Tuesday, February 07, 2012

BUSINESS TIPS - From Employee to Entrepreneur - Part 1

BUSINESS TIPS – From Employee to Entrepreneur – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – February 2012

I have, of late, been mentoring several young ladies who are currently employed, but who dream of owning their own businesses. The more I talk to them, the more I become aware of the huge mind shift change that has to take place. And this is how this particular series was born.

Firstly, I would like to explore some of the differences between an employee and an entrepreneur – just so that we can all understand the basic differences and understand what we are getting ourselves into.

1. An employee is paid to work, they are paid, often irrespective of whether they put in a full days work or not. They are paid irrespective of whether they have given 100% effort or done ‘just enough to get by. An entrepreneur pays others to work and often works for free themselves. Entrepreneurs pay their staff and the bills first and then if there is anything left over they get to pay themselves. This is particularly true when they are starting out. They are passionate about the product and/or service that they are providing and need to consistently give 100% (or more) effort into what they are doing in order to build the brand and the business.

2. Employees are managed. They have someone that they report into, there is always someone else who is ultimately responsible for what they do (or don’t do as the case may be). Entrepreneurs manage others and themselves. That means that ‘the buck stops’ with them and they are responsible for everything that happens at the end of the day.

3. Employees have a specified ‘end of day’ time. Irrespective of whether they have an employment contract or letter of employment, the number of hours that they work is governed by the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) and they cannot be forced to work overtime unless they have agreed to do so in writing. An entrepreneur has no specific closing time – they often work long grueling hours and even through the night, to meet deadlines and get the work out.

4. Employees are only responsible for developing themselves, provided of course that they want to grow or improve themselves – many have no interest in this at all. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand not only develop themselves (and that is an ongoing challenge), but they are also responsible for developing their staff. Actually, if the truth be told, you will find that entrepreneurs try and develop everyone that they come into contact with.

I am sure that you can see from the few points that I have highlighted that the list could very well be endless. The point that I am trying to make however, is that the mindset is very different. It has to be!

This of course means that if you are wanting to start your own business and do your own thing, you have to step up to the plate and stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur.

Next time we will have a look at some of the issues that you have to look at, understand and more often than not, follow.

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, February 06, 2012

MOTIVATION - What Determines Your Destiny

MOTIVATION – What Determines Your Destiny

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – February 2012

“It’s choice – not chance that determines your destiny” says Jean Nidetch.

It seems that I am on the warpath again! It’s the whole thing about accountability and responsibility for the consequences of our choices and actions or non-actions.

There is this whole drive around education at the moment and like most people that I talk to – I get it! I agree with it and quite frankly, I am on board. Education is important and without it the youngsters of today are really going to battle.

At the moment though, there is this radio ad playing and despite all the good intentions, it gives the perception that the kid wasn’t ‘given a chance to get an education”.

To be fair, I haven’t heard the whole advert, but the bit that I have heard and that I keep hearing, got my blood boiling.

This kid is talking about how he went to a good school, but cut classes and started gambling and drinking when he should have been at school. He tells how he didn’t listen to the teachers and educators and therefore ‘didn’t have a chance to complete his education”. And yes, I have quoted it correctly. I have heard that bit of the ad several times over and that is exactly what he said.

What does he mean he “didn’t have a chance to complete his education”? If he went to such a good school, of course he had every “chance” that his affluent parents could give him. It was his “choice” not to complete his education.

He was unable to complete his education because of the bad choices that he made. He chose to go drinking and gambling and he should take responsibility for those choices. He doesn’t though and that’s just not the message that we should be sending out. What’s with that?

Again, I understand that the “intention” is great. It highlights the importance of getting a good education – but for me it falls very short on accepting responsibility and accountability for our actions and that is not a good thing.

It is very important for us to understand that our choices – good or bad – all carry consequences and that those consequences will affect our lives for the rest of our time on this planet, whether we actually accept them and own up to them or not.

This chap who “did not have a chance to finish his education” because of his choice (and clearly according to the ad), does not choose to complete his education now, (well that is now the perception that I have). The message sounds like he will therefore never have an opportunity to fulfill his potential or live his dream and the consequence of that is that we (as taxpayers) will continue to support him in one way or another.

Sadly, that is how this ad has been portrayed – well to me anyway.

More sadly still is that it is not portrayed in any way, that by making another choice now, a more positive choice, like going back to school or taking classes, he can correct his past and look forward to a brighter future.

You see, the fact of the matter is that we are not limited to only one choice and we certainly don’t only have one chance!

We can have as many choices as we have thoughts, but it is up to us to make the right choice and then action it.

Through my choices, I make my own chances!

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

Friday, February 03, 2012

HR - Getting the Status Right

HR – Getting the Status Right

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC , January 2012

Many small business owners are not sure of the correct terminology to use when employing staff, that are not employed on a permanent basis and with the new labour laws, this can and will become problematical. So let’s get the definitions correct to avoid any nasty nightmares.

A “temp” is a person who is employed on a temporary basis, usually to ‘fill in’ when for example, an employee is on leave or on maternity leave or sick leave. They are often (but not always) employed by a Labour Broker. They can also be employed over a busy or seasonal period, such as Christmas or even for a specific task such as a stock take.

A ‘temp’ is not someone who you employ on a contract for 3 months and then you renew that contract for another 3 months and then another 3 months and so on. Doing that is against the law and will ultimately land you in hot water.

Understand too, that even a temp qualifies for leave pay, sick leave and even overtime in terms of BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act). The Act (Section 20 (b)) stipulates that annual leave accumulates ‘at the rate of 1 day for every 17 worked and that during the first 6 months of employment, sick leave accumulates at the rate of 1 day for every 26 days worked’ (section 22 (3)).

A ‘temp’ is also entitled to be paid for working public holidays, irrespective of whether the contract states that they are to be paid only for the hours that they work.

The Independent Contractor
An ‘independent Contractor’ is not someone who works for you all the time and to whom you give a contract of work. It is someone who comes in and does a specific job for a specific fee for a specific time. An ‘independent contractor’ is someone like the painter that you have brought in to paint the offices. He gives you a quote, you accept it (or not), he purchases the paint, brings in the ladders and/or equipment and paints the place out – cleans up (hopefully) and issues you with the bill, which you pay. That is the end of that. They are therefore essentially a service provider or supplier.

Therefore an independent contractor is someone who:-
- Runs his own business
- Should be registered as a provisional tax payer
- Could be registered as a VAT vendor
- Will work his own hours
- Will have his own equipment/machinery
- Can work or do work for more than one client at a time
- Will invoice the employer (client) either at the end of the month or alternatively once the job has been completed.
- The employer (client) will not have to worry about the usual HR stuff such as (but not limited to) deducting PAYE or UIF or SDL or payment of 13th bonus cheques etc.

So, when you ‘hire’ someone from a Labour Broker, you need to understand that they are not an ‘independent contractor’ as they do not fall under any of the above requirements.

The Fixed Term Contract
A ‘fixed term contract’ is one that usually has an “end” date or alternatively is for a specific project.

Because of the word “fixed”, should the contract not be completed on the due date, technically speaking the contract should be re-entered into with the new termination date.

A 'fixed term contract’ is not a contract that can be extended and then extended and then extended again.

I trust that now all of your employees and/or contractors will be given the correct contracts.

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