Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some Funnies For Today

Tower: "DELTA 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!" Delta 351: Give us another hint - we have digital watches.

Tower: TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn 45 degrees. TWA 2341: Centre we are at 35,000ft. How much noise can we make up here. Tower: Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?

From an unknown aircraft in a very long take-off queue: "I am fucking bored!!!"
Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting identify yourself immediately!!!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was fucking bored not fucking stupid!!!"

Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, eastbound."
United 329: "Approach!!! I have always wanted to say this. I have the little Fokker in my sight!"

A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar , ATC asked: "What was your last known position?" Student: "When I was number One for take-off!!!"

A DC-10 had come in a little hot, thus had exceedingly long roll out after touch down. Johannesburg International Tower: "American 751 make a hard turn right at end of runway if you are able. If not able take the Gillooly's off ramp exit then make it right back to Johannesburg International Airport."

A Pan Am 727, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following:
Lufthansa {in German} "Ground what is our start clearance time?"
Ground {in English} "If you want an answer you must speak in English."
Lufthansa {in English} "I am German, flying a German Airplane in Germany. Why I must speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane {in a beautiful British accent} "Because you lost the bloody war!!!"

Tower: "QUANTAS 702 cleared for take-off contact departure. On Frequency 124.7."
QUANTAS 702: "Tower QUANTAS 702 switching to departure. By the way after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "S.A.A. 652, cleared for take off behind QUANTAS 702 contact departure on frequency 124.7. Did you Copy report on QUANTAS 702?"
S.A.A. 652: "Cleared for take off, Roger: Yes, we copied QUANTAS we have already notified our caterers!"

While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air Flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale Made a wrong turn then came nose to nose with B.A. 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming:
"US Air 277, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie Taxiway!!! You turned right onto Delta!! Stop right there! I know it is difficult for you to tell the difference between C & D, but get it right. Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was shouting hysterically: God now you have screwed everything up. It will take forever to sort this out!!! You stay right there & Do not move until I tell you!! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, I want you to go exactly where I tell you ,When I tell you & how I tell you. You got that US Air 277?"
"Yes Ma'am" the humbled crew responded. Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing Of US Air 277. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind.Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence & keyed in his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once???"

Friday, May 29, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Want to Read Your Employee's E-mails

ARTICLE 28

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Want to Read Your Employee’s E-mails

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2009

It is said that we here in South Africa, have the most progressive and democratic constitution in the world.

One of the issues of the constitution is the right to privacy. We as South Africans, as individuals have the right to keep our private stuff private.

But what about when your staff do private things during your business working time. I mean – that’s really not cool! You employ a staff member to work for you between the hours of x and y and you expect the work to be done, but said employee is playing on Facebook and sending out personal e-mails and even searching the internet for their own personal reasons.

Then of course, you have the staff who may be selling your idea’s or your IP (in terms of the way that you do your business etc.) or even the list of your clients and their contact details. What then? Surely if the e-mails are being sent out in your time, using your infrastructure, your bandwidth, your electricity, your computer etc., you have a right to read whatever it is that they are writing and/or sending.

Well the answer is both yes and no.

As the employer, you are not automatically entitled to read all of the e-mails. On the other hand, if you obtain written permission from the employee to read the mails, then of course you can.

If you have very real grounds that your employee is abusing the use of your e-mail (for example sending out child pornography), then you have grounds to read those mails.

If the mail has been sent in the course of your company’s business (as in a business mail to a colleague or client), then you also may read the mail.

Prevention is always better than cure, therefore getting the permission up front (whether you need it at the time or not), for me is always first prize. So getting your permission as a clause in your contract of employment is a great way of getting permission before the time.

If you don’t have anything in place though, don’t stress or panic. Simply give them written notification (and get them to sign that they have received same) of the fact that you will be checking and reading e-mails.

Here’s the thing – you can always read the mails, more often than not they will have no idea that you have read the mail! The problem is that if you try and discipline them for the contents of that mail, without their written consent, you will find yourself on the wrong side of the law, irrespective of what they have done.

It’s easier and less stressful to be proactive. Get the proper clauses into your letters of appointment or contracts and get yourself protected.

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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 9

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 9

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting May 2009.
We keep hearing about the ‘recession’ that is happening at the moment – I am still not completely convinced. That said there are a number of people who have left the corporate world for whatever reason, and now they are looking for innovative ways to make money.

So why no do things a little differently?

Instead of hiring a staff member with all the costs and hassles that that entails, why not get an entrepreneur who has his/her own business that is prepared to and can add what you are selling, onto whatever else it is that they are selling.

What they then sell for you comes at a commission only cost to you, without all the other costs that are incurred by someone who actually works only for you.

That will bring down your ‘cost to company’ whilst increasing your turnover.

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 114

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 114

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2009

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

“It is not just what we know in life that matters, it is very much about whom we know and the quality of these relationships.”

Well quite frankly, I would like to take this one step further. For me it is not just about who I know and who knows me – it is also about the people who you know that I don’t know and the people that I know that you don’t know!

I am often astonished by people who don’t want to meet with me to discuss possible synergies and mutual business opportunities because, well because they cannot see how the two of us can actually do business together. It might be that we are in two completely obscure lines of work, where there is no synergy, or in fact any way that we could do any kind of business together.

So why would I want to connect to you (or this person)? Well it’s quite simple – you see, I don’t know any of the people that you know and I would like you to introduce these people to me by way of a referral.

Conversely, you have no idea who I know and may very well want to meet with some of them too.

So the bottom line is this – until you know who I know, it is not a good idea not to want to meet with me – believe me you a missing a huge number of interesting opportunities!

So – let’s do this again – when would you like to meet with me?

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 or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BUSINESS TIPS - Being Your Own Boss - Part 9

BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 9


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May 2009

Most people think that marketing is about getting people to buy something that they don’t necessarily need or even want, by persuading them that they do actually need the item. This is not correct.

Marketing is actually about telling the right people (in other words your target market) how your particular product and/or service will be of benefit to them in either their business or personal lives.

Here are some of the things you need to look at to create a marketing plan that will work for you.

1. Who is your customer?
What is unique about your product and/or your service – who are the people who are most likely to benefit from what you have to offer and why? Make a list of all these groups of people.

2. Create a list of ideas.
Invite all of your friends, family, colleagues to a brainstorming session to find different ways for you to reach your customers. This is known as ‘octopus marketing’ as different people will have different ideas and all of these ideas could reach out into all the different directions, but still all be a part of the same marketing plan.

3. The Best Idea
Take the best idea out of the whole lot – your favorite one, the one that you would love to do. Usually if you pick the idea that appeals to you the most, chances are you will actually do it.

4. Test.
Always test the water, so test your idea and if it works, test it again and if it works again – well then you have a winning formula. If your first idea doesn’t work however, don’t fret and panic – choose one of the other ideas and test that. Sooner or later you will find an idea that actually does work. The experts say that we should try at least three different marketing plans every month.

Remember to always have fun. If you don’t have fun with what you are doing, chances are that you are in the wrong business.

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

Monday, May 25, 2009

MOTIVATION - Living Your Life With Passion

MOTIVATION – Living Your Life With Passion


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC- May 2009

Several years ago, I undertook to interview a whole bunch of employees to ensure that they were in fact working the correct positions. You see, over the years, things had become discombobulated and people were given work to do just so that they could put food on the table and often others were moved into other positions to accommodate them. I am sure that you can understand that this caused quite a problem. So in an effort to put the right staff in the right positions – I had to interview them and then compare what they were doing to what they were capable of doing or were trained to do to what they wanted to do.

Why am I telling you this? Well you see one of the questions that I asked was “What are you passionate about?”

The scary thing about asking this question is that many people answered with an “I don’t know!” It broke my heart and made me really sad to think that there are so many people out there who have no passion, who work at jobs that they do not enjoy and that are quite meaningless to them, except to put food on the table and allow them to ‘exist’ in life. How sad is that?

So ask yourself these questions and then answer them honestly:-
1. Do you know what your passion is?
2. If you did not have to work for a living what would you like to do and why?
3. If you just won R10 000 000, what would you do once you had bought the house and the car and done the holiday and why?

Most people just generally want to be healthy, or wealthy or just plain happy or another favorite is to ‘spend time with my family’ or even ‘travel the world’.

That’s all very well and good, but there is more to life and quite honestly, there is just so much time you can spend with the family and just so much time you can spend living out of a suitcase and traveling the world before you will feel the need or the desire to do something else. What is that something else? What is that need or that desire?

Once you can answer that question you will have the answer to what your ‘life’s purpose’ is and when you know that - your passion will surface.

Be warned though, it will not just surface – it will erupt from the core of your very being, it will be uncontrollable and it will fill your mind every waking hour. Once you have found it, nothing will take it’s place. Suddenly, what you want to do with your life will become very clear and how you get to it or achieve it will engulf you. It is one of the most enriching and fulfilling feelings that you will ever experience.

So don’t tarry! Find your passion and start living your life to the fullest. Achieve your potential and reach your goals. Life will never be the same again!

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

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 8

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 8

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting May 2009.

What are your sales people up to? Are they making sufficient calls? Are they engaging with clients and doing presentations? Are they setting up appointments with prospective clients? Are they out and about looking for new clients? Are they going through the archives, finding clients that have not been serviced in a long time? Are you actually checking up on them to see what it is that they are up to?

Quite frankly, if your staff are just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring or someone to walk in, then you have a problem – waiting for things to happen usually leads to nothing happening!

Sales is a numbers game – I am sure that you have heard that term, time and time again and believe me it’s true. That said, in order for the game to be played, action needs to take place.

So use the toe on your boot and use you boot to kick the butts of your sales team and ‘kick start’ them into action. Get them phoning, old clients, clients that were interested in something years ago, but that never quite panned out because you didn’t have exactly what they wanted – perhaps you have what they need now, and of course cold calling. Get them out and about, going to networking meetings, setting up appointments and doing presentations – even sorting out and setting up new presentations. Make sure that they have a minimum quota to get through each day and believe me the business will come in.

The more ‘action’ that they engage in, the more business that will come in.

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 113

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 113

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. May 2009

Networking, as most of you understand by now, for me is about building relationships. Relationships for me, is not just about finding out what people can do for me, but also about finding out what I can do for people.

Many people, for whatever reason, only start Networking when they are desperate for business – it’s like networking becomes a ‘last ditch effort’ to resurrect their struggling businesses. Going into a Networking meeting with that kind of attitude is already looking for trouble, as it is highly unlikely that business will be forthcoming at a Networking meeting. Let’s be honest here, no-body really wants to deal with someone who is desperate.

This brings me to the point, where I usually meet with someone on a one-on-one basis, to find out more about what it is that they do so that I can refer them to the right people. Sometimes this can turn out to be a ‘nightmare’ meeting, with me being almost ‘grilled’ for the names of people in my database. I am then often harassed afterwards for the details of the people that I will refer, with no regard or consideration for what my time constraints may be. To add insult to injury, these people also very seldom ask me how it is that they can be of assistance to me. A completely one sided type of arrangement, I am sure that you will agree.

What happened to ‘mutually’ beneficial or reciprocity or even plain good manners? What happened to treating people in the same manner and/or with the same respect that you would like to be treated?

I know that I for one, feel almost like I have been pillaged and often quite resentful when I am treated like this and what this means is that when I go about my business and add contacts to my data base, chances are that should I meet with someone who you possibly could do business with, I may be just that little bit more disinclined to send them to you.

So remember, don’t just ask what I can do for you – also think about what you could possibly do for me.
Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BUSINESS TIPS - Being Your Own Boss - Part 8

BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 8


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May 2009

Passion will fly out the window if everything that you try to do becomes a nightmare. One of the ways to minimize stress is to plan for the things that you can plan for and budget for the things that can be budgeted for.

When you start, I am sure that you will not have a great deal of spare cash or even access to spare cash. So be careful about what you spend and what you spend it on. Of course, that said, you still need to brand yourself properly and get your idea or your product and/or service out there.

When getting prices on products such as business cards etc, be very clear about what it is that your want. To get the best price, it will be necessary to request quotes from various suppliers – remember, no-where is it written that you have to take the first quote that you get.

Make sure of the following:
1. That the supplier understands what it is that you want – if possible send some sort of drawing (even if it is a rough hand drawn stick insect type drawing – for your business cards) – better yet, if you are able to produce a model of sorts that would be great.
2. Do the research – get yourself a list of suppliers. Make sure that you know where you found them. You can look on the internet, or get referrals from friends and associates, or check out the telephone directories and/or chambers.
3. Make some sort of spread sheet with all the supplier information on it – a column for what it is that you required, be as specific as you can, a third column for the date that you requested the information, who you spoke to etc and a fourth column for who came back to you and with what price etc.
4. Send out your request for a quote to two or three companies – just to test the waters, so to speak. Be as specific as you can about what it is that you want. When you get the replies, add any queries that they had (and your replies) to your original spread sheet specifications. Then send your request out to the next two or three more suppliers, including the additional information. As you go along, your knowledge on the information should increase and this will give the supplier the perception that you know exactly what it is that you are wanting. If they think that you are knowledgeable on the subject, they are less likely to try and over charge you.
5. Once you have received all the information back, talk it over with a friend or trusted colleague. This will ensure that you keep your emotions at bay and that you look over the information objectively.
6. Negotiate with the two or three top manufacturers or suppliers. This is a business relationship that you are starting – don’t try and do business with someone that you either don’t particularly like or trust, especially if you are going to be doing business with them on a regular basis. Rather find someone else if you are not sure about doing business with someone.

Remember that your credibility and integrity is also on the line here, you need to find the best value for money, especially if it is a product that you are going to be reselling, as your clients will also be looking for value for money. Cheapest isn’t always cost effective and most expensive is not always value for money.

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

Monday, May 18, 2009

MOTIVATION - Coming Alive

MOTIVATION – Coming Alive


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2009

Today’s words come from Howard Thurman who says “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what make you come alive and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I am often fascinated by people. Sometimes I can be found at the end of a meal or a cup of tea in a mall, just sitting and watching the people go by.

The expressions on their faces really intrigue me and I often wonder about whether some of the are actually alive. Their faces are devoid of any expression and they are totally ‘blank’. What goes through the mind of these people, or are they so damaged that they have retreated, far inside of themselves that they are lost?

Then there are others who walk past who are clearly in love with life and all that it has to offer them. Their eyes sparkle and their faces light up at the mere thought of where they are going, who they are going to see or what they will encounter.

Their energy cackles all around them and draws everyone in. All around them people look to see what is happening or hope to engage in conversation with them or at the very least, make eye contact.

They walk on engrossed in their own thoughts, in love with life and totally oblivious to the stir that they have created.

But wait . . . . there out of the corner of my eye, I see movement, a glimmer of recognition, a faint memory of what was, or what might have been – on the face of someone, who moments ago wore a face devoid of any emotion, and I sit back and watch to see what happens next.

The face that was devoid of any expression moments ago, avidly watches the face in love with life. Slowly a hint of hope appears in the expression on the face that was devoid of any emotion, as the recollection of life and the memory of all it had to offer reaches the surface of the mind and miraculously, like the opening of the petals on a rose bud, so too does the wonderment of life and all of it’s possibilities, reflect on what was one the face devoid of any emotion.

Coming alive has taken place and the world is indeed a better place for it.

Are you one who is alive or do you need to experience the reformation that ‘coming alive’ brings with it?

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

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Basic Practical Guide to Starting a Business

The British Chamber together with Viljoen Consulting CC can give you the solutions to the many of the challenging procedures of starting and running a new business.

Come and join us at the Workshop entitled “A BASIC PRACTICAL GUIDE TO STARTING A BUSINESS.”

The workshop deals with the everyday issues that arise when starting a new business. It saves time and energy as well as money. Time in that you don’t have to spend time in queue’s trying to get the correct documentation, or doing research on the internet or anywhere else for that matter, trying to find out what you have to do and where you have to go in order to do it.

It is broken up in the following main titles, with their respective sub-titles below:

It starts off with the difference between a Sole Proprietor, a Close Corporation and a Company and how to register each of these entities.

A. Accounting Records & General

1. Contracts between you and the client
2. Contracts between you and a partner
3. Written Procedures
4. Archiving
5. Accounting
6. Staffing
7. Asset Register
8 E-mail Addresses/Internet Domains/Cell phone Voice mail.
9 Insurance
10 Software
11 VAT compliance and supplier procurement
12 BEE compliance and supplier procurement

B Banking Accounts

C. Receipts and Banking

D. Cheque Payments and/or Internet Payments

1. Cheque Preparation
2. Cheque Signing

E. Invoices

F. Credit Notes

G. Bank Reconciliations

H. Petty Cash

I Control of Numbered Stationary

J. Computerised Accounting

1. Data Capture
2. Security over data access
3. Back ups

K. Staff & HR Issues

L. Security/Safety

M. Money Laundering

N. Filing

O. Stock Control


Please remember that the workshop is a “living” document, that will be changed from time to time, updated and expanded upon as and when new information comes to light and/or when legislation changes.

Date: Wednesday 3rd June 2009

Venue: Siyakha
337 Bryanston Drive
Bryanston

Cost: R850.00 (includes breakfast/lunch/refreshments and course material, but not VAT)

Starting time 09.30 to 3pm. (Registration from 09.00 onwards), please allow additional traveling time to combat traffic.

Please contact Nikki Viljoen on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or info@britishchamber.co.za for booking details

Friday, May 15, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Staff Make A Costly Mistake

ARTICLE 27

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Staff Make A Costly Mess

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2009

Many of us have had costly machinery or equipment and even property, damaged by staff. Apart from a sharp increase in our blood pressure and our stress levels, is there anything else that we can do?

So let’s have a look at our usual protagonists. Mike owns a furniture shop and he has several delivery vehicles. George is the driver of one of the delivery vehicles.

George and his vehicle were stopped in a roadblock and Mike received a long list of things that were wrong with the vehicle. Things like both indicators and brake lights not working, faulty brakes, no spare wheel, badly cracked windscreen and several other issues totaling thousands of rands.

Mike, understandable is absolutely furious, I mean – who wouldn’t be? But is there anything that Mike can do about it?

Well let’s have a look. Firstly – are there any procedures in place? Has George signed for and accepted the responsibility for his vehicle? Are the vehicles booked in regularly for service? Is there a daily checklist in place to ensure that the vehicle is fit to be on the roads?

If procedures are in place and George has not followed them, then clearly he is at fault and there is a consequence.

If however, no procedures are in place to ensure the wellbeing and maintenance of the vehicles – then in my opinion, Mike must share the responsibility and accountability.

So what can Mike do about this? Well in this case – Mike has policies and procedures in place. All the drivers sign a document when they take delivery of the vehicle, stating that ‘where failure to adhere to laid down procedures results in damage to the vehicle the driver will be held responsible for the cost of the damage and said costs will be deducted from his salary”. George has signed the document agreeing to this.
Mike checks George’s documentation and is both shocked and horrified at what he discovers. George has signed off on documentation indicating that the vehicle has been serviced regularly – the reality is that has missed five service dates. George’s daily documentation indicates that the brake and indicator lights were checked and found to be in good working order. Tires were checked and found to be in good order. In fact the paperwork evidences that George’s vehicle is in tip top condition. The sad reality however paints an entirely different picture altogether. The bodywork is badly scratched and dented in several places, the vehicle needs new tyres and most of the tools and equipment that is standard issues on the vehicles, are missing.

Clearly George has been dishonest in his paperwork and he is now responsible.

What does the law say?

Well, since the damage to the vehicle was caused by George and the loss of the tools and equipment on the vehicle was George’s responsibility – George becomes financially liable for these.

Mike will have to follow the usual disciplinary procedures and George must be allowed to show why the deductions should not be made.

That said, George has signed in agreement to owning the responsibility and Mike can make deductions from his salary as long as:
· the total deductions from George’s salary cannot exceed the amount of the loss or damage. In other words you cannot charge him more than it cost you.
· The total deductions from George’s salary cannot exceed one quarter of his monthly remuneration.

Here’s the thing though – if George decided to leave Mike’s company before the debt is fully paid, Mike would have to institute legal proceedings against George.

So the answer obviously is – yes you can claim monies back from employees who damage your machinery, equipment and property.

It’s easier to claim such damages if you have proper procedures and policies in place.

Remember though that you have to have the employee’s permission to deduct money from their salaries and you cannot deduct more than 25% of their monthly salaries.

The time has come to make people responsible for their own actions.

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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 7

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 7

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting May 2009.

Everyone in South Africa is talking about the skills shortage. Actually the skills shortage is not only linked to South Africa, but appears to be a world wide problem.

When we talk about skills shortages we immediately think of people in the engineering or financial type world. Sadly they are not the only skilled shortages we have.

The majority of my clients who have product to sell are really battling to find skilled sales staff.

Gone are the days when people just left school and walked into a sales position that then served them well. Gone are the days that when just anybody could become a sales person.

Clients today are a lot more sophisticated in their requirements. There is a lot more choice available and people have a clearer picture of what it is that they want and they want to be given what they want rather than what the sales person think that they want or alternatively what the sales person may have available to sell.

The bottom line therefore is that your sales team need to be taught the skills and techniques that they will need in order to secure a sale.

So teaching them the skill (if you yourself have it) should become a matter of priority or you should make the decision to invest the time and/or money in insuring that they are adequately trained in the skill of selling and that they have the basic requirements of product knowledge.

Once they are trained, ensuring that their expectation and yours meet in the middle and that their perception is same as yours will also assist exponentially in ensuring that your sales force is moving in the direction that you want them to go.

Defining their roles, giving them realistic targets and rewarding them on the standard of their performance will usually motivate them to achieve even larger targets.

It’s just a matter of you ‘reap what you sow’ – so give them the right tools and the right training – you are the one that will reap the rewards.

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 112

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 112

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2009

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

“Learn to remember names. Use visual images. Ask yourself what word rhymes with the person’s name. Work out what is unique about the individual you have met.”

To be quite honest, this one is really difficult for me. I really battle to remember names and faces and when I am meeting ten or more people at each networking meeting that I go to, I really struggle to get all the information in my head. It really is important though and whatever works best for you is what you should use.

I tend to write on the person’s business card and somehow that helps me remember what it is that they do and where I met them – somewhere along the line, the face will pop up with the name following closely behind it, but it is a real problem for me.

Here’s the thing though – people feel important when you remember their names and recognise them. So it really is a good idea to try, one way or another to get their names and faces imprinted on your memory.

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 or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BUSINESS TIPS - Being Your Own Boss - Part 7

BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 7


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May 2009

Being passionate about your business and what it is that you do is a given and it is something that we should not be faulted for. Having a business that you are not passionate about is just plain madness and it will break your heart as well as do damage to your soul. That said however, as business owners we also need to ensure that our passion does get us carried away.

Let me explain. Sometimes we are so ‘gung ho’ about our product and/or service that we feel that every single person on the planet should be jumping up and down for whatever it is that we are selling. Don’t be na├»ve. Don’t be so arrogant! This is what is commonly known as ‘selling to yourself’ and we are all guilty of it at some stage of our business lives.

On a regular basis talk to people, family, friends, acquaintances, potential customers, your networking group, whoever will give you the time of day and give you an unbiased opinion – and ask the question. “Is this what people need/want/desire to have”? It is important to ensure that what you are selling is current. Don’t get bent out of shape if you get an answer that you are not particularly looking for, in fact be thankful that people are honest – it may be your saving grace.

By getting this honest feedback on a regular basis, you may very well be able to make changes in the direction that your business is going, before disaster strikes.

Don’t be scared to engage these incredible people in some more questions – ask them how you could improve your idea, your service and any other ideas that they may have. Get down off you pedestal and don’t be defensive. Listen carefully to what they have to say – write down all the ideas that come out of the brainstorming session.

Once you have calmed down and you are thinking clearly again – take a look at what came out of the session. Keep an open mind and honestly analyse the ideas. Keep the most useful, tweak those that need tweaking and discard the rest.

Get these people together on a regular basis – let them challenge you and your ideas – your business will only prosper because of it.

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

Monday, May 11, 2009

MOTIVATION - So What Is The Secret of Success

MOTIVATION – So What Is The Secret of Success


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC May 2009

Let’s first discuss what is success. What I consider to be ‘success; is usually and can be completely different to what other people see or consider as successful.

Then of course, there are different degrees of success. Flicking a switch and turning a light on is success. Finding the information that you are looking for on the first try is also for me a huge success.

We are all exposed to ‘successful’ people on a daily basis. Turn on the TV and watch successful mega stars, open a newspaper or read a book – more successful people. There is no shortage of successful people and an abundance of opportunity for us to read about them and how they became successful.

Hell, just watch any reality show like Idols and you can actually watch someone becoming successful.

Many of these people ‘share’ how they became successful or what they consider as their ‘secrets to success’.

In every single successful person that you meet with, read up on, watch on television or at the movies or engage in any way with, you will see and feel the absolute passion and drive that they have to realize their dream. You will hear, how from (usually a very young age) this is what they wanted, what they hungered for, what every waking (and often dreaming) second of the day and night they lived for. They lived their dream into being a reality.

With each step closer to the realization of their dream, their efforts intensified and they became more and more focused on what they wanted to do and kept on slowly but surely putting one foot in front of the other, continuously moving forward towards their goal – the realization of their dream.

Nothing stops them, nothing deters them and believe me, nothing gets in their way – they will find a way around, or over, or under any obstacle that you put in their way. They are determined, hungry and focused on what it is that they want.

And all of it . . . . starts off with a single dream.

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

Friday, May 08, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You're Not Sure If A Medical Certificate Is Required.

ARTICLE 26

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You’re Not Sure If A Medical Certificate Is Required.

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2009

First of all the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) says that you are not obliged to pay a staff member if they are absent from work for more that two consecutive days or more than two (single) days during an eight week period, if they do not, will not or cannot produce a medical certificate.

The medical certificated must state that the staff member was not able to work for the dates and the duration that the employee was absent from work because of ‘sickness’ and/or injury.

Should the employee be off ill for an isolated day, they are not required to produce a medical certificate provided that it is not more than one day in every eight weeks.

It is a good idea to lay down the rules governing sick leave, in your letter or contract of employment. ‘Spell it out’ in easy to understand language. Let them know what the requirements are and what they can do and what they cannot do.

For example, “Medical Certificates are required if an employee is ill or injured for two consecutive days or on a Friday (or Saturday) and/or on a Monday and/or on the day before or after a public holiday.”

“Medical Certificates are also required if more than one single day is taken during every 8 (eight) week period.”

“Failure to produce and/or submit a Medical Certificate from a registered medical practioner may result in the employee taking unpaid leave.”

This tells the employee, very clearly what the boundaries are and what the consequences are, should that boundary be crossed. It removes the emotion out of the situation, is clear on it’s intent and removes all confusion.

Remember to keep it as simple and as clear as possible.
Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Thursday, May 07, 2009

SALES - How to Increase Yours Sales Income - Part 6

SALES

How to Increase Your Sales Income – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting May 2009.

Why do your clients come back to your time after time? Perhaps I should be asking, do your customers come back time after time? There must be some sort of reason why.

Once you know what that reason is, your business will be going in a different direction altogether. Once you know what captivates your clients you will be able to capitalize on this knowledge and use it to its fullest potential.

Refine that reason, explore it, expand it, grow it, morph it into different aspects and then sell it for all that it is worth!

Take care, Discovery Health for example – it started out as just another medical aid. Then came the Vitality program (where you compete against yourself and the program) and the gym subscriptions. Then the Discovery credit card and now the health foods that you can buy at Pick ‘n Pay. All are variations of a theme – your health. All make a difference (if used correctly) to your health and all of them make a huge amount of money for Discovery and their respective partners.

So once you have found your unique selling point, capitalize on it – make yourself different and stand out from the crowd. Remember though, you can’t just sit on your laurels, you then have to do something about what it is that you have discovered. Find new innovative ways to expand your business and grow it.

Innovation and action will always result in success.

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

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

THE POWER OF NETWORKING - PART 111

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 111

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. May 2009

With the introduction of the internet we are exposed and even subjected, against our will, to a huge amount of information.

Gone are the days when we had to traipse off to the local library to do research, having to haul down dusty books that we hoped would have the necessary information that we needed. Nowadays, with a click of a mouse, we have all the information that we need and then some. Information in great abundance.

Abundance of information, is now becoming a problem. You see most of us suffer from ‘Information Overload’.

So why am I bringing all of this up in an article about Networking? Well it is really quite simple. You see some people who attend Networking meetings, try to get everything that they do into their 30 second pitch. The result of this is that at the end of the meeting, the most that will be remembered is that person XZM had a huge amount to say. What they were actually talking about is often not heard at all.

In this case – less is actually more.

If you have or wear several hats in business, rather pick one or two or at a push three issues or areas of expertise and then talk about these clearly and concisely.

Remember you are not communicating on a ‘one on one’ with someone who will actually refer you, but rather a group of people who don’t know you and who you need to ignite a spark of interest in. Once interested in what you have to say, they will seek you out and then that is when your arrange for a ‘one on one’ meeting and at that meeting is where you share, in greater detail, what it is that you do. Don’t forget to return the favour though – you need to listen carefully to what it is that they do to.

At the start though, remember – less is more, be clear in what you say, keep it short but make it memorable.

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

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

BUSINESS TIPS - Being Your Own Boss - Part 6

BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 6


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May 2009

Starting your own business and keeping things on track and going in the right direction is probably one of the most daunting tasks.

You are everything to all people – your clients, your suppliers/service providers, your staff and even yourself. Your accountability and responsibility increases dramatically and the pressure and stress that you put yourself under would be the same as asking someone to balance a fully grown elephant on the head of a pin.

There are instances where things go wrong and you haven’t made any kind of provision for them, simply because you actually had no clue that they even existed and there are other things that go wrong because – well actually you messed up. The bottom line is that sometimes things go wrong.

These mounting issues, and the way that you react to them actually will shake you to the core of your being. Your self confidence takes a leave of absence and you wonder if you should have yourself committed to the nearest institution because clearly you are not of sound mind and judgment, to actually think that you could run your own business and be successful at it!

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? I promise you, you are not alone – we have all been there, to hell and back again.

Does this mean that you will no longer be passionate about your business – of course not! What it does mean though is that you will start having to conduct some sort of reality check with yourself.

For me the easiest way is always to write things down. So make lists of everything. Things like ‘what you have accomplished’ and ‘what still needs to be done’. How about ‘all the opportunities that you have uncovered’. Then of course, there are ‘issues’ or ‘things happening’ or ‘things that could happen’ in the business that could have a bad or negative effect on your business. Decide which are avoidable and make a decision on how you are going to avoid them. Look at the ones that are unavoidable and decide how best to deal with those too.

Put together a plan of action and then give yourself target dates and/or times to complete the task. Be realistic.

Once you have completed these lists and the ‘how to’ of what you can and can’t do, you will have a feeling of absolute empowerment. You see working through issues in this manner shows you that you will be able to work through anything.

Keep you head, keep your cool, calm down and work through each issue – one at a time.


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

Monday, May 04, 2009

MOTIVATION - Free Will

MOTIVATION – Free Will


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC- May 2009

P J O’Rouke says “One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility, is the difficulty in finding someone to blame your problems on and when you do find somebody, it’s remarkable how often their picture turns up on your driver’s license.”

To be completely honest, this one have me in absolute stitches!

These days finding someone who takes responsibility and accountability for their actions is quite rare.

I am constantly amazed at the number of people who want the authority – in fact they demand it and of course all the perks that that brings, but when it comes time to be accountable and responsible, it suddenly becomes someone else’s problem, or it was because of something that someone else did or because there is a ‘plot’ to discredit them – talk about conspiracy theories!

I remember as a small child, going fishing with my father. It was one of the great pleasures in my life – spending quality time with my father, having him all to myself. Being out in the fresh air and sunshine on the farm, with nothing but the wild animals and the beauty of the bushveld around us was really quite special. There were many things that I learnt from my father, but what I consider to be one of the most meaningful is the fact that we are responsible for not only our actions, but also our ‘non’ actions.

This meant that as we fished, fishes that were too small to eat went back into the dam or the river to be caught another day when they were bigger. Then of course, when we had caught enough for our immediate needs (for the pot as we called it), those were also returned to the water to be caught another day. Pretty much along the lines of ‘catch and release’, except that we ate what we didn’t release.

Our responsibility did not end there. You see, what I caught also had to be cleaned and gutted and prepared for cooking. That was the way in which I was taught to respect the ‘animal’ whose life had come to an end, in order to feed me and in so doing give me life.
This is how I was taught to respect ‘life’ and I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that ‘respect for life’ is also something that seems to be a very rare commodity these days.

This was how I was taught to respect others and to take responsibility for my actions. I had caught the fish for my own needs, therefore it was my responsibility to clean it and gut it and prepare it for cooking and when I got older and was able to, to even cook it myself.

This is how I was taught, that every single action (and even non actions) have a consequence and that each consequence becomes a responsibility that we must hold ourselves accountable for.

Not a bad way to grow up, I am sure you will agree. It is something that the generations of today need to understand though, that shift the blame makes them no less accountable for their actions.

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