Tuesday, March 29, 2011

WORKSHOP : JOHANNESBURG : How to Write A Business Plan

Workshop Invitation: How To Write A Business Plan – 12 April 2011

Gaster Sharpley, author of “My Small Business” writes “Planning is critical to the success of a business, no matter how small or big the business is. Most Entrepreneurs only put a plan in place when they need to borrow money, however, even a cash based business should plan in order to stimulate and influence growth.”

Writing a successful business plan is the first stepping stone to achieving your goals as a business owner. This task can seem daunting, especially if you are not equipped with the correct knowledge.
Sisibukula in conjunction with the S A German Chamber and Women in Finance is proud to host a workshop entitled “How to write Business Plan” facilitated by Kevin Foot.

About Kevin Foot
With many years of experience in corporate management and International Trade, Kevin Foot has the insight into the workings of a business that will give your business plan the edge it needs to be successful. As an Associate of the Institute for Independent Business (www.iib.ws) and a registered business broker for Aldes business brokers (www.aldes.co.za) he aims to add value and a wider range of skills and knowledge to SMME’s.

This thorough course will take you through each step of the business plan covering each topic extensively.

Mission and strategies
Sales, marketing and finances
Product and service description
Target Market Profiles, Customers and users
Reviewing the competition
Marketing strategies, plan, projections
Technology and R&D
Operational plans including capital expenditure projections

Join Sisibukula at this essential day long workshop:

Date: Tuesday 12th April 2011

Venue: German Chamber
47 Oxford Road
Forrest Town

Price: R950 per delegate includes notes, refreshments, lunch (VAT Incl)

RSVP: no later than Friday 8th April 2011. Space is limited therefore bookings will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.

For Booking Please Contact:

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

Women In Finance 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@sisibukula.co.za

BLOGGING TIPS - Your Writing Style

BLOGGING TIPS – Your Writing Style

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC March 2011

As many of you know, I am an avid reader. I have this insatiable need to learn and reading keeps that particular monster fed and at bay. Over the years though, I have certainly become more of a discerning reader and obviously tend to look at articles that are of particular interest to me.

I am not for example, going to be reading about IT hardware (or software for that matter) – I don’t understand the terminology and would probably have more fun watching paint dry. So how do I choose what I read?

First and foremost, the title would have to grab my attention and then the content would have to be not only interesting, but in my case it needs to make me ‘see’ the picture.

If my imagination is not captured within the first few paragraphs, I move on! It’s that simple.

As I have often said before, it’s all in the telling of the story and if that is not told in an interesting way or if I don’t find it exciting or funny, well then it’s not likely to hold my attention.

For me the easiest way to write is to tell the story in exactly the same manner as I would if I were chatting to a friend or even a client. Using simple words I create the picture or vision, if you will, in the mind of the listener.

Remember, in this instance, your listener becomes your reader and you have to keep them engaged by ensuring that the tale you tell is interesting and insightful from the getgo.

Keep it short, keep it sweet and keep it interesting!

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, March 22, 2011

and the answer is . . .

BUSINESS TIPS – Managing Your Business In Tough Times

Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – March 2011

Most will agree that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train, and whilst the recession (such as it was) is now officially over, it will take some time to rally ourselves, make a comeback and hopefully deposit us right back to where we were – obviously not in terms of what caused the melt down in the first placee, but certainly in terms of running a productive and sustainable business.

I know I had to really ‘grit’ my teeth and bear it for a few months – you know what I mean –the uncertainly of money coming in, or getting the 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 no amount of anything will change the situation at that particular moment in time.

There are a number of tips though that will help you and guide you through, should you find yourself in difficult and/or uncertain 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, they think it’s all in 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 here and 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 meeting. If, like me, you are on your own, it’s 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 properly maintained on a regular basis that they are all consistently checked for issues such as outstanding payments from debtors and expenses. Controlling your finances means that your business is managed. Lose sight of them and you should probably close your doors sooner than later. It will be far less stressful and far cheaper in the long run.

Next time we will look at other tips around the management of your business in tough times.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

WORKSHOP : JOHANNESBURG : A Basic Practical Guide to Starting a Business

A Basic Practical Guide To Starting A Business – 24th March 2011
Hosted by Sisibukula, Viljoen Consulting, German Chamber and WIF.
The workshop deals with the everyday issues that arise when starting a new business. It saves time and energy as well as money. Time in that you don’t have to spend time in queue’s trying to get the correct documentation, or doing research on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter, trying to find out what you have to do and where you have to go in order to do it.

A Basic Practical Guide To Starting A Business is broken up into the following main titles below and starts off with the difference between a Sole Proprietor, a Close Corporation and a Company and how to register each of these entities.

- Accounting Records & General
- Banking Accounts
- Receipts and Banking
- Cheque Payments and/or Internet Payments
- Invoices
- Credit Notes
- Bank Reconciliations
- Petty Cash
- Control of Numbered Stationery
- Computerised Accounting
- Staff & HR Issues
- Security/Safety
- Money Laundering
- Filing
- Stock Control

No prior knowledge of Starting A Business is necessary for this highly effective but simple to understand workshop that promises to equip you with powerful tools to register and manage your business on a practical level.

About the Facilitator – Nikki Viljoen
Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who has her own company called Viljoen Consulting.

Nikki has in excess of 30 years experience in this field both from a banking perspective as well as from a Corporate perspective.

Having seen a huge gap in the SMME market, Nikki started Viljoen Consulting to assist SMME’s to become compliant and to establish controls and processes and to implement structure into the smaller companies to give them greater stability, and to encourage sustainability.

Nikki’s business blog http://www.businessreality.blogspot.com/ or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za/ was recently internationally rated at 8.9 out of a possible 10. This places Nikki 5th in the world in her category. With her blog Nikki shares useful Business and Personal tips with anyone who cares to read it.

Date: Thursday 24th March 2011

Price: R950.00 per delegate (includes breakfast/lunch/refreshments and course material)

Venue: German Chamber
47 Oxford Road
Forrest Town

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 Tuesday 22nd March 2011 . Space is limited therefore bookings will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Please contact:-

German Chamber delegates please contact spadayachy@germanchamber.co.za or 011 486 2775

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 for booking details.

Monday, March 07, 2011

A Tribute to Geraldine Bunting

A Tribute to Geraldine Bunting

By Nikki Viljoen
It is with both terrible sadness and even bigger regret that I give you news of the passing of Geraldine Bunting on Sunday morning (6th March 2011), a little after 5am.

I first met Geraldine at an Inner Circle meeting in 2005 and if I must be completely honest, neither of us liked the other on sight. Sometimes that just happens like that. Several networking meetings later, we got together for a one-on-one chat, and it was then that we discovered that we had quite a lot in common, which is probably why we didn’t like each other to start off – both of us strong, opinionated, driven women.

One of the most amazing things that we found that we had in common was that we shared a birthday, actually – we didn’t just share a birthday, we were born on the same day, in the same year, only seven minutes apart. There were several differences though – Geraldine was born in the UK and I was born in the then Rhodesia, and although she lived in Rhodesia for much of her senior school life, we went to different schools (probably about 15kms apart) and never met one another. We both played a lot of sport – just different sports, shopped in the same area, went to the same night clubs, ate at the same restaurants and never met one another - how strange is that? She was left handed and I was right handed, we both enjoyed the same type of food, she drank wine and I drink whiskey, we both worked in and are passionate about our individual financial related businesses, although I have no clue about “Financial Advising” and she had no clue about “Internal Auditing”.

We loved the same music, that of the 60’s and 70’s – music made by people like Janis Joplin and Elvis – Geraldine was a huge Elvis fan and I am crazy about Janis. Old fashioned “Rock” music that transcends time and that is sung by Pink (whom we both love) and Crystal Bowersox (whom we both adore) and Adam Lambert (who I think she almost fell in love with) and the two of us could often be found, on a weekend, music blaring away – dancing round the lounge like a couple of teenagers, singing and laughing at the tops of our voices. . . . well I’m sure you get the picture. We both loved to read and although I usually have about 6 books on the go at the same time, Geraldine would read 1 book at a time, but she could read it in one sitting! Her favourite thing to do on a Sunday was to lie in the sun and read. We both love biographies and auto-biographies and who dunnits and often shared our books.

We discovered that we lived by the same code of ethics and principals and morals, although not the same belief systems – she was a lapsed Catholic and me, well I don’t do the religion thing at all. Geraldine would more often than not keep her own council and I am very outspoken. She was always very well groomed and me, well I am a jeans/shorts and t-shirt kind of girl. She kept at me, trying to get me ‘dressed up’ and I always resisted and dressed down – she hated my ‘clown’ pants and I love them! But we discovered that we really actually did like one another after all, and we looked out for each other. We always checked up on each other over weekends and would share a call or two (and sometimes even a few more) during the week. She met some of my crazy friends and met some of her rather sedate ones – but it worked for us, we were friends.

I got angry at her for allowing people to walk all over her and she, I think was a little envious of the fact that I really don’t give a damn – I think that there were times that she would have loved ‘not to give a damn’! The fact of the matter though is that she did care – she cared about her clients, her daughter, her brother, her sister and her friends. As difficult as she could be, she was a loyal and true friend – someone you could always count on – someone who made a difference.

Geraldine was diagnosed with cancer about 18 months or so ago and fought it bravely with chemo and radiation, but when she ended up in hospital for several weeks, in the burn unit because of being over radiated, she decided that feeling sick all the time from the meds was just too much and that she would not go through that again. In November last year she started feeling considerable pain in her back and several tests and doctor’s visits later confirmed that the cancer was back – this time in her liver.

Getting the meds right proved to be quite a challenge, but they managed to get her pain free for her last Christmas, where she went off to the coast and her beloved sea – to walk on the sand, lie in the sun and just be. I got constant updates of what she was doing and pictures of the view from the house that she had rented and of course how she was feeling.

In early January we were making plans on business ideas and how we would put them together and life seemed to be great until she phoned me one evening towards the end of January and her speech was slurred and I realized that once again the meds were out of kilter. Hospice arrived to help her manage her meds and her pain and it was all downhill from there.

Within days she couldn’t get out of a chair by herself, or walk by herself or do anything for that matter, by herself and this once proud woman who was so independent and full of life, was reduced to relying on her family, friends and others for even the most basic of her needs and eventually on Friday 25th February 2011 she was moved into the Hospice in Houghton. Friends rallied around her, some whom she hadn’t seen for a long time and some, like Tanya and Colleen and myself, who saw her more often, went every day to be with her. Sue, her oldest and dearest friend arrived from the Uk on Thursday to visit and pay her respects.

I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it was for me to sit and watch this once most vibrant woman, reduced to a shadow of her former self, lying in bed, sedated and drugged to the hilt, but still with a glimmer of her sense of humour, holding onto my hand like she was afraid to let go. Struggling with her constant pain must have terribly difficult and when I finally heard the news early yesterday morning that she was gone, my response was “Thank Goodness”.

Finally she is pain free and at peace. I will miss you my friend and will carry the memory of you in my heart always.