Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 94

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 94

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today I am going to share with you, one of the most effective ways to educate your networking partners about what it is and who it is, that you are looking for in a client.

Actually it’s awfully simple – you have to share! Yes it is actually as simple as that, you have to share with them the qualities of your current clientele.

Paint a visual picture or even a virtual picture of the people who you currently do work for. Tell them the top five things (you can tell them more next time to you know) that you do for those particular clients and why those clients need you do to those things for them.

If you can, arrange for the client to come and talk about the difficulties that they were having, how what you have done has made such a big change to their business.

Give some examples of measurements that been made to illustrate your point – for example, Ann said that she was closing one in forty five deals before she had some sales coaching by Tom and now she is closing four in five deals.

Try and do demonstrations where possible, when you can show people something it often has a far more profound effect than just talking about it. Have a power-point presentation done or bring a flipchart.

This kind of ‘show and tell’ interactions really help to ensure that your networking partners really understand the type and calibre of the person that you would like to have referred to you.

The more you show your ‘circle of influence’ the type of referral and the calibre of client that you desire, the more that you will find that the referrals that you begin to get will be of a much higher calibre than you currently (perhaps) have and the more chance you will have of closing the sale.
I have found that if I ‘enlighten’ the people that I want to get referrals from rather than trying to ‘sell’ them what I have, it makes it easier for them to understand what it is that I want.

So change your mindset when you go to a Networking event, don’t try and sell anyone anything, rather try and educate them on how what you do and/or sell can make a difference and then watch and see how the quality of your referrals will improve.

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BUSINESS TIPS - Check if you are Blacklisted

BUSINESS TIPS

Check if You Are Blacklisted

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting December 2008.

We’ve all heard about the bad economy and how things are going to get worse before they get better. We’ve all heard about how this is a global recession and how everyone is going to feel the pinch. Well on a personal level, I am not sure that I actually ‘buy into’ that, however that is another subject for another day.

The reality of what is happening today is people are losing their jobs. People are feeling the ‘credit crunch’ and feeling a bit squeezed and people are being blacklisted despite what we are told about the NCA (National Credit Act) and the various rules and regulations.

The Credit Information Ombudsman has, to assist consumers, introduced the “Back to Basics” project.

According to Caroline Buthelezi, who is an Ombudsman spokesperson, “going back to basics was not just budgeting to survive the current financial turmoil, but emphasizing the importance of laying a solid foundation for the future.”

Not knowing where you are financially, both in you personal and business capacity, can have seriously detrimental consequences.

Buthelezi also said “Checking and know what goes on with your credit profile is part of the building blocks for the foundation.”

That said, it makes perfect sense to check your credit profiles at least once a year and to assist consumers in taking control of their credit history, the National Credit Act has decided that consumers are entitles to one free credit report a year. If consumers choose to have more than one, a maximum of R20.00 may be charged. How great is that?

As much as many of us would love to be able to save and then by everything we need for cash, the reality is that there will be times when we absolutely have to purchase items on credit and when we need the credit, our credit record will have to be a healthy one.

Please note that consumers who are battling to get out of debt can make use of Debt Counselors, who will assist them.

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

Monday, December 29, 2008

MOTIVATION - It Might Have Been

MOTIVATION – It Might Have Been


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

John Greenleaf Whittier is the man who wrote today’s quote which goes “For all sad words of tongue & Pen, the saddest are these ‘It might have been’”.

I am often asked if I had to die right now, if I had any regrets. On the face of it, it’s a really simple question but look beneath the surface and it becomes a whole lot more.

For many, there is little more than the drudgery of life. Putting one step in front of the other with no thought to anything other than remaining barely alive.

For many, there is nothing more than the hope of finding a few hours of work in order to put food on the table.

For others, there is nothing than the hope that your favorite intersection has not been taken by someone else, and you are forced to beg elsewhere in the heat of the sun, or the cold of winter, through the storms and winds. Forced to look at people who either show sympathy by giving you a few coins or disgust at the fact that you are begging or many who don’t even see you as human – to them you are invisible.

For many, who merely exist from day to day, there aren’t even any dreams of what could be or what might be, all they have to look forward to tomorrow is exactly what they had today – nothing!

I wonder what they would say if they were asked if they had any regrets? I wonder, if their very lives are something that they regret?

What about those who have been physically and mentally damaged by violence, by crime, by life – would they even understand what a regret is, or are they locked into a world so very far from ours?

So, to get back to the original question – do I have regrets, I don’t think so. There are many things that I have done, that in hindsight, I would have probably done very differently. But actual regrets – no – I think everything that was meant to happen, has happened at exactly the right time and space that it was supposed to have happened. Any sooner and I would not have been able to cope and any later and I would have been off in another direction.

So, you see – I am one of the lucky ones. I can dream, I have hope and although I may have been slightly ‘damaged’ along the way, by life – I am still essentially just exactly who I am meant to be.

Will I change – of course I will! I will continue to grow, I will continue to dream and I will continue to move forward – just as I always have.

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

Friday, December 26, 2008

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want To Strike - Part 6

ARTICLE 16

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

So what is a ‘lockout’ actually. A ‘lockout’ is when the employer, locks the striking employees, out of the office/warehouse/factory/store etc. There are two types of ‘Lock Out’ – a ‘defensive’ and an ‘offensive’ ‘lock out’. An employer is not obliged to remunerate an employee for services that the employee does not render during a protected strike or a protected lock-out,

In terms of the Labour Relations Act of 1995, Section 64 (which is the section that deals specifically with “Lock outs”, there are several reasons when the ‘lock out’ can be a really useful tool in there is a strike.

The union has to give ‘Notice of Intention to Strike’ and when they do this you are entitled to issue a “Lock Out Notice’ which means once the strike begins – so does the ‘lock out.’

Let’s have a look at the benefits of a ‘lock out’.

Well firstly a benefit would be that the employer does not have to pay the employee for the duration of the strike.

Secondly, the union officials and their shop stewards very often do not advise the employees of the employers right to ‘lock out’ and often the employees only find this out after the fact, which places them on the ‘back foot’ so to speak. The Lock Out notice must be placed on the Company Notice board so that all employees are aware of what action the employer is going to take.

Giving a notice of lock out changes the ‘power play’ quite drastically. The striking employees are no longer in control of when they come back to work.

A defensive ‘lock out’ must always be in response to a strike, because the employees can not return to work until such time as they have dropped their demands.

Be careful though, the opposite of a ‘defensive’ ‘lock out’ is an ‘offensive’ ‘lock out’ and that occurs if you declare a ‘lock out’ that is not in response to a strike. This would then mean that your employees would have to accept the employers demand to come back to work. If you declare an ‘offensive’ ‘lock out’, you will not be allowed to use any replacement labour and this is in terms of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 section 75(1)(b).

An ‘offensive’ ‘lock out’ lets the striking employees and the union officials know, just how serious you are about the offer that you have put on the table. An ‘offensive’ ‘lock out’ should only be used together with negotiations on an ‘ongoing’ basis and it is highly likely that this will then result in a settlement which should bring the strike to an end.

So make sure that you know and understand exactly which ‘lock out’ you are declaring and why. Declaring the wrong one could cause you a lot of wasted time and energy, not to mention costs incurred.

The bottom line of course is that prevention is always better than cure and although it costs the employer ‘an arm and a leg’, the reality of the situation is that it also costs the employee, usually a lot more than what they bargained for.

So no matter how deadlocked talks appear to be, it is in your own best interests to continue to talk to union officials and shop stewards. They too, more often than not, would also like to see a settlement sooner rather than later.

Next week we will have a look at Unprotected or prohibited strikes.

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

Thursday, December 25, 2008

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 4

Good Morning Bloggers - a very merry Xmas to your all!

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting December 2008.

How about taking your clients wants and needs into consideration and making the shopping experience that much more pleasurable for them?

I am not a natural shopper. To be honest, I absolutely hate shopping. For me wandering around the shops picking things up to put them down again because they are not quite right is a complete waste of time and only serves as an irritation. So being able to locate exactly what was advertised in the right colour and in the right size without a huge fuss is always first prize.

So remove all the difficulties and ‘red tape’ for your clients. If you’ve advertised it, make sure that you have sufficient stock. Make sure it is visible and that your clients have easy access to it. Putting it on the top shelf which means that I have to find a ladder to get to it is not a good idea and only means that I will walk out without making the purchase.

Make sure that you have sufficient staff to help the customers. Making me wait for hours because you don’t have sufficient staff to process the sale, will result in no sale from me. The frustration of waiting and endless queuing will make me walk out.

Don’t ask customers to complete pages and pages of questions. I am very aware of identity fraud and I don’t like to give my personal details to and sundry.

Don’t ask me to ‘come back later’ or ‘come back this afternoon’ or ‘come back next month’. I don’t have the time and/or the inclination to go backwards and forwards to your shop/office.

Do ask me if I would like something else if you don’t have the exact item that I am looking for, but if I say ‘No Thank You’ don’t try and manipulate me into buying something that I don’t really want. You will not only lose the sale, but the customer as well.

Don’t try and engage me in a conversation where you try and tell me your whole life story. As much as you may feel that your story is very interesting/exciting/humorous (insert what you would like here), quite frankly, I am here to purchase something, nothing else and quite honestly, I am probably not interested at all. I will walk out in the middle of your story – you will think I am rude and in all probability, I will never come back to your store/office to buy anything again – just in case you try and bore me to death again.

Don’t tell me about all of your difficult clients – I have often been told that I a difficult client! I don’t see it like that at all. As far as I am concerned, I am very easy going . . . as long as you give me exactly what it is that I want! By telling me about your difficult clients, you are telling me that you do not meet the needs of your clients and/or their expectations and I will not want to ‘share’ their experience.

If I ask a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t try and waffle your way through and give me useless, incorrect information. Rather be honest and tell me that you ‘don’t know’. Ask me if I would like to wait until you find out the answer to offer to call me with the relevant information as soon as you have found the answer. Then actually call me!

Do always make sure that you are hygienic in your personal capacity. If you have body odour, bad breath or dirty fingernails, I will walk out.

Remember that word of mouth is a very powerful medium and that negative or bad referrals travel faster and to more people than good ones.

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

THE

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 93

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

On the table today is simplifying the components of your business. Remember that people who go to networking meetings are going to be listening to a great number of people, all in the space of a minimum of time. It’s natural to want to tell everybody who attends, all 300 things that you do in your business. It’s just too much information – so please do your best to resist the urge!

Even if you attend one meeting a week, that’s 52 times you will be given the opportunity to tell people who you are and the wonderful bouquet of products and/or services. At any given meeting though, try and limit your product and/or services to just one.

Take the time to explain in detail, educate your networking partners – create visual posters or images in their minds. Let them ‘feel’ and see and smell and touch your products and/or service. Demonstrate your product or tell them stories about the value of your service. Explain in detail the value add properties and the consequences of what can/will/might go wrong if people don’t use your product and/or service or what it is that they might be missing out on.

Each week, talk about a different product or a different aspect of your business. Each week get detailed and ‘up close and personal’. Make your stories and tales really interesting and full of useful information, so that they cannot wait for the next meeting and/or encounter.

Make them want to know more about what it is that you do.

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BUSINESS TIPS - Using Your Voice

BUSINESS TIPS

Using your Voice

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting December 2008.

It is said that “You never get a second chance to make a good impression and it only takes 15 seconds to make that impression.”

Rightly or wrongly the fact of the matter is that it’s the ‘visual’ – all of you – yes warts and all, that ultimately contributes to the creation of that impression. It’s your appearance, your attitude (portrayed by your body language) and even your voice that people first get to see and/or hear, and they then make a judgment on who you are, based on that. Really crazy, but that is the truth of the matter.

Much has been stated on your appearance and there are style and image consultants galore, who will mold you and dress you and ensure that you are wearing the right clothes, in the right colours, with the right shoes and the right accessories, the right make up and the right hair colour/cut/shape (insert what you will here).

Still more has been said about the eating of food and the diets that go along with them to get you into some sort of shape (other than round) and that will greatly enhance your appearance.

Don’t for a minute forget all the coaching, counseling and hours that you spend, at great expense I might add, getting a good a healthy attitude adjustment. Making sure that your head is not only screwed on tightly, but also facing in the correct direction.

On a personal note though, there is nothing more strange and off-putting for me, than meeting the most beautiful woman on the planet and then when she opens her mouth to speak, out comes something that can only be described as, a high pitched squeak in a clearly phony American/English/French (insert what you want here) accent! Or how about the very tall, extremely well built, slightly bronzed next James Bond, with the dashing smile and rippling muscles, who opens his mouth only to sound like my neighbour’s 13 year old son, whose voice is changing.

Quite honestly, when I am confronted with voices that sound like these, I am so busy trying to keep a straight face and not burst out into gales of laughter, that I have missed whatever it is that they are trying to say.

The point of the whole article is to highlight the fact that it is clear that good vocals and good speech also is of vital importance to the package that is you and will contribute greatly in the selling the concept, service and/or product that you are trying to sell.

Phony accents and/or voices that are clearly ‘put on’ do huge amounts of damage to your credibility and therefore to your value. If you are putting on a fake accent and/or voice – what else about you is fake and phony.

Imagine hearing a presentation done in an unnaturally high pitched voice with a phony accent. How much of that particular presentation would you actually hear and how much of what you have heard will you actually believe?

Research shows that people who converse in a ‘rich resonant voice, in the lower frequencies’, irrespective of whether they are male or female, are usually see to be more sincere and/or credible.

So, if you have a problem with a voice that is high pitched or nasal sounding or monotonous and flat, perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in some professional assistance and advice – for the sake of your business.

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

MOTIVATION - My Stones

MOTIVATION – MY STONES


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

William Arthur Ward says “We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them or build with them.”

Well here we are again and it’s all about the choices that we make to any of the situations that we may find ourselves in.

A huge debate has been raging on one of the forums that I used to belong to. You see as in most aspects of life, there were several people who were very active and prolific on the forum. They all came from different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions and so on.

Whilst discussion took place over a varied number of issues, usually these could become quite colourful as people voiced their opinions and their beliefs and it was easy to see that people were really passionate about what they did and what they believed in.

Where the whole thing started to go pear shaped (well for me anyway) is when certain individuals would not allow people their own opinions in their own beliefs (or lack there of) and started to almost force their own religious beliefs onto everyone else, belittling the beliefs of everyone else and quoting chapter and verse at every inappropriate opportunity.

Pretty soon every discussion ended up having some sort of religious debate and the own/founder of the forum stepped in and censorship was born.

Constantly members complained about what could be or couldn’t be discussed as the offending few continued their barrage of religious innuendo, until many members just quietly left, no longer wanting to be party in the foray!

Several members bravely continued to try and keep the forum going and new discussions were started only to be promptly invaded by the quoting of scripture either offered up as a solution and/or given as the cause of whatever happened. It became so that you couldn’t go anywhere on the forum without tripping up or falling over a scripture of some sort.

The founder of the forum, whilst implementing rules, failed to enforce said rules and the offending few just continued at every opportunity, climbing over every discussion and every debate, quoting scripture after scripture, chapter after chapter and verse after verse. Remember this a Business forum, where issues around business were discussed and so every discussion from ‘Crime affecting Business’ to ‘staff behaviour’ came under some sort of religious attack until finally, in disgust and frustration, I have picked my stones, that I was trying to build a community with, and I have left.

I will use my stones to build another community. One whose members will, hopefully also use their stones, to build the forum into a community with a strong foundation, good business ethics, a value of friendship, an understanding and respect of the opinions of others and their right to think differently.

A community who can share ideas, debate issues, care about one another and laugh together.

But if they don’t – remember my stones can always be gathered up, tucked back under my arm and moved to greener pastures.

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want To Strike - Part 5

ARTICLE 16

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

Replacement labour is the topic on the table today. Let’s have a look at the reality of a strike.

A strike can have devastating financial implications to a company. Look at the results of some of the strikes that took place over the last couple of years.

Think about Pick ‘n Pay – the last really bad one that I remember is when shoppers were confronted with Toi Toi-ing staff as they tried to enter the stores to do their shopping. I remember Jeremy Mansfield of Highveld Stereo trying to make light of the situation by saying something along the lines of “I have never felt so welcome in all of my life – there were what seemed like hundreds of people singing and dancing as they came towards me with arms open wide to greet me and welcome me into the store!” Ja Boet – and I also believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy! Jokes aside, many customers did not want to be personally ‘welcomed’ into the store and despite assurances that they would not be harmed in any way, they chose to shop elsewhere. I have no doubt that millions of Rands worth of turnover was lost by the company.

Now in this situation, Pick n’ Pay would have no alternative but to hire replacement labour if they wanted to have any kind of turnover at all and if they did not want to close their doors to the public.

It is a given however, that replacement staff, irrespective of whether they have been supplied by a labour broker and/or sourced by yourselves or even if you use your own staff from other areas, will invariably be subjected to intimidation and even physical and/or verbal abuse in some instances. So you need to ensure that they necessary precautionary steps are in place to ensure that your replacement labour is protected.

You can (and perhaps should) for example install some additional security surveillance such as CCTV type camera and video set ups or hire additional independent security. Whatever you do, inform the union of what you are doing or intend to do in order to re-enforce their responsibility to ensure that they control their members.

Be aware though, that all of these additional bits and pieces will have a financial implication too. Don’t for a minute think that a strike is not going to cost you and ultimately prevention is always better that cure (and often a lot cheaper in the long run).

Next week we will look at what a ‘lock out’ is and the benefits and/or implications of having one.

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 3

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting December 2008.

What I am going to say now, may be offensive to some at first glance, but I promise to explain myself during the course of the article.

Take advantage of the failure of others!

Now that may sound really hard and even very mean, but think about it for a while.

Let’s step back for a moment. We all understand that education equals knowledge. I am equally sure that we have all heard about “knowledge is power”. I would like to suggest however, that it is what we do with that knowledge that makes us powerful.

When we look at businesses to see why they have failed, specifically businesses that have been selling the same or similar products and/or services as ours, it should be so that we can learn from their mistakes and hopefully thereby avoid the same failure and not to ‘gloat’.

We need to look at what they were doing and where/how it went wrong and then we need to find ways to ensure that whatever they did to make it fall over – is not something that we do.

Questions like (but not limited to);
· who was their target market
· what was the quality of their product and/or services
· what was the value of their product and/or service
· what was the value add to their customers of their product and/or services
· was their product and/or service unique and different to that of their competitors and if so how?

Remember, the more you fail on your market testing, the more you actually succeed in the long run. So keep testing your market all the time. Analyze the results and try to improve the value and the value add to your target market all the time. Even when you have a “winning formula”, you still need to continually move forward, change, morph and evolve.

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 92

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 92

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today I continue with my tips on the ‘how to’ of getting your dream referrals from your ‘Circle of Influence’ or Network.

Last week we looked at teaching our Networks about what our “Dream Referral” looks like. This week I would like to talk about ‘getting what we ask for’.

Now I’m sure that brought a smile to many faces, as we are often told to ‘be careful what you ask for’ and yet this is exactly what it is that I want to discuss.

We often hear people at Networking meetings, asking us to refer them to “Anyone who wants and/or who is looking for . . . .” or how about “Everyone who want and/or who is looking for . . . .” I am sure you remember exactly who they are and also exactly what the product and/or service is that they want you to refer on their behalf. You don’t! You really don’t! Ok, let me explain why you don’t.

It appears that when we hear to many ‘anyone’s’ and ‘everyone’s’ we tune out because we know so many anyone’s and/or everyone’s that it becomes too much and we end up not referring ‘anyone’ to ‘everyone’, or is it the other way around? I am led to believe that this has something to do with information overload, and let’s face it – there is a huge amount of irrelevant information out there. So in order for us to access the correct information we need to ask specific questions.

So too it is with referrals! If you want the right referral, you have to be specific with your request when asking for referrals.

Be specific about who you would like to do work for and the kind of work that you want to do, so that your Networking partners have a clear picture in their minds of the type of person/referral that you are wanting.

Remember though – Be careful what you wish for!

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE - Dreams and Nightmares

PREPARING YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE

Dreams and Nightmares by Mark Corke

Good Morning Bloggers

For a while, with his permission, I will be posting articles from Mark Corke of Suitegum.

Mark is a Business Broker, who writes articles on, and runs seminars on “Preparing you Business for Sale”. Should you wish to register for some of Mark’s free articles and tips, Here is the link.

Both Mark and I are of the opinion that ensuring that your Business is Prepared for Sale at all times will ensure that your business always commands the highest value. It actually increases the value of your Business quite considerably.

It hasn't happened to me for many years now, and long may it stay that way... The last time I experienced the terror, I was a much younger man. The shame, the embarrassment and cold sweat. Who knows? Who saw? Who cares? I would wake up in my bed, eyes wide in the dark, sweating and terrified. How the hell had I managed to get to the bottom of my road without my pants?.

"Fear is not an unknown emotion to us." Neil Armstrong

Have you ever had the dream where you get all dolled up to go out somewhere important? You find yourself walking down the road, talking excitedly with your mates as you all head off to the same party. As you approach your destination you gradually become aware that all is not quite right. Something is missing; your shirt is clean, you have a jersey or jacket for the cooler evening. But why the breeze? You subconsciously adjust your tie; and then it dawns on you.

The weird thing is that none of your mates has noticed until then. It's only once you grab down to cover your genitals that the others notice. And then they really notice, and the laughter starts. You wake with a start. Sweating.

I'm no psychologist, but the metaphor should not be wasted on us: Perhaps this is an early warning to us for our later lives; our pension lives maybe? As small business people, so many of us take the view that we cannot afford to make monthly payments towards pension funds and savings accounts, opting instead to invest in our own businesses. The aim of course is to ultimately sell the business, and use the proceeds to look after ourselves into our old age. For others who do save or contribute to pension schemes, the planned sale of a business will add even more wealth.

A wonderful ideal, and one that works brilliantly for many small business owners. For some it works better than they would ever have imagined, and they are better off than they thought to the tune of several millions, as their businesses sell for way more than they planned. And then of course all too many discover that they left home without their trousers. None of their friends tell them so, and the first they know about their shame is at the gates to the party.

Contrast that if you will, with a client of ours who had been made an offer for the purchase of half his shares in his business by a BEE group. With no idea as to the real value of his business, he approached Suitegum to ascertain a market value of the business. The result was a number in the region of R3M. Given that he had been offered R6M for 50%, we advised him to grab the deal. Understandably, the purchaser's bank declined to finance the deal, and it fell through. So at annual intervals, the business owner revisited the valuation, and made several improvements to the manner in which the business was conducted

Values jumped from the original R3M to more than R20M over the next few years, and it is at this level that we are likely to help him conclude a deal before the end of the year. Please don't become intimidated by these figures in the millions. Last year I struggled to find more than R100,000 in the value of a small retail and wholesale enterprise. It was not run very well, and the reporting left a lot to be desired. I am finishing off a revaluation today, and am stunned by the improvement brought about by some simple interventions. Today that business will command a price in excess of R500,000. Without the valuation last year, it would more likely have deteriorated further.

Boyzangirls, it is such a simple matter to take stock of where you are every few years. A sort of business health check if you want. The cost is negligible in the greater scheme of things, and that very health check can provide you with valuable insights to making your current wealth vehicle a little bit faster and more comfortable. It may even alert you to an early exit and reinvestment before you have that girl in the pig tails examining your own little pig tail too far from decent cover.

Where to start? Prepare your financial statements properly, and get them up to date. It's that simple, and it is a legal requirement any way. Worry about consultants and valuations later.

Cheers
Mark Corke

Rob has been receiving a steady stream of competitor research questionnaires, but he still has a way to go before he has a good representative sample. He also still has several give away prizes to temp you to complete the questionnaire. Remember that he will be providing a copy of the results to all participants. This will give you, as a co-respondent, valuable information about how other respondents conduct their competitor research. To participate, download and save the file. Then open it and complete the questions as they are presented. The file automatically sends itself to Rob when completed.

I am running a new seminar series in Johannesburg, and in Cape Town and Durban during the course of the year. Please join me to learn how to Prepare your Business For Sale and Present Your Business For Transfer.

I hope to meet up with you there.

For additional information and course dates, please visit Mark and the Suitegum team on http://www.suitegum.co.za

Monday, December 15, 2008

LATEST SCAM - THIS IS SERIOUS

From: Operations Communication Centre Sent: 12 December 2008 12:11 PMSubject: Ops alert (MasterCard Scam)

Here is the latest scam used by fraudsters:

An SMS is addressed to a client, reflecting his/her ID number, postal address and e-mail address
(all correct), and then reads…

"would you fax the front and back of your credit card to 0866456323, Online Festive Season Proctection.
Standard Bank Limited"

(Note the spelling error - Proctection.)

We have confirmed this with Card Division, and it is indeed fraudulent.

MOTIVATION - The Price of Excellence

MOTIVATION – The Price of Excellence


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

William Arthur Ward says “the Price of Excellence is discipline. The Cost of mediocrity is disappointment.”

I cannot begin to tell you about the number of clients who I see on a daily basis who are faced with the disappointment that comes because of their own mediocrity.

Oh don’t for a minute think that they are disappointed or angry or even resentful because they see themselves as the problem or that they have been mediocre in their businesses or with their staff or with the VAT/Tax man. Oh no! Their disappointment is always because of something and/or someone else. It couldn’t possibly be because of what they may have or may not have done!

The reality of course is usually very different. It is entirely because of their own actions or more often than not, their inactions.

Often though (to give them a little benefit of the doubt), their action and/or inaction is directly attributable to their lack of knowledge on the subject. Again, in all truthfulness, this is also directly attributable to their own lack of discipline. I can actually see everybody’s hackles rising as they read these words. But actually that is exactly what it is – lack of discipline because inadequate research has been done and it’s been a case of, “Jump right in honey, the water is just fine!”

You see too often we have an idea for a product and/or business and without doing the proper research or understanding the full consequences of our actions and/or inactions, we just jump right in and then of course when we fail, it’s everybody else’s fault, definitely not ours. We didn’t have the self discipline to sit down, do the research, work out the numbers, calculate the risks against the rewards and then make an informed decision.

Of course, there are those of us who have the information and the know the risks but who choose not to work in a disciplined environment, or who want to ‘cheat’ the system or who thrive on taking risks. For those too, it’s also everyone else’s fault when they get ‘caught out’. It’s the VAT/tax man who has killed their business – not their lack of discipline to manage their VAT or tax. Or how about the Department of Labour, who has imposed a huge fine for non compliance, that may result in the business folding – not their unfair Labour practice or lack of discipline in following the rules, that protect both them and their staff.

In both of these instances (and thousands of others that result in the failure of a business), the implementation of simple policies and procedures and the discipline needed to follow them, would have been sufficient to avoid the problems and their subsequent consequences altogether.

But no – it’s easier to apportion blame than it is to admit that we were in the wrong!

It’s easier to ‘go with the flow’ than it is to set the boundaries and limits and be disciplined enough to stay within these parameters.

Be warned though – those of you who just ‘go with the flow’ usually end up learning and also paying for the hardest lesson of all – the lesson of failure and disappointment.

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want To Strike - Part 4

ARTICLE 16

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

This week we will look at some tips on ‘how to’ control a strike action.

Often what happens within an organization is that one the union has given notice of intention to strike to Management, the employees then go on a mission to increase their numbers and support. They do this by asking non-union member to join them in the strike. This usually becomes intimidation and as we have all often seen in the past this can lead to violence.

Make sure that the unions are advised, as soon as the notice of intention to strike has been given, that they are obliged to ensure that all non-union members are not intimidated in any way. Advise them that it is their responsibility to ensure that they control their members.

Put a notice on notice boards and/or send out an e-mail or a memo to all the staff stating that you have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in terms of intimidation. Make sure that they understand that any employee who intimidates another employee will be requested to attend a disciplinary hearing and that if they are found guilty of intimidation, they may be dismissed.

Be aware that proving intimidation is very difficult as the only witness that you may have is the person who was actually intimidated and they often don’t want to give evidence at a disciplinary as this may result in further reprisals against them.

Misconduct, in the form of violence and/or verbal abuse, should also not be tolerated at all, during a strike. Again all employees and the union should be notified in writing, that under no circumstances with misconduct in the form of violence, verbal abuse and/or destruction of property will not be tolerated and anyone found in the Act of Misconduct will face disciplinary procedures and those found guilty may dismissed. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the union understand that any losses incurred as a direct result of misconduct, will be for their account and that the union will be held liable. Ensure that the union officials understand that any form of misconduct and/or intimidation will result in the Company approaching the Labour Court for an urgent interdict.

If possible get a written undertaking from the union acknowledging that they have a duty to control their members during a strike.

If any acts of misconduct and/or intimidation occur during the strike, make sure that disciplinary hearings are undertaken after the strike is over. It is of the utmost importance that you do this in order to set a precedent, irrespective of whether the strike had the desired effect or not. This re-iterates your stand on misconduct and/or intimidation and sends a clear message that you have ‘zero’ tolerance in terms of intimidation and/or misconduct.

As usual, prevention is better than cure and so it is a good idea to ensure that you have all of these policies in place before you are in a ‘strike’ type situation. Put your rules in place, or negotiate your rules with the union about strike related conduct before you are in any kind of dispute and when you are more likely to get a reasonable resolution in place. Obviously, if there is a pre-agreement in place and this is breached in any way, you have to take action – but having a pre-agreement in place means that you are in a much stronger position to do so.

Next week we will look at replacement labour.

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 2

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting December 2008.

Today we are again looking at some of the different ways in which we can increase our Sales Income.

Education is key! Educating your target market or market ignorance is what it is generally called. Let’s face it people, unless you tell people what it is that you sell, be it product and/or service, how will they know?

So get yourself a blog and write/post articles and/or tips related to your product and/or service. Give people useful tips and/or information – share ideas or get a discussion going that explores different ideas or gives answers to related challenges.

Get satisfied customers to tell their stories of what made them use your product and/or service and how it worked for them, what were the benefits, what were the challenges and how these were overcome. Try to get your stories published in the newspapers or magazines or even on the radio or television. You would be absolutely amazed how ‘hungry’ for material all of these mediums are and even if you don’t get paid to tell your stories or share your tips and advice, get them to publish it under your branding – get your name out there.

Use direct mail or direct sales or direct telesales to get your message across. Some people understand pictures better than words, some like to hear rather than read and some prefer a combination of all. Whichever you choose – make sure that you get your message across and that people understand the value of what it is that you are selling.

Educate your target market.

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 91

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 91

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Often when we entrepreneurs try to build relationships within ‘our circle of influence’, we try and ‘sell’ ourselves and/or our products to those individuals with the express hope that they will in turn ‘sell’ us to their respective ‘circle of influence’ and we will receive qualified, consistent and dynamic leads. This in theory is how it should work.

That said, in order to optimize what our needs are we should add several steps along the way, in order to ensure that the leads that we get are of the highest quality. Let’s face it – none of us want a ‘bad client’! So for the next couple of weeks I am going to concentrate on ‘getting the best referrals and/or clients’ from your Networking relationships.

Let’s presume that your product and/or service is unique, (let me say here that it doesn’t matter how many competitors you have, you have made it unique because of the level of service or the value adds or what have you) and it (the product and/or service) has made a profound difference in the life of one of your clients and let’s call her Sue.

In any event, Sue is immensely grateful for the product and/or service that you have provided her and as far as she is concerned you have single handedly literally ‘saved her life,’ and she is not at all shy about telling the whole world about how it is that you came to ‘save her life’. I have no doubt at all that we all have a “Sue” somewhere in our businesses.

So now here is what you do – at the very next Networking meeting that you go to (and all subsequent ones to), get Sue to go along with you – get her to tell everyone what you sold/did that was so ordinarily extraordinary.

For all intent and purposes, Sue is your dream client, she is your dream referral and everybody can see what she looks like. An ordinary person – just like everybody else, someone who has the normal requirements - just like everyone else, but to whom your product and/or service has made an incredible difference. Now think about it for a moment – if your product and/or service has made such a difference in her life, imagine what it can do for theirs?

If your ‘Sue’ cannot manage to go to the meeting with you – there is nothing at all to stop you from describing your ‘Sue’ and her reaction to the difference and/or the actual difference that you made itself. The more detail you can give them about ‘Sue’s’ experience and the kind of person that she is (in other words your target market) the greater the understanding that your collaborative networking partners will have in recognising your prospective clients when they meet them outside of the Networking meeting.

Hiding your particular light under a bushel when you want to generate referrals that lead to sales is not a good idea.

So don’t be scared to tell people just how great your product and/or service is. No-one will know unless you actually tell them!

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

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE - Strategies for Demise

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE

Strategies for Demise by Mark Corke

Mark is a Business Broker, who writes articles on, and runs seminars on “Preparing you Business for Sale”. Should you wish to register for some of Mark’s free articles and tips, Here is the link.

Both Mark and I are of the opinion that ensuring that your Business is Prepared for Sale at all times will ensure that your business always commands the highest value. It actually increases the value of your Business quite considerably.
I sat in a strategy meeting of one of our clients last Friday. The discussion revolved around how the business could improve its BBBEE scorecard.
After some discussion with opinions swinging first this way, then that, it was resolved that from 1 October the business would only purchase from suppliers who were able to demonstrate a level 4 or better scorecard themselves. The result of this policy change is that our client will benefit its own scorecard exactly the way the designers of the system intended, as its procurement score is lifted. But what are the consequences?
"Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. " Winston Churchill
Discussions over the merits and demerits of the BBBEE legislation aside; what struck me was the ease with which the decision was made. A motion was tabled, a debate ensued, and a major policy change was made. I found my thoughts wandering to the well being of the business’s current suppliers. What will be the effect on those suppliers’ employees and their wider families, come the end of October?
It was so easy: An economic and political imperative will become the destiny of other small businesses very soon. None of them have any warning that they will no longer be servicing this customer of theirs.
Then on Saturday, a week after the strategy meeting above, I was in Durban and was asked to meet with a guy who wants to sell his business. Fairly standard stuff, I know, but bear with me: As the discussion progressed, it transpired that his biggest customer accounts for an astounding 80% of his turnover.
Now that may make for easy invoicing and collecting, but it is extremely dangerous for any business, small or not so small. In fact in this situation, the business owner is little more than the incentive driven head of the customer’s service department, but without the employee protection afforded in legislation. Let’s face it, if there is a change of management, ownership or heart in the boardroom of the customer, all that income could dry up in an instant… or after a short debate one Friday afternoon!
As we run valuations on businesses, we ask three questions in this regard:
What is the percentage of turnover attributed to your biggest customer?
What percentage of turnover do your three biggest customers account for?
80% of your turnover is attributed to what percentage of your customers?
This last question is a direct reference to Vilfredo Pareto’s famous 80/20 rule, and the greater distance that any business can put between itself and the classic ratio, the better. In this context, this rule would state something along the lines of “20% of customers account for 80% of turnover”.
Retailers are famously immune from this rule, but agencies, factories and professionals are not, and need to guard against turnover complacency making them blind to the enormous risks dressed up as “continued ongoing bankable business”.
This and other strategies for business success while preparing your business for sale are covered for free in my email course, for which you can register here. So far we have 500 subscribers, all of whom will be head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd one day when they cash in their current money spinners.
By the way… with all that under the bridge, consider what it may be like for the new supplier of the first business who does have his BBBEE ducks lined up. They are about to grow some with very little extra effort.
And if your turnover is below R35M per annum, achieving a level 4 is dead easy - a bit like lining up two ducks.
If your turnover is approaching R35M per annum or is already exceeding this magic figure, more ducks enter the lineup, and getting them to stand in a straight line becomes a bit more tricky. BUT it is at this level that opportunities for owner wealth gearing magically appear.
A few weeks ago I wrote about this sort of circumstance and offered a solution which would gear the business owner's wealth dramatically over the next few years. For many business people who are currently knocking heads with their BEE scorecard demanding customers, this should be revisited.
You can write to me to ask me more if this situation applies to you, or enjoy the benefits of Prepare your Business For Sale by joining the seminar email course. You won't be charged a cent, I promise! The feedback I have been getting from subscribers has made it a very rewarding task for me. If you haven't already subscribed, please do so.
CheersMark Corke

Monday, December 08, 2008

MOTIVATION - Work

MOTIVATION – WORK


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from Zig Zigler who says “The most practical, beautiful, workable, philosophy won’t work – if you won’t.”

This one sure made me smile – a big smile! You see for years now, I have sat in Networking meetings and for me it was kind of like stating the obvious. Networking doesn’t work unless you work at it! No matter how great the opportunity that presents itself, if you don’t do something with it – nothing will happen. Building relationships is futile, if you don’t work at them.

I am often astounded by the fact that people go to Networking meetings (or even Business meetings for that matter) and say things like – ‘It doesn’t work for me because nothing happened.’ Well of course nothing happened! You did nothing!

Despite the fact that the Universe is really abundant, despite the fact that opportunities abound, despite the fact that for every door that closes, several open – you, the individual still have to do something! For goodness sake people, think about it for a moment – in order to win the Lotto, you still have to buy the ticket!

So perhaps you will believe me now – now that I have the endorsement of the great Zig Zigler!

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

Friday, December 05, 2008

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want To Strike - Part 3

ARTICLE 16

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

Today we are going to look at when a strike is considered protected. This means that there are certain procedures that the staff and/or unions have to follow before the strike can be deemed protected.

In terms of Section 64(I)(a), the first thing that needs to happen is that they need to have referred the dispute for conciliation. They can’t just decide that there is a ‘dead lock’ in negotiations and they were therefore strike. They have to refer the dispute to the CCMA and/or the bargaining council. Clearly it is incumbent upon them as well as the employer to try and resolve the dispute before any strike can take place.

After that, should a Certificate of Outcome, stating that the issue has been resolved be issued and/or after 30 days (or any extension to this that has been agreed to by the employer and the employee) after the first referral was received by the bargaining council and/or the CCMA, employees will have the right to strike. Remember that it is one of the two alternatives, not both.

The second thing that needs to happen is that the staff must give notice of intention to strike. The employer needs to receive the notice of intention to strike at least 48 hours prior to when the strike will begin. The notice of intention to strike must clearly state the starting time and date of the strike. Please remember that if the dispute relates in any way to a collective agreement that was decided and completed in a bargaining council then the notice of intention to strike must also be given to that council. In the instances where the employees are also a member of their employer’s organization that is also a part or been part of the dispute in question, then the notice of intention to strike must also be given to that particular organization too.

The third thing that has to happen is that if the issue in dispute is about a refusal to bargain, the employees must obtain ‘an advisory arbitration award.’ This advisory arbitration award, must be obtained prior to the notice of intention to strike being issued.

A question that is often asked is whether a strike can be called unprotected even if the procedures that have been documented above have been followed.

The answer, as always is as clear as mud – yes it can, depending on what the dispute is about. Clearly each case should be judged on it’s own merit because of the way in which things are ‘written’ and documented. It’s about the law you see, and usually anything to do with the law means that some bright spark somewhere will find a loop hole or something that has not been clearly (enough) documented.

Let’s have a look at an example of this.

George and his fellow worker, have insisted on a minimum wage of R25.00 an hour. Mike is prepared to pay R8.00. Eventually, after much negotiation and name calling both parties agree that R10.00 per hour is a fair amount for the minimum wage, across the board. The union then decides, well they think it should be R11.00 – nothing prevents them from asking for more than what has already been agreed to. The Union now says that Mike is refusing to bargain and they proceed to put the procedures in place to start the strike process. In this particular instance, a clause needs to be inserted allowing for an increase to the minimum wage. This will negate the necessity for collective bargaining about wages increases at shop floor level.

As you can see however, it is in your own best interests (not to mention the drain on your financial resources) to get a really good Labour Attorney involved in any of these types of discussions/negotiations as failure to cross the obligatory ‘t’ or dot the ‘i’ could result in costing you a lot of money in the long run.

That all said, there are also some instances where employees can strike without following any kind of procedures.

If Mike were to change the working hours, or the age of retirement or the benefits that have been documented in the Letters and/or Contracts of Employment, without entering into any kind of negotiation with the employees, George and his fellow workers could go on strike and because the regulatory issues governed in Section 64(4), if Mike does not restore everything to the way it was, they would not have to follow any of the procedures that would normally have to be followed before submitting a notice of intention to strike.

Next week we will have a look at some tips on how to control a strike action.

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

Thursday, December 04, 2008

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 1

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting December 2008.

Before we walk down this particular road together, let it be understood that I am no sales guru! In fact as I do the research for these articles I am learning! For me, being an Internal Auditor, it is all about logic! So here we go on this particular journey together.

I have no doubt that there are many ways in which to increase income generated from sales, be they sales of product or sales of your services.

Logic must tell us that one of the easiest would be to either increase the price of your product and/or your service or alternatively increase the number of units of product you sell or the number of times that you sell your service.

Within these two components there must be several variations on how to either increase the price of the product and/or your services as well as how to justify these. I have no doubt that we have all looked at these at some stage or another. I want to explore all the other avenues that are open to us.

1. Relationship selling. For me, all my business is about building relationships, so it stands to reason that in doing business this way, I increase the probability of doing repeat business. Apparently in the ‘good old, bad old days’, the way to sell was to give a presentation and then close the deal. Nowadays business is done by building relationships and building trust with your clients. In the building of the relationship, it is certainly very important that we focus on ‘what the client needs’ rather than what we think the client needs. The focus appears to have moved from what we can provide to what the client needs for us to provide. Building these kinds of relationships with clients ensures not only repeat business, but also life long relationships with clients. Again, for me this is far easier than trying to find new clients all the time – not that we should not be looking for new clients all the time, however that said, it’s just easier to do business with someone who is already familiar with what you do, how you do it and the quality of the work that you produce. So for me this is a no – brainer – build trustworthy long life relationships with your clients.

Next week we will look at some more way in which to increase your sales.

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

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 90

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 90

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

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

“Networking is about having a reciprocal relationship which evolves over time in a mutually beneficial manner.”

The words “reciprocal, relationship and mutually beneficial” are the ones that stand out the most for me here.

Let’s have a look at what the dictionary says:

‘Reciprocal’ – “In return; mutual; inversely correspondent, complementary; expressing mutual action or relation.”

‘Relationship’ – “State if being related; condition or character due to being related; kinship.”
‘Relation’ – “What one person or thing has to do with another, way in which one stands or is related to another, kind of connection or correspondence or contrast or feeling that prevails between persons or things.”

‘Mutually’- “Common to two or more persons”

‘Beneficial’ – “Advantageous; of having the use of or benefit of property etc.;”

Well that for me is all very clear isn’t it? For me it means that there are two or more people who have formed a bond, that is a connection between them for the purpose of all people receiving something that is of benefit to them, in return for their participation.

Yet so many people seem to struggle really badly with this whole concept of everyone getting something out of the relationship – why? I certainly cannot understand it.

It doesn’t mean that because I give you a qualified lead here and now today, that you have to go home and search through your entire data base to find someone who may or may not, need my services (in your opinion) and then refer them to me! That’s just crazy.

What it does mean though is that during your travels in life and as and when you meet people and engage with them and learn more about them and start building a relationship with them, should you hear that they need the kind of services that I offer, you will refer me.

It means that when to talk to prospective clients about what they need from you, you also listen to what they need in general, from other people too – it might just mean that they need your services too.

Listening to what people want, rather than giving them what you think they need, is fundamental to the well being of your business. Giving people what they want, means adding value to your business and it means adding value to the people that you have relationships in your data base or your circle of influence. It mean being reciprocal, it means giving benefit to your clients and your relationships. It means bringing benefit to your client, your data base and yes, even yourself.

So when you Network, remember to listen carefully . . .
Listen and then react!
For more information on Renate, please visit her website at http://www.hirs.co.za

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

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE - The Top Guy

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE

The Top Guy by Mark Corke

Good Morning Bloggers

For a while, with his permission, I will be posting articles from Mark Corke of Suitegum.

Mark is a Business Broker, who writes articles on, and runs seminars on “Preparing you Business for Sale”. Should you wish to register for some of Mark’s free articles and tips, Here is the link.

Both Mark and I are of the opinion that ensuring that your Business is Prepared for Sale at all times will ensure that your business always commands the highest value. It actually increases the value of your Business quite considerably.

I have the best attorney in the country; a really top rate guy.

But then don’t we all? Nobody wants to believe that he is using second rate professional help; attorney, accountant, dentist or business broker. We would not be able to live with ourselves if we did not send our parents to the best oncologists to fight their cancer. And half the readers of this column will run a mile to hear a “professional” saying “I’m no gynaecologist, but I’ll take a look”!

Shine from the Top Shelf
We delight in having the best suppliers, and we show off our best gadgets. Skype was carried for free into homes and offices around the world by the very people who had just signed up, and then immediately called 10,000 of their closest friends to tell them how cheaply they were calling from half way round the World with the top voice over IP software.
Eighteen years ago I was involved in selling the first cellular phones in South Africa. It was an amazing gadget which weighed in at 3,5kg, was the size of a small briefcase, and usable only in select areas of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. I had one installed in my Citi Golf! And at a cost of R15,000, it was more valuable than my R12,000 car. One day, one of my customers called John Berks on his morning show, from the phone that I had sold him the day before. He spent more time telling an amazed Berksie that he was calling from the latest and greatest techno gadget. Only he and I knew that even my Citi Golf was worth more than his clapped out old Audi from which he was calling.
So with so much value being placed on the best, why would we believe for even a second that anybody wanting to buy a business, and presented with three or four similar offerings, will not want to buy the best that he can afford? So let’s plan to give them what the buyers want. Not today, I know. Of course you don’t want to sell today, or even in the next month, or this year. But at some time in the future, you will want to sell your business.
Four people called me today. People I have never spoken to before. They all have one thing in common: They all want to sell their businesses. One of them wants to sell his before the end of the month! He won’t.
I have been banging this old drum for some years now. Prepare Your Business for Sale! Prepare now, and make your life better from now until the time you sell. Why better? Well because you will sell for a higher price, and you will be able to sell when you want to or have to. The amount of work involved is so small in relation to the benefit that will be gained, that you will simply shake your head in disbelief when you have done it
When you eventually sell your business, you need to be the number 1 choice amongst all the other businesses which are for sale in your industry.
Everybody else will quit well before they come anywhere close to being number 1. You must not be one of the “everybody else”. You must stick to your guns, prepare properly, stay prepared, so that when you decide to sell, or have it decided for you, you will have the best crack at a tough market place.
When the day arrives for you to sell, you don’t want to rely on: “Oh well, there’s nothing better, so we’ll take this one”. Your buyer is going to choose the best factory, butchery, hairdresser or candle stick maker, and you have it in your power today, to give that buyer enough information for him to decide that yours is the best business available.
The business owners who ignore this call are in the majority, but their businesses will not be in demand because they will not be scarce. Today scarcity represents value. Take a look at the Star on a Monday night, and you’ll see what I mean. Take a look at a web site that promises 800 businesses for sale, and you’ll see what I mean.
Selling a business would be easy if only the buyer thought the way the seller does. Here’s your opportunity, while you’re in control, to provide the information in a manner which will help your purchaser to think like you do…. Because you are the top guy.
I am running a new seminar series in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in the near future. Have a look at my website to see when the next one is in your area – http://www.suitegum.co.za Please join me to learn how to Prepare your Business For Sale and Present Your Business For Transfer.
I hope to meet up with you there.
CheersMark Corke

Monday, December 01, 2008

MOTIVATION - Process

MOTIVATION – Process


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

It is said that “it is a process, not an event, for one to become the person I want to be.”

How logical is that. It really would be a case of suspending belief, if you thought that one day you would wake up and be a completely different person to the one you were when you went to bed the night before. You don’t just become someone else over night.

Like most things in life, changing who you are into who you want to become, is a process. Like most things in life it is a process that has to be consistently worked on, tweaked, moulded, cried over, laughed about and then at some stage either abandoned as a bad idea or embraced and celebrated as a victory.

Whether you cry in defeat or celebrate in victory is largely dependent on the simplicity and/or complexity of the process and your commitment to the charges that you want to take place.

The level of your commitment to the changes that you would like to make to yourself is dependant on the internal hunger that you have to see yourself in a different light other than who you currently are.

It’s that hunger that drives you to achieve.
It’s that hunger that makes you strive to attain greater heights.
It’s that hunger that keeps you focused with your vision clearly before you and visible to you at all times.

Process for me is one of the most simplistic things on the planet to put into place. Yet I am constantly amazed at some of the processes that some people put into place in order to achieve the most basic of results. Some of them are so complicated that you would probably need a degree of some sort to just be able to read it, let alone understand it on any level.

I think that we, as human beings, on some level seem to think that if things are easy and not complicated that they are not worth anything. We couldn’t be further from the truth if we tried.

Instead of thinking “Well is can’t be that simple, can it?” we should be saying – “It is just that simple!”

So simplify all your processes, get where you want to go and enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want To Strike - Part 2

ARTICLE 16

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want to Strike – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

So what we now know is when the staff cannot strike – let’s take a step backwards though and define exactly what a strike is:

Section 213 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) says “The partial or complete concerted refusal to work or the retardation or obstruction of work, by persons who are or have been employed by the same employer or by different employers, for the purpose of remedying a grievance or resolving a dispute in respect of any matter of mutual interest between an employer and an employee, and reference to ‘work’ in this definition includes overtime work, whether it is voluntary or compulsory.”

What does all of this actually mean?

This means that in order for it to be termed ‘a strike’ there have to be three definite components.

The first one of course has several parts to it and it revolves around the issue of work. It is but not limited to:

· “Refusal to work”. This means that any refusal to work, whether it is a ‘go slow’ or work relating to overtime or even if the employee refuses to ‘clock in/out’ and so on. So let’s take the example of George, who is in a production line at a factory. George’s job is to pack the finished product into tissue paper, place it back onto the conveyer belt and from there it goes to the next person who packs the wrapped product into a box. George abandons his station at the conveyer belt and refuses to wrap any of the product thereby refusing to perform any of his duties.
· “Partial refusal to work”. In this instance George stands at the conveyer belt and wraps only some of the product into the tissue paper and then also refuses to place the wrapped items onto the conveyer belt. In this instance he is only refusing to perform some of is duties but not all.
· “Retardation of work.” In this example, George continues to perform his duties but at a rate that is as slow as possible, without coming to a dead stop. This is commonly known as ‘a go slow’. George’s manager asks George to assist with the packing of the product into boxes, but George refuses as his contract does not specifically state that he must pack product into boxes. This is known as ‘work to rule.”
· “Obstruction of work”. In this instance George does not wrap the product at all but does put the unwrapped product onto the conveyor belt which means the product cannot be packed but must be removed from the packing area and taken back up to the point where it should be wrapped by George, before any packing of boxes can continue.

The second component in terms of a strike, is that a single employee cannot strike and it therefore has to be two or more employees that refuse to work before it can be considered a strike.

The final component in a strike is that there has to be purpose to the strike which is usually to resolve a dispute or to remedy a grievance. To resolve a dispute is usually around the issue of salary increases and/or benefits and a grievance is usually around issues of perceptions of unfair dismissal. In this instance George is dismissed for dishonesty in that some of the wrapped product ended up in his pockets or in his home without any of it being paid for. George is disciplined, found guilty of misconduct and dismissed and his colleagues feel that he has been dismissed unfairly and go on a strike in an effort to force management to give George his job back.

Please remember that a grievance of any nature can be and is anything that is between the employer and the employee whether there has been a collection bargaining process or not.

Next week we will look at protected and unprotected strikes.

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

MARKETING - Why Do What Your Competitors Do?

MARKETING

Why Do What Your Competitors Do?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting November 2008.

From an information point of view, it is of the utmost importance to know and understand what your competition is up to. The saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer”, really applies in this case. You need to see what kind of prices they are charging and what products and/or services that are offering or even how they are packaging and/or promoting their offerings.

Whilst it is important to know what the competition are doing, it is equally important not to follow exactly in their footsteps. You need to be unique in what you do and you need to develop your own strategy.

So if your competitor puts everything on sale at less 50%, it is not necessary for you to put everything on sale less 55%. This can only result in a really ugly price war.

Rather think of, or come up with innovative ideas on how to give better value. Most people know that the best is not necessarily the cheapest and that the most expensive is not always the best. So find ways of adding value, best value.

Do some research on your target market – find some need that has not been met or something that your competitor doesn’t have and add it to what you offer. Make what you do or the way that you do it, not only different but also irresistible.

Make your client conscientiously choose you, your products, your services before they go anywhere else!

Set you apart from the rest.

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 89

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 89

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

I might be a natural Networker and a natural connector, but I am far from being an expert. I am sure to learn something at every meeting that I attend and I take something away with me from every encounter. I understand that in order for me to continue moving forward I have to continue learning – I have to keep striving to grow to get better.

It is also important for me to read more motivational business books. I have to engage more with people who are like minded. Now that may sound like I am stating the obvious, but you would be absolutely amazed at the number of people who don’t seem to have the drive, let alone the energy to move forward.

I need to keep my promises and in so doing strengthen my credibility.

I have to remember who I am, where I am, where I have come from and where I want to get to.

I have to nurture and try to understand all of my business relationships and one of the ways that I can do this is to continually add value and substance to the relationship.

I have to remember that although it is a service that I offer as apposed to a product – that in order for my business to flourish and be successful, I have to be the best salesperson in the company.

I have to understand that there will be times when I lose, but that in losing I will grow as an individual. I cannot lose too much though so I must only be willing to put out what I am comfortable with, to learn the lesson.

Not only must I learn, but I also need to teach. I need to teach people the lessons that I have learnt – to be successful and in the teaching, I am also connection with people. Without people there can be no communication and communication is very important not only to my business but also to every micro enterprise or small business out there.

I have to understand that the first thought or perception isn’t always the best – that I can be creative and think outside of the box and in the words of the popular ad ‘throw the box away.”

I have to understand that if I don’t see synergy with someone the first time I look, I need to look harder and longer – it is in there somewhere.

I need to remember that I do not have any competition in my business but rather I have more opportunity for collaboration.

As a closing thought I also need to remember that opportunities are never ‘lost’ they just go to someone else who is perhaps more suited and that it is in the ‘letting go’ of the opportunity, that I open myself up to receive yet more opportunities that are best suited to me.

This is why I network. Why do you network?

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE - Competitor Analysis

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE

Competitor Analysis by Mark Corke

Good Morning Bloggers

For a while, with his permission, I will be posting articles from Mark Corke of Suitegum.

Mark is a Business Broker, who writes articles on, and runs seminars on “Preparing you Business for Sale”. Should you wish to register for some of Mark’s free articles and tips, Here is the link.

Both Mark and I are of the opinion that ensuring that your Business is Prepared for Sale at all times will ensure that your business always commands the highest value. It actually increases the value of your Business quite considerably.


Knowing the opposition is as important as knowing your customers. Even more important is knowing what your opposition is thinking and doing. This can be established through the use of competitor analysis studies.

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Sun-tzu
So how do South African small and medium sized businesses go about gathering information about their competitors? Well frankly we simply do not know. There are some methods shared with delegates in the Prepare Your Business For Sale seminar series, but we don't really know how many businesses do what, or whether they do anything at all.
What we do know, is that selling prices increase if it is clear that the business owner knows with some accuracy where he stands amongst his competitors. Certainly this kind of intelligence means that savvy businesses are more profitable than those without the knowledge, and when it comes time to sell the business, the quality buyer will make his own study as part of a due diligence. So why not have the information at hand for verification, within your own knowledge rather than finding out at the end of long negotiations that there is an unpleasant odour in the house, which you could have addressed some time back?
Rob Severin is a broker with Suitegum. You know, the guys who sell businesses in South Africa. He is completing his MBA at Wits Business School, and part of his research is understanding competitor analysis practices in South Africa: What information are businesses interested in, how much they are managing to gather, and how?
Please do me a great favour, and download the little file, open it and run through the questions as accurately and honestly as you can. You will notice two things; first the file requires you to enable macros, which is fine because I have scanned it for viruses, and second that there is no place in the exercise for any identifying data. Your confidential information will be protected.
Completing the survey is going to take you about fifteen minutes, and you will have to do a bit of head scratching. So I cannot promise you that it will be altogether pain free. But I can promise that it will be rewarding. Every respondent will get an electronic copy of the results of the survey results which will be extremely useful in improving or setting up your own competitor analysis monitoring system. And if you want to thwart the enemy, it may help you to defend your own intelligence through a counter intelligence strategy.
Thank you so much for your help in this. We really appreciate the response we get from these newsletters.
I am running a new seminar series in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Have a look on the Website at http://www.suitegum.co.za for the dates in question. Please join me to learn how to Prepare your Business For Sale and Present Your Business For Transfer.
I hope to meet up with you there.
CheersMark Corke

Monday, November 24, 2008

MOTIVATION - Creating Yourself

MOTIVATION – Creating yourself


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from George Bernard Shaw who says “Life isn’t about ‘finding’ yourself. Life is about ‘creating’ yourself.”

I am often reminded how I needed to ‘find’ myself in my early twenties. The problem of course is that when I ‘found’ myself, I didn’t much like who I was and promptly set about changing myself into the kind of person that I wanted to be – thereby ‘creating’ the person that I am today.

As adults, there are very few who can say that they aren’t changing themselves on a daily basis. We all tend to strive to be the best of who we can be, and in doing this we morph into someone quite different to the person who we started out as.

The challenge, as I understand it, is to accept that we are continually creating or even re-creating ourselves as we slowly but surely change, as we grow as individuals.

We often comment, unkindly about superstars such as Madonna, who is continuously re-creating herself, yet this is exactly what it is that we do ourselves.

Perhaps it is time for us to understand and also accept the fact that we are exactly who we created ourselves to be and any change that we make to ourselves is made, by recreating ourselves.

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want To Strike - Part 1

ARTICLE 17

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Want to STrike – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

How much do we actually know about when the employee can strike and when they can’t?

Let’s explore this situation together. Firstly let’s have a look at when employees can’t strike.

According to the Department of Labour and the Labour Relations Act (LRA), employees cannot strike if (but not limited to)

1. the employees have entered into an agreement that they have collectively entered into that then prevents them to strike because of the reason why they want to strike. Ok that sounds very confusing, let’s give an example. Let’s say that the workers and management have all agreed to an incentive bonus at the end of the year based on performance and turnover and profit. The first year that this is happening, the performance of the employees has not been great and this has resulted in the company not making targets because the turnover was not great and then because of huge theft in the warehouse, the profits are really bad. The union cannot now call for the company to present 13th cheques as a bonus. In this instance if the workers went on strike it would be deemed illegal.

2. the employees have entered into an agreement where any disputes have to be referred to arbitration. What does this mean, let’s have another example. The employees (and/or the Union) have signed a document stating that they will not strike and/or call for strike action until an issue (whatever that issue and/or disagreement may be) has been referred to arbitration. If the matter is still at a deadlock, with neither side being able to move, then under certain conditions (and they then have to list these), strike action may be called for. So the employer offers an increase of 8%, the employees decide that that is not good enough, they want an increase of 20%. Neither side backs down and the union now calls for strike action. In this instance if the workers went on strike it would be deemed illegal because they have not gone through the arbitration process.

3. ‘the issue in dispute is one that a party has the right to refer to arbitration or the Labour Court in terms of the Act.’ Again – what does this mean. Let’s assume that one of the employees was caught with his hands in the cookie jar so to speak. He has stolen large quantities of money and he has been disciplined and found guilty of misconduct and he has been dismissed. His fellow workers are really angry about his dismissal because they pretty much like the guy and well stealing from your employee is actually not a bad thing, so they go on strike demanding that he be re-instated. This would be considered an illegal strike as the dismissed employee has not (yet) gone to the CCMA for arbitration.

4. the employee works in what is considered an essential service or a maintenance service. So this would be people like nurses and/or the refuse removal guys and so on.

Next week let’s look at exactly what a strike is and when a strike can happen.




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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MARKETING - Relying On Networking to Generate Sales Leads

MARKETING

RELYING ON NETWORKING TO GENERATE SALES LEADS

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting November 2008.

Now what I am about to say is probably going to sound like a huge contradiction in terms. You see I always carry on about the fact that I get all of my work through Networking and now I am telling you that relying on Networking to generate sales leads is not a good idea. I can just see all the eyes raising heavenwards and groans of ‘well make up you mind!’

Well it’s like this, I am a natural Networker and a natural connector – so it works for me as an individual. For those of you who find Networking hard work or in any way difficult or you actually just don’t ‘get it’, relying on Networking to generate your sales leads is a really bad mistake.

You see most people will join a Chamber of Commerce and go to one or other of the meetings and shuffle around meeting one or two other people who are doing exactly the same thing. You may or may not meet someone with whom you can form a joint venture or strategic alliance with, sometime in the future and it may give you a few brownie points for being visible as a supporter of your community, but in all probability it will not generate you any kind of sustainable sales leads. That is because you will not ‘work’ it.

One-on-one networking is time consuming and it is hard work and if you don’t work at it properly, there is no guarantee that you will get any work out of it. So be sure that you are aware of what it is that you are doing and why you are doing it. It can become a very costly exercise both financially and also with your time.

So for those of you who are uncomfortable (or perhaps that should be not as comfortable as I am) in the Networking environment, you should use Networking as any other of your marketing strategies – measure them and determine the cost to you versus your payback.

Don’t be too quick to blame Networking for your lack of sales leads though, it is probably your lack of knowledge and/or your failure to understand how to Network correctly that will result in zero sales leads.

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 88

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 88

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

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

“Don’t subtly manipulate relationships with exclusionary tactics. This does you no favours in the long term.”

Wow! Renate certainly doesn’t pull the punches, does she? Quite frankly she shouldn’t. As far as I am concerned manipulation of any sort, for any reason at any time, is not a good thing!

Come on folks, let’s be honest about this – we don’t like to be manipulated, well I certainly don’t, so why on earth would anyone else like to be manipulated? Stands to reason, doesn’t it.

The other thing of course is that manipulation, like dishonestly always comes back to you and generally bites you on the rear end. It destroys friendships and carefully built up relationships in a matter of moments. It is a destructive force and in my opinion should be avoided at all costs.

It is far better to lay all of your cards on the table, be transparent and have no hidden agenda’s. Let’s face it, we all have a ‘what’s in it for me’ aspect to what we do and why we do it, let’s just be honest about it and move forward from there. That way, when the chips are down we all know where we stand.

So for my part avoid manipulation of any kind.

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

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE - The Business owner's Life Raft

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR SALE

The Business Owner’s Life Raft – by Mark Corke


Good Morning Bloggers

For a while, with his permission, I will be posting articles from Mark Corke of Suitegum.

Mark is a Business Broker, who writes articles on, and runs seminars on “Preparing you Business for Sale”. Should you wish to register for some of Mark’s free articles and tips, Here is the link.

Both Mark and I are of the opinion that ensuring that your Business is Prepared for Sale at all times will ensure that your business always commands the highest value. It actually increases the value of your Business quite considerably.

Now consider this

Whenever I meet with another seller of a business I am asked the same questions:
How long will it take to find a buyer?
How will you avoid letting my customers, staff and / or suppliers finding out that the business is for sale?
What will happen if the buyer doesn't pay me?
How much will it cost me?
How do I stop the competition from finding out I am for sale?
What risk am I running with respect to SARS?
What do I do if I don't trust the buyer
How do I cancel my sureties?
Straight forward important questions; right? Well of course they are, and they all have good easy answers. But when I start asking the questions, and looking for essential documents always needed to Prepare your business for sale, there is almost always an embarrassed shuffle as the excuses are wheeled out. Sometimes it takes months to get the stuff. And all this while the owner is available to talk to any buyer who may be interested.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to sell a business in a hurry.
"I will take any reasonable offer."
"I don't know how to run my wife's business, and I don't have the time."
"I'm getting divorced, and my wife wants the business."
"We've had enough, and we're going to emigrate. I need my money by December."
Why condemn yourself to this unhappiness? There is an easy solution, you know. What's more, it is so easy if you are already running your business in a slightly better than basic fashion.
Whenever I meet with buyers of businesses, they ask me the same questions: ·
How will the seller prove his turnover?
How does he arrive at that selling price?
What will happen if he loses his biggest customer?
Where is the value?
What are the opportunities?
How do I know that he's not a con artist?
Why is he really selling?
How do I determine the real fixed costs?
How do I deal with his staff?
How am I going to learn to run the business?
I'm not sure I trust the seller. How do I deal with this?
What other information can you give me besides all these numbers?
Why do I have to take so much stock?
The vehicles are all shot – do I need to take them?
What you really need to do in order to pump up your shareholders' life raft is start inflating it with tools you already have. Your raft will have all the answers any potential purchaser of your business is looking for.
And this is exactly what "Prepare your business for sale" will show you. Not only will it give you the tools to pump, but it will stock the raft with all the life surviving necessities, plus a few humble luxuries.
There is no substitute for building a relationship. Selling a business is not akin to selling second hand cars. We are changing people's lives here. Let's do it with some empathy and understanding. We are the experts, we do it every day. It is our duty to look after both seller and purchaser.
"From the signing and acceptance of the offer, until the final payment, Mark was constantly involved, and did not take the attitude that he had received his commission, and it was no longer his problem. Mark I salute you for the work that you did, and the friendship that we established." Len Birger
You know, sellers give us their all in order to make these sales work. We must give everything we have to make the deal go through as efficiently as possible, so that's what we do.
"I wish to express my gratitude to you for the for the efficient, honest and professional manner in which you brokered the sale of Jardine Foods. I will be recommending your services to friends and associates" Doug Jardine
I've been doing this for 17 years. I've made a point of learning more each year, so that we have 17 individual years of experience, and not the same year 17 times.
"If you are looking for a professional, Mark Corke from Suitegum is your man" Renier Richter
By following our techniques, nobody need ever know that your business is being sold, or in fact that you have prepared your business for sale, if this is an issue for you.
Great news for business owners who think their businesses will never be sold: Not only will your business be sold, but you will use the proceeds from that sale to improve your life and leapfrog your dreams to a higher level.
Join me for some good advice and solid pointers as to how you will create a life raft of opportunity in your business, ready to be launched at short notice.
"He is focused on the interests of both seller and buyer and is not hesitant to voice his opinion and offer sound advice. He is approachable and patient and it has been a pleasure dealing with him" Zoƫ Cohen
A while back a lady called me because she needed to sell her husband's business in a hurry. "Well then I need to talk to your husband", I told her.
Unfortunately, that wasn't going to be possible because he was lying in intensive care, having suffered a stroke, I was informed by a tearful and panicky wife.
It transpired that she did not know where the financial records were kept, had no idea of the contracts that were in place, and that was just the beginning of the nightmare.
Another business ended up, itself in intensive care, when the new owners eventually took it over because of the way it suffered after the old owner was diagnosed with cancer.
The shock and horror at the diagnosis, the mounting medical bills and the quickly deteriorating health of the owner had all conspired to leave his widow with a business worth little more than the auction value of the tools and equipment.
Sadly, less than six months before this calamitous event, the business would have been worth R3,000,000 to a buyer. But because the business was not ready for sale when the diagnosis was made, the owner had no choice but to place an ill prepared business on the market.
By the time the chemo and radiation treatment had taken its toll, there was nothing he could do, and when he died, there was nothing his wife could do.
Contrast these two events to the following: Last year a widow came to see me with her son. Her husband had died unexpectedly, leaving her with a flourishing business in a niche market. The business had been running for only eight years, but had always been kept in a state of readiness for sale.
The management team, although loyal, hard working and honest found themselves with a possible windfall at the expense of the widow, and offered her a price of R2M for the business. This would have solved many of her day to day problems of keeping tabs on a business which she did not really understand. Together with the life insurance settlement she would have been able to survive.
She came to see me to get some clarity on the deal. I went through some pointers on the business, and showed her how she could get R7,000,000 on the open market for her business, so well prepared had her husband kept the sale readiness file.
She settled on R6,000,000 with the management team who had a good empowerment element to their ranks, and are subsequently taking the business to even greater heights. Everyone has won, and she will never have to worry about her future.
Which scenario would you rather be part of? By subscribing to "Prepare your business for sale" you will be set to have a life raft able to give your family the same or better results in the case of your untimely demise.
A business we sold a few years ago had been on the market for a year. The owners and several brokers had been marketing it at R1,7M for a 50% share in the business. Using the techniques I am going to show you in "Prepare your business for sale" we made some small changes to the business, introduced an entirely new bracket of interested investor, and sold the whole business for R10,5M, only three months later.
The emigrating partner who had been relying on the proceeds of the sale to finance his emigration, found that he could leave some of his money behind in South Africa!
It is surprising how few businesses are prepared for sale, and it is sad to report that as a result, so many businesses are sold below par.

Do you feel under threat from the BEE revolution? Perhaps you're one of the rare breed of South African entrepreneurs who sees great potential for your business in BEE. Like most business owners, you don't know where to start, vacillating between two extremes: fear and optimism. You may have been able to avoid the issue up to now, but suddenly find your business has grown into the next bracket. Suddenly you have survival issues at stake. How do you grow and survive? I'll show you.

The BEE revolution is driving the values of most businesses down at a steady rate. In the face of this destruction of small business value, however, there are businesses being sold successfully at premium prices, either in part or in their entirety. Why does such a difference exist often between businesses of very similar characteristics, profitability, and prospects?
The answer lies in the way in which these businesses are prepared and presented for sale. And just as any product on a store shelf can be promoted better with some professional help, so can a business be well or badly prepared.

The fault lies in the hands of business owners, most of whom never consider selling their businesses until a few months before the event. In some instances business owners or their surviving spouses are forced to sell totally unprepared businesses in an environment of grief and total ignorance of the business itself because the late owner has failed to keep the business disposal preparation up to date.

All businesses should be in a constant state of readiness for sale. We live and work in an uncertain environment with new challenges being thrown our way constantly.