Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Managing Your Business - Part 1

BUSINESS TIPS – Managing Your Business – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC December 2010

Most will agree that the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer an oncoming train and whilst the recession (such as it was) is now officially over, it will take the economy (read SMME’s) some time to rally, make a come-back and hopefully deposit us right back to where we were – obviously not in terms of what caused the melt down in the first place, but certainly in terms of running productive, successful businesses.

I know that I really had to ‘grit’ my teeth and bear it for a few months – you know what I mean – the uncertainty of money coming in or getting work in or making the sale and so on.

Fact of the matter is , that when you are in the dwang – that’s exactly where you are and sometimes it is just a matter of waiting it out.

There are a number of tips though, that will help and guide you through, should you find yourself in difficult and/or trying times. Actually it is not a bad thing to get yourself in the habit of doing these all the time – bad or good times.

For me, if you have lost control of your finances, then you have lost control of your business. I think that most people, when they think of business finances, what they think about are the books and whilst I agree with that on some level, I also want to make it very clear that the books are ‘reactive’. By that I mean that they are ‘in the past – what is contained in your books has already happened. Cash flow, on the other hand, governs what is happening right now.

Think about it for a moment – it doesn’t matter how many people owe you money, or who have promised to pay you – the bottom line is that when you look at your bank account, it is about what is actually there (less what needs to be paid out) that actually counts.

So it stands to reason that the cash flow needs to be properly managed and should be discussed at every management meeting. If, like me, you are on your own, it is a good idea to make time (at least weekly) to check up and see what is going on.

Make sure that the Management Accounts are monitored on a regular basis and that they are consistently checked for issues such as the key ratios, this will assist in enabling you to identify trends earlier, when you can still do something about them, rather than later, when you are already in the smelly brown stuff. Updating your cash flow forecasts on a regular basis will also assist in ensuring that you are ahead of the game – remember to watch the sensitive bits – issues like a change in the exchange rate or a price hike in fuel could have a huge effect on your margins.

Next time we will have a closer look at margins.

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, December 13, 2010

MOTIVATION - Taking Responsibility

MOTIVATION – Taking Responsibility

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – December 2010

Gita Bellin says “People fail many times, but they become failures only when they begin to blame someone else. Experience is determined by yourself – not the circumstances of your life.

Boy oh boy, does this resonate with me at the moment! Over the last few years, December and January seem to be the time when I do the most disciplinaries. For whatever reason, Companies want them done either to start the year with a clean page or to start the year sending the right message.

For the first time ever though, I’ve had to postpone a disciplinary in the middle of cross exam of a witness and the case is postponed until May next year – the reason – well the defendant is pregnant and going on maternity leave – it’s a strange situation to say the least.

What has really come out of the last few disciplinaries though, is really what I want to talk about and that is the defendants absolute inability to accept the fact that what they have done is wrong. It’s like people refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions or inactions for that matter. I’ve heard the strangest of excuses – like ‘the work was not completed correctly because I am having marital problems’ or ‘I made a mistake, but it was a long day and. . .’.

I’ve heard how an employee argued with the boss on ‘how’ he wanted something done, I suppose because she thought she knew better, only to end up not performing the task at all, because she ‘forgot’. The fact that she ‘forgot’ ended up costing the company an additional R6 000-00, but she is still indignant because he dared to question her.

I’ve heard how an employee refused to use a ‘check list’ to perform her tasks and as a result of that an invoice was raised incorrectly and because the invoice was raised incorrectly, customs impounded the goods and apart from the cost of the goods, just the cost of the courier fees (R40 000) has now had to be written off. The employee is screaming ‘victimization’ because the boss dared to call her into a meeting and chastise her.

Or what about the employee, who confirmed with her boss that the stock was in the hands of an event organizer, only for him to discover (when he arrived in the foreign country) that it had not been sent – but hey, she lodged a grievance against him because he complained!

What on earth has happened to the world? What has happened to self-respect? What has happened to taking pride in what it is that you do? I don’t know hey – I think this new “X” or “Y” generation (whichever one it is) has no fundamental foundation and no backbone. A few weeks ago, I was moaning about the school kids today who get everything handed to them – well I think that this inability to take responsibility for one’s actions is a direct result of this. Well you never did the work, so how can you take the responsibility? Right!

I think in ‘sparing the rod’ we have not only ‘spoilt the child’ but we have created a generation of monsters. On the one hand they have the longest umbilical cords, because of their inability to do anything for themselves and on the other hand, because they don’t know how to do things for themselves – well how can anyone (including themselves) hold them responsible for their actions.

This, for me is a really sad state of affairs – how will they grow as individuals? How will they become productive, worthwhile members of the human race? How will they cope, when all the ‘baby-boomers’ have all passed on to greener pastures and there is no-one left to do the work for them?

Can you imagine a world, where everybody did their own thing, because – well they know better, and then when the smelly brown stuff hits the fan and splatters, everyone blames everyone else. How will anything get fixed? When will the work get done (never mind how it gets done)? How will success be measured – will it be by the number of people you blame for your inability to perform a function?

Its mind boggling and I cannot see ‘how’ to fix it. Actually, if the truth be told – I am not sure that it can be fixed.

What it does do though, is make me understand how important it is for me to continue doing what it is that I am doing because if just one person sees the light and understands the lesson, then I have succeeded in what I set out to do.

So I guess, “one person at a time” will continue to be my goal. One person 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, December 06, 2010

MOTIVATION - Perseverance

MOTIVATION – Perseverance

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – December 2010

H Jackson Brown says “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but by perseverance.”

Ain’t that the truth!

On a personal level, I find that when I am going through a particularly rough patch or trying time, the only way to get through it is to ‘Grit’ my teeth, square my shoulders and put one foot in front of the other and just keep going – sooner or later you have to come out the other end.

I remember my favorite teacher at junior school – her name was Olga Barrett, and she was the strictest disciplinarian in the school – stricter than even the headmaster. Mrs. Barrett saw something in me that I don’t think anyone else saw. She saw my ‘heart’ and understood that I was different to the other kids. She saw that although I was by no means gifted or genius, but that my mind need to be stimulated differently.

She saw that I was determined to succeed, but that I went about things differently and instead of trying to force me into a mold as the other teachers seemed hell bent on doing, she took my tenacity and taught me how to harness that energy, that spirit, that heart . . . and then use it to my own advantage.

Olga Barrett, encouraged me to reach for the stars and not give into the challenges that would come my way. Instead of forcing me to look at the world through her eyes, she tried to see it through mine.

Her patience and perseverance with helping me to achieve and be all that I can be, certainly went far beyond the call of duty and I will be forever grateful to her.

That tenacity and perseverance has certainly allowed me to meet the challenges and heartache that I have endured in this life time and I have no doubt that it will continue to serve me to the end of my days.

So remember, if your life is challenging or if there is something that you really want, because you have dared to dream – square your shoulders, grit your teeth and put one foot in the front of the other and just keep going.

You will eventually get there.

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

HR - Suspending an Employee


Suspending An Employee

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC December 2010

First of all, let’s be really clear about this . . . . suspending an employee, irrespective of whether it is with pay or not, is a really serious thing to do. It is not something that should be done lightly or at the very least, done without taking all of the consequences into account. One of the questions that you should ask yourself before suspending an employee is “Did the employee do something that can be considered as “serious” misconduct?

If the answer to that question is no – don’t suspend. If however the answer is a resounding “YES”, then here are a few more issues for you to think about, carefully – before you continue.

- Are you going to suspend the employee immediately, or wait a few days and what are the consequences to either one of these actions.
- Are you required to hold a ‘pre-suspension’ hearing and if so how do you go about it – what are the requirements?
- Would there be (and what would they be) any consequences if you did not hold a ‘pre-suspension’ hearing?

Firstly – employees should not be suspended unless you are reasonably concerned that they would interfere with your internal investigation. In other words if you thought that they may destroy documents or say delete e-mails etc., that would really strengthen your case. If you were concerned about them intimidating colleagues, who you may want to use as witnesses or if they may, in any way do damage to your reputation or jeopardise your income in any way, then you have grounds to suspend.

If you are at all concerned about any of these and I mean justifiably concerned, then by all means suspend.

Remember though, that a ‘pre-suspension’ hearing should take place ‘before’ suspending the employee as failure to do this could result in the CCMA awarding a financial penalty (which always goes into the employees pocket to add insult to your injury) as procedures were not correctly followed.

The length of time that the employee is suspended should also be taken into consideration. Keeping an employee suspended for too long, even if they are suspended on full pay, could also result in a financial penalty being levied against the employer.

Bottom line – don’t just have a knee jerk reaction. Think about what it is that you are doing and why, because the CCMA and the Labour Courts are very strict about unfair suspension.

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, December 02, 2010



419 Scam

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting, December 2010.

“Dear John Smith

I am your partner in Christ and I need your confidential assistance. I know that we have never met but when I saw your profile on the internet, I knew immediately that you are the right person and that we could do some business together.

My name is Jane Doe and my late father, Dr. Sam Doe was ruthlessly murdered by a group of armed dissidents, here on the Ivory Coast. I was severely beaten and left for dead, but managed to escape and am now living under court protection, in my ivory tower here at the palace. I speak to and see no-one other than the servant who brings me my meals.

My late father, may God rest his soul, left me with a large inheritance – US$29.4 million to be precise, and I would very much like this to be used to not only secure my release, but also to start my life in a new country and in a well established business. I would like you to assist me with investing this money in the right kind of business for me.

I would of course need to introduce your name to the bank as a matter of urgency, as my late father’s foreign business partner wants to take the money and invest it in his country and then I will be left with absolutely nothing.

The bank will contact you and transfer the money to your bank account. As soon as the money is in your account, you will need to assist me to come over to your country, where we will run the business together. Please let me know how much you will take as your percentage to assist me in this regard.”

Sound familiar? I am sure it does!

Here’s the thing though – I took bits and pieces out of several of these e-mails which means that whilst they are never exactly the same they are all based on the same kind of theme.

That said, they all have the same consequence – you will lose not only your money, but also the shirt off your back, if you take this discussion any further!

So don’t think about what could be or should be. Turn your desperation key off and blow out the candle on your greed. This is one fight you will not win. Hit the delete button and get on with your life.

This is really one statistic that you do not want to contribute to or become a part of.

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, December 01, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Monday Blues

BLOGGING TIPS – The Monday Blues

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC - December 2010

Sadly for many, Monday mornings are a challenge! They symbolize the return to the drudge that is their working life. For many the stress of starting a new week can seem overwhelming. Some just can’t get going and like my staff in my corporate days, need a good swift virtual kick up the rear end to get them going.

With this in mind, your blog needs to pack a punch to make a statement, to stand out from the rest.

Remember, like most of us – people get to work and usually the first thing that they do is look at their mail boxes and discover . . . . 27 million e-mails in their inboxes (me, exaggerate – don’t be ridiculous). By the time they have waded through the first 20 or so, the delete button become the favorite new toy of the day, so believe me when I tell you that the title of your Monday blog needs to jump off the screen creaming READ ME!

Oh – and when they drop everything to open up and read your blog, best it be worth the time and trouble they took to click onto your article, or believe me (again) that the little delete button will be working overtime!

For me, the “Motivation” series that I have going, works really well, although in all honesty they are more of a challenge or a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ kind of well . . . motivation (usually meant for me specifically), and as such I believe that it sort of ‘set you up’ for the coming week.

Hopefully, they inspire, motivate and even challenge you to get done whatever it is that needs to be done.

The point though is that you have to be different, innovative and clearly unique. Make your message so exciting or profound that the reader is left, excitedly looking forward to reading your next article.

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, November 30, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - The New Consumer Protection Act

BUSINESS TIPS – The New Consumer Protection Act

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC - November 2010

There’s a lot being said about the New Consumer Protection Act that I am led to believe, is coming into effect at the beginning of April 2011 and like so many of the Acts that we are seeing being introduced of late, there are some good things and some potentially bad things.

I am particularly excited about the clause that deals specifically, with fixed term contracts. Finally, we Joe Public, will get a little relief from some of the wolves that abound.

I have no doubt that we have all been caught by the contract that we sign, originally for one year and then we have about a nano-second to advise them in writing, that we no longer want to continue with the contract, before it rolls over again and we are locked in for another year.

You know the ‘re-newable’ contracts, like the gym memberships or the cell phone contract or what about the newspaper or magazine subscription? Yeah – those ones.

Well apparently, come end of March 2011, not only will these clauses have very little effect but we, as consumers, will also be able to cancel any fixed term agreement prematurely! Now that’s fantastic news.

Sure there is a procedure that will need to be followed but the fact of the matter is it can be cancelled and that is what is important.

The Consumer Protection Act, will allow the consumer to cancel the fixed term contract at any time as long as the consumer gives the supplier 20 (yes twenty) business days notice.

The notice has to be in writing or alternatively “in any recorded manner” (beware of the institutions who say that they are recording you for whatever reason – rather make sure and have your own recording).

To be fair, the supplier also is not left without any recourse. The supplier ‘may impose a reasonable cancellation penalty for any goods, services or discounts that were supplied to the consumer on the assumption that the agreement would continue for the proposed fixed term” according to Roy Bregman of Bregman attorneys.

Oh – and of course, if the consumer stills owes the supplier any money up to and including the period that the contract was terminated – that still needs to be paid, so don’t be thinking that you can just cancel the contract because you are behind in your payments – you will still be liable for those .

That said, if the consumer did not receive discounts or goods or services that the supplier can claim for, the supplier would be hard pressed to find ‘reasonable’ cause to implement the penalty. I like Roy’s example of this so I am going to use it (thank you Roy). If you have signed up for two years worth of dance lessons, you are paid up to date and you did not receive any discounts and you cancel the contract 18 months into the deal, the supplier, in this case would find it very difficult to substantiate a reasonable penalty for early cancellation.

Sure a ‘rolling’ type contract would continue and not come to a dead halt. That would not be good at all if you say had that kind of contract with your internet provider and then suddenly one Sunday morning, you have no internet coverage because your contract expired on Saturday night at midnight. From what I understand, these types of contracts “would automatically continue on a month to month basis, unless the consumer expressly directs the supplier to cancel the agreement on expiry date or agrees to a renewal of the agreement for a further fixed term” writes Roy.

In the event that a contract carries this clause, the supplier would have to notify the customer about the contract that is about to expire.

The customer would need to be notified, of this during a period of between 40 and 80 business days prior to the existing contract’s expiry date and any changes to the contract should also be notified at that time. If notification does not take place the contract would automatically be renewed, but would continue on a month to month basis.

Obviously, once the contract is in the ‘month-by-month’ category, either the customer or the supplier would be able to terminate the contract by giving a months notice.

The bottom line of course, is that it is up to the consumer to READ the contract before signing it. Sure it is up supplier to be transparent and up front with what their expectations are, but consumers also need to take responsibility for their actions.

In conclusion – don’t sign anything that you haven’t read and that you don’t fully understand.

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, November 29, 2010

MOTIVATION - Strengths & Weaknesses

MOTIVATION – Strengths & Weaknesses

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – November 2010

Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe says “By nature we have no defect that could not become a strength, no strength that could become a defect.”

Wow! Apart from telling us exactly how it is, it certainly gives me encouragement as well.

Knowing that if I want to change or improve one of my weaknesses (and let’s face it we all have several), it’s great, but to know that I can improve one of my weaknesses to such an extent that it becomes a strength – now that’s a great incentive and quite frankly a task of mammoth proportions.

I am one of those people who would rather work on my strengths, to make them that much more effective and I am all for ‘outsourcing’ my weaknesses to someone else. You see my weaknesses are someone else’s strength so to me it makes perfectly logical sense to let someone else deal with those.

I continue however, to have this little niggling voice (you know the one that sits on your shoulder and whispers all sorts of things in your ear) that keeps telling me that although I am ‘outsourcing’ my weakness, I am also ‘giving up’ my power!

Perhaps on some level that is true, but I am also very aware of the fact that ‘outsourcing’ works for me, as it enables me to get on with what I love to do and what I am good at. It certainly reduces my stress levels (and probably my blood pressure too) as I don’t have to struggle with issues that I am not comfortable with or that I don’t fully understand . . . but perhaps, one day when I am not busy with something else and the mood takes me, I will work on those particular defects and weaknesses. Yeah right!

What I really want to do is chat about the second part of Van Goethe’s statement – the one that goes “no strength that could become a weakness”. Now this is the bit that really concerns me – in fact it damn near terrifies me!

I think that many of us, particularly those of us who own our own small little businesses and who consistently work long hours as we attempt to make a decent living and perhaps even a difference – we are in particular danger of getting to the point where it is our very strength that defeats us!

Oh, I can see all the blank looks on the faces of people who have no clue about what it is that I am talking about.

This is directed at all of us who work, we say for our families, but to such an extent and with such focus that we lose sight of those that we love, so much so that we actually lose them. The result is that our flourishing business is achieved at the cost of our wives, or husbands and our children and loved ones.

It is directed at all of us who bring about our own ill health because we refuse to take time out to rest and rejuvenate.

It is directed at those of us who are so focused on what we do and what we are good at, that it takes over our lives and devours us and we forget to live and exist merely to be a slave to that particular strength.

So I guess, the point of all of this is to take note of and be aware of the fact that our weaknesses can become our saving grace and our strengths could very well be the reason for our demise.

Be careful – very careful about which one you choose to pay the most attention to.

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

HR - 24 Hour's Notice


24 Hour’s Notice

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC November 2010

Let’s go back to my favourite protagonists – I haven’t used them for quite a while.

Mike is our SMME who owns a small store in a busy mall. George is his right hand man, who is basically the shop assistant and who is employed full time. George has worked for Mike for more than eight years.

George started working for Mike just after he left school and he had a basic standard 8 education and no work experience at all. George now is computer literate and is proficient at selling and he looks after the shop with the help of a casual, when Mike takes the occasional day off.

George now also has a full matric that he earned by correspondence and that Mike ultimately paid for.

George has a proper Letter of Appointment that he has signed and that states that a month’s notice should be given at termination by either party.

Over the past few months the relationship between Mike and George has been different. Not bad – just different you understand – but certainly different.

It all started when Mike did the annual increase and he gave George a 10% increase. George did not appear to feel that the increase was sufficiently big enough. Mike showed George all the increases that the business had to contend with, such as rent, utilities and so on and explained that due to the fact that sales were down and expenses were up, the store could not afford a bigger increase at that time.

Whilst George appeared to understand the predicament that Mike was in, he was not his usual self. Mike tried to find out what the problem was, but could not get any feedback from George – Mike hoped that ‘time’ would sort the problem out.

Well time certainly did sort the problem out, but not in the way that Mike would have liked. You see George came to work one day and stated that he was resigning with immediate effect and that this would be his last day and that he expected to be paid in full, including his leave pay etc., by the time he left that afternoon.

As I am sure you can understand, Mike was more than a little shocked! What now? Apart from anything else, it was coming up for Christmas – easily the busiest time for the retail sector and apart from him having to find another person to replace George, there certainly wasn’t enough time to find someone and train them. Mike was in for a very heavy two months.

Frustrated Mike stated that George had signed a contract stating that he would give a month’s notice. George shrugged his shoulders and stated “I am not coming to work here tomorrow and if you have not paid me and my money is not in my account tomorrow morning, I will go to the Department of Labour.”

Well so much for gratitude! So much for treating your staff well and fairly and for paying for their education . . . . Well, no use crying over spilt milk.

Understandably, Mike was furious, but what sort of recourse did he have?

In a similar case “National Entitled Workers Union v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration & others (2007) 28 ILJ 1223 (LAC), the union employed a person who left them without giving notice and the labour court disagreed that this was unfair labour practice perpetrated against them.”

According to Advocate Estelle Botha, “the court confirmed that the one recourse for employers is to sue the employee under common law, for breach of contract”. Yeah right! Exactly what purpose would that serve, other than to incur more costs and waste more of the employers valuable time?

Advocate Botha agrees that employees who give 24 hours notice or who just walk out are most definitely in breach of contract and that what they are doing is totally illegal – but how does that help the average entrepreneur or employer?

Wait – help is here! Advocate Botha has a solution for us and it goes like this.

Advocate Botha says “In order to protect themselves, employers must stipulate in the employment contract that should the employee terminate the employment contract without tendering the written contractual notice period, then the employer will deduct from the final payment to the employee, an amount equal to the period of notice not given.”

You see, if you include this clause in your Letter of Appointment or contract of employment, it becomes part of the agreement between the employer and the employee and when the employee signs the letter or contract of employment, it becomes a condition of their employment.

Then if the employee does ‘gap it’ or does only give 24 hours notice, you as the employer can deduct notice pay from whatever it is that you owe them.

How cool is that !

Remember though, unless you have that clause in place you cannot deduct the money. So for those who have letters and contracts of employment in place – don’t forget to ‘re-negotiate’ – whatever you do, don’t just change it.

I off to include the clause in my contracts . . .

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, November 24, 2010



By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC - November 2010

What a couple of months I have had. I know that my blogs have not been as consistent as they usually are and I really do need to apologize for that. Truth of the matter is that I have been really busy and for that I refuse to apologize. Actually if the truth be told, I’ve been productively busy. How cool is that?

Thing is though, every time I write a blog, I have to do the research! Contrary to popular belief, I don’t just wake up in the morning and decide ‘well today I am going to write about the inside of a ping pong ball!’ I may wake up with an idea, but it has to be researched before I can actually write the article.

Think about it for a moment – what if I write about something like perhaps VAT or HR and none of it is based on fact, all of it is just fiction that I have dreamed up or based on my personal opinion of what I think should happen. You take that information, believing that it is fact and apply that to your business, only to discover, when the brown stuff hits the fan, that it was all fiction. Going forward, how much of what I write would you believe? Not much hey! My reputation would be worth less than nothing and my credibility would be lower than shark poo!

Actually, perhaps I should ask the question – do you think that I ‘know it all’ or do you actually realize what goes into each and every article that I write? Each one has to be researched or is the direct result of something that has happened to me – personal life experience, which I guess, in itself is also research! Whichever way you look at it, a certain amount of research has to be done in order for me to arrive at the facts.

Truth be told, judging by some of the comments and requests that I get, many people are really clueless about the amount of work that goes into writing an article – it really is not a five minute job – it has to be topical, it has to make sense and it has to be researched.

Thing is though, I recently have been getting a large number of inquiries that go along the lines of “I read your article and need more information, send it to me”. HELLO! I actually got a call the other day from a woman who said “I read your article on cash flow and am interested in it” – that was the extent of the discussion. It didn’t matter what I asked – like ‘what about it interests you?’ etc. she just kept repeating that one line – I mean really!

The bottom line is that I have done the research and given you the fundamental basics. Quite frankly, if you want more – well you need to pay for it or do the research yourself.

My experience is that for many SMME’s or Entrepreneurs, the perception is that other people should do the research for them and indeed that research should be done at no cost to themselves.

Actually, whilst I am on this particular soap box . . . the baby boomers amongst you will certainly remember . . . when we went to school, we were given the topic or the heading and the book in which we would find the information and sent away to write the essay or do the work. I don’t ever remember evening having multiple type questions. We opened the book and read the required piece to get to the information that we required.

These days of course, everything done for the kids. The teachers provide copies of the information and that gets glued into the school books and the parents do the projects and the kids . . . well they work very hard on MXIT or play computer games or any other number of applications that are designed specifically for them out there. Pretty much playing adult games whilst still in their nappies.

Many start up SMME’s try to do the same thing.

They expect someone else to do the research (usually for nothing) or someone else to use their hard earned money to fund their un-researched idea and then play at being a “business owner”, when they don’t have a clue about what it is that they are doing. This, of course, is an extremely dangerous game to play!

My value add as I see it, is to supply you with enough information for you to ascertain if you need that particular information or not. If you do need the information it is up to you to then do the research to find the correct solution to your particular problem. Whether that solution is to hire an expert in that field to assist you with your problem, or for you to do the research yourself and come up with your own solution, well that’s your decision. My decision then is, if you want me to supply you with the information, understand it will be at a cost to yourself. I have already paid my dues – I have done the research.

So please, understand the dynamics – the research has to be done!

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, November 23, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Who is your Mentor

BUSINESS TIPS – Who is your Mentor

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC November 2010

Let’s start at the very beginning – What is a Mentor? The dictionary says “Experienced and trusted advisor. Advisor of the young.”

Who needs a mentor? Well in my opinion – everybody! Shrinks go to their own shrinks, dentists go to their own dentists (imagine trying to work on your own teeth – urgh!) and so for me, even people who are mentors themselves, need to have their own mentors. No (wo)man is an island” and that certainly is true in this instance.

So who is your mentor? Do you have one mentor, or are there different people who fulfill different needs that we as individuals have. For example, I have a mentor who looks after me in terms of my business needs and others who look after me in terms of my spiritual and personal needs.

Who shows you the ropes or acts as your sounding board? Who do you trust to give you the kind of advice that you actually need to hear, irrespective of whether we want to hear it or not?

Here’s the thing – in my experience, people who have mentors or ‘coaches’ are usually far more successful in both their personal and professional lives than those who don’t.

Some have a single mentor and some like me, have more than one. Some folk even have a whole team of mentors!

Some have an informal relationship with their mentors and some have a documented, measured, formal mentorship arrangement.

Fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how many mentors you have, as long as you have a mentor who gives you the support you need. That is what is important.

Fact of the matter is that all the money you spend on training or workshops or self help books is nothing compared to the invaluable advice you will received from someone who has already walked on the path that you are walking. The ability to learn something new or at the very least avoid making a costly mistakes, is priceless.

Having someone there to guide you in the right direction, to teach you all that they know, without judgment, is one of the greatest gifts that anyone could receive.

Then taking that invaluable knowledge and experience and adding it to your own and then playing that forward. . . When you mentor someone else, you are leading by example – it’s part of your legacy to the world. It’s a way of giving back to humankind.

So I ask you again – who is your mentor?

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, November 22, 2010

MOTIVATION - Expanding Your Mind

MOTIVATION – Expanding Your Mind

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – 22 November 2010

I don’t know about you, but I love to have my mind stretched. Especially when I am having a debate or discussion with someone whose mind works a little like mine. I must say that that doesn’t happen very often, but when it does happen, it leaves me with a profound sense of well being and a joy, deep down inside of me in that part that knows the truth. I walk around for days with a silly grin on my face and pretty much in a state of euphoric bliss.

Studies have shown that children absorb knowledge and learning at the rate of knots, in their formative years, but that doesn’t mean that adults cannot learn and absorb information or knowledge just as efficiently. Fact of the matter is that we, as adults have the ability to learn. In fact, I would go as far as to say that we, as adults (well some of us anyway and even if we remain children at heart) have a responsibility, not only to ourselves, but also to the people whose lives our lives touch, to learn and then play that learning forward by sharing the information with the people around us.

I don’t think that there is a person on the face of the planet who can honestly say that they don’t need to learn anything because they ‘know it all’. That kind of statement would probably rank right up there with arrogance beyond belief. Yet as adults we often say the words “I’m too old to learn!” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” What a load of absolute crap!

Childhood for me was full of wondrous discovery and challenge. I grew up on a huge farm and discovered amazing things, every day – each day was an adventure, each day I used what I had learnt the day before and to be sure, I also learnt another new thing to be used the following day. The question now becomes, do I as an adult, take what I learnt yesterday into my adventure today? If the answer is ‘no’, then I, in my own option, have a huge problem! You see, for me, not learning at least one new thing every single day, means that my mind is not being challenged and stretched and therefore I am not growing as an individual.

Here’s the thing – studies have shown that an adult’s brain goes into a decline at a certain age. We all know that ‘older’ or more mature people sometimes have memory lapses. Think about it for a moment – have you ever heard of a child with Alzheimer’s? I haven’t. That should tell you its own story – the minute, as an adult, you give up on learning, your brain will start going in reverse. The message of course is quite simple – keep the mind learning – note, I did not say “keep the mind busy”.

Going about your life on auto pilot is really not doing yourself any favours (or anyone else for that matter). You stop dreaming, you stop trying new things, you stop reaching for the stars – how sad is that?

Set yourselves a target – to learn at least one new thing a day. Read, research, debate and discuss – ensure that your mind is active and constantly being challenged.

So I wonder – like me, do you love having your mind challenged?

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, November 19, 2010

HR - When You Want to Hire Staff - Part 4


When You Want to Hire Staff – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC November 2010

I have this serious allergy! I, personally, am allergic to staff. Yes it’s true – there was a time, while working in the Corporate World, where I did manage staff. In fact, at one point I commanded a work force of in excess of 250 people and the one thing that I did learn from that experience is that I don’t like or want or need to have a staff compliment.

So, how do I get around this little allergy that I have – simple really, I outsource everything that I cannot do or that I don’t want to do.

I have a virtual PA as well as my own accounting department and an IT department not to mention a really brilliant legal team, a design team a . . . . well I could go on and on, but it would in all probability bore you to tears.

Bottom line is that I don’t have to have someone constantly in my space. I don’t have to think about deadlines and staff being late or being off sick or doing disciplinaries because staff have been caught stealing my Company assets or stealing Company time or in fact just staff getting up my left nostril. Point is that in the long run I am saving a fortune on salaries because I am not paying staff for the time that they spend chatting around the water cooler or regaling tales of what happened over the weekend. I pay for the actual time it takes for someone to do what needs to be done or the price that I have been quoted for the job. How cool is that?

Outsourcing is not the only option out there for individuals who would prefer not to have staff working for them. There are obviously Companies who have no alternative but to employ staff and quite frankly, having them as clients gives me quite a good income as I help them to deal with their staff issues.

There are many small business owners or independent contractors out there, who would be open to partnerships or joint ventures or strategic alliances or even value trade exchanges. There is also nothing to stop you from having a mix of all the options – whatever works for you is right.

The trick though is to make sure that both parties have their expectations met. That both parties do their part to the best of their ability and consistently, particularly if what you are doing is a value trade exchange. The minute one person feels that they are not ‘getting their fair share’ or that they are doing more than the other, is the minute that things start to go pear shaped.

Whatever your choice is – to employ staff or not to employ staff, make sure that you deal with people fairly and with integrity. Be open, be honest and above all, stick to you word and keep to the bargain.

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, November 18, 2010

EARLY WARNING - Social Networking Sites


Social Networking Sites

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting November 2010.

I am of the opinion that there are many people out there who don’t have enough to do and the old saying that “idle hands are the devils playground” certainly does apply to some of these individuals.

To have nothing better to do with their lives and their time, than to trawl the social Networking sites in order to ‘steal’ peoples details for their own twisted self indulgent reasons, just highlights to me how far from “civilized” the human race actually is. How sad is that?

I watched one of the crime shows the other day – I rather do enjoy watching a good ‘who done it’ and the whole story revolved around this guy who was a serial killer, who he got his victims off the various social Networking sites.

Everybody on the crime team appeared to be gobsmacked at the amount of information his four (almost five) victims posted on the site. Most of it was inane chatter like “I’m going to curl up on the sofa with a good book tonight” or “going shopping at ABC mall for shoes” and so on. The kind of stuff that would, and indeed does, make me wonder about the lives of these women – I mean, who has the time to do this? I mean at one point his newest to be victim, that he was currently stalking, posted that she was going to this coffee shop for a snack and of course, that is all that he needed to know to make sure that is where he would be.

This woman actually took a photo of the muffin she was about to eat, with her cell phone, and then posted that onto her ‘wall’ on the site that she frequented, with some more inane comments about the coffee shop she was in – really – I mean who in their right mind actually does this kind of thing? The mind boggles!

Sadder still are the kinds of people who deliberately look out for this type of information in order to make mischief to satisfy their sick cravings!

This serial killer stalked his victims using the information that they had posted on their social Networking sites, gained entry into their homes by posing as the Internet guy who was giving them ‘free’ whatever and then distracting them by asking for a glass of water (or something equally as innocent) and then putting up miniature cameras which he then used to watch their every move and familiarize himself with their daily routines. Just as well I am a grumpy old thing that never allows strangers into my home and growls at anyone who even thinks that they can!

As in all good ‘who done its’ he was eventually caught, along with all the drama and suspense that goes with it, whilst he was actually trying to strangle his latest victim. Sadly he had kept all of his previous victims and their bodies hung on meat hooks in his ‘walk in’ refrigeration unit, in various stages of decay.

The message is abundantly clear though. Information that we may only want to impart to close friends and relatives, and certainly never to strangers, we happily put onto our profiles or post onto the walls and share with everyone on our social Networks.

We accept ‘friends’ from all over the world, without ever meeting them, without any thought of consequence. We post pictures of ourselves, our families and even our children and animals and then we wonder how complete strangers get hold of our personal and private information.

Think about what you are doing before you share that juicy titbit!

Sure the social Networks are great for marketing purposes and I certainly use them on a regular basis, with great success, for work purposes. But my private life is exactly that . . . private and any detail about that, that gets shared, is with the people that I know, love and trust and it is done personally, not on a site.

Remember that not everyone is like you and I, many come from the dark side and their only intent is to create hurt and harm.

So, stop and think before you post!

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, November 17, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The First Bloggers

BLOGGING TIPS – The First Bloggers

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC November 2010

I read an article (not sure who the author is) the other day, that had me rolling around in stitches – actually, if the truth be told it was one of those from the gut, belly laughter. The kind that makes tears roll down your cheeks!

Ok, so I really need to share right now – not so?

The first couple of lines went “Preachers of the middle ages were faced with the same problem as modern day bloggers. Every week they had to write a sermon and present it to the congregation – they were the first bloggers, in a sense.”

Sure, I fell about with laughter – what a ridiculous idea! I mean think about if for a moment. Preachers = Bloggers – come on now – can you just see the picture? No, not the one of me falling about with laughter – but rather at the preacher, full of pomp and ceremony, jumping around on his spindly little legs, ranting and raving or prancing about like a little Mussolini, full of fire and brimstone – his blog!

So yeah, I laughed and then I laughed some more and then the serious side of life kicked in and I looked at the reality of things.

In those days there was no internet, no computers and in fact many people could not even read (not that that has changed at all). So, how did people get to hear about things, events, politics, the law and of course – don’t forget about religion. Well through there local parish priest during the course of his weekly sermon!

Every week the priests had to write their sermon, which was partly about religion (and the wrath of God or the fate of the sinner) and partly about what was happening in the community (births, deaths, weddings and funerals) and partly about the new laws that were being passed (new taxes that were due and payable or the next hanging or burning at the stake) and if he could tie it all up and be entertaining at the same time – well that naturally was a bonus for his congregation.

Can you just imagine how much more difficult it must have been for him to find material, than it is for you? Think about it for a moment – he was confined by his religion (not to mention his own religious beliefs), bound by modesty and piousness (hell I can just see that particular video in my head) and then tied up and gagged by the laws of the land!

No freedom of press here and there were even those that were considered heretics and heathens or witches or who knows what, for having a truly unique thought of their own. They were branded enemies of the state/King/church/people if they so much as blinked in the wrong direction! Don’t think I would have lasted very long under these circumstances!

Point that I am trying to make though, is constrained as they were, these preachers were able to ‘perform’ on a weekly basis. Week after week, they had to come up with something that would hold their audience captive and the only place that they could do any real kind of research was the Bible.

In order to do this successfully, they would have to, not only be inspired but also have some sort of structure or theme, to what they wrote or as my good old English teacher always used to say “It must have a beginning, a middle and an end.”

So nothing really has changed has it – it is all in the telling of the story!

The fact of the matter is that writing can be extremely difficult if you don’t have any inspiration or even with inspiration, if you don’t have any structure.

Actually if the truth be told, like life, like business, like projects, like relationships – pretty much everything works a whole lot better if you have inspiration and structure in place.

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, November 16, 2010

VAT - Some of the Requirements - Part 3

VAT – Some of the Requirements – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC November 2010

It would seem that I am still on my “VAT Soapbox”, so here are a few more instances and situations that many folk don’t know about, where you can claim VAT back if the product/service has been used for business purposes.

Many Companies, that are sales driven and who employ a large number of sales representatives, have a situation where the staff either own their own vehicles or the Company has a large fleet of vehicles for the employees to use. Improvements that are made to these vehicles (including the vehicles that are owned by the staff themselves), that are used for business purposes can claim the VAT back. Some examples of these improvements are (but not limited to):
- Tow Bar
- Air Conditioning
- Cruise control
- Radio/CD player
- Gear Lock
- Hands free phone kit
- Tracker (or similar tracking type device)
- Smash and grab window tinting etc.

Toll fees that are incurred during the course of the business travelling of staff can have the VAT portion claimed for. Obviously the whole transaction should go through the Company books, which would then have an impact on Company Tax.

Subscriptions to magazines, trade journals and associations that relates to your business can also be claimed for in terms of VAT. Flower arrangements for the reception rooms and offices can have the VAT portion claimed for. Of course the flowers must be present on the premises if you are unlucky enough to have a SARS site inspection.

Should you own a fixed property in your personal capacity, that you now start using for business purposes, the VAT portion of the transfer duties can be claimed for.

VAT on airplane tickets that were purchased for local business travel and please note the “local” in the business travel, as well as the accommodation and other expenses (such as food and drink) can all be claimed. Remember though, if you are travelling for pleasure and claim everything as a business expense and SARS finds out about this – you will end up in the smelly brown stuff and in fact you may have charges of tax evasion and fraud levied against you and that is definitely not something that you want to go through.

My relationship with the VAT man is a great one because it is quite simply this – find out what you can claim for and claim for it, find out what you cannot claim for and don’t claim for it!

For me it is easier to remain within the letter of the law – that way I will not spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder or waiting for someone to tap me on the back.

Great friend the VAT man and I make the most out of using him – do you?

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, November 15, 2010

MOTIVATION - Living An Inspired Life

MOTIVATION – Living An Inspired Life

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – November 2010

A while ago, I received a mail that included “26 Quick Tips for Living an Inspired Life”, by Carol James.

Here they are:

“Ask for what you want.
Be who you say you are.
Care about others.
Dare to live your dreams.
Ease through the day.
Find the best fit.
Give to another.
Hug a friend.
Inspire someone to greatness.
Jump over a boundary
Kick a bad habit.
Leap across a fear.
Mention something uplifting.
Never, say never.
Open your mind and heart.
Pursue your innermost passions.
Quit complaining
Restore your smile.
Set your sights high.
Trust yourself.
Use all the day.
Value everything
Wait until it feels right.
Xpress yourself
Yank weeds from your mental garden.
Zoom into the now.”

Many of them resonated with me, many of them brought a huge big smile to my face as I know that I am not only aware of them but am also practicing them and even on occasion actually achieving them. Sadly though, many I am not, and of course, where “I am not”, I am falling short. Many made me delve into the inner me and the child in me, to check and see if I am ‘there’ or even part of the way there.

But most of all, most importantly of all – they made me think. They made me think of the person that I am and the person that I want to be and the difference between the two. It made me think about the ‘how to’ to correct or even address the short comings. It made me realize just how far I have come in the last 12 years and more importantly, how much I have actually achieved in the last 11 months.

It made me remember to pat myself on the back for a job well done and it reminded me not to be so hard on myself and that I am a child of this universe and that this journey, this life that I am living is of my own choosing and that it will always be exactly as I want it or how I make it and that if it is not to my liking, then all I have to do is change it.

It made me remember who I am and why I am here.

What did it do for you?

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, October 13, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - What Makes A Blog Well Written - Part 1

BLOGGING TIPS – What Makes a Blog Well Written?

Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC 2010

So now we have a great title and . . . now what?

It feels like a hundred years ago since I was at school, but I do remember the
English teacher always drilling into us the basics of a good composition – it, the story that is, has to have a beginning, a middle and an ending. Let’s be honest here, what is a blog – if not a story about your business, or about who you are or what it is that you are doing and why you are doing it? The reality is, that it is a story and it is in the telling of the story, that you have the power.

A story is no good, if the beginning makes you want to fall asleep. Most people will stop right there and not continue reading. So too is having a fantastic and strong ending, without a great beginning. That is just a hopeless exercise. Conversely having a fantastic beginning, that grips the imagination or curiosity of the reader and then having an ending that makes them feel like they have just lit the soggy end of a wet squib, will also make them reluctant to read any of your future offerings.

So you’ve got a fabulous beginning and an ending that will make the reader bang down the door for the next installment, but what about the middle? How do you tell the story? Does it follow the twists and turns, does it have a surprise somewhere along the way, does it make the reader engage with the characters or feel that they want to buy your product or service? Does it conjure up pictures or colours or smells or memories that reach down into the very core of a being? How does it make them feel inside? For example, what are you ‘feeling’ right now as you read these words. Are you nodding your head furiously because you understand exactly how you feel when you are reading something that bores you to tears or the excitement that creeps up from within as you read something that gives you an ‘ah-ha’ moment or that challenges you or that makes you think, I mean really think – or are you sadly shaking your head from side to side, because you don’t have a clue about what it is that I am going on about (and yes, there will always be those who remain utterly clueless – no matter what the topic)!

For me, the beginning must grab my attention from the getgo – I must think, I have to just read this page before I . . . . (insert what you will here). The ending must make me sigh with pleasure, sad that I have come to the end and eager to start reading the next article or the next book by the same author and the middle, well the middle must keep me engrossed, it must feed my imagination and satisfy my curiosity, it must stretch my mind and leave me with an internal sense of well being. It must make me willing to follow without question, not make me feel like I am being dragged along, resisting all of the way. Reading the kind of articles that make me feel like I am being forced to read, irritate and annoy and sap all the pleasure out of reading the written word.

Step back from your page for a moment and ponder – what is the picture that you want your reader to have? What is the experience that you wish for them to have? Is it a pleasurable one? Now sit down and write the story with all of those images that run around and swirl about in your head – they will see them, they will feel them and I have no doubt that they will enjoy them.

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, October 06, 2010

VAT - Some of the Requirements - Part 2

VAT – Some of the Requirements – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC October 2010

Last week we looked at a number of expenses that most people think they cannot claim on. Here are some more.

If you hire a car for business purposes, then you are entitled to claim the VAT on the insurance that you are required to take out on the vehicle. Be sure to get an invoice that lists the insurance, or itemizes it separately, this will make it much easier for record keeping purposes.

Should one of your staff fall ill at work or get hurt in an accident whilst they are at work and the medical expenses are paid by the company, the VAT on these medical bills can also be claimed back.

Parking fees – now here is one of my favorites. Do you know how much we spend on parking in the malls and in office park complexes – it’s frightening! Parking fees, particularly fees that are paid, while working, that have VAT charged on them (in other words Tax Invoice should appear, somewhere on the receipt, and yes you have to have a receipt to claim the VAT back), can be claimed back. Most malls that have those ‘pay machines’ actually give out receipts – be sure to request and submit those receipts. Obviously monies that are paid out to the ‘car guards’ cannot have the VAT claimed for, but you can of course, claim them as a business expense as long as they are “reasonable” and it is always better to be able to substantiate them. I use my diary as a guide to when I paid the car guards.

When you send wreaths and/or flowers to staff and/or customers who have had a death or bereavement in their families, you can claim the VAT back.

In terms of postage stamps and postage, this too, the VAT portion can be claimed back provided of course that the postage is being used for business purposes.

Artwork, in the form of carpets or paintings and pictures or even plants, can have the VAT claimed for, provided of course that they were actually purchased for the office. Here’s the thing though – they have to physically be in the office. Understand that if they are not in the office and the VAT man comes to visit, you could be in the deep brown smelly stuff.

Next week we will have a look at some additional expenses that you can claim the VAT back on – I must say, there were a whole bunch that I was not aware of, so this exercise has been of great value to myself as well!

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, October 04, 2010

MOTIVATION - Making Opportunities

MOTIVATION – Making Opportunities

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – October 2010

I have no doubt that the average South African who owns a TV, will remember the advertisement about the guy who moves into his new office, all bright eyed an bushy tailed, at the beginning of the day. As the day progresses, he continues to watch the phone, that is clearly not ringing and eventually in frustration, he picks it up to check whether there is a dial tone or not. The look of absolute disappointment on his face says it all, when there is obviously nothing wrong with the phone. His expectation certainly did not align with his reality!

Sadly, for many South African SMME’s and Entrepreneurs – this is their reality – the silent phone – and it has nothing to do with the phone being out of order. In my opinion, it has everything to do with their mindset being ‘out of order’.

I know that I have said this before and I have no doubt that I will say it again, many times over – I am seriously confused as well as really exasperated by the sense of entitlement that some (actually make that many) people have.

Like the chap in the TV advertisement, many people think that because they have made the decision in life to open their own business/office/shop (insert what you like here), that Joe Public, who has never met them before and in all truth, has no idea of their very existence, will suddenly be overcome by some mysterious malady, that is air/water/thought borne and they will now miraculously flood though their doors or ensure that their phone rings off the hook as they try frantically to purchase their particular product/service.

Please people – get a grip! And I would suggest that it is a very large and ‘real’ grip on reality.

For someone to walk through your door, or phone you – you yourself will have to do something! There has to be an action of some sort on your part!

Absolutely, categorically and without a doubt, there are opportunities out there – in fact, again in my opinion – there are probably more opportunities than there are people on the plant, but there has to be some sort of action on your part, to make or turn that opportunity into a successful, viable reality. Oh and . . . opening and office and staring at a phone, willing it to ring just doesn’t cut it!

You have to go out there and ‘create’ your opportunity. You have to take your idea or your product and do something about it.

You have to use your talent, your strengths and go knocking on doors, attend Networking meetings, write blogs or articles for newspapers or magazines. Get yourself interviewed on radio or TV. Create a stir so that people will sit up and take notice!

Obviously as an SMME, you do not have access to a huge budget for marketing, so you have to innovative and creative in finding different ways to get your name, your brand, your product, your service out to the people you want to sell it to.

Not only that, but if you are really smart and wide awake, you will ensure that whatever it is that you are peddling – product or service – it will be something that Joe Public actually wants as opposed to what you think Joe Public wants.

Whatever it is that you decide though – you can be sure, your actions will determine how successful you are.

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, October 01, 2010

HR - When You Want to Hire Staff - Part 2


When You Want to Hire Staff – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC October 2010

Last time we had a look at how to screen the applicants using the Job Description and today we will progress onto the actual interview.

So there I was left with 3 applicants for the job. How to choose which one would be the most suitable for the position.

At this point it is not always about the qualifications and the number of years experience – what happens, as in my particular situation where you had 3 individuals who met all the requirements in the job description? Well at least that is what they said.

It is extremely important, when you interview someone to have a list of what it is that you want to ask – be sure to ask everyone the same question and have a ‘reason’ why you are asking that question. For example, when you ask a candidate if they are married and have children – the question is not so that you can ask them out on a date, it is usually asked so that you can ascertain if they have other commitments (outside of the working environment) that will take up their time or asking them what sport they enjoy is not because I want to come and watch them playing their next game, its because I want to know if they play for the Provincial/National team, as that would take them ‘out of the office’ when they go away on tours and the like.

Remember questions like “Are you pregnant?” or “Do you have HIV/Aids?” should not be asked. Actually, if the truth be told, you can ask any question you like, but if the applicant is of the opinion that they didn’t get the position because of their answer to that particular question, then you could be in trouble with the Department of Labour as you cannot discriminate against someone because they are pregnant and you cannot discriminate against someone because they are HIV/Aids positive. So why bother asking those particular questions unless the position that they are applying for will adversely affect those in that particular position. For me, awarding a score to each answer that is positive for the Company, means that I can reduce their answers to numbers and then the applicant with the highest score would be the winner. Don’t forget to take into account things like, whether they are able to work as part of a team, your first impression, how they presented themselves, how they spoke or articulated what they wanted to say – these are all very important factors that should also be scored upon. What do you think of the individual and as a person? Let’s be honest – if the hair on the back of your neck rises each time you look at them or talk to them, it is not a good idea to hire them, especially if you are going to be working closely with them. Don’t ever disregard your ‘gut feel’ or your intuition – it may save you many a grey hair in the long run.

Then get them to do a little test – something that they would be expected to do as a matter of course. If for example you are employing someone who will assist in putting together and running an event - give them the brief on an event that you have run in the past (take out the clients name and any other confidential information or change the names etc) and get them to give you a list of what they need to do. Someone who has actually done this before will have no trouble giving you something that makes sense, but someone who is taking a chance will in all probability leave out many of the most fundamental and basic steps. Getting them to do a little test is one of the quickest ways to ensure that you actually have someone who knows what it is that they are doing as opposed to someone who thinks they know it all.

Finally, once you have made you choice, don’t forget to check those references. Don’t just call the cell phone number of the person that they say they worked for – look up the Company’s phone number and ask to speak to that person – at least that way you know that they actually work there. Another tip is to ask to speak to that person’s supervisor/manager. Do you know how many people give the name and contact details of the person who sat at the desk next to them and not their supervisor and/or manager? Remember that if you cannot get hold of one or more of their references, there is usually a reason and I promise you it will not be in your favour. I personally would not employ someone whose references I could not verify.

If you are needing certificates and/or diplomas – check with the university or learning establishment to make sure that they did in fact get that qualification – this always reminds me of the surgeon who is performing complicated operations who was thrown out of medical school before he qualified. Don’t believe anything they tell you – check it out and make sure yourself.

Next week we will have a look at the alternatives to hiring staff.

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, September 30, 2010

SALES - Getting Rid of Objections


Getting Rid of Objections

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – September 2010 .

When you are out and about, trying to peddle your wares and your are getting the same negative answers all the time, you clearly need to turn these negatives into positives.

You know the objections that I mean, I am sure that we have all heard them before. The objections of “I’m not interested” or “I’m happy with my current supplier” or “the price is too high” or “there’s no budget” or “send me a proposal . . .” How are you currently responding to these statements? Do you just mutter something under your breath and slink away rejected and dejected? If so – why?

For me, writing stuff down usually helps me to clarify. My usual “MO” is a knee jerk, then I take a big breath and listen/read it again. Take a walk around the garden and have a coffee. Go back, write down my perception of the requirement and go through each item one at a time, calmly, logically and very definitely – unemotionally.

In this particular instance – what are the objections? Go back for a couple of weeks (or even months if you want to), list every person you saw and write down the objection that they gave you and how you responded to them. What did you say? How did you say it? What is the problem? If you know what the problem is, do you have a solution to that particular problem? Is there some sort of trend that you were perhaps not even aware of? Is there something in your sales pitch that you have left out or is your sales pitch as tired as you are of repeating it? Are you developing/maintaining your relationship with the customer correctly? Are you in fact providing your client with a product/service that they want or is it all about “you” and what you have decided that they need?

Perhaps it is time to look at things from a different perspective, a different angle, a fresh approach. Try being proactive to their requirements instead of reactive to their problems – yes there is an opportunity in both, but as a consumer I would prefer to avoid a potential problem.
Be honest with yourself when you answer the question. Chances are you have been trying to changing your client’s mindset instead of understanding their requirements and changing your own mindset.

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, September 29, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - What Makes A Blog Well Written

BLOGGING TIPS – What Makes a Blog Well Written?

Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC September 2010

There’s very little, in terms of feeling a great sense of achievement, as writing the last word in your article or blog. It really gives me a sense of wellbeing that carries me well into the remainder of my day.

Checking my spelling and my grammar is something that I do as a matter of course. That said though, I have recently become more aware of a few more elements that are needed to ensure that my blog gets read by as many people as possible. As much as the feeling is absolutely great when you complete the blog, so too is it absolutely devastating, when you look at the statistics and see that no-one has read the article or blog. That can be absolutely soul destroying!

So how can we fix this?

Think about this for a moment. As we travel around town, to and from our places of work, to a meeting or indeed, just going to the local mall, we see the newspaper headlines that are strung from lampposts or advertisements up on billboards everywhere. The headlines are designed specifically to entice us to buy the newspaper or buy whatever is being advertised. So too, must our headlines (or titles if you will), entice the readers to read our blogs or websites.

The headline is very important – it must pack a punch, it must captivate the imagination, it must magnetically pull the reader in.

Having the right headline (or title) can actually mean the difference between having your blog being read by a multitude of people and not being read at all.

For me, part of my test is to read the blog out loud. This means the headline as well. Read it out loud and then ask yourself a few questions. What picture does it paint in your head? Does it make you want to read more? Does it capture and hold your attention? Does it draw you in and make you feel like you are a part of the whole story?

The next question is this – I use ‘Google’ to search what I am looking for, but it doesn’t really matter which search engine you use – if your headline was in the line up (of whatever it is that you are looking for), would you be compelled to click on it before you clicked on any of the others? If you really are stumped and you can’t think of a suitable headline, ask a friend. Brainstorm! Throw it out there and see what comes back at you. You will be amazed at the amount of help there is and even more amazing is the fact that as you practice your writing, your skill at writing will improve immensely.

Next week we will have a look at a few more points on how to write a great blog.
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, September 28, 2010

WORKSHOP: Corporate Governance, Compliance & the New Companies Act

Workshop Invitation : Corporate Governance, Compliance and the New Companies Act, for Entrepreneurs

Viljoen Consulting, Sisibukula, Mystical Cat and Women in Finance together can provide you with every business solution every business problem.

Come and join us at the workshop entitled “Corporate Governance, Compliance and the New Companies Act, for Entrepreneurs.”

Much is heard about the Kings Commission and the New Companies Act, but what exactly does that mean and does it have any impact on the SMME/Entrepreneur? Of course it does and sadly, many only find out that it does, when they suffer the consequences.
As in all things in life, it makes sense for all small businesses and entrepreneurs to be proactive and run their businesses in a manner that evidences good governance.
The workshop takes the form of interactive sessions, where participants have the opportunity to discuss their own concerns and requirements and brainstorm towards solutions. Workshops will be valuable to owners and directors of organisations, no matter what the size of the company.

The workshop is facilitated by Frik Vermaak Frik who is an Entrepreneur in his own right. Frik has 29 years of banking and financial services experience. During his career he obtained a BCom (RAU), MBA (PBS), TGMP (Harvard) and is a Chartered Marketer (SA). He completed his banking career at ABSA Corporate and Merchant Bank as General Manager Financial Institutions. He was a founding director of the JSE’s STRATE project and also served as a director of Unexcor and the Central Depository. He furthermore served on an advisory committee on the National Payment System of the South African Reserve Bank. In 2000 he was appointed CEO of Computershare South Africa Ltd. In 2004 he was a co founder and Executive Director of IIIPA Ltd, subsequently sold to Alexander Forbes. He consulted to both Alexander Forbes and IQ Business Group and worked as a corporate finance associate of Salamander Capital in structuring M&A, BEE and specialised funding transactions. In 2006 he joined Allegro Holdings as CEO until founding Evolution Consulting Group in 2009.

Frik is currently is Chief Executive Officer of Evolution Consulting Group, and serves in the boards of various companies. He uses his extensive experience in assisting Small and medium enterprise in business restructuring. He is a professional member of the Investment Analyst Society (IASSA) as well as the Marketing Association (MASA).
The workshop covers the following issues:
1. What is compliance?
2. Areas of compliance?
a. Corporate governance
b. Statutory compliance (New Companies act etc.)
c. Legislatory compliance (e. g. FAIS, FICA)
d. Industry/Product specific compliance
e. Labour compliance
f. Policies and procedures (HR, job descriptions, manuals, assessment policies)
g. Information Technology
h. Operational procedures (Manufacturing, Workflow)
i. Financial compliance (Audit, SARS etc)
j. Black Economic Empowerment
k. Disaster recovery/business continuity
3. Consequences of non-compliance: is it worth the price?

Date: Tuesday 5th October 2010

Venue: Mystical Cat
NGN House.
Riley Road Office Park
15E Riley Road

Cost: R950.00 (includes breakfast/lunch/refreshments and course material, inclusive of VAT)

Time: 08.30 to 3.30/4.00 pm. (Registration from 08.00 onwards). Please allow additional travelling time to combat traffic.

RSVP: no later than 1st October 2010 . Space is limited therefore bookings will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Please contact:-

Mystical Cat delegates, please contact Cat on 011 022 1863 or cat@mysticalcat.co.za.

Women in Finance delegates please contact colleen@womeninfinance.co.za or 084-353-9865.

Everyone else please contact Nikki Viljoen on nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or 083 702 8849 or on my landline 011 022 8089 for booking details.

I look forward to meeting you at the workshop.

VAT - Some of the Requirements - Part 1

VAT – Some of the Requirements – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC September 2010

“Who here loves the VAT man?” That is a question that I ask on a regular basis. Sadly though, more often than not, mine is the only hand that goes up. It is definitely a mind set that needs to be changed if we are to make the best use of the concessions that SARS gives us.

That said, here are a few tips in terms of what must be done regarding the VAT requirements.

Obviously – number one on the list is that you have to be a VAT vendor in order for any of this to apply to you and if your turnover is a million or more per annum, then being a VAT vendor is compulsory. You can, however, apply to become a ‘voluntary’ VAT vendor.

VAT has to be charged at the current rate (as at September 2010) which is 14% and of course you have to make use of a valid ‘Tax Invoice’ and this has to be kept in terms of the correct retention period as promulgated by law. That means that your documents must be archived and retained.

VAT must be charged for all services and/or products supplied by the vendor. These services and/or products must be wholly and/or partly used for consumption in the course of making supplies or supplying a service that is taxable. That means of course that if you buy a potato (as a basic foodstuff this does not attract VAT which means you cannot offset it), to make chips or mash or even a roast potato dish for your restaurant, you used the potato (but changed it in the cooking process) in your product and your product does now attract VAT.

Going out for a meal with clients is called ‘entertainment’ and as such you can claim it as a business expense, but you cannot claim the VAT on it, unless . . .

If you or one of your staff are going out for a meal with a client and you (they) are out of town for longer than one night, you can claim the VAT back on this. In fact any meals taken by you and your staff, including alcohol, whilst you are out of town on business for a period longer than one night can have the VAT claimed for.

Normally, you cannot claim VAT for ‘office refreshments’, however if you purchase refreshments for the delegates that you are training, then you can claim VAT on those refreshments.

As usual, it is about what you know and how you use it that will allow you to make the most of your relationship with SARS. Next week we will have a look at a few more expenses that you can in fact claim VAT on.

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, September 27, 2010

MOTIVATION - Getting Past the Fear of Failure

MOTIVATION – Getting Past the Fear of Failure

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2010

This is a topic that I have covered before, however that said, it is something that has really come to the forefront in my life lately. The other fear that I seem to constantly battle with is the fear of success.

Let’s look at this in a logical and unemotional manner.

Firstly – the fear of failure is a very normal emotion. I promise you, you are not alone. Everyone has, at some time or another had this fear. It’s how you deal with it that is important.

One of the ways to deal with the fear of failure, is to set yourself reasonable and effective goals. Remember though that you need to keep your goals as bite sized chunks, so that they are easily attainable.

Here’s the thing – “We can only have one thought at a time” says Robin S. Sharma – the trick is to have the right thought.

I am currently reading “The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari” by Robin S Sharma and some of the advice that I have seen there, not only resonated with me – it blew me out of the water. You see the whole book, (and I haven’t finished reading it yet) is around the fact that our minds control our thoughts and we should control our minds. Our thoughts actually bring about our fears or failures or indeed, our successes and pretty much anything that we wish to achieve.

In this wonderful story the Sage (or teacher) says that even one negative thought is poisonous to us as individuals and that we, by controlling our minds and our thoughts’ can change these ‘negative’ thoughts into ‘positive’ thoughts that will serve us. The reader is given exercises in visualization of the positive kind. These exercises start at a few minutes a day and they progress from there. There is also a section on ‘what to do’ when you have a negative thought. It really is a wonderful book and one that I would really recommend to everyone.

Of course, like everything else in life, it is only in the repetitive actions of the individual, that the solution will take place – it’s not an instantaneous happening, but rather a gradual reformation, so don’t think that you can do the exercise once and then everything in your life is solved. It won’t be, you have to repeat the exercise on a daily basis and you have to continue it for life.

Secondly, let’s have a look at the fear of success. This is the one that bites me in the rear end on a regular basis. I have spent all my life dreaming about my goals and when they finally arrive, I go into a kind of reverse action and my brain is flooded with thoughts of “I can’t do this because . . . “ or “I don’t deserve . . . .”! Actually yes I do deserve – I have put in the work, I have sweated the blood and the reward is mine to enjoy.

Again, it is about controlling your thoughts and turning positive thoughts into successful actions. Remember that a thought without any action is just that – a thought. The thought needs an action in order for anything to happen.

The bottom line of course, is that it is up to you – they are your thoughts and you are the only person that can control them.

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, September 23, 2010

SALES - Make A List of What You Do


Make A List Of What You Do

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – September 2010 .

Phew! What a hectic couple of weeks it has been! Writing proposals and delivering presentations . . .

The last one that I had to do was a 15 minute presentation on who I am!

It’s not that I was totally stumped, you understand – but the question was “who are you?” not “what do you do?”

For me that poses a bit of a dilemma because I think that ‘who’ I am is exactly ‘what’ it is that I do – I do understand that that is not the same for everybody out there.

I realized very quickly that this presentation was about selling myself, selling my brand, selling my belief in myself, my morals and my ethics as well.

Actually it made a lot of sense as I had already submitted a whole proposal on what I do and what I was prepared to offer and what the cost would be.

So how did I do this? I mean, I have no doubt that the panel that I am presenting to have no real interest in the fact that I love my cat Deushka, who is a little strange and eccentric since he loves to eat olives and avocado pear with balsamic vinegar!

For a minute there, I was quite stumped and of course my ‘knee jerk’ reaction was ‘what the hell do they want this for’? Fortunately I have many friends who are always willing to help and Dyonne came to my rescue (being well versed in the world of presentations and proposals). Dyonne is very methodical and we started at the beginning and broke it down.

It started with a little history – a little background if you will, you know - the where I have worked, where I come from, what I did and so on. This progressed to how it all started – Viljoen Consulting – why I started the business and the driving force that is behind my decision to go on my own. From there we went into the how it has changed, which is clearly about how the business has morphed and grown and almost taken on a life of its own and then finally the ‘what’s in it for me’? Clearly cost is important as I need to pay the bills and put food on the table, but it’s also about my sense of achievement, my own personal satisfaction of a job well done and of course, my own mission of ‘making a difference’ in the lives of others in order to make a difference in my own life. It’s about the things that I value in life and how I go about achieving them.

Now of course, my biggest challenge was to keep it short and within the 15 minute time frame – talk about going from nothing to say to nothing can shut me up!

Clearly the lesson here for me is to ‘step away from the car’! Calm down and the write it all down in a logical manner!

Now why didn’t I think of that?

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, September 22, 2010

WORKSHOP: Financial Literacy for Non Financial Entrepreneurs

Financial Literacy for Non-Financial Entrepreneurs – 29 September 2010

Hosted by Sisibukula, SA German Chamber and WIF.
Accounting is a language used to communicate important information about a business’ financial status and as a small business owner and entrepreneur understanding this language is vital to the financial success of your business. After all, how can you look after your bottom line if you don’t know what it is!

Financial Literacy for Non-Financial Entrepreneurs is a workshop aimed specifically at small business owners and entrepreneurs, at all levels who want to equip themselves with the basics of accounting and understanding the financial aspects of their businesses.
Understanding the language of accounting will empower you to take your business to the next level and to understand and manage the business growth. Ultimately you will be equipped to grow a healthy and sustainable business.
Nico Labuschagne facilitates this workshop. Nico Labuschagne obtained his degree in Internal auditing from the Potchefstroom University based in Vanderbijlpark in 1997. To complete his articles, Nico joined a medium sized auditing firm. Nico then applied to join The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). After being tested and reviewed he was registered as a full member and received his practice number from the institute in 2002.
Like most entrepreneurs, Nico soon became bored with the mundane repetitiveness of corporate life. Nico had also noticed that in most small and medium sized businesses, the owners or and staff carried out the financial business without being equipped with any kind of accounting knowledge or understanding.
Understanding the challenges that face SMME’s and Entrepreneurs, Nico felt the need to empower them and has done so by writing a financial programme for the business man/woman in easy to understand language. The programme aims at a better understanding of how accounting works and its importance as a tool in running a financially healthy and stable business. Accounting principles are demonstrated. Topics like what an income statement and balance sheet are and what to look for in these statements are covered. Entrepreneurs and SMME’s no longer need fear financial data, putting them in a very empowering position. The entrepreneur is in control of the business.
Topics that will be covered in this workshop:
• Understanding the basic concepts of accounting.
• Reading financial statements.
• Analysing the basic elements of a balance sheet.
• Using the evidence in financial statements to make a financial decision.
• Determining financial viability of a project/enterprise.
• How to base decisions on evidence in the balance sheet.
• The financial strengths and weaknesses of an entity are analysed and suggestions are made of ways to improve income and reduce costs.
No prior knowledge of accounting or book keeping is necessary for this highly effective but simple to understand workshop that promises to equip you with powerful tools to manage your business on a practical level.

Date: Wednesday, 29th September 2010

Price: R950 per delegate (includes breakfast snack/lunch/refreshments and course material)

Venue: SA German Chamber
47 Oxford Road
Forest Town

Time: 08.30 AM- 4:00 PM (Registration from 08.00 onwards). Please allow additional travelling time to combat traffic.

To book your place for Financial Literacy for Non-Financial Entrepreneurs, please contact:

For SA German Chamber delegates, please contact Shaan Padayachy on 011 486 2775 or spadayachy@germanchamber.co.za

For WIF delegates, please contact Colleen Larsen on 084 353 9865 or colleen@womeninfinance.co.za

Everyone else, please contact Nikki Viljoen on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za

RSVP: Please book no later than 27 September 2010. Space is limited therefore bookings will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - Don't Be Scared to Ask For Help

BLOGGING TIPS – Don’t be Scared to Ask for Help

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC September 2010

Many of the people that I encounter on a daily basis, look at me as if I have lost the plot, when I suggest that they should blog.

I am not sure if it is because they feel insecure about themselves and what they do or indeed if it is merely because the very thought of “I have to write something” scares the crap out of them. The look of absolute terror on their faces pretty much resembles those of a buck that has been caught unawares in the headlights of an oncoming car – pretty much ‘frozen’ in terror they are!

Yet it is these self same individuals, whose faces light up in animation and with intense passion as they verbally describe who they are and what it is that they do and why you should purchase their product or engage their services. Why is that do you think?

What is it about the written word that sends people into an absolute tizz? I mean, at some point we all have to document things, proposals or Business Plans and what have you – why is it so difficult to document something that we are really passionate about?

I actually have several clients and colleagues who have grasped the ‘idea’ of writing blogs, but who are doubtful of their ability to communicate in the written word.

We sat down together and I ‘talked’ them through it. They made lists of all the topics that they wanted to write about and then we broke them down into sub topics and then further into bite sized chunks that would easily fit into articles of around 300 words or so.

Ideas of what they actually wanted to share, were jotted down and then the whole exercise of writing could begin. Once the article was written, they sent it to me to read and critique.

For most, what started out as a monthly blog has now become a weekly blog and I suspect, it won’t stay as just a weekly blog for much longer and some have even added a monthly newsletter to the mix.

To be quite honest, in many ways I feel like a ‘proud’ parent as I watch their writing grow from strength to strength and as I watch their style of writing morph and flourish and become more about ‘who’ they are.

Well done to them I say – for taking that first step into a whole new, exciting and magical world of the written word.

Well done!

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