Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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

A Basic Practical Guide To Starting A Business – 9 November 2011
Hosted by Sisibukula, Viljoen Consulting, German Chamber and Business Engage (formerly WIF).

Getting started in the right direction will ensure a smooth transition from 'wannabe' to business owner and will allow you to focus on what you are good at - you know, getting that product and/or service to market. Ensuring that you have everything in place and working correctly, will ensure maximum productivity with minimum effort and will always affect your bottom line.

Getting your processes and procedures in place will ensure that your business is built on a strong infrastructure that usually translates into a sustainable business.

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 small company (formerly 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: Wednesday 9th November 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 Monday 7th November 2011 . Space is limited therefore bookings will be accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Please contact:-

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

Business Engage ( formerly Women in Finance) delegates please contact Colleen Larsen on 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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BUSINESS TIPS - Company Operations Manual

BUSINESS TIPS – Company Operations Manual

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2011

Every company should have an Operations Manual. Okay, this is so important that I am going to have to say it again – irrespective of whether you have one employee, or one hundred employees or one hundred thousand employees – every company should have an Operations Manual.

An Operations Manual is the “how to” guide. It is a ‘living’ document that evidences and outlines every process in your business and it should have various sections (as outlined below). It should be checked and reviewed at the very least, annually to ensure that it is up to date and in line with legislation. Obviously, the size of the business will determine how big or long the manual is and obviously depending on the sector that the company is in, there may or may not be sections that are applicable. For example, if you are in a services type industry (say a financial advisor), you may not have any stock and therefore would not have any need for stock control. Remember always to try and keep it as simple as possible.

The sections that you may require are (but not limited to):-

1. Introduction
a. This should include a brief history of the company – how and why it was started and also the purpose of the manual.
b. The company’s business objectives and mission/vision statement should be included here.
c. A list of the products and/or services provided should be featured here.

2. Organogram
a. Once you get to 3 or 4 departments, this should be split into two. The first one should show just the departments and where they report into. For example HR should report into Operations, Accounts into the Financial Director and so on. The second organogram should include the names of the individuals who head up the departments as well as the name of the individuals that report into them – so in this case Jane Doe and Joe Public who are clerks in the accounts department report into Suzie Stressed out who is the Accounts Manager and she reports into Philip Pedantic who is the Financial Director and so on.
b. The function of each department should also be outlined as well as which department supports which activity and so on.
c. The job descriptions for each particular job (not person) should be filed here too. For example Jane may be the receptionist as well as a debtors clerk and the warehouse data capturer. This of course means that Jane should have 3 different job descriptions.
d. Don’t forget to include the details of the company, such as (but not limited to) address of branch offices and contact details for key personnel.

3. General Information
This section would be the general type information for the staff and would include things like, but not limited to:-
a. General attitude towards clients, suppliers, colleagues and management.
b. How to deal with customer/supplier/colleague/management queries, complaints or visitors
c. Housekeeping – such as personal hygiene and dress code
d. Do’s and don’ts. Examples of this is “do be at work 15 minutes before you are due to start working” or “don’t partake of illegal substances and/or alcohol whilst on duty” and so on.

4. HR and Administration thereof
This section is self explanatory and would deal with some of the below mentioned sub sections:
a. Hiring practices – who authorizes new employees, what are the job spec requirements, what the interview process is, what forms/templates need to be completed including SARS, Department of Labour, Workmen’s Compensation etc. Legislation registration requirements etc. Letters/contracts of employment to be issued etc.
b. When and how employees are paid, including full time or permanent employees and/or casual (one day) employees.
c. Frequency of salary reviews and/or bonus requirements as well as advancement opportunities.
d. Benefits paid by the company (if any), staff contributions and payroll deductions. These also need to be carefully explained so that the staff understand them properly.
e. Disciplinary policy and procedures, including letters of warning and/or notice to attend a disciplinary and/or letter of reprimand and don’t forget the Certificate of Service.
f. Hours of Operation including Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Family Responsibility Leave, Unpaid Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave and Study Leave – where applicable.
g. Attendance requirements as well as overtime and holidays and remuneration pertaining to these issues.
h. Labour Laws - Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Labour Relations Act and “Best Practices”
i. Any other policies and procedures such as (but not limited to) Smoking requirements, Sexual Harassment or Alcohol and Substance Abuse etc.,

5. Products and Services
This section is also self explanatory but should include:-
a. Your sales procedure and credit authorization requirements.
b. Customer relations and complaints process.

6. Operational Procedures
These should include a departmental flow chart and authorization process for each department and for each process. It would also include detailed ‘step-by-step’ procedures such as ‘once the sale has been completed and signed the order goes to administration where it is checked and data captured and then to the warehouse for the goods to be ‘picked and packed’ then the stock goes to dispatch where the stock is released to the driver and the invoice is produced and then…’ etc. A copy of each document and/or template used should be included with the procedure.

7. Administration
This should include the following (but not be limited to):-
a. Departmental administrative procedures and authorization requirements that would also indicate responsibility and accountability.
b. Templates for each requirement, for example Petty Cash Reconciliation.
c. Procedures on how to complete each template and the purpose of such document.
d. The document flowchart as well as due dates and deadlines.

8. Safety and Security
This would include (but not be limited to) safety issues around the premises, the personnel, company assets and information so issues around:-
a. Safety of the premises (in-house or outsourced), security cards/access cards etc. Access to safes and/or restricted areas
b. Safety of the staff, compliance with OHSA (Occupational Health & Safety Act), including safety gear etc.
c. Managing the importance of the safety of the employee as well as the company.
d. Protection of company assets and the requirements around that
e. Safety around company confidential information as well as client information etc.
f. Key and password control.
g. Incident reports

9. Emergencies
a. How to deal with accidents, staff, visitor and client accidents as well as company vehicle accidents.
b. What to do in case of fire or theft or hold ups or car jacking and all the telephone details that pertain to these.
c. What to do in case of power failure or burst water pipes, or gas leaks.
d. Incident reports

10. Maintenance & Repairs
Procurement policies pertaining to these service providers as well as their contact details.
a. Procedures pertaining to authorization of these service providers as well as authorization for the repair.
b. Authorization and control of after hour access to premises
c. Key controls
d. Refuse removal
e. Handling of equipment
f. Procedures around damage and/or loss to property and/or premises
g. Incident reports.
11. Legal
a. Legislation around local and national requirements and rules and regulations that are industry specific.
b. The ‘how to’ and ‘who with’ handling of regulatory agencies and/or municipalities.
c. Inspections that have taken place and the reports that were issued.
d. Record keeping requirements.
e. Maintaining of ethical standards
f. Green and carbon footprint issues.

Quite a lengthy but comprehensive list, I am sure that you will agree – but a very necessary one at the end of the day. This will evidence that you have a policy of full transparency and that you have nothing to hide.

Your employees will also have an understanding of what is and what isn’t acceptable and also know what the consequences of their actions will be.

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 12, 2011

MOTIVATION - Believe Your Dream

MOTIVATION – Believe Your Dream

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt said “The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams”.

Having recently watched “The Mountain Within” and read the book with the same title, by Herta Von Stiegel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRqt2wtIqzk), the issue around our dreams and hopes and goals and aspirations has once again hit home – hard!

In retrospect, I find that I am guilty of not dreaming enough! Strange as that may sound, the fact of the matter is that I have become too caught up in the day to day struggle of getting things done, of juggling the balls and ensuring that they all remain in the air. The fact of the matter is that realistically, I need to schedule some time in my diary – some quiet time to think, to dream and to engage with that part inside of me that allows thoughts and dreams to become reality.

Growing up on a huge farm in the then Rhodesia, “Dream time” was something that I did on a daily basis and it was done naturally and without any conscious thought to how important it is in everyone’s life.

Dreams of visiting Russia as I read books on the colourful character, that was Rasputin and the deep love between Nicolas and Alexandra, or the man of action that was Peter the Great and all the loves of Catherine the Great, turned into reality when I visited Russia in 2001. I can still remember the grown ups (or grups as I called them as a child) laughing at me and mocking me when I vocalized my intention of visiting Russia day. You see, this was the early 60’s and of course on-one visited communist countries then. I remember the sting of their laughter and my own 5 year old resolution – I would visit Russia one day!

I also remember standing at the canal, outside the Cathedral of the Resurrection in St. Petersburg, right at the spot where they tried unsuccessfully to drown Rasputin. My thoughts this time, full of emotion – full of pleasure, at the realization of the fact, that this particular dream had never died. This dream, had stood the test of time and had endured some 40 odd years to become a reality.

I cannot begin to tell you all the thoughts that went through my mind. I was exhilarated and humbled at the same time. Excited, sad, awed and also proud. One thing that I do remember though, is the thought that played itself over and over again in my mind (and I am sure that I even said the words out loud at some point too), “I told you I would come to Russia one day!”

And that’s exactly how it should be – that’s how it can be – our dreams turning into reality – our dreams becoming our future.

So, I don’t know about you, but I now have my diary at hand and I will book the time and hopefully I will be able to return to that childhood time, when ‘dream time’ was a natural thing and where I will once again be in charge of the future that I will take part in and that will become my reality.

What about you? Do you “dream” enough?

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 07, 2011

The Mountain Within - By Herta Von Stiegel

I first met Herta in July 2009 when she was our guest speaker at a Women In Finance Hot Tables Dinner and I was blown away by this 50+ year old tiny, soft spoken woman, who had climbed Mount Kilamanjaro and lead a team of 28 other climbers, some of who were mentally and physically disabled. She showed us the trailer of the documentary and went through some of the leadership lessons that were highlighted in the trailor. I was humbled.

I next met Herta in Botswana when Colleen and myself went to do a 3 day training session to the Women In Finance branch in Gaberone and it was there that I learned that she was internationally renound and recognised in the finance world and that her Company Ariya Capital, whose head office is in London, had a branch office in Gaberone, clearly the drums of Africa were now firmly entrenched in her blood - here's a bit more about what it is all about.http://www.ariyacapital.com/index.ph...ta-von-stiegel

Since then, every time that Herta comes our to SA, I try and have a short visit with her - I find her inspirational, motivational and always full of information.

Herta is also on the governing body of the Committee of 200, which is an international women's organization. "Members are leading women executives from for profit public and private companies, are the key decision makers and are directly responsible for the success of their company or business unit's bottom line. Our members have demonstrated a track record of success and accomplishments and are committed to giving forward to future businesswomen" Actually, they have to be directly responsible for funds in excess of $250 million.

Herta and 19 of her C200 colleagues were out here in SA during the course of the last two weeks, where they interviewed and chose several woman candidates for bursaries and they will also mentor these ladies - a rare and magnificient opportunity. Herta also lauched the full movie of The Mountain Within and launched her book of the same title at a huge gathering at Monte Casino Il Grande theatre on Tuesday evening.

Women in Finance co-ordinated the whole C200 time here in SA,from UCT to GIBBS, the interviews and the launch of movie and books in Cape Town and Johannesburg and it was wonderful as a committee member of WIF, to have the opportunity of being part of this. Of course I got to spend some time with Herta (even if it was only about 15mins or so) and I have a signed copy of the book, which I have been unable to put down.

Some of the information on the back of the book "In July 2008, international business executive Herta Von Stiegel led a group of disabled people to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity. The story was captured in the award winning documentary The Mountain Within - and now the expedition has inspired this remarkable work, which blends the gripping tale with powerful leadership lessons and conversations with many of the world's most influential business leaders: Kay Unger, Sung-Joo Kim, Dr Joachim Faber, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, Marsha Serlin, Dr Karl (Charly) and Lisa Kleissner, Martha (Marty) Wikstrom, Sam Chisholm, Minister Mohamed Lotfi Mansour, Karin Forseke, President and Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Christie Hefner, Abeyya Ai-Qatami, Hon. Al Gore and David Blood, Dr Mohamed "Mo" Ibrahim. Life may be full of obstacles, but it is the mountain within that most often needs to be conquered. No matter your challenges or where you are on your climb to the top, this unique work helps you become a resilient leader capable of guiding your team to achieve even the most challenging goal." Here is a trailer of the film.


I am about 3/4 of the way through the book already, and because I know the story and seen the movie, the reading is going very quickly. I do know that I will read it a second time at a more gentle pace, as there is so much to learn from the lessons. It is a great read and I strongly recommend everyone to go and get yourselves a copy.

Monday, September 05, 2011

MOTIVATION - Making the Decision

MOTIVATION – Making the Decision

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2011

Harvey Mackay says “People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be.”

Yes – actually it is that simple! I think that for most of us, certainly for me, this is true. We have been conditioned to believe that being successful is hard work, and I suppose that to some degree there is a certain amount of work that needs to be done, but for me – the mindset is what is most important.

We’ve all heard, and I am sure even uttered the words on occasion “It can’t be that easy!” When things just seem to slot in, or fall into place – that lucrative deal that you have signed just as the previous one was ending, or even more unusual, robots turning green just as you are about to apply the brakes – all way to work or home!

I have learnt over the years that it is actually that easy. When my mindset is right and I am going in the right direction – things just seems to fall into place. When I am totally committed to what it is that I am doing, my plans are in place and I am mentally geared up – things seem to be very easy.

It’s when I am not sure, or hesitant, when I haven’t done as much research as I probably should have or I am not completely sure of what it is that I am doing that I tend to second guess myself.

When I second guess myself is when the doubts start creeping in – you know which ones I mean, not only the ones that I am prepared to vocalize and get out onto the table, but also those that I very seldom admit to - even to myself – those that I grapple with and do battle with in the dead of the night.

By the time it gets to that point, I know on every level that I am ‘dead’ in the water and that there is no way that whatever it is that I am doing, is going to be successful. You see, I have on some level decided that I cannot do it! That is the decision that has been made and therefore that is the decision that will be successful.

So here’s the bottom line – if it is success that you are looking for then clearly that is the decision that needs to be made.

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 01, 2011

CPA - Consumer Complaint Procedure - Part 2

CPA – Consumer Complaint Procedure – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC- September 2011

Following on from last time, let’s have a look at some more of the “how to” around the raising of a complaint, process. We have covered the different types of complaints as well as a broad outline of the process of the complaint. Now let’s have a look at ‘where to complain’.

Part of the ‘intent’ of the CPA is to promote ‘consumer activism’ and this is done by getting consumer groups to lodge complaints on behalf of the consumers. These various groups obviously need to be properly accredited (because they would need to be properly trained) and they would therefore also be able to give proper support to, or advice as well as educate consumers about what they are protected against and also the role that consumers need to take on, to make the CPA successful. These consumer groups would also be responsible for publications on the subject, as well as do the research and they would then be tasked with “alternative dispute resolution through mediation or conciliation.”

As a result of this and in compliance with the ACT, the National Consumer Commission was established. This body is responsible to investigate consumer complaints, pretty much like the National Consumer Tribunal was established by the National Credit Act, to investigate the violations and transgressors of the ACT.

Currently there are several ways to lay the complaint. These are, (but not limited to):-
1. The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) – customer contact center: 0861 843 384

2. The DTI office of Consumer Protection (OCP): 012 394 1439/1558/1076

3. E-mail: contactus@thedti.gov.za. Please be advised however, that this particular e-mail address is protected from spam and you will need to have Java Script enabled on your computer in order to view it.

4. Website: The DTI website address is http://www.thedti.gov.za

5. National Consumer Tribunal (NCT): (012) 663 5615 or registry@thenct.org.za. Again, please be advised that this e-mail address is also protected from spam and you will need to have your Java Script enabled in order to view it.

Next time we will have a look at some more useful contact information.

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