Monday, May 31, 2010

MOTIVATION - The Opportunity to Begin Again

MOTIVATION – The Opportunity To Begin Again

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2010

Henry Ford says “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”

What an incredible opportunity to change our mindsets! What an incredible opportunity to look at the world through different eyes. What an incredible opportunity to make a choice, to stop beating ourselves up, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, learn the lesson and move on with renewed energy, a lot of insight and a smile of optimism on our faces. I surely do like it!

Most of us look at failure in a really negative light. In this country, we are so programmed to be successful that failure of any kind has a really bad stigma attached to it. People look at someone who has failed as though they have some sort of contagious disease and who should be avoided at all costs.

Yet the fact of the matter is that we all fail on a daily basis. The reality is that are not born perfect and that we have to learn. The challenge here though, is that we need to learn from our mistakes and not repeat the same mistake over and over again.

Then of course is the myth that many people have, that ‘opportunities’ never come their way! What a load of hooey! Yes of course opportunities can come your way (or not) but the other reality is that you can make your own opportunity. Our thoughts can become our realities if we put in the right ingredients and that of course is the ‘action’. Even those opportunities that fall out of the sky like manna from heaven, still need to be actioned. Without action they remain . . . well opportunities.

I am often amazed at the reaction of individuals who sit around and bemoan their fate, nothing works for them, everybody hates them, none of their ideas or their schemes take off, Networking doesn’t work for them and they wait for something to happen, something to rescue them and nothing does! Well, quite frankly – what on earth did they expect? The miracle that is, is life (and even that required an action), for everything else we have to get up off our rear ends and do something about it!

Simple, isn’t it? So when you fail and fall down – stop crying and moaning and waiting for an angel to come and rescue you. Think about what you have done that got you there in the first place, make adjustments to what caused the problem, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get going – find the opportunity and then do something (albeit different) about it.

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

Friday, May 28, 2010

HR - Maintain Control of Your Staff - Part 6


Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC May 2010

One of my ‘pet hates’ is when people miss deadlines. I mean, what’s the point of setting a goal or a deadline, if you don’t mean to meet it? It’s like having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting – a complete waste of time! Having employees who consistently don’t meet deadlines can have an adverse effect on the rest of the team and ultimately on the business, particularly if, by missing their deadlines they impact on what is to follow. Projects don’t flow, time is wasted and wasted time always means wasted money.

Ensuring that your staff meet their deadlines means that they need to be properly managed and that their performance needs to be measured. Staff need to understand that there are consequences if deadlines are missed and employers need to ensure that these consequences are in fact enforced.

Another situation that many employers find themselves in is where money is literally being thrown away is when production materials are wasted or worse, misappropriated for personal use by the staff. Wasting production materials will obviously have an affect on your bottom line, in that it will adversely affect the ‘cost of sale’, which in turn will have an affect on the margin and ultimately decrease the profits.

Finally, another of my pet hates is the employee who is always late, who takes extended tea and/or lunch breaks and then leaves early too. Stealing times from employers is one of the easiest things to do – think about it for a moment – which boss gets all bent out of shape because someone is 5 minutes late? Not many that I know of – but add it up! 5 minutes late for work, plus 5 minutes late from morning tea, then another 5 minutes late from lunch and 5 minutes late from afternoon tea and then they leave 5 minutes early at the end of the day. That’s already 25 minutes per day – almost 2 ½ hours per week or 10 hours per month – now the whole picture changes, doesn’t it?

Employees need to understand that there is a “zero” tolerance to tardiness. Again though, if this is not measured, controlled, monitored and implemented with consequences evidencing that you mean what you say, it is quite meaningless in itself.

Having consequences that are not enforced is the same as having no consequences at all.

Next week we will have a look at some examples of how to effectively control and manage your employees.

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

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 4

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC May 2010

One of my greatest complaints about blogs and . . . well any kind of written piece actually, is the language or terminology that is used.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not talking about foul (bad) language or disparaging remarks of any kind, I am talking about the frustratingly difficult terminology that some folk use to try and impress.

Quite frankly, I am the least impressed and all that they really achieve is bamboozle those that they are actually wanting to reach out to and they seriously confuse the rest of us.

What’s the deal anyway? Why is it necessary to use big words that often don’t even mean what you want to convey, instead of just telling it like it is? It becomes a whole ‘bullshit baffles brains’ (and we all know exactly what that means) kind of article.

What does it mean anyway, if I know big words and use them? What have I proved at the end of the day? Pretty much nothing hey!

Most likely, I have chased a whole lot of potential away. Most probably, they will never return again and it’s very, very likely that they will go elsewhere to feed their information requirements.

Using big words, when a little one explains so much more, just shows in my opinion, that you are perhaps just a little frightened of being . . . well you.

Playing ‘devil’s advocate’ however, means that I get to share some of my favorite words that are no longer used much anymore in today’s terms.

Words like “umbrage” and “pontificate” have a sense of the dramatic and they conjure pictures of long lost days and ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ and honor amongst men (and women too) and . . . see there I go again.

Using simple words that everyone can understand on a topic that you are passionate about in a field that you are the expert in (or that you have hopefully done the research on) is all that you really need to get the reader interested and sure to keep coming back.

So keep it simple!

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, May 26, 2010

The Power of Networking - Part 159


PART 159

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. May 2010

Whilst I am very passionate about Networking, I am also passionate about reading and what better reading than books about Networking, referral marketing and even sales. Some great books to get stuck into and get you started are (but not limited to):

• You can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar by David Sandler.

• The little red book of selling by Jeffrey Gilomer.

• Masters of Sales by Dr. Ivan Misner and Don Morgan – this particular book has 80 of the most successful sales people in the world sharing their secrets with the reader – how awesome is that?

• The truth of delusion by Dr. Misner, Mike Macedonio and Mike Garrison

• Business by referral by Dr. Misner.

Don’t forget to add books that you have read and found to be inspiring as well as any other reading referrals you get from friends/family/colleagues/clients and ‘who have you’. It’s always a good idea to share stuff and this will save you time and energy. No-one wants to go around trying to read everything that is available on the subject only to find that it does not quite fit or it’s not really suitable or even relevant.

Keep these books close at hand and refresh your memory of their content from time to time.

Remember though that reading all the books in the world and attending all the networking events going will not make any difference if you don’t follow up or if there is no action on your part. You have to see the opportunity and/or synergy and then you have to do something to get it going.

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Rising to the Occasion - Part 3

BUSINESS TIPS – Rising to the Occasion – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

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

• If there is one thing that I have learnt on this journey of being an SMME (Small, Medium, Micro, Enterprise), it’s that I should never underestimate the value of friendship. Like any other relationship though, it is very necessary to cultivate, grow and nurture friendships. It’s really worth it in the long run though, especially in the workplace when you are faced with challenges – your friends will be there to assist you in finding solutions or assist you with analyzing the situation so that you can make the correct decisions. Remember, none of us are “an island”, we all need help from time to time and friends provide that help ‘on tap’.

• It is also imperative to ensure that you have enough energy to sustain yourself. Always try and keep ‘a little extra’ time, like you would savings in a bank, just in case there is an emergency or a crisis. Remember to take time out now and then to re-charge your own batteries. My friend Vanessa always laughs at me when I do this – I usually declare “a couch day” and then spend the day, horizontal on the couch, watching movies! I never fail to say that “it’s hard work having a rest”, which is what ultimately makes her laugh. That said, I do understand the importance of doing this from time to time, especially when I have pushed myself hard.

• Finally, don’t forget to choose new problems to deal with! I find dealing with the same problem over and over again tedious and boring – so learn from your mistakes, learn from each experience. Take note of the difficulties and learn to anticipate and be proactive instead of chasing your own tail around all the time. Try not to repeat mistakes. Make the changes, implement the policies and procedures and once the situation is under control or the problem has been solved – for goodness sake move on – don’t continue to ‘wallow’ in ‘what was’ – just make sure that you have learnt the lesson and only pay the ‘school fees’ once!

As always, remember why you started your own business in the first place and always have fun!

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

Monday, May 24, 2010

Motivation - Responsive to Change

MOTIVATION – Responsive to Change

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2010

Charles Darwin says “It’s not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is responsive to change.”

Ain’t that the truth! Thing is though, that it is not only generally true to life, but very definitely true of business and in particular small businesses.

I know that when I started my business, I had a very clear idea of what was supposed to happen. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and how it was going to get done and I had a very clear idea about who my clients would be.

Then I hit reality! You see just because I know what a small business needs, doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business will agree with me! Doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business even understands what the true value of what I do that help his business. Doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business, even though he may understand the value of what I do, has the money to put that value to good use.

The first couple of years were hard I must admit. Time and time again, I walked into businesses who were in desperate need of what I do, who could/would not afford me. Time and time again I walked into businesses that were floundering along and the owner was so engrossed in putting one foot in front of the other to keep himself above the water that he could not see, how with each footstep he was walking deeper and deeper into the water. People saw (and in many instances, still do see) what I do as a ‘grudge’ purchase (much as most of us see insurance) and they resented having to buy my wares. Sad that – really sad.

Here’s the thing though, I had to change my mind set and find other ways to bring money in. I had to change my thinking and expand my list of offerings, if I didn’t I would soon have become another statistic. People, especially small business owners, were not ready to see that what I do (no matter what they pay for it now) actually saves them money in the long run and until such time as I could make them see that and understand that, I would have to look in other directions to bring the monthly revenues in.

So I looked in similar but different directions and so my workshop A Basic Practical Guide to Starting a Business was born. From there my vision and dreams have expanded and now I have a whole bunch of facilitators – all small business owners, like myself, teaching small business owners what they need to learn. Each one of the facilitators are people who are passionate about what it is that they do and each one is an expert in their fields. What makes their training unique is the fact that they are entrepreneurs who teach others and share their knowledge. They share the experiences of what they did, how to avoid what they would have liked to avoid and how to ‘rake it in’ where possible. They are not the big corporate giants trying to teach entrepreneurs something that they have no clue how to do – run a small business.

Have I abandoned my dream, the original dream? Of course not, actually I do a great deal of work in that arena and I love it as much as I did when I started – more probably because of what I have had to endure to keep it alive. That said, I am constantly looking for new avenues, new opportunities and new adventures and believe me when I say “I mean to have my cake and eat it!”

In order to survive, to flourish and grow, though – you do have to adapt. Remember to constantly look around you and see the potential – not just see it, but feel it and embrace it and then do something about it.

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

Thursday, May 06, 2010

HR - Maintain Control of Your Staff - Part 5

This article should have been posted on 30 April 2010


Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

So here we are, Friday again and as SMME’s you are battling to keep your heads above water, you are battling to close the deals in order to bring in the funds to pay, not only yourselves and your suppliers, but also your staff.

Yet your staff are more often than not, your biggest adversaries. They steal your time, they steal your infrastructure, and in many instances, here in South Africa, they also steal your stock and even your assets and if that is not enough they will throw the legal book (being the Basic Conditions of Employment Act) at you if you don’t follow the correct procedures when you discipline them.

It is imperative that you have a proper ‘Code of Conduct’ and a comprehensive Disciplinary Policy in place to set the boundaries. As usual though, even if you do the boundaries in place, if they are not enforced or only enforced with some, they are not worth the paper that they are written on.

One of the strangest things that I have seen in the workforce though was a fight between two male employees who were after the same female employee, who ironically was happily married and actually wasn’t even aware of the tension that she had caused. It was like watching a movie as she went about her business totally clueless about the chaos that was going on in her wake. Sadly, both of the guys were badly hurt and even when their physical wounds had healed the friction and tension that the whole fight had caused had quite a ripple effect through the entire company. People were taking sides and giving advice and some enterprising youngsters had even started a betting pool going. The effect though of course was that the whole thing had a huge negative effect on productivity and of course the quality of the work was also affected.

The bottom line of course is that it is not okay for the staff to fight or get into fist fights. It’s not okay and it shouldn’t be allowed. In the above instance, both guys had to attend a disciplinary and because their behaviour was not properly monitored and because the friction carried on (if not escalated), things got out of hand and they were both eventually dismissed. This type of behaviour should never be allowed and again in order to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the first place, strict ground rules should be enforced.

This should be documented in the Code of Conduct as well as the Disciplinary Policy.

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

Monday, May 03, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 3

Here's the article for Thursday 29th

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

We all look at newspaper headlines as we whizz all over town on our daily travels. Many of them make us angry, many more make us very curious. Some make us curious enough to even buy the newspaper to see what it’s all about. Sadly though, often the heading is misleading and sometimes the heading doesn’t even have anything to do with the actual story.

Now the bottom line is that I am not a journalist, I have no formal training in terms of writing, but logic tells me that the heading for any story should, not only reflect the gist of what the story is about, but also catch the eye of the person whose attention it is that you want to get. It has to make them stop in their tracks and want to read what you have written. It has to make them want to read more of the story and it has to make them want to join in the conversation and at least have an opinion.

What it also has to do though is uphold the promise of what is to follow. Having an absolutely “Knock Out” heading that is followed by nonsickle ramblings of a boring mind, will not serve your purpose! In fact, more often than not you will lose the reader – they may not come back and they will no longer be enticed by clever headlines and sweet promises of what is to come, that are then followed by stories that have no depth or substance.

Finally, always respond to the comments that others make, even if it is only to acknowledge their comment. Think about how you feel when you write something and no-one makes any kind of comment. They neither agree with you nor do they disagree and I guess in some ways that is not a bad thing. On some level though, it worries me that many people do not have an opinion at all. Sadly that is how many live their lives. So respond, acknowledge, engage with people who have taken the time and trouble to engage with you.

Pick your topics, do the research. Take the information that you have found, have fun with it – turn it into a story and share that story in your blog. Remember though, you have to take the first step!

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

The Power of Networking - Part 158

And here is the article for Wednesday 28th April


PART 158

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. April 2010

Getting back to the issues around referrals and testimonials from your clients, both current and previous, I would just like to reiterate about the importance of these on your sales.

If someone has been referred to you, the person who has referred them is saying something very loudly and very clearly about you. The story that they are telling is that they trust you, that they are so impressed with what you have done that they are willing to stake their reputation and their credibility in attaching their name to whatever it is that you offer/sell/do.

Think about that for a moment. It is one of the greatest compliments that anyone can give you!

Think about that for another moment. I say again, it is one of the greatest compliments that someone has paid you and yet nine times out of ten, you let them down!

How disrespectful! How thoughtless and incredibly short sighted!

Look at the opportunity that has been thrown away – notice I did not say “missed”, but rather thrown away! How sad! Talk about killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

The better idea of course, would be to honour that person. Honour them by delivering on their promises. Honour them by living up to their expectations, which were based on what and how you conducted your business with them and how you delivered on your promises to them.

Honour them by keeping their reputation intact.

Honour them by being the best that you can be and by honouring your own credibility and your own reputation.
Never, and I repeat never, underestimate the value of a referral!

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

MOTIVATION - Self Esteem - What is My Reality

Here is the article that should have been posted on Monday 26th April

MOTIVATION – Self Esteem – What is My Reality

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – April 2010

What is self esteem? When in doubt, look it up – so here is what ‘google’ and some of the other search engines say:

Self esteem is : “how much a person likes, accepts and respects themselves overall as a person.”


Self esteem is : “what our unconscious believes to be true about how worthy, lovable, valuable and capable we are.”


Self esteem is : “generally considered the evaluative component of the self concept, a broader representation of the self that includes cognitive and behavioral aspects as well as evaluation or affective ones.”

So what does all of that mean?

Well, in my opinion there are two types of self-esteem. The one type is a widespread, general type of self esteem and there is self esteem that is related to or about a specific situation. Clearly a lack of self esteem is the opposite. So for example, you may be a person who has little or no self esteem in general. These are people who are naturally shy or even introvert, who try and melt into the background. They are people who do not excel in anything – not necessarily because they can’t, but because they don’t believe that they could excel in anything or indeed that they believe that they are not worthy to excel in anything.

On the other hand a person who has self esteem issues that are related to specific situation, may be for example, a person who is bright and energetic and who, generally speaking is successful. That person may, for example have a fear of public speaking. That person would find it excruciatingly difficult to give a speech and their fear of talking in public may be related self esteem issues around how that person thinks that they are being perceived by crowds of people.

There are many myths about how your self esteem is manifested. Some of these are (but not limited to):

• “Your level of self esteem is fixed, it is a given.” This would then mean that you, as an individual, are not able to change your mind set or that you cannot change how you feel about yourself. Quite honestly, this does not work for me at all. I really believe that we are who be are and we can become who we want to become. Yes our mindset would need to change around the issues of our own self esteem, but it is definitely something that we can change.

• Another myth is that is quite common and that is that “only poor and uneducated people suffer from low self-esteem issues.” What a load of absolute poppycock! Bad self esteem is not about money, it’s not about possessions, it’s not about where you were born or when you were born. It’s not about your background, or how your parents thought about you. It’s not about how other people see you.

What it is about, is how you see yourself, it’s about your interaction with yourself. So open your eyes – see you for who you are and not how you think other people see you. In fact, see yourself as others do actually see you?

Be kind to yourself and stop beating yourself up. Change your mindset and rather start praising yourself. Start patting yourself on the back for the things that you are doing right.

Start looking for the rainbow in the storm, rather than the storm clouds

Start looking for the sunrise rather than the darkness.

Start seeing yourself, for who you are – an extraordinary person, living an extraordinary life..

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

Sunday, May 02, 2010

HR - Maintain Control of Your Staff - Part 4

Here is Friday 23rd's article - just catching up again!


Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

As we have walked through some pretty hair-raising examples around this issue, I bring you some more.

Here’s a nasty – in terms of the “Communications Act”, the employer is responsible for the content/pictures/jokes/articles etc that the employee writes and sends out. So every time your wannabe office ‘Don Juan’ sends out leery suggestive e-mails to all the female staff in the office, the employer can be held responsible and accountable, should one of those female staff members file charges of ‘sexual harassment’. Yip – that is a fact! The fact of the matter is that it is the employees misuse of the internet and it can cost you, the employer – plenty. Not only in lawsuits but also in the time that they have stolen or the second rate work that they have produced whilst playing on the internet.

Talking about playing on the internet, I have recently discovered “Zoo World” on Facebook and along with my discovery of the game is my discovery that I have an addictive personality. This game has got me by the short and curlies and I find myself playing at every opportunity. Now I am relatively self disciplined and so I find myself getting up earlier or going to bed later, so that I can play – but what of the average employee?

Generally speaking, what employee, addicted to playing computer games, is going to give a damn about the fact that they are stealing time from their employers in order to meet their own needs?

Again proper policies and procedures should be implemented to prevent misuse of both the internet, the company telephones and personal cell phone abuse. Most medium and even some smaller companies now have an effective “Communications Policy” in place. Again there has to be a consequence and again it has to be monitored and managed.

Please remember that this policy should also apply to the number and content of private e-mails that are sent and received through business e-mail addresses, and just because an employee has a ‘yahoo’ or ‘hotmail’ or ‘gmail’ address, that doesn’t mean that is it personal – it just means that the employee is a bit more sneaky about how they use it with your infrastructure.

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