Saturday, November 30, 2013

MARKETING - The E-mail way - Part 1


The E-mail Way – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting August 2009.

On a personal level, I am often quite resentful of e-mail marketing – probably as much as I used to resent what we used to call ‘junk mail’, remember how it used to fill our letter boxes to overflowing.

It must work though, as it didn’t seem to stop the hundred and thousands of companies that had their leaflets shoved into literally millions of letter boxes throughout the country.  Nor does it seem to stop the thousands of people throughout the world who market their wares both legal or not, by means of internet and e-mail marketing.

Let’s have a look at some of the advantages that are directly attributed to e-mail marketing.

The reality of the situation is that e-mail is one of the most useful and widely used tools known to the world today.  Most people have access to email either at home or at work (if not both).  It is easy to use and relatively inexpensive.  Many of us get some sort of e-mail marketing on a daily basis.

Most of us, in a business sense and particularly small businesses do not use e-mail effectively as a marketing tool, which is quite silly really because e-mail marketing is probably the easiest and most cost effective way in which to reach a large number of people/customers, in a short space of time and with very little effort.

In view of the fact that e-mail marketing can be used to promote the sale of products or services or in actual fact pretty much anything, e-mail marketing is the obvious way to go.

If we actually used e-mail marketing properly it would drive more customers into out stores or to the services that we deliver and seeing that most people log on to check their e-mails at least once a day, we can be sure that our messages reach their targets pretty quickly and efficiently.

Next week we will continue with some more advantages of e-mail marketing.

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

Friday, November 29, 2013

HR - What to do when . . . There's a Discrepancy in the Job Description - Part 2


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . There’s a discrepancy on the Job Description


By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC - March 2008.

So now we know what a job description is, let’s have a look at the case study.  Before we do that however, let me just say that often the question arises about whether job descriptions should be intentionally general to avoid the situation where an employee is obliged to carry out tasks and/or duties that are not specified in his/her job description. I have been advised that this has been looked at recently by the CCMA at an arbitration – let’s have a look.

Lets have my favorite protagonists. Mike and George.

Mike owns  a fleet of ‘horse and carriages’.  These are those huge big trucks that carry containers, sometimes they haul ‘double containers’.  We’ve all seen them and I am sure, often been stuck behind one going up a hill!  George is one of the drivers of the ‘horse’.  Mike’s business is both in the various ports in SA as well as in Johannesburg.  Mike’s vehicles transport the containers that are off-loaded in the ports and that must then be transported to where-ever the destination of the importer is, or alternatively from the exporter to whichever port the goods are leaving from for the exporter.   There are also times when goods must be transported from the manufacturer to the recipient’s depot.

This particular issue arose when there were no loads to be transported and George was requested to act as a convoy driver.

George refused on the grounds that he was a ‘horse and carriage’ driver and as such his duties were to upliftment and transportation of containers and therefore he was restricted to this. His refusal was supported by SATAWU.

Mike stated that the instruction to act as a convoy driver, was fair and reasonable and therefore within the requirements of the law and that therefore, George had no right to refuse to perform the task on the grounds that it was not specifically stated in his job description.

The CCMA Arbitrator was asked to decide “whether, under all circumstances it is reasonable to instruct horse and carriage drivers to do convoy work, when there are no loads available.”

Next week we will have a look at what the Arbitrator came up with.

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

EARLY WARNING - Roadblocks



By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting March 2009.

I don’t know about other motorists on the road, but I for one don’t particularly enjoy going through one of the many roadblocks that seem to be taking place at the moment.  Not because I have any outstanding fines, although I can imagine how that would and could be the cause for concern, but because, well they are just a pain in the rear end.  They waste my time and usually mean that I have to deal with some individuals who want nothing more from me than an offer of a bribe.

The last couple of times that I have been stopped is because I appear to have put my license disk on the wrong spot on my windscreen.  I keep getting told that to have it behind the rear view mirror (from where I am sitting as the driver) is illegal and that by ‘law’ it is supposed to be in the bottom right hand corner of the windscreen.  Of course no-one can show where it says this in the law, but that is another story for another day.

For others who have outstanding fines and what have you, a roadblock can be an absolute nightmare.  Tales of people being locked up often has people paying up on the spot, irrespective of whether the metro office has produced a warrant of arrest or not.

Here’s the thing though – according to Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson, Superintendent Wayne Minaar, this practice is unlawful.

The fact of the matter is that the only time you can be forced to pay a fine on the spot is if there is a warrant for your arrest.

The traffic police, in an attempt to collect revenue try and scare you witless and in so doing force you to pay the fine immediately and we seem to fall for this time and time again.

In fact, if the truth be told, a find is only valid for two years and then it becomes stagnant and is supposed to be deleted from the system.

Here’s how the whole thing works.

-    Firstly, you should receive a notice advising you of the offence.  This notice should include (but not be limited to) the nature of the offence (it needs to say for example that the vehicle was traveling at a speed of 81kms in a 60km zone or that the vehicle went through a red robot etc.), the exact location of the offence (again ‘somewhere near’ doesn’t count) the date and exact time of the offence (approximately doesn’t count), the amount of the fine and the payment date.  The notice is then sent to your residential address and it should be paid within 30 days from the date that the notice was issued.

-    If you don’t pay the fine by due date a second notice should be sent out and you then have another 30 days in which to make the payment.

-    If you still don’t make payment a third notice will be sent out.  This notice will be completely different from the other two in that it ‘looks’ like a summons, but isn’t.  You will see that it is in fact an “Intention to Issue Summons.”  This will give you a further 30 days to pay the fine.

-    Should you still have failed to pay, it is only at this stage that a summons is issued.  The summons is usually delivered or ‘served’ by a summons bearer and should be signed for by yourself and/or someone older than 16 who lives on your premises.  So making your gardener, who works for you one day a week and lives next door is illegal.  The summons will have a ‘court date’ on it and you will still have an opportunity to pay the fine prior to the court day.  If you still don’t pay and you don’t attend the court appearance to attest the fine, a warrant for your arrest is then processed.

-    Now if you are caught in a roadblock and there is a warrant out for your arrest, the traffic officers have the right to arrest you if you don’t pay the fine immediately.  Be aware though, that you will also be liable to pay an additional (currently at this time) R300.00 for being in contempt of court.

Remember though that a fine is only valid for two years.  So if you haven’t paid the fine and have managed not to get caught in a road block, you are free and clear.  The fine is then supposed to be cancelled.

Don’t let yourself be bullied into paying something that you no  longer have to.

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

The Power of Networking - Part 19



By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make.  I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

The sixth mistake he says is “Leakage.  Is there an inconsistency between what you say what you do?  Your card may say one thing about you, your clothing suggests something else and the language and vocabulary you use further confounds strangers in getting a fix on who you are, what you’re about and your skill level.  Strive to send consistent messages verbally, non-verbally and in your materials and correspondence.  When everything works together the sum is greater than the parts.”

Whilst I agree that this may have some bearing on whether you are a good networker or not – my biggest gripe in this area is that of pre-judgement. 

Personally, I don’t really care what your card says, how you dress or what you look like, I am going to hook up with you to find out more about you, what you do and most importantly, who you know!

Too many times, I have watched people pre-judge someone only to discover (often when it is far too late) that the person that they dismissed ‘out of hand’ is someone that they really should have hooked up with.

One of my biggest clients today, is a chap that I met in a bar.  He was dirty and smelly, his t-shirt was torn and dirty and his shorts hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine in a very long time.  We got to talking and I discovered he had just gotten back from a fishing trip and was having an ice cold beer before going home to off load the boat etc.  He actually owns 4 different businesses, several boats, a ‘holiday/weekend’ home on the Vaal and his own helicopter.  When he travels nationally, he ‘charters’ a plane as he hates having to ‘wait’ or be dependent on airlines.  Sounds like someone you would like to do business with, doesn’t it?

So my advice to you on this one is, don’t worry too much what it says on the business card, or what the person looks like.  Talk to them and find out who they are and who they know!

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

BUSINESS TIPS - Employee to Entrepreneur

BUSINESS TIPS – From Employee to Entrepreneur – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2012

So far we have looked at:-
1.    The difference between being an employee and an employer;
2.    Your Purpose:
3.    The People around you and
4.    Your Personal Footprint.

Believe it or not there is a whole lot more – today we will explore a few more.

1.    Knowledge – we all know the statement “Knowledge is Power”!  Well I would like to challenge that particular statement – you see I personally don’t believe that “knowledge” itself is power – I believe that it is “What” you do with that knowledge that makes it powerful. 

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let me say this – you need to continue learning, you need to ‘grow’ yourself.  You need to research and plan and strategize and develop and you can only do this if you learn about new things, expand your knowledge and understanding.

Remember though that knowledge without the utilization of that knowledge is useless.  Just like a thought without action remains a thought – knowledge without the action remains powerless.

2.    Generosity
Now generosity is not limited to putting your hand in your pocket – actually if the truth be told, that’s the easy way out.  There is generosity of spirit where you share with others, things like your time, your knowledge and your expertise.  You may not be giving out money but you may also be giving of yourself.

The truth of the matter is that the more you give the more you get and more especially, the more that you give without thought of what you could get – the more you will get, the more you will attract to yourself and the more that you will receive.

Of course that is not to say that you have to give everything away for free – that would certainly not be good business acumen, but if you can lend a helping hand to give some good advice or have even just listened and been a sounding board, then please pause for a moment and help out.  You will find one day, that when you need help, it will be offered or arrive unexpectedly and in great abundance.

3.    Technology – now this one brought a huge big smile to my face – the proverbial ‘technophobe’ that’s me.  Technophobe or not, the fact of the matter is that todays’ technology does things faster, more efficiently and more accurately, than we can do things manually. Look at the way manual books were done in the past and how accounting packages now deal with entries, and double entries or how we used to ‘dial’ a number on a landline and nowadays how many of us no longer even have landlines but conduct business and even run our businesses, manage our diaries and communicate with the world on cell phones or tablets or laptops or notebooks.

Nowadays there are gadgets for girls and gadgets for boys – electronic devices that are geared specifically to make life easier.  Remember though that ‘easier’ often also means ‘faster’.  Be aware of what is new and what’s improved, it doesn’t mean that you have to buy everything that hits the shelves, but at the very least, be aware of what is hitting the shelves and invest in what can be of the most assistance to you.

Next time we will continue to look at some of the other issues that you will need or be aware of to become a successful Entrepreneur.

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

MOTIVATION - Consulting your Hopes & your Dreams

MOTIVATION – Consulting Your Hopes & Your Dreams

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – January 2010

Pope John XXIII says “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.  Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.  Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

Ain’t that the truth!  It’s usually around the end of a year and the beginning of the following year that many of us struggle with what we haven’t achieved during the year or the previous year as we try, yet again to set ‘realistic’ goals for the coming year.  We beat ourselves up for our perceived failures and we berate ourselves for lost opportunities.  We chastise ourselves for not doing more and punish ourselves, often very unfairly, for not having done the right thing. How sad is that?

What we need to do is turn it around – face backwards and instead of seeing all the failures, perceived or real, look at all that you have achieved.  Look at what you did, that wasn’t even on the list, or the goal that you achieved without even planning it in advance.  Look at what you managed to get to despite the odds.  Look at who you have become because of what you have achieved and the things that you have accomplished.  Look at the new clients that you have found, not to mention the clients that you have retained, even though you have been in a tough market.

 While you are still in the ‘glow’ of accomplishment and pride, look at what you can still achieve.  Look at the horizon and see your future.  Put your plan of action into first gear and take the first step.  Don’t worry if you fall down, just make sure that you get up again and take the next step.  Don’t worry if you want to cry with frustration, just make sure that you smile in anticipation of what you will feel when you take the next step.  Don’t worry if you are overwhelmed with a sense of failure, think about the sense of pride you will have when you succeed and take the next step.

Dare to dream!  Dare to hope! Dare to succeed! Dare to take the first step and then the next and then the next and pretty soon you will be sprinting towards the finish line and as you cross it, celebrate!  Celebrate each step, celebrate each goal achieved (whether they were set or planned or not). Celebrate the fact that despite the fear you were able to see the potential and the possibilities and that you acted in order to achieve.

Celebrate your life!

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SALES - What is Soft Selling


What is “Soft Selling”?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting  July 2009.

I’ve been hearing the term ‘soft’ selling for some time now and to be quite honest, I had no clue as to what it meant.  I mean, for me – selling is selling!  Sure there are different ways to sell and some of them work for me and some of them don’t – much the same, I would imagine, as it is for you.

It stands to reason that if I don’t know what ‘soft’ selling is, there are others that also don’t know.  So after a little research – this is what I found.

Apparently there are those amongst us who, when they are ‘soft’ selling properly, they don’t even know that they are selling – sounds really strange doesn’t it?  I mean we all go out to sell and in the retail sector, in particular, everything is geared around getting the sale!

Here’s the thing though.  There are instances, particularly in the consulting and/or coaching and/or advisory arena, when your clients don’t ‘feel’ like they are being sold to and you don’t feel like you are selling.

Actually, now that I think about it, this makes perfectly good sense.  Think about it for a moment – when you are feeling like death warmed up and go off to the doctor, at no time do you see yourself as a client, a patient perhaps, but not a client.  You see the doctor’s advice as something to be trusted and it has a win/win kind of feel about it – he makes you feel better and you pay him for doing that for you (although in all honesty I still feel like a client when I go and get the meds).

It appears that this can be done in any kind of business and it is all about the ‘mind-set’ of the individual who is actually doing the selling.  The mindset is one of respect, service and ensuring that there is a ‘win/win’ situation.  Actually, if I think about it a little more, this is when we build relationships with our clients.  It’s like my favorite waiter at the Mugg & Bean (I can get quite irritated if he is not there) or the chap that the camera shop – I won’t buy anything unless he is there to explain stuff to me.  The bottom line is that I trust them and they make me ‘feel’ special and they take care of me and they meet my needs.

Sure they still have to follow procedures and whatever the sales process is that their jobs require them to, but they do that quietly and without fuss and usually out of sight, but what they do is make the ‘experience’ for me, one that is pleasant.

So perhaps what we need to do is go back to the basics – the thing that made the ‘Mom and Pop’ corner shops such a success, the building of relationships with our clients.  It must be like a second nature to them, to think of us whenever they need our product and/or our services.

Remember though, you still have to have your sales process in place and in order for you to be in control of your sales ‘efforts’ you still have to have to know who your target market is, you still have to have your business proposition in place and you still have to have your sales strategy and sales processes in place.

That said though, I really like the sound of a ‘soft’ sale – it sounds a lot less stressful than a ‘hard’ sale or even a normal one.

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

SALES - Ever the Student


Ever the Student

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting April 2009.

It is said that “the best way to become a master at what you do is to combine ‘study’ with ‘practice’ for the rest of your life.”

It is also said that “knowledge is power” although strictly speaking, I believe that it is what you ‘do’ with that knowledge that makes you all powerful!

When I graduated college in 19 . . . , oh hell, it was lifetime ago, I was this fresh faced kid that had been to hell and back, but was a survivor.  I was also done with ‘study’, I was done with sour faced adults who always thought that they knew what was best for me.  I had the world in my future and the future in the palm of my hand.  I was going to conquer the world. Yeah right!

The first reality check came from my first real job, and by that I mean something other than tending bar, or being a ‘shampoo’ girl in a hairdressing salon, or being a sales assistant in a clothing shop (all of which I had done to put myself through college).  You see my first ‘real’ job was in Rhobank in the now Zimbabwe and I was working in the import/export outsourced division of the bank, called Freight International. Ironically this was in the middle of the 70’s and the middle of sanctions by the world against the then Rhodesia.  I don’t think we could have imported a paperclip if we tried and as for our ‘exports’ well the world wanted tobacco – badly, so we found a way and they turned a ‘blind eye’.  Tobacco and believe it or not graphite.  For those who don’t know, graphite becomes the ‘lead’ in your pencil – strange commodity, I am sure you would agree. 

The point is however, that although I was ‘done’ with my perception of ‘study’, the ‘study’ was certainly not done with me.  We don’t come equipped to handle every job or task that comes along and certainly school and/or college and or university doesn’t even begin to give us the fundamentals of what we need for ‘life’.

I found that the more I learnt, to do the work that I had signed up for, the more my natural curiosity got the better of me and the more I wanted to learn – and learn I did.  Numbers held a fascination for me – not in the way that they did for Einstein, but certainly no less of a passion.  Numbers are easy for me to memorize and they somehow just stick there.  For example the Rand/Dollar rate in 1977 was 1/1.12 – (yes folks, believe it or the Rand in those days was more valuable than the dollar $1.12 = R1), my how the wheel turns. 

How about if you are adding up a whole bunch of numbers and you don’t balance and you are out by a number that is divisible by 9, go through the 9 times table – you have transposed for example 27 to 72 or 36 to 63 (depending on the number that you are out by).

Then of course if you are adding up a whole bunch of numbers and you don’t balance and you are out by ‘3’ then you have transposed either a 5 for an 8 or visa versa, or if you are out by ‘5’ then usually you have transposed a 3 for an 8 or visa versa.

Now as I get older, I find myself devouring information, as if there is no tomorrow.  I am ‘challenged’ by the fact that there is still so much more that I want to learn and too little time to not only take it all in, but also to apply it. 

Those who know me, know that I consider myself a techno-phobe, yet I am an internationally recognized blogger, I have what I would consider one of the most amazing websites on the planet (thank you Meryl of and I have just learnt how to ‘tweet’ on twitter (which means of course that there are now even less hours in the day for me). 

Not bad for someone who was determined not to do any more ‘study’ don’t you think? 

I consider myself an expert in my field, I have more than adequate knowledge on some topics and an opinion on most.  I continue to grow, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually on a daily basis and I use the knowledge that I have so painstakingly gathered over all these years, every day.

Through my writing, I know (judging from the testimonials on my website) that I have touched the minds and lives of many and in doing so, I have made a difference in the way that people do business and how they sell themselves and their products.
So, remember that ‘study’ is similar, but quite different to learning.  Learn your craft and apply all that you have learnt in order to improve yourself and enrich the lives of others.

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

HR - What to do when . . . There's a Discrepancy on the Job Description - Part 1


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . There’s a discrepancy on the Job Description


By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC - March 2008.

How many times has one of your staff members moaned about something that you have asked them to do, by saying “it’s not on my job description”?  I’m sure most of you can relate to this one, hell I’ve used it myself from time to time!

Let’s start at the very beginning – What is a Job Description?  Many of the VSE (Very Small Enterprises) that I have worked with and in over the last five years seem to think that it the description of what the employee does.  Wrong, wrong and wrong again!  It is the description of the task that is performed.  You see in some of the bigger Corporate’s, for example the Switchboard Operator is just that – a Switchboard Operator.  In this case his/her duties would revolve only around what a Switchboard Operator does – answering of calls, determining who a call should be put through to and perhaps even taking messages.  In a small concern though, where people are many things, one of the duties of a person may be that of a Switchboard Operator.  The Job Description remains the same, but the duties differ!

Let me be a little clearer on this.  In a small concern there may be one employee who does many jobs or functions.  She/he may be the Switchboard Operator, the Receptionist, the Admin Clerk and the ‘walk in’ Sales person.  In this instance, she/he would have four job descriptions as apposed to one, because she/he performs the duties to four different jobs.

So in the big Corporate instance – the duties listed on the Letter of Appointment, would be listed as something like “Switchboard Operator and all duties pertaining to this position as laid down in the Job Description . . .” whilst in the small concern – the duties listed on the Letter of Appointment, would be listed something like “Switchboard Operator, Receptionist, Administration Clerk and Sales Person and all duties pertaining to these positions as laid down in their respective job descriptions . . .”

In the big Corporate’s you could have many people using one Job Description – for example you would only have one Job Description for a ‘Sales Person’, yet you have a sales force of several thousand employees.  In the VSE you may have many Job Descriptions, but only a few people to perform the tasks and/or duties that pertain to those Job Descriptions.

Next week we will have a look at what could happen if extra duties are given to staff and the consequences thereof.

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

EARLY WARNING - Keeping Your Business and Its Information Safe


Keeping Your Business and Its Information Safe

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting  January 2010.

I realize that for some this may be a bit like ‘closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’, since the holidays are over (mostly for another year).  That said, I don’t believe that keeping your business safe should only be done during the times that you are away on holiday.  Keeping your business safe and keeping the information and/or data pertaining and belonging to your business needs to be kept safe all the time.

Closing the doors to your business without making sure that you have all the arrangements made to keep your information (be it physical and/or electronic) safe and ensure that your business is sufficiently secure is relevant whether you are going home for the evening, or the weekend, or indeed a holiday.  We all know that the reality of the situation is that it is no longer safe just to close and lock the doors and be on our way.  Ongoing problems such as building fires and theft need to be managed, even whilst we are not ‘at the office’.

I would suggest that a checklist of things that should be done be implemented to ensure that everything is covered.  Some of the issues that need to be looked at are (but not limited to):

•    It is a good idea to make sure that your important documentation is stored in a fireproof safe or cabinet.
•    Electronic information should be properly backed up with copies of everything stored off site or in cyberspace somewhere – don’t forget to randomly test the information to make sure that it is not corrupt, especially if you are using disks and/or flash drives. Also please think about what you are doing – don’t leave your back up disks lying next to the computer and/or the external hard drive next to the computer.  If it is the hardware that thieves are after your external hard drive is just as important as the computer and if it is your information that they are after – well leaving your backups where they are easily accessible is just not clever!
•    If the ‘back ups’ of your electronic data is outsourced to someone, make sure that they are actually doing the back ups – insist on a report of some sort (every time that they do the back up) that evidences that a back up has in fact taken place.
•    Ensure that the correct data is being backed up – having your photo’s safe and sound is great, but having all of your business information and all of your business transactions safe is even better!
•    All the usernames and passwords pertaining to your IT department should be kept on record, somewhere safe (irrespective of whether or not they already have this information on record or not) in case of an emergency.  It is of the utmost importance that the business owner and/or at the very least, their assistants have this information.  This should include (but not be limited to) passwords and user names for all system administrator accounts, websites, applications, intranet sites and business solutions etc.
•    Get the employees to assist you – have a good walk around and have a look at potentially weak and/or dangerous areas, especially those that are cluttered.  Look for wall plugs (or even plugs on extension cords) that are overloaded, or emergency exits and/or fire exits that are blocked.  Don’t ignore things like faulty lights (they could mean an electrical fault that could cause a fire) or broken windows.  Test alarms (in fact alarms should be tested on a regular, irregular basis and a full report should be submitted from your service provider on a monthly basis so that you can see if alarms are set when they are supposed to be etc) and electric fences to ensure that they are in good working condition.  This would also obviously apply to those who have things like smoke detectors and smoke alarms and the like.
•    Access to your premises both after hours as well as when you are away should also be monitored, especially if you have a skeleton staff on duty or no staff at all.  People floating about, when there shouldn’t be anyone about at all could be a potential problem.
•    Make sure that security personnel know exactly who is allowed access and who isn’t.  Make sure that your security personnel check the perimeter on a regular, irregular basis and that they report on everything that is both normal and out of the norm.  Incident logs are necessary, especially after hours or when the company is closed for the holidays.
•    Keys, passwords and access cards should be monitored and audited on a regular basis.  In fact, as part of your ‘exit interview’ the return of keys, changing of passwords, return of access cards, return of cell phone, cars, computers and everything else that is usually given to staff (and don’t forget the petrol cards and even company credit cards) should be documented and signed for. 

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Power of Networking - Part 18



By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make.  I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

The fifth mistake he says is “Unfocused conversation.  Networking is a chance to demonstrate focus, drive and confidence.  Aimless rambling is pointless and suggests you’re not a focused professional. Showcase your communication skills by expressing yourself succinctly and ask precise questions.”

This is also one of my greatest pet hates!  The only way that I can describe this to you is by telling you an actual story.  Obviously I cannot use names as that would not be the right thing to do.

There is a young chap, let’s call him John, who faithfully comes to as many meetings as he possibly can.  He is passionate about what he does, he is passionate about networking meetings and he really does see the value in them.  What can possibly be the problem, you may ask – well it’s like this – I have no idea what it is that he does!

I have been seeing him at networking functions now for the better part of almost two years, he is still doing the same thing (I think – there is no way to tell) and I still have no idea about what he does.  I have tried meeting him on a one on one so that he can explain it to me in greater detail and I was more confused than ever!

You see, when he gets up to tell his story, it changes all the time and it hops about.  It is so bad that I am not even sure if it is a product or a service and I am not alone in this, as everyone that I have spoken to is as confused as I am!

Sadder than that even, is the fact that he knows that I do not understand what he does and instead of trying to assist me to ‘get the point’ he is amused by my confusion.  So amused, in fact, that his latest introduction of himself, starts off by him telling everyone that he will try and keep it short so that they will not be as confused as what I am.  How bizarre!

Perhaps a good way to deal with this is to set down points of what it is that you are trying to sell (product or service – let’s get that right from the beginning) and from there what the advantages are and the value adds.

Confusing the very people you need to assist you with contacts and referrals is just the way to go about things.  People need to understand what it is that you do in order to hook you up with the right people.

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

BUSINESS TIPS - Fome Employee to Entrepreneur - Part 2

BUSINESS TIPS – From Employee to Entrepreneur – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – March 2012

Last time we looked at some of the basic differences between an employee and an entrepreneur.

Now let’s have a look at some of the issues that you will have to explore and questions that you will have to ask yourself and answer honestly as you travel on your path to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

1.    Purpose
What is your purpose? I have no doubt that on some level we all understand that we are not only here on this planet called earth, merely to survive during our time here. We all have a purpose in life (whether we actually know what it is or not) and knowing what that purpose is and aligning it to what we want to do, will ensure that we achieve what we want to with a minimum of fuss and bother.

Understanding our purpose and aligning it to what we do will also ensure that we are able to live the best life that we can and become all that we are capable of being.

No one ‘life purpose’ is better or worse than another and our own success will be attained by being all that we can be rather than all that others think we should be.

2.    People
Like it or not we are all here to serve people.  Whether those people are our customers or our staff or our suppliers or our families, the fact of the matter is that we all need to serve and be served.

We are no better than those that serve than we are less than those that we serve.  The more we serve, the greater our reward will be and the greater we will become as individuals.

I’ll say it again – we serve!  Get your head around it, get used to it, get good at it and get on with it.

3.    Personal Footprint
Let’s face it – there are all kinds of characters in the world of business.  Some are grumpy, some are sunny, some are introvert and some are extrovert.  The point that I am trying to make is that your success, as an entrepreneur is not dependent upon that particular part of yourself.  Your success is dependent upon your credibility as an individual.  It’s dependent upon whether you can deliver and/or whether you are honest in your dealings with people.  It is dependent upon who you are intrinsically as a person.

Let me ask you this question (and please answer yourselves honestly), if you were in the market of looking for a mentor – someone you would look up to or aspire to be – would you look at yourself as being that person?  If your honest answer to that is “NO”, well I guess that you know what your personal footprint will be.

Next time we will have a look at some more of the issues that you as an entrepreneur should be looking at.

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

MOTIVATION - Be True to Yourself

MOTIVATION – Be True to Yourself

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – April 2009

It is said that until you respect yourself, you cannot respect others.

It is said that until you love yourself, you cannot love others.

It is said that until you are honest with yourself, you cannot be honest to others.

It is said that until you are true to yourself, you cannot be true to others.

You need to understand that you are the centre of your own universe.  It is your life and you are the only one that should be ‘living’ it.

My friend, colleague and mentor Vanessa, always tells me “This life of yours – it is your movie.  You have to write the script, you have the lead role, you are the director and the producer and you own the rights to the movie.”

How true is that?  So why on earth would I give the starring role to someone else?

The bottom line is that it is my life, I need to own it.  No-one else can live it for me and at the end of it, I am the only one that will be accountable for the manner in which I have lived it.

Here’s the thing though – many of us give up our own power, by allowing others to use and abuse us or live out the fantasies of their lives by dictating how we should live our lives.  That’s just crazy!  We need to take back what is ours – we need to own our power and we need to reclaim our lives.

We need to find our own passions.

We need to get excited about our own dreams.

Once we own our own power and we are passionate about our lives, we will begin to realize our dreams and in so doing, we will live our own lives with integrity and dignity.

Once we have learnt how to respect ourselves, we will recognize and respect the fact that everyone has the right to be doing the same in their lives.

Don’t be fooled though into thinking that you now have the right to be selfish and think only of yourself to the exclusion of all others.  That too is just crazy and it is also very destructive.

Yes we are all unique.

Yes we need to be true to ourselves

Yes we need to respect ourselves, but we also need to treat others with the same respect that we give ourselves and we also need to expect others to treat us with respect as well.

It’s a great big loop tape and grows ever wider and stronger the more we ‘buy into’ it.  So respect yourself and you will be true to yourself.

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

SALES - Be Realistic About the Outcome


Be Realistic About the Outcome.

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting March 2009.

There is a huge difference between having an outcome that we want and the outcome that we usually get!  Not achieving what we want, in terms of sales can be devastating.  Our confidence goes for a ‘ball of chalk’, we feel depressed and worthless and worst of all is that our motivation takes a leave of absence and we have to ‘kick start’ ourselves every morning just to get going.

Cold calling and the difficulties associated with the constant rejection that is the reality of this method of sales can be very draining and soul destroying, particularly if our expectations are not in line with reality.

Here’s the thing though – even the top sales people on the planet are rejected on a regular basis.  That’s the truth.

Think about it logically for a moment, what are the chances that the person that you want to speak to, is available to chat to you, when you are available to chat to them? How many times have you phoned a friend and had to leave a message because they did not answer the phone?  When that happens how do did you react?  Did you feel rejected and unloved?  Of course not.  Usually you would just leave a message, understanding that the friend is not available and then go on about your business.  So how about using that tactic when you ‘cold call’ a company.  Just leave a message for the person to contact you and go on about your business.

Then there is the person that you actually get hold of and for whatever reason, they don’t have the problem that your particular product and/or service can do anything about.  Once again you feel rejected.  Go back to the scenario of your friend.  You need to borrow a drill from a friend and you phone the first one that you think may have one, but he doesn’t – so now you have the sulks!  Of course not – you probably have a laugh about it and then phone the next friend who may have one.  You go about your business – you need to do the same thing here.  So this particular prospective client does not need your product or service – ok, but there are still thousands who do, so instead of sitting there feeling sorry for yourself, move forward to the next one.

Now what about the person who does have a problem that your product and/or service can definitely sort out, but he is currently busy with someone else or something else and cannot discuss anything with you right now.  So what do you do – it’s your choice you know.  Some will sulk and get all bent out of shape, some will try and force the conversation and the sale and of course, some will make a note to phone the prospect again.  Just a word of warning here, if you are the one who tries to force the conversation and the sale, all you end up doing is killing the sale even before you have started.  There is nothing more irritating than a salesperson who won’t listen.  They very seldom make it through the door a second time. 

Each time you phone a prospect, you should understand that there are several outcomes that could happen.  Be prepared for each one.  In fact, write down on a piece of paper all the different types of answers that you may get and understand that you may not get the one that you want.  Don’t hype yourself up and get yourself expectations that are so far from reality that they are preposterous.  The only person you will hurt is yourself.  Don’t take it personally – some times things are just what they are, and they are not always about you.  Your prospects also have lives that they are busy with and their priorities will be different to yours.  Understanding this will go a long way towards you reaching a realistic goal.

Setting yourself unrealistic goals and not achieving them is setting yourself up for failure all round.  Setting yourself realistic goals and then achieving them will only boost your confidence. 

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SALES - Find the Right Prospects


Finding the Right Prospects

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting  July 2009.

As much as you need to have a really intimate knowledge of your product/service, so to do you need to know who your prospect and/or target market is.

Many small business owners like to think that their particular product and/or service is something that every single person on the planet has to have!  Well as much as that may be true in a Utopian world and as much as they would like to think that, the reality of the situation is that that is simply not true for a number of reasons.

There are those that will not see the value of what it is that you are offering, those who just cannot afford what you are offering, those that are just not in the right demographics to know what you are offering  and of course those who have no clue what you are offering.

Then from your side, you have to actually understand who it is that you need to target.

Think about sitting in a restaurant – the place is packed, waitrons are rushing around trying to get everyone fed and watered.  Some people are upset because they have been given the wrong food or it has not been cooked to their specifications, others are tired of waiting and are ready to walk out – on the other hand there are those who have really enjoyed their meals or are enjoying their meals.  Some have finished and are leaving, others are arriving.  Some are young, some are middle aged, some are grannies and grandpas.  Some are European, some are oriental, some are from right here in South Africa, some are from other countries.  Some come from rich homes and others from poor homes, some are male and some are female.  Do you get the picture yet?

You see, even though the restaurant’s target market are ‘hungry people’ there are different kinds of hungry people.  People who have different tastes and have different expectations.  Some who want fish and others who want meat or chicken and then of course those that only eat vegetables.  The chef has to understand all these different variables and ensure that he can accommodate all the different taste buds.  The restaurant manager has to make sure that his/her waitrons are properly trained and that they can handle the pressure of serving difficult clients as there are patrons that enjoy being fussed over and others that don’t, but still want good service. There are diners that want ice in their drinks and others that don’t and still some that want a single ice cube or two – the waitrons have to remember all of this, get the orders right and delivered on time to the correct person and so on.

Understand a little better now?

So, make a list of who your target market is, then for each target market that you have listed, draw down and make a list of all the sub-groups.

Once you have identified all of your sub-groups, make a list of the best prospect or the person that you would most like to deal with and why you would like to deal with them.  Once you have done that, make a list and select the top three things that your product/service has that would win them over and another list and select the top three problems that they may encounter that you would then be able to resolve. Don’t try and fix things that you have no control over – focus on what you can fix.

The list with the things about the product that would win them over becomes the focus of what you sell to your target market and the list of problems will ensure that you are ready to respond to any problems that you may encounter.

Do you see how you have narrowed your prospects down?  If you have followed these suggestions, in all probability you have found the target market that is most right for you.

Now all you need to do is get selling – and remember, always have fun!

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

HR - What to do when . . . Staff are Negligent in their Duties




By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC - March 2008.

So here we are at the very end.  Mike the business owner has had his say, George the security guard has had his say and the Commissioner at the CCMA has had his say.

The bottom line is that Mike has to re-employ George and also has to fork out a bunch of money for dismissing George in the first place, even though the Commissioner agrees that George was in fact wrong for not complying with laid down procedures.

So now it is time for me to have my say.

Yes I agree that George’s misconduct deserved a disciplinary.  Yes I agree that ultimately George should have been dismissed!

Yes I agree that Mike was in a terrible situation, with serious losses occurring and yes I agree that Mike was well within his rights to have the surveillance equipment installed and monitored.

George’s claim that he had not been trained properly, is as far as I am concerned a load of rubbish – surely after 14 years he should have known what it is that he was doing.  There is also documentary evidence that he was in fact trained – Mike has his signature to prove that.

George’s claim that he was transferred against his will is also a load of non-sense, there is no evidence to substantiate this claim.

My knee-jerk reaction would be that Mike did everything correctly and the decision should have been in his favour.

That said, and given time to reflect without any emotion, my mind has been changed.  In terms of the law, Mike should have held the disciplinary and given George a Final Written warning as well as more documented training.  The situation should then have been monitored some more and had George slipped up even once, another disciplinary should have taken place, at which time George should have been dismissed.

This would have shown that Mike had taken steps to correct the matter rather than just get rid of George.  The CCMA outcome would also have been very different in my opinion.

The lesson that should be learnt here is always use caution.  Make sure that every avenue has been covered.  Make sure that you have been ‘seen’ to try and remedy before you just dismiss.

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

EARLY WARNING - Is Your Identity Safe


Is Your Identity Safe?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting   April 2011.

I know that I have written about this before – but hell, it needs to be talked about again.

Just last week something was delivered by a bank to one of my clients, by means of a courier, the delivery guy demanded a copy of client’s ID document.  I instructed my client not to hand over a copy of their ID!  Whatever next?  I was told by the bank official that the delivery guy had to make sure that he had delivered to the correct person.  My response – well he can look at the person, then look at the ID as well as the ID number that you have given him and if the picture looks like the person he is handing the package to and if the ID # is the same – then guess what – it’s the right person.  If he is not satisfied that it is the right person, then he doesn’t have to leave the package here.  Quite simple really.  The end solution – the courier company delivered to the bank guy (taking a copy of his ID I’m sure) and the bank guy delivered to my client, without getting another copy of the ID!

Here are some of the issues that have been reported in terms of identity documents:

How about these guys – as reported by Lyse Comins and Arthi – “Fraud syndicates are using identity theft to exploit the huge number of life and funeral policies being taken out because of the HIV and Aides pandemic. They steal an identity, take out a policy and then declare the person dead and claim the money.”

How absolutely disgusting and reprehensible is that?

To make matters worse, according to Pat Cunningham, SA Fraud Prevention Services Head, “Syndicates frequently used informants at state mortuaries and funeral parlours to alert them to unidentified and unclaimed bodies. They will also disfigure and sell an unidentified body between syndicates (to commit multiple fraud).”

Now that is even more disgusting!  I doubt that anyone reading this will disagree with anything that I have said here.

Yet we happily give copies of our ID’s to all and sundry, to anyone who asks.  We hand copies of our ID’s to people who deliver stuff to us because we are ‘told’ to, because this is the ‘procedure’ or the ‘policy’ of the company!

Well here’s a thought – I have my own set of ‘policies and procedures’ – I don’t give copies of my ID to just anybody.

Quite frankly, I am the client and not a sheep and actually the FICA and FAIS Acts are there to protect me too.

Yes people have a right to insist that I verify who I am and I can do that by showing them my ID – they can look at the ID and look at me and make a decision as to whether the person in the photograph is me.  Hell, that’s what they do when we leave or enter a country – they don’t take copies of our passports! What they don’t have, and this is actually in terms of the FICA Act, is the right to insist that I give them a copy of my ID.

As individuals, we all have to take some responsibility for keeping our identity safe.

So think, think carefully before you just hand over copies of your ID.

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Power of Networking - Part 17



By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make.  I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

The fourth mistake he says is “Spiel too long.  Networking is not speechmaking.  You have a finite window of opportunity to introduce yourself and glean a few details about the person you’re talking to.  You can’t recite your resume, tell your life story or otherwise drone on.  Keep it short and sweet!”

Sitting at a networking meeting last night, my mind wandered to the pile of work that is sitting on my desk, my 17 year old cat that seems hell bent on starving himself to death, my 7 year old nephew in Australia that I need to buy a birthday present for and even what I was going to have for dinner!  Why you may ask – well the person who was telling everyone who they are and what it is that they are doing/selling was going on and on and on.

Unfortunately I have sat through this spiel on more than one occasion and it seems to be memorised word for word.  It never changes or varies and there have been occasions when I have repeated it word for word as he has gone through it.  Nowadays, I usually use his speech time for a comfort break, but last night I really didn’t need one, so my mind went on ‘walk about’!

Sad this, because the service/product that he sells is really worthwhile and he could sell so many more of them, if he just didn’t go on so much.

I wonder what I’ll do next week, when I again sit in a networking meeting and have to listen to the monologue all over again!

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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 or

Monday, November 11, 2013

MOTIVATION - An Attitude of Gratitude

MOTIVATION – An Attitude of Gratitude

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – December 2009

Brian Tracy says “Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step towards achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”

I seem to having been writing a lot about gratitude over the last couple of weeks and clearly it has something to do with the fact that I am extremely aware of the abundance of opportunity that abounds.

I watched an incredibly spectacular sunset last night and as I marveled at the colours that spread themselves across the heavens I wondered at the ‘paint pallette’ of the Gods (whomever you profess them to be) and marveled at the visions that produced such a masterpiece and I gave thanks, and such a wonderful feeling of being at peace with the world engulfed me. 

This morning, I was up early enough to witness the beauty of the sunrise.  Dawn has always been the most special time of the day for me, but today I got a feeling of “all is well in my world” and again murmured thanks to the Universe for allowing me to live in this truly beautiful world.  Just the memory brings a smile to my face and a knowledge that it’s a gift and like any other gift that we are given it’s the right thing to say ‘thank you’.

So stop, smell the coffee (and give thanks for the ability to be able to smell), pick a flower (and give thanks for the gift of sight), look around you  and take it all in – the miracle of life, the gift of living and give thanks.  It will resonate though all of your senses all day long.

What a way to enjoy the day!

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

SALES - Finding Out what Your Customer Wants

SALES – Finding out What Your Customer Wants

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC November  2009.

The easiest sales usually come about with the right kind of marketing and quite frankly I was not really sure where to put this particular article – there is such a huge divide between sales, marketing and branding and yet they are so incredibly close too. So if your perception is that it should be under something else . .  well just pretend that it is!

Here we go –

Let’s take the same product, in the same place.  On one of “The Apprentice” shows the challenge was to see which team could sell the most food at a football game.  Both teams had exactly the same food, both teams were at the same game, both teams had the same number of members.

Team # 1 had hundreds of people crowded around the point where they were selling the food from.  They had cheerleaders doing whatever it is that cheerleaders do, there were eating type competitions, lots of ra ra going on and lots of people everywhere.  Sounds quite like fun doesn’t it.  I am sure it was a lot of fun, but they did not win – Team # 2 did.

Team # 2 did not have a specific point where they sold the food from.  There were no cheerleaders, there was no ra ra.  So what happened?  What made Team # 1 and Team # 2 so very different.

Well let’s examine the setting.  Why do most people go to a football game?  For me the most logical answer is ‘because they want to see the game’! 

If you are going to the football game to watch the game, logic must tell you that you will not wanting to be queuing to buy food and drink irrespective of how gorgeous the cheerleaders are, or what the prize is for the eating competition.  You’re there to watch the game and speaking from my own experience, I even resent having to queue up to go to the bathrooms.

So being logical again, it stands to reason that I would prefer it if someone came around to me with food and drink.  It would mean that my focus was removed from the game (as I decided and ordered whatever it was that I wanted to eat and/or drink) for seconds rather than hours. 

Here’s the other thing – people who get exactly what it is that they want, when they want it, don’t usually have a problem with paying more for it.  Again, speaking from my own experience I would much rather pay say R30.00 for a steak roll that was delivered to me in my seat than say R15.00 for the same steak roll that I had to get up and go and find in another part of the stadium, where I had the irritation of having to queue for 15 to 20 minutes, have people pushing and shoving at me (we all know how that happens in a queue and it is one of my personal pet hates) and then when I eventually get back to my seat, I have missed most of the play and as luck would usually have it, the best goal/catch/run (insert whatever you want here).  That would just annoy me immensely!

So what does that tell me?  Simple really, “The key to success in business is GIVING PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT”. 

Very simple, yet so many people get it all wrong!

So change your mindset – find out how to do things better, or faster, more profitable but most of all, find out what it is that people want and then give it to them in a better way, or much faster and then watch how your profits grow!

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

Saturday, November 09, 2013

SALES - Making Use of Everything


Making Use of Everything

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC   2009.

I was asked a question the other day – it went along the lines of, “if a big company has a huge sales force, why would they need a web site”?

Well actually why would they?  There are some Corporate Companies out there that have spent hundreds and thousands of Rand on the training of their highly professional sales team.  Why would they then go and spend thousands more on getting a web site up and running and then the cost of maintaining that etc.

Well I guess that answer would be for the same reason that I got to Networking events, why I use my web site,  why I use FaceBook as a marketing tool and why I use Twitter as a marketing tool. 

I doubt that any of us actually know all of our potential clients and I doubt that even if we did know them all that we could actually get to them all – a functional website does.

Then of course there is the fact that the Internet is not going to go away.  With an efficient website, you reach not only the potential customers in your immediate vicinity but you get to reach potential customers all over the world,

For me it’s about using every single tool that you can afford that is available to get your product/service out there.  That means irrespective of whether you have the most proactive sales force on the planet you should still have a presence on the internet.  It means that you should be tweeting on twitter and it means that you should still be going to Networking events and any other Marketing that you are able to afford.

It means quite simply, that you use everything!

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

Friday, November 08, 2013

HR - What to do When . . . Staff are Negligent in their Duties - Part 5




By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC - March 2008.

So here we are, still at the CCMA arbitration and now awaiting the verdict of the Commissioner.

Based on the evidence that was presented at the CCMA Arbitration hearing, the Commissioner rejected both claims made by George.  You will remember that George stated that he had not received any training in relation to the search procedures and that he actually objected to his being transferred to this particular post.

The Commissioner said that he agreed with Mike’s rule that the searches should be conducted in a certain and specific way and he said that he thought that this was a valid way in which to perform this task.  He approved of this particular rule.  The Commissioner also said that he agreed that George had failed in his duty has he had not obeyed the rule.  A problem arises later on though, when the Commissioner decides that George only contravened the rule as a mistake – in other words it was unintentional.  George did not intentionally fail to adhere to laid down procedures – George made a mistake!  But I digress and get ahead of myself – let’s return to the story where it is now.

The Commissioner also took into account Section 188(2) of the Labour Relations Act which states “when a person is considering whether the reason for dismissal is a fair reason, he must take into account the Code of Good Practice – Dismissal.”

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

Thursday, November 07, 2013

WORKSHOP - Jhb - Starting a Business - 20 November 2013

Starting a Business?
Then This Is The Place to Start!

A Large Percentage of New Businesses Fail, Learn Highly Practical Skills That Will Give Your Business a KickStart.

A Basic Practical Guide To Starting A Business  
•    Get started in the right direction to ensure transition from wannabe to business owner
•    Ensure maximum productivity and minimum effort.
•    Get your processes and procedures in place to ensure your business is built on a strong infrastructure that will translate into a sustainable business.
The Workshop
•    Address everyday issues that arise when stating a new business
•    How to save you time, money and energy.
•    How to effectively handle start-up administration, operational requirements and registration.
The Basic Practical Guide to Starting a New Business Will Include:
•    Registered Company Vs Sole Proprietor
•    Accounting Records & General Admin
•    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
About the Facilitator:

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who has in excess of 35 years experience in this field both from a banking and Corporate perspective as well as almost 10 years as an Entrepreneur. Nikki is the founder of Viljoen Consulting, and is passionate about assisting smaller companies to establish controls and processes  that result in sustainable business structures.
Nikki’s business blog was recently ranked  5th in the world in her category Click Here

Venue and Booking Info:

Date:    Wednesday 20th of November
Time:   08.30 to 4.00 pm.                                                                                   (Registration from 08.00 nwards). Please allow additional travelling time to combat traffic.
RSVP:  Please book by No later Than Mon 18 Nov
Venue: The Oak Leaf
                     61 Rivonia Road  Sandhurst   - Directions Click Here

Cost:   R1 195.00 * Last workshop before price increase
(Includes breakfast snack / lunch / refreshments and course material)   Remember Standard Bank Voucher holders get a 20% discount.

Hurry! Book Now  Spaces limited !

Business Engage ( formerly Women in Finance) delegates please contact Colleen Larsen on or 084-353-9865.
Paid up Business Engage members get a 10% discount.

Everyone else contact Nikki Viljoen on 083 702 8849 or

Let’s be a part of Entrepreneurs helping and supporting other Entrepreneurs.

EARLY WARNING - Hi-Jacking - Numberplates


Hi Jacking – Number plates

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting  March 2010.

Whilst I understand that writing these Early Warning articles is a good thing to hopefully prevent someone from getting hurt/scammed/conned etc., I must confess that I actually hate writing them.  It feels like such a negative issue in a world where I am trying to create positive affirmations.

I have received this communication in an e-mail from an Insurance Broker.

“There is a new number plate hi-jacking trend brewing around.  These hi- jackers will stalk you to a parking lot or mall, after parking your vehicle, they remove your number plate and wait for you to drive off.

They then follow you and overtake you displaying your number plate at their window as if you had lost it and want to give it back to you.

Shocked that your number plate has fallen off your car, you bring your vehicle to a halt to get it from them.

This is all they want you to do and by the time you realize what has happened it is too late, your cars was hi-jacked or could have been raped/killed.

Please don’t stop for anything, a number plate is valueless compared to your life.

Think about what is happening before you react to it.

Criminals are clever and cunning but are ruthless in getting what they want . . . “

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

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Power of Networking - Part 16



By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make.  I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

The third mistake he says is “Monotonal Delivery.  If you can’t convey your qualifications, passion and employability in 30 seconds you may not get 30 minutes in an interview.  Use vocal variety, intonation and enthusiasm to speak confidentially about yourself.”

Sometimes my greatest challenge at a Networking function is staying focused.  So many times my mind has wandered and I find myself thinking about what my next appointment is and mentally reminding myself what has to be done before I leave for the appointment and what I have to remember to take with me and so on.  Once I realize what is happening, I have to drag my thoughts back to the moment and try and re-focus on what is happening on the day. 

This is generally due to the person(s) who are speaking at the time – it often sounds like they are so bored with themselves and what they do.  It sounds like they would much rather be doing something else. It sounds like a well rehearsed speech that they have given several hundred times that day and quite frankly it sounds like they really feel that they shouldn’t have to be saying all of this again!

You’re passionate about what you do right?  So let everyone know that!  Let the passion come out into your voice, into your body language.  Remind yourself before you get up to speak, what your objectives are and why you are there in the first place.  Make people excited for you, about you and with you.  This is after all your life, so put some life into it!

To get to know a bit more about Craig Harrison, please visit his website on

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

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Business Tips - Social Media - What Gives

BUSINESS TIPS – Social Media – What Gives?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – December 2011

Many of my clients seem  to be tearing their hair out because of staff taking time away from their designated jobs to ‘play’ on the social media sites or incessantly chat on their cell phones.

Twenty years ago Social Media was simply the radio or television and was relatively harmless to business – I mean it was quite easy to ensure that staff were not glued to the TV or the radio.  With the introduction of WWW (World Wide Web) and the internet however, things have changed drastically and currently employers are bearing the brunt of it.

Today we have all sorts of distractions such as (but not limited to) Facebook and Twitter and don’t forget BBM (Blackberry Messenger)!  According to an article written by Jan Du Toit entitled “Social Media: Guidelines on the policy for employees using social media for non-business purposes”, employees spend as much as 79% of their business day, playing on social networking and/or gaming sites. Never mind the work that doesn’t get done, there is also the cost of the resource that the company will ultimately be responsible for.  Just how long can any company, regardless of its’ size, continue doing business under these circumstances – my guess is not very long at all.

There have also been reported incidents where employees have been dismissed because of how they have disparaged bosses and/or colleagues and/or clients, publically – what kind of damage does that do to the reputation of the company as well as the individual?  Yes, technology has advanced us as a species into a wonderful world, where there is so much to explore and learn – sadly, it has also caused huge problems in terms of the way that it is being abused by individuals who have no control over their own actions and who are addicted to the games or the interaction.  Sadly many of us find that are lives are now governed by gadgets.

It is obvious, that in order for SME’s (small, medium enterprises) as well as big corporate companies, to survive the technical revolution, certain measures need to be implemented to ensure that staff spend their work time actually working and not playing in their personal capacities.  Enter the Social Media Policy.  This will set clear guidelines to ensure that staff do not abuse company resources and provide clear definitions between what is and isn’t allowed. 

Here are some of the types of  issues that would need to be addressed:

If the employee is using media sites for business purposes, they must be aware of and clear on (but not limited to):

-    Which social media sites can be used and when.
-    The legality of postings and whether they are ethical or disrespectful and disparaging.
-    The company’s confidentiality policy should not be breeched, this should include the personal details of management, colleagues and even clients and suppliers.
-    Company details and information should be correctly disclosed, and only the official company logo should be used.
-    In terms of compliance or legislation, it is also a good idea to ensure that all copyright laws are adhered to.
-    Media type statements and/or public postings should always first be cleared by the employer and/or his/her designate.
-    etc.

For employees using the internet, social media (including cell phones and IM {instant messages applications}), they should be (but not limited to).

-    Company policy on the use of company equipment as well as what social sites can be used and when
-    Company confidentiality policy must not be breeched in any way, so company information must be kept safe
-    The company code of conduct should be upheld
-    Employees should only post in their personal capacities and not on ‘behalf of’ the company, their colleagues, clients and/or service providers and suppliers.
-    Usage of cellphones should also be included here.
-    Etc.

Furthermore, employees should be made aware of the consequences, should they fail to comply with the policy and a reminder that internet and e-mail and in the case of company cell phones, usage can and will be monitored.

It’s also a good idea to include this on the letter/contract of appointment, making sure that employees understand that when they sign their letters/contract, they also give employers permission to monitor the internet/e-mail/cell phone usage of the employer.

Please contact Nikki, if you require assistance with this policy and/or any other policies/procedures/templates that you may require.

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