Friday, July 31, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Are A South African Working IN A Foreign Embassy


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Are A South African Working In A Foreign Embasy

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

As you probably know, an Embassy is, according to international law, considered to be on foreign soil. Therefore it you are a South African working in an Embassy you would be governed by the Labour laws of that particular country.

This however, does not apply to companies or branches of companies that are based in South Africa.

Here’s the story.

Mike is the Managing Director of a Foreign company in South Africa, whose Head Office is in the USA.

The USA Head Office officials decide that they do not like Mike’s management skills and he is dismissed without any kind of warning. Mike refers his dismissal to the Bargaining Council.

The USA Head Office officials retaliate by stating that the Council has no jurisdiction because it was the Head Office in the USA, who dismissed Mike and not the officials that reside in South Africa.

The arbitrators are called in and it is decided that the Bargaining Council do have jurisdiction because of (but not limited to) the following issues.

· Although the Company’s Head Office was in the USA, Mike was employed in the South African branch.
· The employer had to pay Mike’s legal costs.

Mike won his case, since the dismissal procedures, which apply to South Africa were not complied with.

Next week we will have a look at South Africans working in Foreign countries.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SALES - The Joys of Pre-Sold Sales


The Joys of Pre-Sold Sales

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting July 2009.

What is a ‘Pre-Sold Sale’? For me it is the sale that I don’t have to sell. It’s the client who comes to me for my service because I have been recommend by someone that they trust. Again it boils down to relationships and the building of relationships.

The two most pronounced factors here are ‘relationships’ and ‘trust’. You see me being recommended by someone that you trust, means that I don’t have to do anything about the sale – it’s already done, because the person who has recommended me has already tried my services. The services have been tested and found to be acceptable and they have given me their stamp of approval! All I have to do is deliver what the client wants. It’s the best sale that there is.

So don’t be scared to go back to your database of past and present clients and ask them to recommend you. Don’t be scared to ask them to ‘listen’ out for people who need your product and/or service. By recommending you they are also adding value to what it is that they do and to their clients too.

Yip, Pre-Sold Sales for me are the very best kind!

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Member Steals From You


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Your Staff Member Steals From You

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

Did you know that there are certain circumstances, when you can actually get remuneration from an employee’s pension payout, when they steal from you? I must admit that until I did the research, I didn’t know that! Here’s the story.

Mike owns a retail store in a busy mall and George is one of his salespersons. Mike has been noticing that stock is slowly but surely going missing and his level of shrinkage is growing month by month. Mike implements added procedures such as daily stock counts in an effort to sort the problem out. As luck would have it, Mike catches George red handed (so to speak) as Mike watches, he sees George hide an expensive tie inside of his shirt and then walk out of the door to be met by someone down the corridor. Mike follows at a discreet distance and watches as George removes the tie from his shirt and hands it to the other fellow. As the fellow hands George money, Mike makes his presence known and catches George before he can run.

George is embarrassed at being caught and admits to have been stealing for a long time. Under Mike’s watchful eye, George writes out the incident report about ‘how’ he stole the tie. Mike calls in the police and again insists that George make a statement about what he has stolen and George admits to stealing stock to the value of around R20 000 – this is documented. Once the statement has been written, signed and witnessed, Mike gets a certified copy and is given a case number.

Mike then holds a disciplinary in ‘Abstentia’ (remember George is locked up), George is found guilty of theft and dishonesty and he is dismissed. Although George in this instance is not entitled to notice pay, he is still entitled to any leave that may be owing to him and also there is his pension fund. Mike pays all the outstanding leave pay and monthly pay (up to and including the last day that George worked for the month) into George’s account and notifies the Pension Fund administrators that George is no longer employed by the company and that they should calculate his pension payout.

Mike also advises the Pension Fund Administrators that George has been dishonest and that he has admitted to theft and gives them a copy of the admission of guilt. The Pension Fund Administrators are obliged to give Mike R20 000 out of George’s pension payout, prior to them paying the balance out to George.

Mike has followed the correct procedures.

The law you see, is actually quite fair as long as the correct procedures are followed.

Be aware though that had Mike not ‘driven the process’ himself, the Administrators would not have just automatically paid him out, out of George’s pension payout – Mike had to advise them that this is what he was entitled to and give them the documentary evidence that they required.

Please make sure though that you have a signed copy of admission from the employee, stating that they have been dishonest, or that they have stolen, or that they have committed fraud or that the loss experienced by the company was as a direct result of their ‘misconduct’. Make sure that you get some sort of value on what has been ‘lost’ or that there is a judgment against them for the loss that you have incurred.

Don’t try and do this if the charge against the employee is merely one of ‘negligence’ – there has to be an actual loss and the loss has to be a result of dishonesty and oh yes, an unsigned e-mail or an ‘SMS’ is not sufficient proof. Make sure that you get the errant employee’s signature on the document and make sure that they have admitted to the theft/fraud. This will ensure that their ‘intent’ was clear and that you then get your money back.

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

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SALES - Be A Specialist


Be a Specialist

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting July 2009.

This one is a case of ‘Do as I tell you, don’t do as I do’ kind of article. You see, although I am a ‘specialist’ in what I do, I am also a ‘generalist’ in what I know! Talk about confusing the masses!

Actually it’s not that difficult. Let me explain – as an Internal Auditor, I was trained (and through experience over the years) to notice certain things. Let’s me be honest here – if you have changed your hairstyle or bought a new outfit, generally speaking, I won’t notice anything at all. Put me in a ‘business or working’ environment though and I will be able to spot everything ‘out of the ordinary’ and even some things that you never even thought about looking at. Now here comes the kicker – it doesn’t matter if that business or working environment is in the retail sector, manufacturing sector, security sector, medical sector – in fact any sector that you could possibly think of, I would still be able to tell you if something was ‘off’. So in this instance, although I am a ‘specialist’ in what I do, I am also a ‘generalist’ too.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get back to the business at hand. I love going to the Rosebank flea market – not because I love to shop – but because that’s where I buy my slippers and that’s where I love to buy cheese and there are one or two second hand book stalls that I have to be very disciplined in when I get there. The rest of the flea market – quite honestly, I don’t even bother with. The reason for that is that they are all the same! Every stall sells the same thing – all the clothing stalls sell more or less the same clothing, all the tourist souvenir spots all sell the same and boredom sets in very quickly.

Think about it logically for a moment – if you are exactly the same as all of your competitors, the whole thing becomes quite monotonous and actually what you are doing to yourself is making selling that much harder for yourself. Who wants to make life harder for themselves. Certainly not me, and I suspect you wouldn’t want to do that either.

So now logic must tell you that you have to make yourself different in some way, more exciting, more appealing. You could ‘narrow’ your target market a bit – make whatever you do (product and/or service) more specialized. Up your credibility or your service. Collaborate with someone else and give ‘more’ than expected.

Whatever it is that you decide to do, remember you have to be ‘a cut above the rest’ – be noticed, be remembered, be credible.

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Please note there will be no networking tip next week, I will be in Botswana


PART 122

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

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

“Provide constructive feedback to people in your network, that they can use to enhance their businesses.”

As some of you know, I recently had my website revamped (go check it out on – sign up, it’s free). One of the things that I was now able to add onto my site is a ‘Testimonials’ page. I then sent out an e-mail to my entire database asking everyone to send me a testimonial.

The response was both unexpected and even a little overwhelming. In fact, there were several occasions where I was a little damp around the eye area, although I am not admitting to anything you understand.

You see, over the last six years or so I have handed out probably more than several thousand referrals and I have connected people, not only locally, but also across borders, across continents and even across time zones.

Sure there have been instances where I have a ‘thank you’ mail or call and even more rarely, I have actually received a ‘feedback’ of sorts, where I have been told that they have actually met up with the person and they are now doing business together. Sadly though, these are very few and far between.

So I am sure you can only imagine my shock when I received hundreds of mails and testimonials and the content of many of them evidenced the difference I had made in the lives of these people. It was a truly humbling experience and one that I will never forget.

It would be really great though, to have this experience (although on a much lesser scale) on a more regular basis and without me actually having to ask for it.

I must say though, that although my database works really hard for me and I have no problem with referring people – those who have thanked me and those who have given me feedback, somehow stick more clearly in my mind. I do know that I get a real sense of pleasure when I am able to refer them.

So remember the person who gave you the connection and/or the referral in the first place. They have given you something of theirs that they have worked very hard for and that they treasure – have the good manners to, at the very least, thank them. They deserve it don’t you think?

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Please note - there will be no Business Tip post next week as I will be in Botswana

BUSINESS TIPS – Keeping Yourself Compliant

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2009

Over the last couple of years I have met with several small business owners who run their businesses in a less than moral manner.

In most instances they are well aware that what they are doing is wrong. In all fairness to them – they are perhaps not fully aware of the extent in which they have put themselves at risk.

That said, they are still very much aware that there are consequences if they run their businesses in a ‘reckless or fraudulent’ way.

In fact, the bottom line and the harsh reality of the matter is that both the Close Corporations Act and the Companies Act have put processes in place that allow the courts to make the members of a Close Corporation or the directors of a company, personally liable for the debts incurred it they know that they are running their businesses in a ‘reckless or fraudulent’ way.

The Close Corporation Act says: “A member of a corporation shall be liable to the corporation for loss caused by his or her failure in the carrying on of the business of the corporation to act with the degree of care and skill that may reasonably be expected from a person of his or her knowledge and experience.”

The Companies Act says: “When it appears, whether it be in winding-up, judicial management or otherwise, that any business of the company was or is being carried on recklessly or with intent to defraud creditors of the company or creditors of any other person or for any fraudulent purpose, the Court may, on the application of the Master, the liquidator, the judicial manager, any creditor or member or contributory of the company, declare that any person who was knowingly a party to the carrying on of the business in the manner aforesaid, shall be personally responsible, without limitation of liability, for all or any of the debts or other liabilities of the company as the Court may direct.”

So what does this mean exactly?

Mike owns a CC (Close Corporation) and he is in construction, but because he has been sequestrated he cannot have it in his own name, so he puts it in the name of his wife Susan. Susan is a shipping clerk in a huge corporation, who has no idea of how to run a business, much less anything to do with construction.

Mike has five projects on the go and in the usual fashion with construction people he has taken 75% of the fees up front to purchase materials and what have you. The balance of 25% will be paid when Mike completes the project and obtains sign off from the building inspectors and the client.
Mike has purchased material for project 1 and 2, using the deposit from project 1.
Mike has purchased material for project 3 and 4, using the deposit from project 2.
Mike has purchased material for project 5 using some of the deposit from project 3.
The balance of the deposit from project 3 and deposits from projects 4 and 5, Mike has used to buy a new bakkie.

The materials that Mike has purchased are of an inferior quality and workmanship and Mike is hoping that no-one is going to notice. Project 1 is about 80% done and just has to have the finishing touches, like the light fittings and what have you done but he has now run out of money and there are no new projects in the pipeline. Project 2 is about 50% done and project 3 has just been started. Neither project 4 or 5 have been started at all.

Mike has dealing with several suppliers during the course of these 5 projects and they know him and he has been paying cash up front or settling the bills on a pretty regular basis. A relationship has been forged and Mike goes to get more materials promising to pay as ‘soon as he gets to the office’. Mike has purchased sufficient materials to ‘finish’ project 1 and he is banking on the balance of the money for project 1 to continue with project 2. The problem is that Mike has used inferior fittings and finishes and both the building inspector and the client refuses to sign off because this is not what was ordered or paid for. In the mean time the suppliers are hounding Mike for payment and he is now not even taking their calls.

Mike is now deep in the smelly brown stuff – he has set up and is running a business fraudulently as being sequestrated is he is not allowed to register and/or run a business in his own name. He has accepted money for work, materials have not been purchased. Materials purchased are of an inferior quality and workmanship, he has not paid for some of the materials. Mike has spent the money that he was paid on other things. The workers have not been paid and there is now no money at all. Mike is now trying to file for bankruptcy which means that the suppliers will get a fraction of what he owes them. Mike has run this business in a fraudulent manner and the Court can hold him responsible in his personal capacity and actually prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law – this could mean not only fines and penalties, but it could also mean jail time.

None of what Mike did, was done by accident, it was all done deliberately and with forethought. Mike over estimated his own luck and his own intelligence. You see, by running the business in Susan’s name, Mike thought that he would be ‘outside’ of the law and could not be held responsible. How wrong could he actually get.

Please understand that the days when less than honest business owners could get away with this kind of behavior are long gone. Hundreds and thousands of small business owners and individuals lost their businesses and their livelihood and sometimes even their homes because of the unscrupulous behavior of some people – it may take a while, but these days, these people can be brought to justice and be held accountable for their actions.

Remember too, that ‘ignorance of the law’ is no excuse. Make sure that you understand what your obligations are and make sure that you follow them and that you are compliant.

Being proactive is always a lot easier than constantly trying to be reactive.

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

Monday, July 20, 2009

MOTIVATION - Having The Right Heroes

Please note there will be no motivation post next week - I will be in Botswana

MOTIVATION – Having The Right Heroes.

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

For me it is inconceivable that people go through life without a ‘hero’ or two. Let’s face it, we all have our favorite Idol, or our favorite movie star, and many of us avidly follow what they get up (or actually more like what is alleged that they get up to). It’s big business – you only have to see the number of copies of Heat and/or People magazines that are sold on a weekly basis to have some sort of idea of the value of the ‘interest’ that is generated by these ‘so called celebrities’ who are in fact heroes.

Many of them use their status and their celebrity status to change the way that we as “Joe Public” see things. Some of it is really, really good, like Cameron Diaz, for example who does the whole ‘green’ thing or Angelina Jolie and her fight for the rights of children and women or Oprah and her benevolence towards the education of children, but then there is also the really, really bad – and I’m not going to mention any names here, but we all know who they are – the guys (and gals) who do drugs, or beat up on their women (and even perhaps their children).

Some of these ‘heroes’ take their ‘celebrity status’ very seriously and try and become ‘good role models’ and try and live their lives in the public eyes in a responsible way, whilst others couldn’t give a damn about whether what they are doing is seen in a negative light. I guess, like most things in life, it’s all about the perception.

As individuals we too have a responsibility – ‘how’s that’? I hear you say. Well it’s about choosing the ‘right’ heroes. Warren Buffett says he was ‘lucky to have the right heroes’. That’s really great for him, but on a personal level, I think it is not just luck, it’s also about choosing the right heroes.

So how do we go about choosing the right hero? I mean when you have a hero, it’s like when you first fall in love, isn’t it? The other person can do no wrong! My first piece of advice here is that you have to realize that even heroes are human and if you put them up onto a pedestal it is your responsibility to deal with your own confusion when they fall off! Being human means that they will make mistakes and do the wrong thing from time to time and since that is their own decisions you need to understand and make peace with that. If you can live with it then that’s fine, if not then you are the one with the problem.

Heroes for me are people who make a difference all the time. It’s who they are – an intrinsic part of how they are made up. For them it’s not just about when the going is good – it’s also about when things are hard or difficult. It’s about how they behave and what they achieve when they are struggling or going through a bad period (irrespective of whether it is in their personal or professional lives.)

Heroes are people who have the same sort of values that I have or I would aspire to have. They are people that I can relate to, who I can talk to about anything at all and who I know have my best interests at heart. They are people who look out for me, who are not afraid to tell me (in case they may ‘upset’ me) when I am going in the wrong direction and conversely who are not afraid to tell me when I have done something right. They are immensely proud of my achievements and yet will continue to challenge me.

Heroes are people who also continue to strive to ‘do better’, but they are not afraid to show their weaknesses or even their vulnerable side.

They are people who have usually ‘climbed huge mountains’ to get where they are, they have overcome their own struggles and fought their own demons.

Often they are people who go about their business, helping people along the way often without thought of what they are doing and why and seldom with any kind of remuneration – just because they can.

My heroes are people who live their lives by example and they are the kinds of examples that I would like to follow.

My heroes are not famous people, they are not the stars of the screen but rather the stars that shine more brightly.

My heroes are people who I admire because of their qualities rather than just their successes.

My heroes are everyday people who walk amongst us – who are your heroes?

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TODAY'S Funnies

The Truth About Hugs

Remember the old "research" that said we need like 15 hugs a day to maintain optimum health? I never did find the documentation on that, but I'm absolutely sure it's true! Hug someone today!

Hugs are non-fattening and they don't cause cancer or cavities.

Hugs are all natural with no preservatives, artificial preservatives ortoxic residue

Hugs are cholesterol-free, naturally sweet, 100% wholesome anda renewable resource

Hugs are easy to care for, they don't require batteries, tune-ups or day-care

Hugs are non-taxable, fully returnable and energy-efficient

Hugs are safe in all kinds of weather

Hugs are especially good on cold or rainy days

Hugs are exceptionally effective for treating problems likebad dreams, disappointments and blue Mondays

Hugs are good for people of all ages, shapes and sizes

Hugs may be considered "politically incorrect" (which makesthem even more delicious) but on the positive side, they are FUN!

Give someone a hug today - you're almost sure to get one right back!

Friday, July 17, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . What Needs To Be On A Medical Certificate


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . What Needs To Be On A Medical Certificate

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

Mike owns a factory and George is one of his workers – George calls in sick on a regular basis and when he comes back to work, he does bring a doctors certificate with him.

When George has taken sick leave for the 50th day in the same year, Mike starts getting suspicious because George never ‘looks’ sick when he is at work. Mike starts his investigation by looking at the doctor’s certificates that have been given to him.

In terms of the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) a doctor’s certificate must be signed and issued by a ‘registered Medical Practitioner’. This means that it has to be someone who is ‘certified’ to diagnose and treat patients and who is ‘registered’ with a professional council that has been established by an Act of Parliament.

Here is the other information that must be on the medical certificate.
· The name, address, qualification and practice or registration number of the practioner (please note that Mike is entitled to check that this information is correct).
· The name of the employee.
· The date and time that the employee was examined.
· If the doctor actually saw the employee and diagnosed the illness at the time of examination, this should be stipulated on the certificate. If the doctor did not examine the employee, but has issued the certificate based on what the employee has told him/her, this should also be stipulated on the certificate.
· A description of the illness. It must be noted here however that if the employee is not prepared to give consent for the illness to be stipulated on the certificate, then the Medical Practioner is entitled to document something along the lines of “my opinion, based on my examination of George Dladla is that he is unfit to work.”
· The Medical Practitioner should also state whether the employee is totally ‘unfit to work’ or if the employee is ‘able to perform less strenuous duties’ in his/her working environment.
· The exact period that the patient has been booked off for (this should indicate exactly which date the employee must return to work – so, not George is booked off sick for a week, but rather George ‘will return to work on Monday 20th July 2009.)
· The date that the Medical Practioner has issued the Medical Certificate.
· The Medical Certificate must be signed by the Registered Medical Practioner.

In this particular instance, the Certificates that George was bringing to Mike were correct and Mike now has to decide whether he wants to dismiss George due to ill health. How Mike deals with this situation is another story for another day.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

SALES - Finding the Right Prospects


Finding the Right Prospects

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting July 2009.

As much as you need to have a really intimate knowledge of your product/service, so to do you need to know who your prospect and/or target market is.

Many small business owners like to think that their particular product and/or service is something that every single person on the planet has to have! Well as much as that may be true in a Utopian world and as much as they would like to think that, the reality of the situation is that that is simply not true for a number of reasons.

There are those that will not see the value of what it is that you are offering, those who just cannot afford what you are offering, those that are just not in the right demographics to know what you are offering and of course those who have no clue what you are offering.

Then from your side, you have to actually understand who it is that you need to target.

Think about sitting in a restaurant – the place is packed, waitrons are rushing around trying to get everyone fed and watered. Some people are upset because they have been given the wrong food or it has not been cooked to their specifications, others are tired of waiting and are ready to walk out – on the other hand there are those who have really enjoyed their meals or are enjoying their meals. Some have finished and are leaving, others are arriving. Some are young, some are middle aged, some are grannies and grandpas. Some are European, some are oriental, some are from right here in South Africa, some are from other countries. Some come from rich homes and others from poor homes, some are male and some are female. Do you get the picture yet?

You see, even though the restaurant’s target market are ‘hungry people’ there are different kinds of hungry people. People who have different tastes and have different expectations. Some who want fish and others who want meat or chicken and then of course those that only eat vegetables. The chef has to understand all these different variables and ensure that he can accommodate all the different taste buds. The restaurant manager has to make sure that his/her waitrons are properly trained and that they can handle the pressure of serving difficult clients as there are patrons that enjoy being fussed over and others that don’t, but still want good service. There are diners that want ice in their drinks and others that don’t and still some that want a single ice cube or two – the waitrons have to remember all of this, get the orders right and delivered on time to the correct person and so on.

Understand a little better now?

So, make a list of who your target market is, then for each target market that you have listed, draw down and make a list of all the sub-groups.

Once you have identified all of your sub-groups, make a list of the best prospect or the person that you would most like to deal with and why you would like to deal with them. Once you have done that, make a list and select the top three things that your product/service has that would win them over and another list and select the top three problems that they may encounter that you would then be able to resolve. Don’t try and fix things that you have no control over – focus on what you can fix.

The list with the things about the product that would win them over becomes the focus of what you sell to your target market and the list of problems will ensure that you are ready to respond to any problems that you may encounter.

Do you see how you have narrowed your prospects down? If you have followed these suggestions, in all probability you have found the target market that is most right for you.

Now all you need to do is get selling – and remember, always have fun!

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



PART 121

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July 2009

I bumped into a friend of mine the other day who I haven’t seen for absolutely ages. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, she asked me how business is and if I was being hurt by the recession or the ‘R’ word as she called it?

Well quite frankly, I’ve heard about the recession and the ‘R’ word, but I have been extremely busy, in fact busier than usual so clearly the recession not the ‘R’ word apply to me.

As most of you know, most of my business comes through referrals, which means that all of my business comes through networking. All the networking that I have been doing over the last 5 years, is now paying huge dividends and I am swamped with work and am having the time of my life.

She promptly burst into tears! Tears mopped and composure back in place again, she told me how she has had to close her business and is now looking for work. She also told me how she regrets not having listened to me on the countless occasions that I have spoken about networking and referrals, and how to go about both.

You see she treated the networking meetings and events as a social gathering and despite having met a huge number of people and gathering stacks of cards, she actually did nothing else. The result of course, was that she had not built any relationships – secure (well so she thought) in the knowledge that her business came from the big corporate companies.

Sadly, the recession or the “R” word has had the most impact on the Corporate Companies, particularly the mining sector where she so enjoyed to play and one by one her contracts have been put on hold or not re-negotiated when they came to an end. Depressed and panic stricken at seeing her once thriving business deteriorate, she was unable to resort to her network for additional support and referrals – she didn’t have one.

Understanding that to network right now to get leads right now would make her seem quite desperate and would probably do more harm than good, she has elected to close the business – for now.

She assured me though, that whilst she is down, she is certainly not out. She is carefully going through all my articles on networking and she will be going to networking meetings – but from now on, they will not be treated as a social event, they will be used carefully to meet like minded people, to interact and build sustainable relationships, so that she can, in time ask for and receive referrals and slowly but surely, build up her business until once again it is filled with successfully negotiated solid business.

I certainly hope that she is steadfast in her resolve, because if she is – I have no doubt that her business will once again become a really successful entity.

I also think that she now understands that Networking is about building relationships.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

BUSINESS TIPS - Unlocking Our Hidden Potential

BUSINESS TIPS – Unlocking Our Hidden Potential

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2009

I seem to be on a mission lately to discover exactly what makes me tick, particularly in terms of business. I seem to have these brilliant (well I think they are brilliant and only my opinion counts here) ideas and that’s where they end. Sure, everyone who hears what I have to say also thinks my idea(s) are great, but still nothing happens – clearly I have to change something. A little research got me to this.

1. Thinking and planning ahead.
How difficult can that be I thought! Ja right – apparently the trick is to go forward in time to 50 or even 100 years from now irrespective of whether you see your product and/or service (not to mention to yourself haha) lasting that long. It has something to do with shifting your mindset and allowing it to project into the future. Anyway, I digress – from there you have to work backwards and create a ‘vision’ plan. You do this in blocks of ten years at a time and it is very important to ask and answer the questions of “who, what, where, when, why and how”. For example, who will be your target market and whether it is local, national or international. The what would be either the product(s) and/or the services that you provide and so on. Getting this practice right will tell you exactly how you are going to achieve your objectives and therefore your business goals.

2. Getting hold of the data inside our own heads.
I am sure you’ve all heard about how little capacity we actually use of our brains. It has been suggested that we use something like 10% of our ‘conscious’ minds and the rest of all the information, memories, data, knowledge and what else have you is then stored in our ‘sub-conscious’ – how one would actually measure this is beyond me, but then again I am no expert. In any event the idea here is that we should try and get into our ‘sub-conscious’ minds in order to access this very valuable data that is stored there. Now the experts say that for a period of 21 days (I suppose to get us into the habit) we should write something brief on whatever we want to improve on our ‘leadership process’. So for example if we have a problem with dealing with customers or staff, the more we write about it the more we’ll access our sub-conscious mind and the easier we will find solutions to the problem.

3. Improving and increasing productivity.
I am sure that you will agree that your staff will never have the same level of energy as you do, particularly when they are selling your product and/or service. It stands to reason that they will never be as passionate about your business as you are – so logic must tell you that you need to motivate them to be, well almost as energetic or passionate as you are. To do this you need to get them to participate in the exercise – you need to find out what it is that ‘drives’ them in terms of the work that they do or what would drive them and then use that information to empower them. This means of course, that you would need to tailor their specific talents or skills or needs to what you need done. It will become a win/win relationship and you will be amazed at the difference it will make.

4. Being Innovative and Creative.
Oh here is one for the history books! Use your staff – I don’t mean in a nasty way, but use their individuality, their passion and their creativity to help you (and them) see things more clearly. One of the most common things that I am told my small business owners is that they often feel ‘lonely’ in business. In a Corporate environment, it is easy to ‘bounce’ ideas off colleagues or have ‘brainstorming’ sessions – when you are in business for yourself however, you often don’t feel that you can ‘talk’ much less brainstorm with anyone. Just because your staff ‘work’ for you, doesn’t mean that they will not have some great ideas – so talk to them, encourage them to come to you with those ideas. If you have a problem – get the staff around the table and let them brainstorm with you, to find a solution to whatever your problem is. You’d be amazed at what comes out of these sessions. One of my clients does this once a month, usually about ideas on how to bring in new business and they have a prize, once a quarter for the best idea. Several of those ‘ideas’ now are bring in handsome profits.

5. Take responsibility
Taking responsibility for our own actions is one thing, but taking responsibility for something that someone else does is very difficult. I had a friend once who, when her daughter and her were at loggerheads, would often stand back and say ‘She is acting like that because of what is happening in my life!’ Often who we are and what we are going through influences those around us and then their behaviour is as a direct result of what we have done or are doing. So when your staff are acting up or acting out – it’s a good idea for us you step back from the situation and see what is happening in you life that may have influenced their actions. Remember you are responsible for putting food on their tables and they may just be trying to protect that. Obviously I am not talking about someone who is, say stealing – they would need to take responsibility for that, but someone who is out of sorts or is moody or is not doing the job in the way in which you want it done. Take a look and see what the underlying problem is – look at the cause rather than just the symptom. Talk to them, ask the question, open up the avenues of communication – let them know that you are willing to talk about issues. It will make a great deal of difference to the way that they perceive you and often will be enough to ensure that perceptions and expectations are met.

Whatever you do and whatever your challenge may be, remember why you got into business for yourself in the first place – and don’t forget to have lots of fun!

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

Monday, July 13, 2009



By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

Ralph Emerson says “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Ain’t that the truth! It really makes me mad when I hear people saying things like ‘Some people are born more equal than others’ or ‘He/She’s had it easy because they were born with a silver/gold spoon in their mouths’! You see I really do believe that we are all ‘born equal’. Now before you all start beating up on me – hear me out. I really believe that we all have the potential and the ability to be the best of who/what we can be – that’s all. I also believe that we can only be judged on our own potential and not that we can be compared to others. Yet at some point, many of us think that we can just sit back and watch the world go round as we have achieved everything that there is to achieve. What absolute nonsense! There is always something more.

Think about it for a moment – when a baby gets to a certain age, they want to do things for themselves and go places by themselves, so they start to crawl and my goodness if any of you ever met my cousin’s youngest – he could really move when he set his mind to it. We often used to have to run to keep up with him crawling towards his goal (usually his freedom out the kitchen door). Kids don’t stop there though. They don’t think – ok, I can crawl now so I have achieved my goal and that’s as far as I am going to go – I’ll just sit here and for the rest of my life just crawl to where-ever I need to go! They then at some point stand up and then walk and pretty soon they start to run. I remember as a child always falling over – I was pretty much just gangly legs at that stage, and my parents were forever telling me to walk and not run – but hey, I had places to go and interesting things to see and do and time was a-wasting, so I ran.

To this day I run – ok, so don’t take that literally, I don’t much like to physically run anymore, but my mind certainly still runs. There are so many new things to see or to learn. So many more books that I want to read (most people laugh when they see my reading list, it runs to 26 typed pages), so many new ideas that I want to see reach their full potential.

So many new things that I want to try. There are discussions that I want to have with people and debates on controversial subjects that I would love to sink my teeth into. There are countries that I want to visit and some that I need to re-visit. There are people that I would love to meet and dishes that I would love to sample. There are movies that I want to watch or I suppose I could just sit there and say, well I’m done – then what?

Na-ah, not for me – whilst there is still time in the day (or the night for that matter), there is time to do things - for me. Things that will challenge me, make me stretch my brain and make me grow as an individual.

Things that will help to make me be all that I can be – and then some.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TODAY'S Funnies


1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

1. Don't change horses
until they stop running.

2. Strike while the
bug is close.

3. It's always darkest before
Daylight Saving Time.

4. Never underestimate the power of

5. You can lead a horse to water but

6. Don't bite the hand that
looks dirty.

7. No news is

8. A miss is as good as a

9. You can't teach an old dog new

10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll
stink in the morning.

11. Love all, trust

12. The pen is mightier than the

13. An idle mind is
the best way to relax.

14. Where there's smoke there's

15. Happy the bride who
gets all the presents.

16. A penny saved is
not much.

17. Two's company, three's
the Musketeers.

18. Don't put off till tomorrow what
you put on to go to bed.

19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and
You have to blow your nose.

20. There are none so blind as
Stevie Wonder.

21. Children should be seen and not
spanked or grounded.

22. If at first you don't succeed
get new batteries.

23. You get out of something only what you
See in the picture on the box

24. When the blind lead the blind
get out of the way.

25. A bird in the hand
is going to poop on you.

And the WINNER and last one!

26. Better late than

Friday, July 10, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Always Seem To End Up At The CCMA


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Always Seem To End Up At The CCMA

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

At a workshop that I was giving, the other day (A Basic Practical Guide To Starting A Business), one of the delegates made a statement that went something along the lines of “I don’t want to hire any staff because they are so difficult to get rid of and then you always end up at the CCMA and then end up having to pay huge fines – it’s all about the employee!”

To say that I was stunned, would be an understatement! Then it hit me – apart from the ‘mindset’ out in the marketplace that the Labour Law only takes care of the employee and the employer just has to keep paying, there is also the mindset of ‘how difficult can it be – I can do it myself’! Wrong, Wrong and Wrong again!

SMME’s (Small, Medium, Micro Enterprises) also seem to operate from the back foot. They always seems to do things as a reaction to something. Quite honestly it frustrates the hell out of me and what it does is add to the bottom line – the reality is they always end up paying through the nose and then they sit back and play the victim.

Here are some of the ways (but not limited to) in which you can avoid ending up at the CCMA or paying huge fines and penalties.

· It is widely recognized that the quickest way to end up at the CCMA is, not to have procedures in place! Having the correct HR, Administration and Operational Policies, Procedures and Templates will ensure that staff know exactly what it is that is required of them, they understand that there are consequences and they know what those consequences are. Make sure that your procedures are within the letter of the law.
· The next problem is that employers, in an attempt to save money, try and chair disciplinaries themselves. That’s just not a good idea – to chair a disciplinary, you would need to, at the very least, have an idea of what the BCOA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) and the Labour Relations Act says. It’s like being your own lawyer in a court of law! The reality of this is that it ends up costing you an arm and a leg, as you end up having to get legal advice anyway and it leaves you feeling like a victim of the law. Don’t do it!
· Many business owners think that the law is there to make life difficult. Nothing can be further from the truth. My take on this is that the law (and also policies and procedures) are legislated and implemented to protect us from our own stupidity. Now, as you can imagine, I am often given quite a hard time by people when I make this statement. The reality though is that laws are passed and procedures are implemented as a result of something that has happened. No-body sits around all day, trying to think up ways to make life difficult. People usually try and prevent something from happening again and again and they do this by means of either legislation and/or the implementation of Policies/Templates and Procedures.
· Having an inexperienced Chairperson can also cause untold problems. A Chairperson who is not competent or who cannot make a decision based on the facts, rather than the emotions – or who must report into an HR department or business owner, prior to ‘taking a decision’ is going to cost in the long run, when the employee goes to the CCMA. So make a decision to get the right person in to chair the disciplinary.

So here’s the thing then – yes Labour legislation is 100% in favour of the employee – that said Labour legislation lays down the correct procedures for employers to dismiss staff legally.

So make a decision now – get your policies and procedures correct and make sure that they are properly implemented, get the right people in to do the disciplinaries and even if you do end up at the CCMA, chances are that the case will be dismissed.

It’s your choice – how you make it will mean the difference to your business.

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

Thursday, July 09, 2009

SALES - What is "Soft Selling"?


What is “Soft Selling”?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting July 2009.

I’ve been hearing the term ‘soft’ selling for some time now and to be quite honest, I had no clue as to what it meant. I mean, for me – selling is selling! Sure there are different ways to sell and some of them work for me and some of them don’t – much the same, I would imagine, as it is for you.

It stands to reason that if I don’t know what ‘soft’ selling is, there are others that also don’t know. So after a little research – this is what I found.

Apparently there are those amongst us who, when they are ‘soft’ selling properly, they don’t even know that they are selling – sounds really strange doesn’t it? I mean we all go out to sell and in the retail sector, in particular, everything is geared around getting the sale!

Here’s the thing though. There are instances, particularly in the consulting and/or coaching and/or advisory arena, when your clients don’t ‘feel’ like they are being sold to and you don’t feel like you are selling.

Actually, now that I think about it, this makes perfectly good sense. Think about it for a moment – when you are feeling like death warmed up and go off to the doctor, at no time do you see yourself as a client, a patient perhaps, but not a client. You see the doctor’s advice as something to be trusted and it has a win/win kind of feel about it – he makes you feel better and you pay him for doing that for you (although in all honesty I still feel like a client when I go and get the meds).

It appears that this can be done in any kind of business and it is all about the ‘mind-set’ of the individual who is actually doing the selling. The mindset is one of respect, service and ensuring that there is a ‘win/win’ situation. Actually, if I think about it a little more, this is when we build relationships with our clients. It’s like my favorite waiter at the Mugg & Bean (I can get quite irritated if he is not there) or the chap that the camera shop – I won’t buy anything unless he is there to explain stuff to me. The bottom line is that I trust them and they make me ‘feel’ special and they take care of me and they meet my needs.

Sure they still have to follow procedures and whatever the sales process is that their jobs require them to, but they do that quietly and without fuss and usually out of sight, but what they do is make the ‘experience’ for me, one that is pleasant.

So perhaps what we need to do is go back to the basics – the thing that made the ‘Mom and Pop’ corner shops such a success, the building of relationships with our clients. It must be like a second nature to them, to think of us whenever they need our product and/or our services.

Remember though, you still have to have your sales process in place and in order for you to be in control of your sales ‘efforts’ you still have to have to know who your target market is, you still have to have your business proposition in place and you still have to have your sales strategy and sales processes in place.

That said though, I really like the sound of a ‘soft’ sale – it sounds a lot less stressful than a ‘hard’ sale or even a normal one.

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

Wednesday, July 08, 2009



PART 120

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

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

“The sharing of information or mailing lists, should be done with sensitivity and permission.”

I must admit that this is one of my pet peeves!

I was asked at a Networking meeting recently, how I have built my personal data base into more than 2000 (and that’s without ‘buying’ any data bases) and I answered honestly, by adding one at a time. Not only have I added just one name at a time, but every single person in my data base, I have met, however briefly. They are not just faceless names and contact details. Each one has received correspondence from me (and often still continues to receive information from me) and each one has the propensity to be referred to someone that may need their services, at any given time.

My database works – really hard. Sure there are, sometimes months, when they don’t get any referrals at all and then suddenly something happens and they get referrals coming out of their ears!

That said, I try and treat my database with dignity and respect. I certainly don’t like to be spammed and I am sure that they don’t either. So I don’t just hand out their information for the sake of it, neither do I hand over my data base simply because someone asks me.

Actually I was quite gobsmacked the other day when a colleague asked me to give her my database list so that she could phone them. I must admit I was speechless for a moment – it has taken me 5 years of hard work to get my database to where it is and I must now just hand that information over to someone so that they can be phoned – I don’t think so.

So take care of your contacts, treat them right and I promise you they will treat you well too.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

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

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

BUSINESS TIPS - What Is Security - Really?

BUSINESS TIPS – What Is Security - Really?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – July 2009

So what does security mean to you as a small business owner? Does it mean that your success will be guaranteed? Does it mean that Joe Public will be blown away by the widgets that you want to sell or desperate for the services that you provide?

Whatever your idea of what your security actually is – how long will it last? Is it long term or short term – seasonal or here for the duration?

Well here’s the reality – the answer to all of the above is actually ‘who knows’!

Security is more fickle than the most high maintenance person that you know or probably are ever likely to know. What may be absolutely fabulous today and selling like hotcakes may die a brutal and lonely death tomorrow.

So how do we protect ourselves from this ‘lack of security’?

Well quite honestly there are several ways and I am going to share some of them with you now.

1. Firstly we have to keep evolving, growing, changing, morphing – looking at new ways to do things, keeping up with technology or business trends. We do this by researching, reading (not the heat type magazines), but what is in the newspapers and business magazines. Read blogs and articles on line. Take a course or two – meet with like minded individuals and discuss what is happening around you. Keep up to date with what’s in and what’s not.
2. Don’t ever give up – be tenacious – find ways around obstacles (whether that means you go around them, under them, over them or even through them). Collaborate with people who do/sell similar things or team up with people whose strengths are your weaknesses and visa versa. If it is worth fighting for – fight back. If it isn’t then perhaps you need to change direction or owning your own business is not actually for you. Make a decision one way or another.
3. If you have staff or are part of a team, work together. Pull in the same direction and not against one another! Be clear on what everyone has to do and choose people who have the same goals and aspirations. It’s a lot easier than you think and a lot more productive that you on your own.
4. Be ready for the unexpected! Things often happen that were not factored into – don’t let those things trip you up. Stop – look at the situation calmly (and without any drama and emotion), do the research and make an informed decision.
5. Understand that there is nothing to be afraid of. My friend and mentor Vanessa always tells me that the only thing I have to be afraid of is my own fear. Face it, head on a squarely and I promise you it (the fear) will back down!

Remember that you are a special person and the mere fact that you have gone into business on your own, should tell you that you are stronger than you have ever given yourself credit for.

So be proud of yourself, proud of your achievements and go forward knowing that you can do this! Oh and of course – don’t forget to have fun! Always, always, always – have fun.

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

Monday, July 06, 2009

MOTIVATION - Making Good Things Happen

MOTIVATION – Make Good Things Happen

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

I was chatting to a colleague the other day, who is going through some really big trouble. Actually it’s a web of intrigue with doing business with family and not having contracts in place and there may be quite a few issues around non-compliance with Corporate Governance and all sorts of other things as well. During the conversation she said to me that this is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened to her and that every time it knocks her to her knees she gets up with a ‘thicker skin’!

I asked her if she had not yet learnt her lesson and that perhaps the better (read easier) road to travel would be to do things differently (read the right way). There was a moment of stunned silence as she digested what I had said and then she agreed.

Now, I have no idea if she will take her own advice or if she will continue down her particular path in life, but here’s what I do know.

You cannot help a drug addict or an alcoholic until such time as they admit that they have a problem and then once they have admitted that they have a problem THEY have to do something about it. Yes, we can be there for them and give them encouragement, but THEY have to make the changes themselves.

No matter what my intention, I have to act on something in order for something to happen. Things don’t just happen by themselves, they happen because of something that someone has done!

We can live our lives as victims or survivors and personally, I choose to be a survivor – being a victim is just really hard work, emotionally. In order for me to be a survivor I have to live my life in that manner.

We can live our lives as pessimists or optimists – I choose to be an optimist. It makes my life ‘lighter’ and I get to see some really cool things like the beauty of the sunrise and the magnificence of a sunset.

We can live our lives sadly or with a sense of humour – I choose to live my life with a sense of humour, even if it means that often what I say goes right over the heads of the people that I am saying it too – it still brings a smile to my face.

We can live our lives allowing ‘bad things’ to happen to us on a continual basis or we can make good things happen in our lives. I choose to make good things happen in my life.

Remember though we have to MAKE it happen and we do that by the actions that we perform, whether it is by a decision that we make and how we act on that decision or by taking up one of the many opportunities that constantly knock on our doors.

Making things happen is my choice today, what’s yours?

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

Friday, July 03, 2009

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Need To Retrench A Single Person


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Need To Retrench A Single Person

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

So let’s bring in the protagonists. Mike owns a large factory that makes furniture with over 1000 employees and George is one of the workers. The credit crunch hasn’t quite hit Mike’s business yet, but he does understand that he needs to tighten things up. Mike does his research and he finds that there is one employee who is really not pulling his weight, who is constantly late and who is just generally difficult to work with and that is George.

Mike decides to use the current economic situation to ‘retrench’ George for operational reasons. George is called in and Mike goes through the whole ‘retrenchment’ process and George is subsequently ‘retrenched’ for operational requirements..

Here’s the problem – if, as is the case here, there are many employees, then the retrenchment process should have been done with all of the staff or at the very least all of the staff in the same department. Although Mike followed the procedure, he only followed it for a single staff member instead of all of the staff.

In this particular instance – George decided that he would take Mike on as he decided that he thought that he had been ‘unfairly dismissed’. Section 191(12) of the Labour Relations Act offers ‘a single employee who was retrenched a choice to refer a dispute to the CCMA for arbitration or the Labour Court for adjudication.”

Labour court cases usually cost a huge amount of money and so the rationale behind this choice was to give those who could not afford to take their cases to Labour court a chance to be heard. It only accommodates however, instances where “i) a single employee was consulted and subsequently dismissed; ii) the dispute related to whether the dismissal was substantively fair.”

So George is able to take his case for arbitration since he was the only employee that was consulted and dismissed.

Be careful people, when it comes to retrenchment, it is better to consult to all and not to just single out one person. It could become a really costly affair.

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

Thursday, July 02, 2009

MARKETING - Making Time To Market - Part 4


Making Time To Market – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting July 2009.

As promised last time, here are some more ideas on ‘making time’ to market yourself/your business.

Social Event
Some of my best and even biggest clients have come out of a chance meeting a social even or when I least expected them. Let me explain – some years ago now, I was at a club, spending time with friends, laughing and chatting with not a thought of business in mind. A young chap, standing at the bar on his own, came over and introduced himself. Turns out he owns two very successful businesses and he has been both client and friend from that day (about four years ago now). Chances are that I would not have met him anywhere else as we mix in totally different circles.

Remember though if it is a social occasion, to keep it light. No-one wants to talk business all the time. Exchange contact details, exchange cards and then get back to them the next day or at a later stage.

Relax and make it happen
If you are anything like me, you will understand that it is extremely difficult to relax in the normal sense of the word. For example it is very difficult for me to even contemplate sitting at the beach for a couple of hours or lying next to the pool, soaking up the sunshine – my mind would completely rebel at such inactivity.

For me this would be the ideal opportunity to update my data base or plan new marketing strategies or to re-evaluate plans or goals or even for me to write a couple of articles for my blog. Whilst my body does need to relax, my mind still feels the need to be active and it is something that I cannot just ‘shut down’.

As you can see there are many small, yet effective ways in which to include your marketing requirements in your everyday activities.

The secret is to be innovative, be creative and just do it!

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

Wednesday, July 01, 2009



PART 119

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July 2009

Networking is about building relationships – I am not sure how else to say it!

Perhaps I should paint another picture altogether.

John and Jane meet each other on a blind date. Those of us who have been on blind dates know just how intimidating and awkward those can be and how they often result in absolute disaster.

Anyway – I digress, John and Jane meet at a busy restaurant and after a while, engaging in conversation, they begin to relax as they talk with one another and slowly start to get to know one another.

They both begin to realize that in many ways they have the same values, enjoy the same things in life, such as going dancing and spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones.

About twenty minutes into the conversation, John suddenly grabs Jane and start kissing her passionately. Stunned, Jane manages to pull away and savagely slaps John, hard across the face and without another word leaves.

John is both embarrassed by his behaviour and also by being slapped in public.

Now most of you reading this are probably thinking that John got exactly what he deserved – I know I am, but how and where did it go wrong?

Simple really – it’s all about relationships and timing. Think about it for a moment. Had the situation been that John and Jane been dating for several months, Jane would probably have been delighted to have John kiss her publically. The reality is that they had just met, there was no relationship as such in place, Jane did not know whether she could trust John or even if she liked him enough to want to enter into any sort of relationship with him. John’s action was therefore inappropriate and his timing was all wrong!

So what makes you think that networking is any different. Going to a networking event is like going on a blind date – you are going to meet a number of strangers and after engaging in conversation with these people, may or may not result in a fruitful and mutually beneficial business relationship.

Asking for a second meeting (date) to discuss synergies and to explore mutually beneficial opportunities would be far more appropriate than demanding to do business and producing a contract that you want signed on the spot.

Think about it realistically – asking for a referral or wanting business before the relationship has been properly entered into could be the undoing of a potentially successful collaboration.

Getting your timing right and asking for what you want at a more appropriate time would probably result in an abundance of opportunity and more work that you can actually handle.

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