreneur should do everything possible to ensure that he/she fulfils the commitment with his/her customers. It means joining the workers to work with them to ensure that contractual commitments are fulfilled, the entrepreneur will do it. Grateful
Being grateful for what we have opens us up to receive more, and one reason that is true is because those who are grateful appreciate what they are given. They respect it and nurture it. They do their best to make it grow instead of allowing it to dwindle away due to neglect. Entrepreneurs learn to take nothing for granted in this world. That gives them the agility and flexibility to adapt to changes and demands, while it also invests in them a thankfulness that reminds them that riches and wealth are not about “stuff”, but are about fulfillment, satisfaction, and the pleasure that comes from one’s accomplishments and contributions. Decision-Making Entrepreneurs call all the necessary shots. While their creativity makes them men of ideas, it's their ability to make decisions that will make them men of action. The decisions that entrepreneurs make will determine the fate of the company, and it's only through decision-making that things will actually happen. An entrepreneur with poor decision-making skills will have his company caught in a state of inactivity and degradation; good decision-making skills, on the other hand, will ensure that the best possible measures in putting up the business will be enforced. Perseverance Perhaps the most important of all the characteristics of entrepreneurs is the ability to withstand the troubles that come with starting a business. An approach of never-say-die. Once committed to a goal and a course of action, entrepreneurs never retract. Difficulties do not deter them and they work hard till the entire project is successfully accomplished. Beginning a new enterprise is an immensely difficult task, and the entrepreneurs, who stick through the storms and stress can see their venture to be a success. It sometimes takes years for a good idea to start making money, but when it does, the entrepreneur is glad he stood strong in the face of adversity. Persistence This is the quality, which enables the entrepreneurs to develop determination to have a thorough job done at any cost in terms of personal sacrifice. By doing this, the entrepreneur remains working towards the achievement of his/her set goals. Moderate Risk Taker Entrepreneurs prefer a middle-of-the-road strategy while handling tricky situations. They don’t take high risks; they are not gamblers. They prefer a moderate risk to a wild gamble, high enough to be exciting and containing a reasonable winning chance, somr sort of calculated risk. Risk Taking Ability This is one of the major trait of successful entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are people who prefer taking moderate risks. Before they commit themselves and their resources, they assess the risks that are associated with a business opportunity that they have selected, and their ability to manage them, the benefits that they will realise and the challenges that they will face from the venture to be undertaken.
Entrepreneurs can earn profits as a result of taking risks and the higher the risks, the higher the profits. However, entrepreneurs will always prefer to take on those risks that they can manage. They train themselves to acknowledge and accept risk taking as a part of the entrepreneurial journey. So they learn to inteligently handle risks. Not Afraid of Risk or Success Many people could be successful if they only took chances. And many people who do take chances and become somewhat successful find the realisation of their dreams an overwhelming possibility, so they sabotage their continued success by retreating back into a comfort zone of smallness. As discussed earlier, the employee mindset is preoccupied with a need for security. Those who cling to what is familiar to them – even if it means the denial of their dreams – lack the perseverance and ambition that the real entrepreneur exhibits. Entrepreneurs are not immune to fear. But they prioritize their approach to life so that the fear of failure, frustration, boredom, drudgery, and dissatisfaction far outweighs the lingering fear of success. Stress Taker They can work for long hours and simultaneously tackle different problems. As a key figure in his enterprise, the entrepreneur has to cope with several situations simultaneously and take right decisions, even if it involves physical and emotional stress. This is possible if one has the capacity to work long hours and still keep cool. Facing Uncertainty Entrepreneurs do not get deterred by unfamiliar situations but interesting situations. Achievement-driven people are optimistic even in unfamiliar situations. Even if they find the odds daunting, they see no reason why they can’t succeed with their treasure of abilities. They march undeterred, making the best of the fine opportunities that come their way even without guidelines. They quickly come to grips with the new environment and present a picture of boldness and prudence. They apply their special insight and skill. Applying their special insight and skill, they quickly understand the environment and adjust to it. They have Great Survival Instincts and Adaptability Entrepreneurs are the people who are very adaptive and flexible. They quickly understand and adjust themselves to any environment, because their sole goal is to survive and to see their objectives are fullfilled. So whether it’s difficulties in business or personal lives or any other aspect, they face it boldly and handle it effectively. It’s pertinent to quote the proverb here which goes like this: “WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING”. (This is attributed to both Joseph P. Kennedy (1888–1969), father of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and sometimes to Norwegian-born American football player and coach Knute Rockne (1888–1931) Demand for Efficiency and Quality This is the quality that enables an entrepreneur to do things that meet or surpass existing standards of excellence or improve on performance by striving to do things
faster, better and cheaply. By doing this, the entrepreneur remains ahead of others, makes more profits and retains a growing market share. PLANNING CLUSTER The Planning and Organising cluster is made up of the following characteristics: Vision Entrepreneurs work hard to fulfil their dreams and to achieve their objectives, and in the process they visualise market scenario, socio economic, and technological environment. Based on these information they predict future situation and accordingly plan their vision and ways to achieve the desired objective. Objectives Planning & Goal Setting Entrepreneurs think ahead of others and plan for the future. Most successful people set goals for themselves and plan to realize them in a time frame. Planning refers to the ability of an entrepreneur to set clear and specific goals and objectives. These goals and objectives are normally high and challenging but at the same time, realistic and can be attained, given the resources that one has got at his/her disposal. However, one needs to be impartial and dispassionate when it comes to making business decisions because emotion, bias and sentiment can result in poor choices. Dedication Entrepreneurs dedicate themselves to the fulfillment of their plans, visions, and dreams, and that tenacity of purpose generates electricity throughout the whole organization. One of the biggest reasons that companies fail is because they lose focus. Target a goal, clarify the objective, refine the brand, and narrow the margin of error. Regardless of what the effort might involve, an entrepreneur brings a single-minded dedication to the task by being committed to a positive outcome and ready and willing to do the needful. No matter what that might mean in terms of rising to meet a challenge or acting above and beyond the call of duty, the entrepreneur shows steadfast dedication. Information Seeking This is having the urge to look for the required information in order to make an informed decision, for example, selecting, starting and successfully managing the desired business. This calls for the concerned person to personally seek and obtain information regarding customers, suppliers, competitors as well as any other relevant information that is required to enable the entrepreneur make decisions and improve knowledge on his/her business. Using Feedback It is important for them to know how they are faring when they work on their goals. Entrepreneurs take immediate feedback on performance and prefer prompt and accurate data, irrespective of whether they are favourable or not. Unfavourable news spurs them into making amends to attain their goals. Systematic Planning and Monitoring
This is the ability to develop plans that will be used in monitoring and evaluating the progress of the business. This helps the entrepreneur to carefully monitor his/her business’ actual performance against desired performance and turn to other alternatives whenever the need arises; so as to achieve his/her set goals. They are System-Oriented Like mathematical formulas, good systems allow us to reproduce great results every time – with less and less exertion of energy or resources. Entrepreneurs rely upon systems before they rely upon people, and they look for systembased solutions before searching for human resource solutions. If the person gets the job done but falls sick or leaves, the job is threatened. But if a system is created to get the job done, anyone can step in and follow the blueprint to get the desired result. Similarly, when troubleshooting and problem solving, the entrepreneur will first examine and study the system – because a flaw in the system will produce a flawed outcome each and every time. Designing, implementing, and perfecting systems is one of the most useful and rewarding skills of an entrepreneur. They do Value Addition Entrepreneurs are known for bringing new things in market. They create, innovate, add value to existing products in market. They are Intuitive Entrepreneurs do not become successful due to luck. Every successful entrepreneur created his own path with his intelligence, creativity and intuition. Business models are constantly changing. Consequently, the way business owners market and grow their business constantly changes. The most successful entrepreneurs understand how fast current trends change. More importantly, however, they know how to keep up with the changes. POWER CLUSTER Entrepreneurs are Great at Persuasion and Networking This is the ability to link, convince and influence other individuals, agencies and other groups in order to maintain business contacts at a high level. This will help or work for the cause of the business in a positive manner to accomplish own objectives. Successful Entrepreneurs realise that it is not possible for them to achieve anything alone. They quickly learn to connect with people who have positive and mutually beneficial relationships. Entrepreneurs also realise the importance to constantly network and stay in touch with the overall market, which enables them to grow their business. They have a Great Amount of Self-Confidence and Self Esteem This refers to having a strong belief or confidence in oneself and the ability to complete a difficult task or meet a challenge. Confidence is a hallmark of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are determined people who will achieve what they set out for. Entrepreneurs exhibit a great sense of self-confidence and have great depth of self-esteem. They consider themselves as good, and they donot allow external criticism to effect either of these qualities.
Many confident people gain their sense of self esteem and faith in their ability to greet challenges by acting – even when they lack the confidence – and then gaining strength and belief in themselves by seeing the results and gaining the praise and respect of others. They are Authoritative Entrepreneurs learn very quickly that there are many people with whom they need to network. However, not everyone has their best interest in mind. They may encounter naysayers, manipulators and scammers. Entrepreneurs donot allow themselves to be easily influenced by excercising authority. Though there is nothing wrong with taking advice or opinions, in the end, it’s the entrepreneus who strongly believe their decisions will be the best for their company. They have a Sense of Ownership Taking responsibility for getting things done – and doing them with care and attention – means to act like an owner. Rather than viewing a problem as someone else’s, the entrepreneur sees it as his or her own and takes pride in finding a solution, leaving things in better shape then they were before encountering them, and improving upon situations rather than leaving them unattended. While a sense of ownership makes for a stellar employee, the entrepreneur knows that the goal is not to be owned by the enslavement of too much responsibility. Rather than controlling situations in an attempt to possess them, the entrepreneur teaches other people how to take charge. In that way the clever entrepreneur uses individual accountability in the ultimate pursuit of profitability, teamwork, and overall success. They are Good Team Players Those who go into business for themselves but do not utilize teamwork wind up without the team but still have all the work to get done. They shoulder the whole burden for themselves, and wind up just trading their old job for a new and more demanding one – in an attempt to be self-employed. But the new venture carries greater personal and financial risks. On the other hand, team players know how to succeed by employing the physics of interpersonal synergy and dynamic relationships. One twig can be easily snapped, but a bundle of those small twigs becomes stronger than the sum of its individual parts and can be impossible to bend, much less break. The same goes for businesses, and successful entrepreneurs leverage teamwork to get the heavy lifting done without breaking stride. They exhibit Resourcefulness Most new businesses have limited resources such as money, information and time. Successful entrepreneurs figure out how to get the most out of these resources. They are masters at stretching a dollar and making a few resources go a long way. Also they are on the constant lookout for new resources. They are Dependable This should go without saying but I will say it anyway. There is a strong positive relationship between your perceived level of reliability and the success of your business. No matter what type of business you have, your customers expect you to be dependable.
Proactive and not Reactive Successful entrepreneurs anticipate problems in advance and deal with them before they occur. If you simply react to problems and issues as they arise, you may get overwhelmed. They possess Leadership Quality Entrepreneur exhibits qualities of good leader. They are good planners, organizers, decision makers and are empathetic towards employees at workplace. A Leader by Example Entrepreneurs not only lead themselves through self-motivation as self-starters who jump into tasks with enthusiasm, but they are also skilled at leading others. They know the importance of teamwork, and they understand the need to appreciate others, support them, and reward them accordingly. True leaders do not become indispensable, otherwise things fall apart in their absence and they can never rise to the highest level of entrepreneurial freedom and prosperity. Neither do they squander the potential of those working under their guidance. As a renowned business consultant and retired United States Air Force Major General Perry M. Smith once wrote, “Leaders who share their power and their time can accomplish extraordinary things. The best leaders understand that leadership is the liberation of talent; hence they gain power not only by constantly giving it away, but also by not grabbing it back.” Entrepreneurs work under Constraints but Never Accept Constraints It is most common to quote contraints are a reason for failing to achieve. However, entrepreneurs understand quickly that they have constraints and they will also have limitations. So instead of blaming the situations they try to identify innovative ways in which they can overcome the problem. Their focus is always on the solution and not the problem. Conclusion Most people desire to be an entrepreneur. Becoming your own boss and creating your own career is very attractive to most people. Additionally, many movies glorify people who found a way to make a living on their own. However, not everyone has an entrepreneurial mindset. [ End ] Himansu S M / 20-Jun-2013
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