Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Business Tips - Why Twitter - Part 5

BUSINESS TIPS – Why Twitter – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

I will be out of the office for a week or so with no connectivity, so this is the last blog post for a while.

As promised last week, here are some additional tips on tweeting and the last in this particular series.

Isn’t the electronic age exciting?  I know that I am always on about the fact that I am a technophobe, but that is just because I don’t understand the technical jargon – on a logical level though, I do understand what different things can do and that, well that just confuses a lot of IT people who think that they can spin me a yarn and I will just accept it – that very seldom works, but I digress – again!

What I am trying to tell you is that technology makes things so much easier and instead of us trying to do everything ourselves, some really clever people have made it possible for us (with the use of links and automation) to do a great number of things with the click on a button.   For example, if you sign up for Tweetlater and set it up correctly (ok this is where you can’t ask me the questions as I don’t have a clue how to do this), it will automatically send a thank you message to all of the people as they ‘follow’ you.  How clever is that?

The other really cool thing is if you link all of your social networking sites to your twitter account.  That way everyone on those sites, are linked to you and that will also increase your following as well as increase the traffic that you drive to your website or blog.

Finally, don’t forget to look for a BIG/SUCCESSFUL person who is in the same niche market as yourself.  Once you have found them, follow them.  The fact that they may be big and successful in their own right, doesn’t exclude them from being a potential client of yours.  They may be doing research for something that they need to read up on and you may very well have the answer that they are looking for.

Be warned though, you will only be able to follow a maximum of 2000 people, until you have 2000 people following you.  Once you have the required 2000 people following you, the sky is the limit.

Oh and as always, don’t forget to have fun!

Happy tweeting!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Monday, January 22, 2018

Motivation - Understanding That We Are All Role Models

MOTIVATION – Understanding That We are All Role Models

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

For the record, whilst I do understand that we are all role models in our own right – this particular subject makes me extremely nervous on a personal level.

Let me explain why, so that you too can be aware of it and then we will move forward on to the ‘understanding that we are all role models’.

Being a role model is not a difficult thing at all.  We have all ‘looked up’ to people in our lives.  We have all, at some point or another followed someone’s way of thinking or doing or looking.  That in itself is a healthy thing and not bad at all.  It’s when someone ‘hangs’ onto your every word and actually almost (if not in fact) ‘hero worships’ you or puts you onto the proverbial pedestal.  This is where it actually goes pear shaped!  You see at some point you are going to fall off that pedestal and when that happens there is usually a great deal of hurt and anger and animosity.  You didn’t put yourself onto the pedestal and yet you are the person who gets blamed for falling off the damn thing!  So now you know why I get very nervous when people want me to ‘mentor’ them, it actually makes me want to run in the other direction.  For the South Africans amongst us – remember Hansie and all the emotion, disbelief and anger that came out of that one (myself included).  Putting people onto a pedestal is not a good thing at all – they are after all . . . just people.

So now, let’s have a look at ‘Understanding That We Are All Role Models’.

It’s often a really frightening thing to know that someone out there looks up to us as a role model.  Can you imagine someone really wanting to be us, or wanting to live the life that we have.  I often hear people saying things like “Nikki, I would love to have your energy” or “Nikki I would love to be able to Network the way you do.”  My usual response is to either growl at them or if I am in a really good mood, explain that it is all in the choices that they make.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think that I am good enough for someone to want to emulate, or that I am not proud of my achievements.  I also understand on some level that I do make a difference in the lives of many people – that’s a choice that I made many years ago – to make a difference, and for me that is very exciting as it opens up all sorts of opportunities for me.  What scares me the most is that I consider myself a ‘work in progress’ and I am continually working on the person who I am and who I want to be.  I cannot control how quickly (or slowly for that matter) I change or evolve and now I have to consider the people who are trying to keep up with me.  The mind boggles!

What is equally if not more scary is that this is how people, supposedly intelligent people, follow other people into all sorts of disgusting, horrible and often even purely evil, avenues of life.  Think about all the gangs, rip off artists and scammers, or cults and then what about the leaders of this world – people like Hitler and Robert Mugabe and Idi Amin.  Believe it or not there are still those amongst us, yes they walk amongst us, who still think that these people are heroes.

On the flip side of the coin, this is also the avenue that we can make the most difference and how exciting is that.  It also, in my opinion, makes us responsible for the way that some people see the world and how they will ultimately act in the world and how they will behave in the world and quite honestly that makes me feel really proud, especially because it is as a direct result of me . . .  well just being me.

How incredible is that?  It means that I, little old me, will have either a positive or a negative effect on someone in the world today. It makes me responsible for the way that I interact with people (oh dear, now that means I have just kicked my own rear end), it means that I have to be careful of the choices that I make today because someone else is watching what I am doing because what I do will influence what they say, or think or do.

Just writing this piece has made me realize just how much more aware I need to be, on the daily choices that I often make without even thinking.

This knowledge and awareness makes me understand that I can literally change the world, one person at a time, and that’s really cool.  It’s a big responsibility and I still have no desire to step onto the pedestal, but it’s also really mind blowing to understand the power that I have and that you have too.

The question remains however – what are you going to do with your power today?

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Friday, January 19, 2018

HR 101 – What to do When . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 7

HR 101 – What to do When . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 7

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Law and Best Practice requirements.

To continue from last time.

What exactly is an “Unprotected or Prohibited” Strike?  Well it’s really quite simple and literally means what it says – if the employees or the union have not followed the correct procedures or if they are striking over anything that is not ‘protected’ (see previous articles on this subject), then the strike is not protected, which basically means that they are not protected, in any way from being dismissed (of course, as usual there are procedures that would still need to be followed).

Should the employees embark on an Unprotected or Prohibited Strike, the employer can go to the Labour Court for an urgent interdict to stop the employees from continuing the strike.

If the employees continue to strike, the employer can start thinking about dismissal.  Actually you don’t need to wait until you get an interdict, which they usually then ignore, but it is a good idea to wait as it puts the employer in a much stronger position should there be a question of ‘fair dismissal’.

To re-iterate, in terms of the dismissal, the employee still needs to follow the correct procedures, which would include:

issuing a written ultimatum to the employees stating that they should return to work or face possible dismissal – please note that the ultimatum must be very clear.  The employer must ensure that the staff understand, in simple clear terms, that if they do not come back to work they will face a disciplinary hearing that may result in dismissal.  If the ultimatum is not clear, then the employer may end up having to face charges of ‘unfair’ dismissal at a subsequent CCMA hearing. If your workforce are not proficient in English (or whatever language you ‘work’ in), get the ultimatum translated into the language that they use – this will ensure that they do understand the meaning of what it is that you are trying to convey. Don’t, whatever you do ‘threaten’ that there may be a disciplinary – make sure that they understand that if they don’t come back to work within 24 hours (or whatever time frame you set like . . .  by tomorrow the 22nd January 2009) disciplinary action WILL be taken that may result in dismissal (be careful not to say ‘will result in dismissal because that indicates that the verdict has already been handed down before the disciplinary has even taken place).  Also be careful about attaching any further terms and conditions – make sure that they are legal.  Make sure that the employees have sufficient time to consider the ultimatum – don’t for example say that they have to be back at work within the hour – that’s just unreasonable.  If there is a union, get the union involved and get them to intervene.  Unions, generally speaking, do not want their members going off on an unprotected or prohibited strike and they will usually try and persuade the employees to get back to work. 
The Labour Appeal Court, has in the past indicated that it is not enough just to issue an ultimatum to get the employees back to work and then if they don’t you can dismiss them – they still need to have the chance to be heard.  It is not necessary to have a formal hearing, but what the employer does need to do, is ensure that staff are dismissed on charges that are ‘fair and reasonable’.  Depending on the number of staff involved, it is suggested however, that a formal disciplinary hearing take place.  In the instances where it is not practical to have a formal hearing for each staff member (imagine doing disciplinary hearings for say 100+ staff members), employers should write to the union advising them that in view of the fact that the employees have not adhered to the ultimatum, you (the employer) are now considering dismissal and that the union now has 24 hours within which to give explanations or make representations as to why you (the employer) should not dismiss the striking employees.

Next week we will have a look at ‘how’ the employer actually goes about the dismissal process.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://wwwviljoenconsulting.co.za

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Marketing 101 - The E-Mail Way - Part 2

Marketing 101 - The E-Mail Way – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting 

Following on from last week –

One of the things that I have learnt from managing my database and Networking is that people have to constantly be reminded about you.  Who you are, and what it is that you do.

In view of this it is extremely important to have your branding on everything that you do.  Every mail that you send out should be properly branded and by using e-mail marketing, something (even if it is just a short newsletter of sorts) should go out on a regular basis, in order to build up and or maintain your data base.

Small businesses do not have the kind of cash flow that supports the big name brands such as Coca-Cola®, who spend millions on ad campaigns on TV, in the newspapers, in magazines and on billboards (to name but a few), to get their name embedded in the minds of Joe Public.  So how do we do it?

Again one of the most cost effective ways to run an ad campaign would be through the use of e-mails.  This would have a similar impact at a fraction of the cost.  

E-mail also reaches the entire world which means that your product or service would also reach friends, family and customers where-ever they are in the world.  E-mail marketing knows no boundaries.

We are living in a technological age and this also means that most of what we do can be automated and this includes the use of E-mails for marketing.  There are systems available that add new customers or friends or e-mail addresses to your data base.  You don’t actually have to physically add all the addresses in yourself, this can be automated making the task even more simple and even more cost effective – how cool is that?  In fact, if the truth be told, there are even systems that will send follow up mails and prompt clients and prospective client to respond and even update their own information on your database as well as unsubscribe.  Now that’s technology for you!

Next week we will continue with some more advantages of e-mail marketing.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Networking 101 - Networking with Integrity

Networking 101 - Networking with Integrity

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Resist short term gain, at the expense of trust and integrity.”

Now this is an interesting one!  Many times, a few days after meeting someone at a networking meeting, I have phoned said person only to be told – “I’ve not gotten anything out of the meeting from anyone, so this networking thing doesn’t work for me!”

Oh how sad and how very short sighted!  Here’s the thing see – if you go to a networking event purely with the intention of getting some work or selling a widget at that meeting, please don’t go.  All you are doing is wasting everybody’s time and energy and more to the point, disillusioning yourself!

Think about this logically for a moment.  If you do a cold call and you manage to get past the gate keeper and in to see the top brass – how often will you make a sale of your widget and/or service at that first meeting?  The answer is pretty much NEVER!  So why on earth would you think that you could get it right at one networking meeting?

The truth is that networking doesn’t, by itself, get you any business!  What it does do is get you to meet people, far more people than you would if you were going door to door and cold calling.  It is still what you do, after you have met with those people, that counts.  It’s how you build the relationship thereafter that makes the difference!

Networking is about ‘warm’ calling – once you have met or even seen someone at a networking meeting, when you call them up – even if they don’t remember seeing or meeting you there, once you introduce yourself and say you were at that meeting, they will remember being there too and it is easier to set up the appointment!  Once you have your foot in that door, the building of the relationship can start taking place and the referrals of your own ‘circle of influence’, can take place and the meeting of the other persons ‘circle of influence’ can start to take place and big business can start being done.  It has to start somewhere though and that somewhere is at the networking meeting!

So in essence, networking is about meeting new people in order to start building relationships.  Once you have grasped that, you will be well on your way.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at http://www.drrenatevolpe.co.za

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Business Tips - Why Twitter - Part 4

BUSINESS TIPS – Why Twitter – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

As promised last time, here are some additional tips when tweeting.

Since it is all about giving to get, (and I believe this to be true irrespective of whether you own a business or not), don’t just tweet to drive the numbers to your website.  Engage in conversation, join in discussions and respond to those who send you a tweet.  Yes I know that it may seem a little awkward at first, they are strangers after all, but remember – you are in cyberspace and that makes you very safe!

The more you engage with people, the more involved you become and the more involved you become, the more friends you make and let’s face it, we can always do with a few more friends!  Actually if the truth be told, because of twitter and facebook, I have reconnected with old friends and acquaintances that I had lost contact with – some of whom I have not spoken to or seen in over 35 years.  They are both an incredible medium.

Despite the fact that this is cyberspace and as far as I am concerned, you are safe – there are some scary people out there and it is always better to be safe than sorry.  So, no-where is it written that you have to put personal details such as your home or physical address or contact details and certainly it would be wise to exercise caution in these particular areas.  I always look at the following as a guideline before following another tweeter:

1. If, when looking at their profiles, everything is written in a foreign language, then there is really no point in me following them as I cannot understand what they are on about and

2. If their tweets (and for goodness sake have a look at more than one or two, to be fair) don’t hold my attention or deal with anything that I find even remotely interesting, then quite frankly – what is the point?

Exercise reasonable caution and you will be fine.  Remember though you can always stop following someone – there is no law that says you have to engage with anyone.

Next time we will have a look at some additional tweeting tips.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Monday, January 15, 2018

Motivation - Unleashed Imagination


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from William Arthur Ward who says “Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like unleashed imagination.”

How’s that for a mouthful of absolute truth!  We have an ad-campaign running here at the moment (although I forget what the product is) that has a young child saying something along the lines of “they say we should think of out the box!  I say throw the box away!”  The first time I heard it, I was astounded – not only by the words, but by my reaction to them!  You see as an Internal Auditor, many people out there think that I should dress a certain way and behave a certain way, much like a character in some soap opera.  It is their perception of how an ‘auditor’ should be.  I have never fitted into that particular box and I have no intention ever, of fitting into any kind of box, for that matter. 

I have always stated that I ‘think outside the box’ and yet here was a totally new concept!  Throw the box away!  How cool is that?  Not having a box to be inside or outside of meant, for me, that much more opportunity.  The mind boggled – well mine did anyway.

I guess that when most people say  that you need to ‘focus’ on the business, they mean always keep your mind on your business.  But what if . . . .  what if, we didn’t so much focus on the business, but rather take the focus off the business and we just allowed ourselves to see and I mean actually see what opportunities there are out there?  Remove the box from our vision, take the blinkers off or however you want to say it – but really look at the different ways that we could collaborate or form joint ventures or work opportunities!

For me it opens up a whole different view – this last week has seen me collaborating with Personal and Business Coaches, and mentors as well as graphic designers and power point facilitators.  I am doing trade exchanges with web designers and IT guru’s and Media people.

Now suddenly the more I look around me, the more opportunities I see.  The more opportunities I see the more my imagination finds ways for me to become involved, the more I become involved the more I am inspired.

So fire up your imagination, lose your blinkers and kick the box out of the way – there is more than enough to go around and there is no reason at all, for you not to have a share.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za.