Monday, May 13, 2013

MOTIVATION - The Magic of Success

MOTIVATION –  The Magic of Success

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2013

Jim Rohn says that “Success is neither magical nor mysterious.  Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”

I think that what Jim is trying to say is that ‘success’ doesn’t just happen like something that appears magically out of thin air.  Success is not a mysterious thing that just appears, but rather something that happens as a result of a whole lot of actions that have to take place and many of these actions have to take place in a specific sequence.

Like anything else in life, success is something that is easily achieved with proper planning and like anything else you need to have ‘actions’ or deliverables that need to be met and by meeting these ‘deliverables’ your success will ‘magically and mysteriously’ appear!

Decide what it is that you want to achieve and by when you want to achieve it.  It really is no good wanting to achieve something and not having a “by when” date that it needs to be achieved by.  You obviously need to know exactly what it is that you want to achieve.  Not being 100% sure about this will usually mean that you wander around life in a perpetual fog.

Once you have decided what you want to achieve and by when you want to achieve it, then you need to put a plan into place around what you need to do in order to achieve your goal.

Remember that each step that has to be taken should have a deadline date by which time it should be completed.

Think about it for a moment – let’s take one of my favorite authors, Dean Koontz – when he writes a book he needs to have, at the very beginning of the process, an outline or some sort of an idea of what the story is going to be about.  Then he has to have a date by when the book must be completed.  Between the idea for the book and the date by which it has to be completed, a certain amount of research needs to take place and of course the book itself has to be written as well as proof read and then there are the re-writes etc.  Clearly he has to allocate a dedicated amounted of time to the research as well as the actual writing of the book.  Now be that a number of hours per day or a specific number of words per day, he needs to have some sort of schedule in place in order for him to successfully meet his goals.

Obviously he needs to remain focused on these goals and committed to meeting his deadlines –failing to be focused or committed will result in . . . .  well no book being completed on time.  That I’m afraid is the bottom line!

So for me the ‘magical’ moment is when I complete the final task, on time.  In that moment of completion the success takes place and I can quite honestly say that there is nothing quite like that particular feeling, on earth.

That successful moment is one of the most magical that you will ever experience.

So plan, then execute and finally celebrate your magical moment!

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

Friday, May 10, 2013

HR - How to Report Work Related Incidents - Part 1

HR – How to Report Work Related Incidents – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2013

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) has several requirements in terms of the reporting of incidents that occur in the workplace.

Let’s have a look at some of these through our protagonists.

Mike has a Postnet store in a busy mall.  He supplies certain stationary as well as services related to business operations such as (but not limited to):
-    Photocopying of documents
-    Binding of manuals
-    Faxing
-    E-mails and internet usage

Joe is one of the employees who works on the counter.

A client enters the store and wants 200 manuals copied and bound.  There are two items on each page so the pages therefore have to be cut in half before they are all bound.

Joe works quickly and efficiently for a while until, whilst he is busy with the guillotine cutting the pages in two he notices something lying on the floor.  Without thinking about what he is doing, he steps back to pick it up off the floor and the guillotine handle drops with a loud thud, cutting the back of his hand badly and severing his pinky finger.  There is blood everywhere and some of the female staff are screaming with fright.  Joe, shakily looks down at his damaged hand in disbelief and reacts to the sight of so much blood by promptly fainting!  As he falls down one of the female staff, Lizzy, tries to assist him but trips over a box of photocopy paper and falls down hitting her head on the corner of the Photostat machine.

There are now two unconscious individuals lying on the floor with blood everywhere!

So what has to be reported?

Clearly Mike needs to take immediate action in terms of the medical requirements of his staff.  Once the ambulance has arrived and taken care of the two staff, there are obviously certain requirements in terms of OHSA that have to be met as well as certain requirements in terms of the Workmen’s Compensation Fund that need to be dealt with in order for the claims to be approved and paid out.

OHSA states that an incident has to be reported when:
-    A person dies or
-    A person becomes unconscious or
-    A person suffers the loss of a limb or part of a limb or
-    A person is otherwise injured or becomes ill to such a degree that he is likely either to die or
•    Suffer a permanent physical defect or
•    Is likely to be unable for a period of at least 14 days either to work or continue with the activity for which he was employed or is usually employed.

Mike of course now has to provide two reports - one being for Joe who was unconscious and who may also lose part of a limb and one for Lizzy who was knocked unconscious.

Both Joe and Lizzy were at work performing  their normal work duties when the incident took place so therefore both are entitled to claim from the Workmen’s Compensation Fund but both incidents also need to be reported in terms of the OHSA requirements.

Next time we will look at some of the other reporting requirements.

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

Thursday, May 09, 2013

EARLY WARNING - The Role and Responsibility of Directors - Part 1



The Role and Responsibility of Directors – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting May 2013.

There is a great deal of eye winking and chuckling from the Gogos (one of the local native names for Grandmother), around the term CEO (Chief Executive Officer) or even Director, here in South Africa.  It seems that everybody that you talk to is either a self- named, self-styled CEO or they aspire to be one!

The fact of the matter is that with the New Companies Act coming into effect, the whole landscape, in terms of business ownership has changed dramatically.

In the good old, bad old days anyone could be a Director of a company and in fact there were many individuals who make careers out of being Directors of Companies.  I have actually heard of a lady who was a Director of something like 37 different Companies.  She earned a considerable sum of money from each of the Companies for doing very little work, but having her name on the Company Letterheads.  Other than attending meetings and perhaps voicing an opinion or two there was little to do and of course there was very little responsibility.

You see before the introduction of the New Act, responsibility was only really held by very few individuals.  Directors like the Financial Directors who were obviously responsible for looking after the financial side of the business were far and few between.  The Sales Director for example was responsible for ensuring that sales targets were met (often by any means possible), never carried the responsibility for the financial well- being of the Company.

Let me explain – often when a Company found themselves in financial difficulty the Financial Director was made responsible because it was his responsibility to ensure that the ‘numbers’ were correct and that expenses were controlled.  In this situation the Sales Directors would usually absolve themselves from any blame by saying something along the lines of “I brought in the sales and that is what I am responsible for, I am not in charge of the expenses.”  Hardly fair I am sure you will agree as in my experience the sales people have no problem running up huge expenses.

The New Act makes all Directors equally liable and accountable for what happens in the business.

Let me say that again – all the Directors are equally and jointly responsible for what happens in the Company.

Next time we will look at some of the risks that Directors should be aware of and also how best to manage them.

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

Friday, May 03, 2013

EARLY WARNING - All About Procurement Fraud - Part 6



All About Procurement Fraud – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting February 2013.

Last time we looked at some of the different types of issues that need to be looked at around procurement. 

Today we will have a look at some more.

As we said one of the ways to limit procurement fraud is to ensure that you have a proper procurement policy in place and that it is adhered to and checked on a regular basis. We looked at the Needs Analysis, Timing and Suppliers. Then we looked at Supplier Communication and Negotiation and then Supplier Liaison, Logistics Management and Tender Notification. Other issues that need to be taken into account when implementing the procurement process are (but not limited to):

In this the final issue on procurement fraud let’s look at some of the practical processes that can be included  (but not limited to) in your procedure in order to limit fraud.

-    Make sure that the procedure is that there has to be a minimum of 3 quotes.
-    Make sure that all the suppliers, who have submitted quotes, have contactable references and do the reference check.
-    The person, in your company, who submits the quotes, should not be the person who authorizes the use of the supplier (unless of course that is you – the business owner).
-    The person, in your company, who orders the products/supplies/service, should not be the person who authorizes the purchase (again, unless of course that is you – the business owner).
-    The person, in your company, who ‘pays’ the supplier should not be the person who authorizes the payment (unless of course that person is you – the business owner).
-    There should be a valid ‘gift’ policy in place to govern/prevent your employees from receiving ‘gifts’ as ‘kick-backs’ from suppliers and/or service providers for ensuring that they become creditors.
-    The most expensive quote does not always translate into the best value for money – make sure that the research is properly conducted to ensure that you get the best value for your money.
-    Make sure that you have a proper Service Level Agreement in place, with realistic consequences for non-delivery and/or to ensure that you are properly covered in terms of compliance.

Finally, use common sense – if the deal is ‘too good to be true’, it usually means exactly that.  Always be alert for charlatans and scammers as they are always on the look-out for gullible business owners.

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

Thursday, May 02, 2013

BLOGGING TIPS - Focus on Your Readers

BLOGGING TIPS – Focus on Your Readers

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2013

This is most definitely a case of “Do as I tell you and not Do as I Do!”

Let me explain . . .

You see I started out writing my blogs for my own gratification, my own enjoyment.  Not for the enjoyment of anyone other than myself.  Sounds really selfish, doesn’t it?  But that is the honest truth!

Now most folk will tell you that you need to focus on what your readers want to read about, not what you necessarily want to say and yes, they are usually two very different things. Pretty much like when you are doing the research on what you are going to sell (be it product or service), you need to ascertain what people want rather than what you think they need.

The reality of the situation is that no-one really cares about what you think or indeed what it is that you have to say, unless of course it happens to be what they want to hear or have a need to hear (and yes those are also two very different things to).  If you don’t give them what they want, they will just go somewhere else to get it – yip, people are pretty fickle like that.

Fortunately though, what I wanted to write about because generally it was something that I had just learnt and was excited about and just wanted to share – or alternatively, something that I needed to hear, was also something that most SMME’s (small, micro, medium enterprizes) wanted to read themselves.  I am just lucky that it turned out that way.

That and the fact that I have penned in excess of 1300 articles, makes me believable, especially when they read an article and it resonates with them – the general consensus then is that I must know what I am talking about, so they read another one and so on.

The fact of the matter is that if you are looking to earn money out of your writing, it has to be about the reader – you have to pander to their every need.  You have to strike a chord in them or challenge them or give them righteous indignation – something that makes them think about what you are trying to say that they either wholeheartedly agree with or they completely disagree with.  If it is the latter you need to hope that they are indignant enough to respond to you in some way that will open up a discussion.

Fortunately for me, my blogs (and yes even the business ones) are generally presented in the form of a story, and it’s in the ‘telling’ of the story that I am most successful.  You see, I am a person who sees the words in pictures and when I read I have this whole video thing going through my mind as the words conjure up the most colourful pictures and when I write, I tend to write in the same way.  The words produce pictures in my mind and this is what people tend to grab a hold of. Those pictures in their minds have more impact on the story being told or the lesson that is being learnt than just a bunch of facts and figures would have and this gives the words (or the lesson) great value. 

People usually appreciate getting good value for money and they appreciate it even more if they get the ‘great value’ without having to pay anything, including the usual ‘school fees’ that come with starting a new business or going on your own.

Me, well I don’t really care one way or the other – you see my words give me the greatest value and the most enjoyment, and there’s nothing more that I could actually want from them. The fact that they also make a difference in the lives of others . . .  well that’s just a hidden bonus for both the reader and me!

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