Friday, April 23, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 3

Here's yesterdays Blog people - sorry it's late!

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

So by now, I am sure that you have gathered that as passionate as I am about my business, so am I passionate about blogging and when I blog, not only do I learn for myself, but I also share what I have learnt.

Most of us have heard the words that “knowledge is power” – I’d like to say that knowledge is exactly that – plain, unsophisticated, understated . . . well knowledge. The “Power” of the knowledge is in how we use it and what we do with that knowledge and by sharing that knowledge with others who will use it, we enable, not only ourselves but those around us too. How cool is that!

The sharing of knowledge shouldn’t just be a ‘here and now’ experience either – so make sure that you create an ‘archives’ which allow people to go back, time and time again, to refresh their memories about the issues that you have written about or to savor their favorite posts. It will also assist with reading articles (in one sitting), that have perhaps been broken up into parts that are easily readable.

Another idea, in order to assist with your archives is to break the content of the articles into sections, pretty much like I have for the blogs on my website. So each time I introduce a new topic (pretty much like I did when I introduced “blogging” as a topic), I add a new content section to my blog index.

Now, to get people interacting with you, it’s also necessary to tell people ‘about’ yourself. People like to hear stories, especially stories about where you come from and what it is that you have done in order to get to where you are. It makes them relate to you in a completely different way. Put a photo of yourself onto your blog – it gives people a sends of communicating directly with you.

Make sure that you have a section that gives people direct access to you. Have a contacts page with, at the very least, your e-mail address. If you are not comfortable about being contacted at all hours of the day and night by people who live on the other side of the planet, or who are in different time zones, don’t include your telephone number. Many people like to clarify issues or perhaps add to the discussion or even provide alternative information. So allow yourself to be accessible, even if it is only up to a point.

Be willing share, not only your thoughts and your information and knowledge, but also your blog too. Invite guests to ‘blog’ on your site. If your feel like you are giving up control, then choose the topic yourself and reserve the right to edit what they have written.

See you next week, when we will look at some more issues around some of the content that should be on/in your blogs.

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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Power of Networking - Part 157


PART 157

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. April 2010

I feel the need to explore the whole ‘selling’ thing a little more – so following on from last week and the idea of ‘selling through networking’ – I honestly understand that networking is not for everyone. I understand that for some it is really difficult and for those, there are obviously other avenues such as (but not limited to) cold calling.

Let’s have a look at the numbers for a minute,

Irrespective of whether you are cold calling and/or networking (or any other form of selling that there is) there is a set of numbers in terms of what you can expect.

Statistics show that around 20% of the people that you approach, will buy from you and 20% of the people you approach won’t, regardless of whether they have the budget or not – it’s just the way things are.

Here’s the thing though – that still leaves 60% of the people that you can really focus on and herein lies the challenge.

With Networking, I will always have the advantage over the person who is cold calling in terms of turning that 60% prospects into sales. Here’s why – the person who is doing the cold calling, still has to develop relationships with those people – because of Networking, either I have already started building those relationships or in terms of referrals, those relationships have already been built and cemented in.

With Networking I will always have an added advantage (or as some say, an unfair advantage). As long as I look after those relationships and I continue to maintain them (long after the first encounter) I will always be able to sell easier and I will always have referrals.

With Networking and the resultant referrals, I will never have the constant negativity that is a given when cold calling as all my calls will be, at the very least warm and generally very hot!

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

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Rising to the Occasion - Part 2

BUSINESS TIPS – Rising to the Occasion – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Following on from last week, this week we will be looking as some of the solutions that there are to assist us with dealing with some of the challenges that we came across last week.

These are (but not limited to):

• Expecting difficulty: People who stick their heads in the sand or who look at life through rose tinted glasses are always surprised when things go wrong. Actually some of them look like frightened deer that have been caught in the headlights of an oncoming car! I’m not for one moment suggesting that we should be pessimistic and always looking for things to go wrong and then nodding wisely and saying “You see, I told you it would go belly up”! What I am suggesting though, is that we become optimistic realists. That we understand what can go wrong, that we are prepared for it should it go wrong, but that we always carry on as if nothing could go wrong – that way if it does, there is always a plan “B” and if it doesn’t – well that’s a bonus, don’t you think?

• Be proactive. This for me is an absolute ‘no brainer’! I find it extremely difficult to understand why people don’t get things going correctly (or even going in the right direction) in the first place. This always necessitates them having to go back to correct it. How crazy is that and how time consuming, not to mention absolutely frustrating. It reminds me, many years ago, of the reason that I actually left the bank. I was in the Internal Audit Division and each time there was a problem in a department, I would be sent in to sort it out and get it back to what it was supposed to be. One particular department was notorious for not following procedures. It got to a point where every three months I had to go back into the department to restore order – the straw that broke the camels back came, when that particular department head received a bonus for the manner in which their department was run (when we were audited externally by the International Internal Audit Department) and my efforts were not even acknowledged.

Deal with problems whilst they are still small enough to be handled effectively and with a minimum of fuss and ensure that you maintain your preventative measures. Think about it for a moment – we usually don’t wait until the car falls apart in a heap before we send it in for a service. We usually service regularly to prevent the car from falling apart in a heap!

Next week we will have a look at some more solutions

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

Monday, April 19, 2010

MOTIVATION - Getting Ahead

MOTIVATION – Getting Ahead

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – April 2010

Mark Twain says “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.”

The story of “How to eat an elephant” and its subsequent answer of “one bite at a time” springs to mind and it is exactly how you get ahead.

No matter how big the dream, you have to break it down into small ‘bite sized’ chunks. Same with any problems and/or challenges that you have, no matter how big or unmanageable, break it down, once it’s broken down, choose a ‘bite sized’ chunk and deal with it. Make it your goal, to not even look at the other pieces until you have dealt with and resolved that particular one. Write all you ‘bite sized’ pieces down and as you deal with each one, mark it off – that way you will be able to see and even measure your progress and as each one is marked off, you will find yourself feeling lighter and more optimistic and less stressed about what it is that you still have to achieve.

I know that we often get caught up in the emotion or the drama of the situation or the issue at hand. Often the problem or the dream appears to be so large that it becomes overwhelming and often what happens then is that we become afraid of our own success.

Okay – that’s a biggie! Let me say that again – we become afraid of our own success!

Crazy as that may sound or even as it may be on the surface, the reality for many of us is that as soon as we realize the magnitude of the dream and/or the potential, we back off in fear of success. Statements like ‘this is too big for me’ or ‘It can’t be this easy or someone else would have done/thought of it before’ rattle around in our heads and the magnificent size and breath taking magnitude of the dream or opportunity, literally knocks the wind out of our sails.

Step away from the dream, take a big breath, break it down and systematically work with and deal with each piece, one at a time. Yes, look up from time to time to keep your eye on the ultimate prize, don’t be scared to look at it, but deal with it, slowly and surely and just ‘one bite at a time’.

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

Friday, April 16, 2010

HR - Maintain Control of Your Staff - Part 3


Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Continuing from last time here are some additional examples of what staff can get up to at their employers expense if they are not properly managed.

I’ve had two separate clients this year who have staff who abuse sick leave. The one client’s employee took a total of 65 days sick leave over a 12 month period – that is more than double her 3 year allocation – and when we put a stop to that and told her that any further sick leave would be taken as unpaid, she promptly asked for her 3 days family responsibility leave as her son was having a medical procedure done. Her son is 25 years old and the medical procedure turned out to be he had a tooth pulled. Needless to say that leave was also taken as unpaid!

Then there was another client who had a husband and wife team working for him (that is also never a good idea). Both went to the clinic once a month – on different days, but when the wife went the husband had to take her (so he couldn’t come to work) and when he went the wife couldn’t get to work (clearly the buses and taxis don’t work) and then they also expected to get their full quota of sick leave on top of that because ‘it wasn’t their fault that they had to go to the clinic every month’! I guess maybe that they thought it was their boss’s fault! Needless to say, they too have discovered the joys of unpaid leave!

Sick leave and especially excessive sick leave that is not monitored and controlled can cost the company hundreds and thousands and indeed can even cripple a company. Having a proper leave policy in place that clearly states and outlines the consequences of excessive sick leave and ensuring that those consequences are upheld, will go a long way to ensuring that this particular problem does not rear it’s ugly head. Having a disciplinary policy that also clearly outlines ‘incapacity’ and that consequences of that, also often ensures that staff get to work on a more regular basis.

My father always used to say that no-matter what your job is, you should always do it with pride and it should always be done to the best of your ability. Sadly this no longer seems to apply to people in general anymore. People no longer seem to feel the need to take any kind of pride in the work that they produce and sadder still is the fact that that not only do they not feel the need to take pride in their work but they also seem to feel that employers should be very happy to accept their second and third rate work, whilst paying wages and salaries for first rate expectations. Crazy idea that! Again checklists laying out exactly what must be done and then ensuring that they are correctly signed off will ensure accountability. Again though, it needs to be properly monitored and consequences must be metered out if the procedures are not complied with.

Next week we will have a look at some more examples of what employees get up to when they are not effectively managed.

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

Thursday, April 15, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 2

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Many of us are ‘visual’ beings – I know that I am because of the constant ‘videos’ that play themselves in my brain. Brighten your blogs up with pictures that are relevant to whatever it is that you are writing about. The visuals will add depth to your article and enrich your post.

It’s also a good idea to visit other blog sites. It will give you an opportunity to have a look at different styles of writing and different layouts. You will be able to see what works and what doesn’t and take what works together with your own style and make something uniquely different.

To get readers to ‘follow you’ make sure that it is easy for them to do so, either with an RSS feed application or at the very least set it up so that an automated e-mail is sent to them containing each post. If they don’t have to go and ‘look’ for it all the time, chances are that they will read your blogs more often.

Encourage your readers to leave a comment or engage in a discussion or even a debate. It makes people feel that they are all part of the process and part of a community and if it’s one thing that I have learnt watching the celebrity survivor, its that people need to ‘feel’ that they are a part of something.

Challenge people and get them to challenge themselves. When an article gets people thinking about who they are, what they are doing etc, they will return time and time again to see what there is that may be of interest. Get them thinking and talking.

Don’t forget to give due, where and when it is deserved. If you are quoting someone or using any part of their work, give them the appropriate credits. I know how I feel when I see that someone has used my pontifications and they have not credited me.

Don’t jump on the bandwagon, just to promote your own stuff. One of my personal pet hates is when people respond to one of my articles by plugging their own products. That’s just rude and they should start their own blogs if they feel that strongly about it.

See you next week!

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Power of Networking - Part 156


PART 156

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. April 2010

Following on from last week - so now that we have established that you are indeed a salesperson, what remains to be established is what platform is best suited to your preferred form of selling.

On a personal level, for me it’s always about doing things in the most simplistic manner. The most simplistic manner and easiest way to sell is by Networking and the subsequent referrals that I get.

Early during the course of last year, I met a lady (let’s call her Jane), whose brother (let’s call him John) was a member of a virtual networking group called Business Warriors. While I was a member of Business Warriors, I was pretty prolific on the forum and I shared my knowledge and expertise with everyone who cared to read what I wrote. For reasons not to be discussed here, Business Warriors and I parted ways – but whilst I parted ways with the website, I remained in contact with many of the members, with whom I had built strong (often virtual only) relationships.

To cut a long story short, Jane had a business challenge and her brother John remembered much of my advice and the articles that I had written and he recommended that Jane contact me.

Jane and I had one pretty short meeting and in that same meeting, all of her problems were resolved – another happy customer that I did not have to go out and find!

Within a week, Jane had introduced me to another person (let’s call him Bill). Bill had been offered a very senior position in a company that was started to regulate other businesses in a very specific field and he was not sure if the Letter of Appointment that he had been given was in his best interests. I assisted him with getting the best for him put into his Letter of Appointment – another happy customer that I did not have to go out and find!

Bill accepted the appointment and I was called in at this point to assist him. This particular business was started around the 1950s and believe me, most of the policies and procedures dated back to that time.

Over a period of around 6 or 7 months I supplied them with all the policies, procedures and templates that they didn’t have and updated the ones that they did have and then assisted, in part with the implementation of the new and updated documentation. Another happy customer that I did not have to find!

Last week Bill referred me to one of his clients, (let’s call him Chris). I met with Chris today, there were no questions about “are you able to do this”, it as more of a statement of “these are our problems, when can you start”? Well here’s the thing – I start tomorrow!

I know that I can perform the tasks that they require. I know that I am able to assist them, but I didn’t have to tell Chris any of this – you see Bill did and because Chris trusts Bill, he trusts me too. Bill trusted Jane who told him how happy she was with my deliverables. Jane trusted her brother John – who incidentally I have never met. John had seen my advice in the Business Warrior forum, over a number of years, and because the advice was consistent and because it was evident that I did walk my own talk, John trusted me!

That’s 4 referrals out of one virtual Networking website – 4 customers and 4 sales without me even going to look for them!

Now that’s the Power of networking!

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Rising to the Occasion - Part 1

BUSINESS TIPS – Rising to the Occasion – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

As small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs we all understand and are often touched by the adversity around us. From political unrest and uncertainty to financial and economic recessions and troubles. These are indeed, very trying times but also very exciting times.

Here’s the thing though – at some point in our lives, trouble will visit with us. Even during the best of times, trouble comes to visit. Trouble has many faces and many forms – trouble can visit in the form of an illness, or a fire or business ruin or financial challenges. Whatever form trouble takes, it will visit. The challenge of course is how we deal with trouble.

Many of us not only deal with every day challenges or the small irritations that life throws at us, but also have to do with some of the big things too.

Strangely enough though, it is the way that we deal with the small irritations in life that will usually determine the way that we will deal with the big things in life.

Disasters are big and in their hugeness, it is difficult to ignore them – they aren’t going to go away and you cannot hide them under the carpet or in the cupboard. They are ‘in your face’ and you have to deal with them.

The real test though, for me anyway, is how to deal with the everyday little issues. Those constant daily irritations that buzz around our heads like an army of mosquitoes?

Issues such as (but not limited to) getting enough rest or looking after our health or even spending quality time with our families and loved ones. These issues are not the dramatic disaster kind and they don’t appear to be urgent, yet many of us ignore them hoping that they will go away. For example neglecting your wife/husband and family won’t have any major effect in the short term. The long term effects though could be divorce and/or estrangement. How sad is that? In this particular example, it’s the small , daily, irritating mozzie that has grown into a tsunami that is causing the major problems.

People who are successful or who are high achievers, always expect challenges, in fact many of them welcome challenges because it’s in the dealing with the problem that they get to stretch their minds and their problem solving skills. You will also find that most of these people, whilst they are realists – are also optimistic about life. They believe in themselves and understand their strengths and they are determined to put the changes in place. They are determined to meet head on. They are also aware of the fact that as their success grows, so too will the number and size of their troubles. Most importantly too is that they usually have a great sense of humour and know how to laugh at themselves as well as at life.

Next week we will have a look at some indicators on ‘how to’ solve your troubles before they become disasters.

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

Monday, April 12, 2010

MOTIVATION - Failure & the Opportunity

MOTIVATION – Failure & the Opportunity

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – April 2010

Hands up who loves to succeed? I can see everybody’s hand shoot up. Soooo – hands up who loves to fail? Go on, who loves to fail? Nope, not a hand in sight. Yet think about this for a moment – we all know the Oscars are what actresses and actors strive to win for their performances in the movies and yet the other day I saw Sandra Bullock graciously accept a Razzie award (for the worst performance) for her acting in a film (ironically she also got the Oscar for the same role in the same movie – but then the Americans have always confused me anyway).

As far as I know, the movies (and perhaps Idols) are the only place where participants are given the ‘worst’ award. Why is this do you think? Well, I think it is because as children we are taught to succeed and in order to succeed we cannot and must not fail. Well the word ‘fail’ is also a four letter word and in some households, being competitive is a way of life. Sadly many children grow up thinking that if they don’t succeed then they have failed and as I am sure you can imagine, this produces it’s own share of nightmares.

What about if we look at so called ‘failure’ from a different perspective? What about if we look at failure as an opportunity, not only to succeed in the future, but also as a ‘learning curve’?

Look, I’m not talking about looking at all types of failure as a good thing. Let’s be reasonable here – imagine if you will, you lying on the operating table, about to undergo a heart transplant, and the surgeon walks in and says “oh by the way, I am not a qualified surgeon, I failed all of my exams, but I am using this opportunity of cutting into you, as a learning curve and perhaps it will allow me to pick up my grades and qualify!” That’s just not good at all! No I’m talking about the everyday things that we fail at and then beat ourselves up about and yes, I’m even talking about failure of businesses or business ideas. Where those particular failures can be turned around and become huge successes. I’m talking about the way we look at things and how we react to what it is that we have looked at.

For many of us growing up, failure was not a word in our dictionaries, or in our vocabularies and it was certainly not something that we even considered. Yet it happened on a daily basis. I remember being about 8 years old or so, at boarding school and being picked for a team the first time – we were playing rounders during the 10am midmorning break. Now I have a problem judging distances, so trying to hit a tennis ball with a bat no thicker than a cricket stump, was a huge challenge. Needless to say I was never picked, voluntarily, again. This really suited me as it was not a game that I enjoyed and I was much happier sitting high up on a branch of my favorite tree, reading my book. Children, being who they are though, thought that this was absolutely terrible and they teased me relentlessly about the absence of my ‘batting’ skills. Right through junior school I was left out of the line up of any type of game that involved either a ball or a bat and I was repeatedly told how ‘useless’ I was, by kids and teachers alike. How crazy is that and how absolutely damaging it could have been for me. Fortunately, being an introvert and a loner, I was not really too interested in being part of the ‘gang’ and went about my business. Here’s the thing though – I may not have been very good at hitting a ball with a bat, but my senior school days brought out a different side of me and I did well enough on the track in high jump and long jump. I never won anything mind you, but that also never bothered me because for me it was about the enjoyment of the sport not in the winning.

So how about if we looked for the opportunities in the failure? Things like if ‘we did this in a different way’ or even ‘clearly this is not our thing in life – let’s look at what else is available’? What about if we looked at failure as an opportunity to ‘learn’ something new, or learn about ourselves or indeed, learn more about the product and/or service that we offer? What if in that failure and in the ‘learning’ we improved upon what it was that we had failed at? What if in that ‘learning’ we discovered something even better and grander and we became even more successful that we ever could have been with what we failed at – would we then still be considered’ failures’?

I don’t know! What I do know though, is that we are often so hard on ourselves that the damage that we do to ourselves is often irreparable. So instead beating up on ourselves, let’s look at the opportunities that our so called failures have brought and rather get on with the living of life.

Learn the lesson by all means, but then let it go and live!

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

Friday, April 09, 2010

HR - Maintain Control of Your Staff - Part 2


Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

I must admit that writing this particular article has taken me down memory lane and some of the most bizarre experiences, in terms of staff who just do not want to co-operate and who are in turn often mismanaged. Just this year alone I have had more than half a dozen incidents where the employer has turned to me in absolute frustration and said “I know that I have allowed this to carry on far too long, but . . .”. Sadly it has cost them all – dearly, not only in fees to pay me and then my HR specialist who had to be consulted in terms of dismissal and in some instances even representing them at the CCMA, but also in their own time that was wasted in trying to sort this out.

Some more examples of what staff do (or don’t do in certain instances), when they are not properly controlled and managed is, (but not limited to):

• Refuse to carry out instructions. Often staff will pay ‘lip service’ to an instruction that you give them. To outward appearances they have ‘bought into’ what you have asked them to do and you go about your business thinking that your instruction has been carried out only to find out later (and often when it is too late and the damage has been done) that the instruction was in fact not carried out. This particular issue is worse than when the employee, straight out refuses to carry out an instruction – at least that way you know where you stand. Here’s the thing though, in both of these instances this is grounds for dismissal and it needs to be dealt with immediately, especially if you have other employees who are watching to see what will happen. The employee needs to be verbally cautioned about the fact that they are ‘refusing’ to follow a reasonable instruction and that this could lead to a disciplinary which in turn could lead to their dismissal. If they still refuse to perform the task, disciplinary action should be taken. In the instances where the employee has just not performed the task that they were instructed to follow, disciplinary action should also be taken – obviously this will not help the situation as you will still be sitting with the consequences of not having had something done, but it will send out a very clear message. Remember by doing nothing, the message that you are sending out is that this is acceptable behaviour and that makes it all the more difficult to control the next time around. Furthermore you are in all probability setting a precedent and if you don’t discipline the first person you cannot discipline the next one that does it. That would be considered ‘unfair practice’.

• A personal favourite of mine – it’s sure to send me crazy, is when staff do the work but then don’t check what they have done! Man oh man, that does it to me every time. For me it is indicative of a person who is doing the bare minimum to get by, someone who is not proud of their work or someone who just does not give a damn and quite honestly, I believe that we can all do without people like that in our lives. If I have to check everything that staff do before it goes out then quite frankly I may as well do it myself. One of the quickest and easiest ways to control this type of person is by means of a ‘check list’ for the task. The last thing on the list should be ‘check and double check your work’ – make them sign off on that and that record will ensure that they remain on the straight and narrow and if they don’t you will have evidence showing that they have not completed the task correctly. Make sure that they sign for each step and this will make them a lot more careful. Again, any deviation or variation on the procedures must be dealt with immediately to ensure that it does not reoccur.

Next week we will have a look at some more examples of what employees get up to when they are not effectively managed.

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

Thursday, April 08, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 1

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Over the next few weeks we will have a look at the type of content that you can blog with. I will use some of my clients (their names will be changed) to illustrate what kind of information can be used when blogging.

Now remember I am a bit of a technophobe, so some of the stuff that I tell you about, I don’t actually use – well because I don’t know how to . . . ! It is however, on the list of things to do, so once I find a few minutes to sit with my very patient IT gurus, it will be added to my own blogs to enrich them and therefore the output to my readers.

Whatever the business though, your blog needs to put you apart, so your content and the issues that you write about must create visions in the minds of the people that read them – no-one is going to read boring stuff, you have to capture the readers interest. For example on a Friday my blogs are HR related. I often take actual CCMA cases and turn them into stories of things that can and in fact do happen, not only to big Corporations but also to the one or two man businesses at the bottom of the ladder.

Now believe me, reading actual CCMA cases has got to be one of the most boring stuff ever to cross my desk and I can guarantee you that if I had to post it on the blog as I get it, no-one would be reading it and in fact many people would make the decision not to read any more of my blogs, going forward. What is great though is that the content of what transpired at the CCMA is what is important and I have the ability to turn that information, through putting it into a story with protagonists that we can all relate to, into something that makes sense and is easy to read. That is what makes it different and that is what makes it powerful and that is what makes the information readable and valuable to my readers – they can relate to the people in the story and in many instances they have been in similar circumstances and now they know exactly what to do. That is one of the things that makes my content stand out from the rest.

One of the other tools that I use all the time is simply, simplicity. I don’t use big words that have people rushing to dust off the dictionary. My posts are in simple to understand language that most people can read and process, irrespective of whether they have a basic education or the CEO of a large Corporation. I know that if I get frustrated when reading something because the language gets too technical or the author has become over indulgent with his/her use of language, the article usually gets put down in favour of something that is easier to read and understand.

Most of all, my articles are also usually written with my own special brand of humour. I know for a fact that most people don’t always ‘get’ my humour, but here’s the thing – I love to laugh at life! I have fun with it and the truth is that if I don’t have fun writing the article, then what am I doing it for? If I don’t have fun writing the article, then I will probably procrastinate to such an extent that the article will never get written – there goes my blog, my marketing and to some extent my Networking. So always remember the ‘why’ you are doing this and always, always, always have fun.

See you next week!

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

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Power of Networking - Part 155


PART 155

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. April 2010

I am not a sales person! There I’ve said it and therefore it must be true! What a load of rubbish!

We are all sales people in this journey that we call life! We ‘sell’ ourselves every single day of our lives – whether it is to the person that we are romantically interested in, or to the person that we interact with at the coffee shop where we are having breakfast, or when we meet someone new (irrespective of whether it is a personal thing or a business thing) or when we go for that all important interview – we all sell! Acknowledge it, deal with and get over yourselves!

As small business owners (SMME’s) or Entrepreneurs, we are all responsible for selling our product or service and will in turn generate income for our businesses. Granted some people are better at sales than others. Granted many of us have never received any kind of professional sales training to help us generate those sales and granted some of us, in all honesty need more than a little help to get going, but the bottom line is that we are all sales people!

Some of the sales methods that are available work for some and don’t work for others. Cold calling, for example is something that I have never been able to bring myself to do. As an introvert, the very thought of picking up a phone and talking to a stranger about my passion and what I do, is enough to send me rushing for the nearest cupboard in which to hide myself in. Yet there are some that swear by it and who love the challenge. Not for me thank you.

Now Networking, well that’s an altogether different ball game – that works for me. You see, at a Networking event (well certainly the ones that I attend), I don’t have to deal with complete strangers. The events are ‘semi’ facilitated which means that I will be ‘introduced’ to the person and this of course makes conversation a lot easier.

The person attending the Networking event is usually someone who is ‘like minded’ and that means that they are there for exactly the same reason as I am – to Network and that makes conversation a lot easier.

So for me, the sales solution is to get myself off to a Networking meeting. Actually, if the truth be told – you should to, it will change your life!

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

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - When to Give Up Control

BUSINESS TIPS – When to Give up Control

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Entrepreneur” as ‘Person in effective control of commercial undertaking; one who undertakes a business or enterprise with chance of profit or loss; contractor acting as intermediary’ and “Manager” as ‘Person conducting a business institution.’ As you can see they are quite similar, but very different.

All the Entrepreneurs that I know have a dream. They are also particularly skilled in whatever it is that they do – but here’s the question – does that mean that they are skilled in ‘the Business of Business’? The answer, if I am to be honest is most definitely not. It’s not from a lack of passion you understand – it’s just that they are usually not particularly interested in the ‘running’ of a business (unless that is what their passion is) and there in lies the dilemma.

You see, at some point they are faced with a decision and that is ‘should I continue to manage the company or stick with the dream?’

Whilst the company is small and they’re working out of their garage or one of the bedrooms in their home, this is not really a problem – as the business grows however, more and more time will be spent on ‘the business of business’, which is the running of the business and less and less time will be spent on doing what they love, which is what fueled their passion in the first place.

So when is the right time to hand over the reigns and the running of your business? Many folk say that there never is a right time, some say when you are looking for investors or outside capital. To each individual who has faced this particular dilemma the timing and when it should be done, may differ, but what does not differ is the difficultly in making the right choice.

Part of the problem is that many Entrepreneurs are themselves good managers, but that may not be their passion or their dream and most of them think that they can ‘do it all’ themselves. Personally, I think that the first decision that has to be made is ‘how big do you want to grow the company’. How big is the dream? Is it one that will provide you and your family with enough income for you to live adequately or is the dream to own an empire – perhaps it is somewhere in between. Whatever your decision, it is really tough for anyone to relinquish their dream and hand it over to someone else to manage.

Once the decision has been made though, finding the right manager or management team to help you realize your dream is the next step and that often comes with it’s own particular set of headaches, so making sure that you are clear about what you want and where you want the business to go is of paramount importance.

Ultimately though, it will allow you, the Entrepreneur to do what you do best and that is to ‘dream’ and to turn those dreams into realities.

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

Thursday, April 01, 2010



By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

About now we hit a complete blank!

We all know what it is that we know and given any other opportunity to tell people what it is that we know is never a problem.

Ask us to write down what it is that we know in anything other than a ‘strictly business sense’ and quite frankly we are up *&^% street without a paddle. Actually if the truth be told, many of us do not even have any kind of business profile to speak of.

Here’s the thing though – to talk and gesture and pontificate, well that’s easy – we do it every day, but to put our thoughts, our passion, our feelings down on paper, well that’s an entirely different thing altogether!

Somehow, through our own perception, we lock into something dark and unacceptable when we put our own thoughts down on paper. Truth be told, I guess – these thoughts come back to haunt us or bite us on the bum. Strangely enough for me at any rate, what I write about is what I most need to hear myself.

Many of my most profound lessons and the things that I have most needed to learn or understand are the things that I have shared with the world, on my blog.

Many is the time that I have ‘kicked’ your rear end and my own at the same time!

You see, I don’t just rely on ‘what I know’, I research almost every article that I write, which means, not only do I provide you, my reader, with information, but I also keep myself up to date and that is extremely important!

Often as Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners we are so caught up in the running of our own businesses that we do not keep up with what is happening in the world around us. Doing the research for my blogs allows me to do this.

My marketing becomes my training and my R & D too – how cool is that?

Blogging really has become part of my marketing and the time that I spend on it is really worth while.

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