Friday, March 24, 2017

HR 101 – What to do When . . . Staff are Negligent in the Performance of their Duties - PART 6

HR 101 – What to do When . . .  Staff are Negligent in the Performance of their Duties - PART 6

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC

So here we are at the very end.  Mike the business owner has had his say, George the security guard has had his say and the Commissioner at the CCMA has had his say.

The bottom line is that Mike has to re-employ George and also has to fork out a bunch of money for dismissing George in the first place, even though the Commissioner agrees that George was in fact wrong for not complying with laid down procedures.

So now it is time for me to have my say.

Yes I agree that George’s misconduct deserved a disciplinary.  Yes I agree that ultimately George should have been dismissed!

Yes I agree that Mike was in a terrible situation, with serious losses occurring and yes I agree that Mike was well within his rights to have the surveillance equipment installed and monitored.

George’s claim that he had not been trained properly, is as far as I am concerned a load of rubbish – surely after 14 years he should have known what it is that he was doing.  There is also documentary evidence that he was in fact trained – Mike has his signature to prove that.

George’s claim that he was transferred against his will is also a load of non-sense, there is no evidence to substantiate this claim.

My knee-jerk reaction would be that Mike did everything correctly and the decision should have been in his favour.

That said, and given time to reflect without any emotion, my mind has been changed.  In terms of the law, Mike should have held the disciplinary and given George a Final Written warning as well as more documented training.  The situation should then have been monitored some more and had George slipped up even once, another disciplinary should have taken place, at which time George should have been dismissed.

This would have shown that Mike had taken steps to correct the matter rather than just get rid of George.  The CCMA outcome would also have been very different in my opinion.

The lesson that should be learnt here is always use caution.  Make sure that every avenue has been covered.  Make sure that you have been ‘seen’ to try and remedy before you just dismiss. Make sure that you get legal assistance because much of the law is open to interpretation.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sales 101 - Increasing the Number of Units Sold

SALES 101 – Increasing the Number of Units Sold

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Over the last two weeks we have looked at the how to increase the number of your clients as well as how to increase the frequency of the sale.  Today we are going to deal with increasing the number of units sold.

Now logic must tell you that by merely increasing the number of customers and increasing the frequency of the sales, you will automatically increase the number of units that you have sold.

Understanding how to add value to this equation will mean that you will also increase the number of units sold even more.  Think about it for a moment – if you have say 100 new clients, that’s 100 more sales, but if your product or service requires that they are used more frequently, say every two weeks, instead of once a month, that means that you have  200 more sales.  Now add to that a product or service that can be used in conjunction with another product or service and now suddenly you have 400 sales.

Obviously the more value that you add to the deal, the more units per sale you will sell.  How cool is that, and how perfectly simple too.

Actually the beauty of this is several fold – you see you are not only adding value to you customer, but you are also building a strong sustainable relationship with that customer and in building the relationship you are also building customer loyalty.

Finally, don’t forget that you need to see real results in order to measure your success.  So start with what you actually know about your customers,  add your market research to that and you will have a winning formula.  The more relevant customer-focused type information your have on your clients, the better your platform for generating new clients, retaining current and ‘old’ clients and generating more sales.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Networking 101 - Successful Leaders & Networking

Networking 101 – Successful Leaders & Networking

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

In her “Networking Tips”, Dr Renate Volpe states “Successful leaders spend up to 48% of their time networking.  How much of your time are you spending building your business network?”

Some time ago at one of the Inner Circle meetings that I hosted in Cresta, there was this chap that sat quietly listening to what was being said.  When it was his turn to stand up and tell the audience who he was and what he did, he said something along the lines of “Only unsuccessful people network”.

Needless to say I was gob-smacked!  Why then would they have all of these “old boy clubs” that we so often hear about in the movies and that we know, from personal experience to be alive and well.  Why would children in Private Schools make the kind of contacts that they are urged to make, from junior school?

I have watched my Godson Bruce, grow up from being a little titch in Junior school at the Ridge, where he made friends with all manner and means of children, whose parents were well connected both politically and in the business field.  I watched him go off to Michael House, in the Midlands and heard the tales he told of which children he had befriended and who their parents were.  Then he won for himself a scholarship in one of the most prestigious schools in the world, Wharton’s Business School in the University of Pennsylvania (which incidentally was founded by Benjamin Franklin), I again heard who he is now connected with and which professors he works with for his pocket money or allowance – and what I hear most of all is why he chose to work for them.

Don’t get me wrong, Bruce is not a snob, he never has been, but he understood how important it was to make the right connections, at the beginning of his working life.

I wonder why he did that, if only ‘unsuccessful’ people need to network!

Could it be that the chap who came to my meeting had it all wrong?  Perhaps what he meant to say was that “Successful people network”!

Do you network enough?

If you would like to know more about Dr Renate Volpe, please feel free to visit her on

Nikki in an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Monday, March 20, 2017

Motivation - Responsive to Change

MOTIVATION –  Responsive to Change

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Charles Darwin says “It’s not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is responsive to change.”

Ain’t that the truth!  Thing is though, that it is not only generally true to life, but very definitely true of business and in particular small businesses.

I know that when I started my business, I had a very clear idea of what was supposed to happen.  I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and how it was going to get done and I had a very clear idea about who my clients would be.

Then I hit reality!  You see just because I know what a small business needs, doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business will agree with me!  Doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business even understands what the true value of what I do that helps his business.  Doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business, even though he may understand the value of what I do, has the money to put that value to good use.

The first couple of years were hard I must admit.  Time and time again, I walked into businesses who were in desperate need of what I do, who could or would not afford me.  Time and time again I walked into businesses that were floundering along and the owner was so engrossed in putting one foot in front of the other to keep himself above the water that he could not see how with each footstep he was walking deeper and deeper into the water.  People saw (and in many instances, still do see) what I do as a ‘grudge’ purchase (much as most of us see insurance) and they resented having to buy my wares.  Sad that – really sad.

Here’s the thing though, I had to change my mind set and find other ways to bring money in.  I had to change my thinking and expand my list of offerings, if I didn’t I would soon have become another statistic.  People, especially small business owners, were not ready to see that what I do (no matter what they pay for it now) actually saves them money in the long run and until such time as I could make them see that and understand that, I would have to look in other directions to bring the monthly revenues in.

So I looked in similar but different directions and so my workshop A Basic Practical Guide to Starting a Business was born.  From there my vision and dreams have expanded and now I have a whole bunch of facilitators – all small business owners, like myself, teaching small business owners what they need to learn.  Each one of the facilitators are people who are passionate about what it is that they do and each one is an expert in their own fields.  What makes their training unique is the fact that they are entrepreneurs who teach others and share their knowledge.  They share the experiences of what they did, how to avoid what they would have liked to avoid and how to ‘rake it in’ where possible.  They are not the big corporate giants trying to teach entrepreneurs something that they have no clue how to do – run a small business.

Have I abandoned my dream, the original dream?  Of course not, actually I do a great deal of work in that arena and I love it as much as I did when I started – more probably because of what I have had to endure to keep it alive.  That said, I am constantly looking for new avenues, new opportunities and new adventures and believe me when I say “I mean to have my cake and eat it!”

In order to survive, to flourish and grow, though – you do have to adapt.  Remember to constantly look around you and see the potential – not just see it, but feel it and embrace it and then do something about it.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Friday, March 17, 2017

HR 101 – What to do When . . . Staff are Negligent in the Performance of their Duties – Part 5

HR 101 – What to do When . . . Staff are Negligent in the Performance of their Duties – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations & Best Practice requirements.

So here we are, still at the CCMA arbitration and now awaiting the verdict of the Commissioner.

Based on the evidence that was presented at the CCMA Arbitration hearing, the Commissioner rejected both claims made by George.  You will remember that George stated that he had not received any training in relation to the search procedures and that he actually objected to his being transferred to this particular post.

The Commissioner said that he agreed with Mike’s rule that the searches should be conducted in a certain and specific way and he said that he thought that this was a valid way in which to perform this task.  He approved of this particular rule.  The Commissioner also said that he agreed that George had failed in his duty has he had not obeyed the rule.  A problem arises later on though, when the Commissioner decides that George only contravened the rule as a mistake – in other words it was unintentional.  George did not intentionally fail to adhere to laid down procedures – George made a mistake!  But I digress and get ahead of myself – let’s return to the story where it is now.

The Commissioner also took into account Section 188(2) of the Labour Relations Act which states “when a person is considering whether the reason for dismissal is a fair reason, he must take into account the Code of Good Practice – Dismissal.”

Next time we will get the final episode on this particular saga.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Networking 101 - Believe in Yourself

Networking 101 - Believe in Yourself

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Self Esteem  

Grace Hansen once said “Don’t be afraid that your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin”.

Helen Nicolson says – “You have to believe in yourself enough to believe that you have something of value to offer in any networking relationship.”

If you really think that you are worthless and have nothing that anyone else will want, then that is exactly how other people will see you.  If you do not believe in yourself, you cannot expect anyone else to believe in you.

The way that you introduce yourself and your or service or product to people is of the utmost importance.  You have to be proud of who you are and what you do – this will show in the manner in which you present yourself.  If you are confident in yourself, your abilities or your product this will be evident to the person who you are talking to, conversely, if you are not confident in yourself, your abilities or your product, this will also be evident.

You have to sell yourself, before you can sell your product.  People will have to ‘buy in’ to who you are in order for you to make the sale.  Even if you are nervous, act in a confident manner and have something of value to offer.  As time goes by, your confidence will improve and pretty soon you will find that you are not so nervous and that it becomes easier each time.

Be friendly, make eye contact and show interest in the other person too.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Business Tips - How to Manage Your Cash Flow Crisis - Part 2

BUSINESS TIPS – How to Manage Your Cash Flow Crisis – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – April 2016

Last time, remember, we discussed the only 3 reasons why you will find yourself in a cash flow crisis.  To remind ourselves, there were:-

1. You’re not making enough money.  This usually means that you have to increase the number of sales that you are making or alternatively it may mean that your margins are incorrect, which means that your profits are too small or even non-existent.  Either way you are not making enough money.

2. You are not getting your debtors to pay you.  That means that your money coming in is insufficient to meet the needs of your money going out.

3. You are spending too much money!

In the interests of clarity, let’s just be clear on something else here too – the only person responsible for your cash flow crisis is you.  You are the only person who has to manage your cash flow and the only way that you could have ended up with a cash flow problem is if you failed to manage your sales, your collections and your expenses.

You need to step up and take responsibility and be accountable for the situation that you find yourself in.  I know that this is probably not what you want to hear but in order for you to take ownership of the problem and sort it out, you need to understand that you have the problem because you failed to adequately manage these three elements.

In order for you to overcome your cash flow problem you need to take control of the situation.

So let’s break it down

Firstly, take a big breath and calm yourself down!

Getting into a state is not going to help the situation.  You need to give your full attention to finding the solutions to your problem and you will not be able to do this effectively if you are in a state of panic.

First things first.

Before you can fix the problem you have to know exactly what the problem is.  It may be that you have a specific problem, for example you are not collecting your funds efficiently or it may be that it is a combination of all three.

So the first thing that you need to know is exactly how much money you owe to people and how much is owed to you.

You will need to be brutally honest with yourself here and although it can be one of the most painful exercises that you will ever have to do, please understand that it will have to be done and once done will be very liberating too. Don’t leave anyone off the list.  If you owe the newspaper guy R5, put it on the list.

By the same token, if somebody owes you R5, that must also go onto the list.

To take this one step further you need to record the date from which you owe the money or are owed.  Then calculate how long the debt has been outstanding for both your creditors (those who gave you credit or who you owe money to) and your debtors (those you owe a debt to and who you owe money).  This document is called an aging analysis.  This will give you a better understanding of exactly how much you owe as well as how much you are owed and in both instances, for how long.

Once you have all of this information, have a closer look at all your creditors and in order of priority, list those who need to be paid immediately as well as who can be paid a bit later. The length of time that the money is owed, plus the value of the debt and of course the person who is shouting the loudest for their money, usually determines who gets paid first and how much is paid.

Whilst you are in this state of “crisis”, it is advisable to do this exercise on a daily basis, recorded which suppliers you have paid, how much you paid, when they were paid and the balance that you still owe them.  Remember to add all your “new” suppliers onto the list too.

On the debtor’s side, make sure that you list each and every payment that you receive and make a note of “how” you have allocated it to the creditors that you have paid.  Again, for the moment do this on a daily basis so that you can track that what has come in and gone out to those that you need to pay, in order for them to give you a little breathing space and room to maneuver.

Next time we will have a look at how to take the next important step!

Next time we will delve a little deeper into the mystery that is cash-flow to get a little more clarity

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or