Monday, June 30, 2014

Motivation - Stuff happens - deal with it

MOTIVATION –  Stuff Happens – Deal With It.


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – September 2010

 Today’s quote comes from Aldous Huxley who says “Experience is not what happens to a man, it what a man does with what happens to him.”

Profound words I am sure you will agree and certainly ones that made me dig deep . . . really deep.

You see, of late, I have been really struggling with ‘my life’s purpose’.  For a while now, everything has been a mission – getting new clients, getting paid, getting people to my workshops, even getting the work done (its that time of the year when I battle with sinus and coughs and sore chest and this year I added ear ach to the mix as well).

To make current matters worse (although in many ways it is also very exciting too), I have also been working on four different long term projects, that will certainly pay handsome dividends  . . . .  down the line, but at this point bring nothing in and cost a fortune in terms of time and energy.

Technology challenges with my website being hacked into, servers going down and a general disruption of my life has left me feeling more than a little cut off and a tad isolated.

“So what’s this all about?” I started to wonder “Why am I here and is it worth all of this effort?”  Isn’t it strange how at the first hint of things not going the way that we want them to, that this is generally the first thing that we think?  Well I do!

This for me is where today’s quote and what it means, is so important.  Sure there are a number of options open to me.  Some are as simple as closing up shop and getting myself a job (not really an option I must say, as it would kill my spirit and make me even more grumpy than I usually am), some as scary and as deep as  . . .  ok, I’m not going there and a whole host more in-between.   Being a logical person though, I did have to look at ALL of my options, unemotionally and fairly and then made a decision.

I had to make a decision on the ‘what and how’ I felt and the ‘where’ of my life, based on what I felt as opposed to being guided through the whole process by my mentor, it was time to stand on my own two feet.  It was damn scary I can tell you!

Let’s just say that I had to think about things that I didn’t want to think about and go to places inside myself that I haven’t been to for a long time and that I would prefer not to have to visit again.  We all have a ‘dark side, so I know that you know what I am talking about.

So I hear you asking – ‘what will you do?’

Well I am feeling a lot better and I am sure that has a lot to do with as I find being sick very exhausting.  A whole bunch of ‘new’ opportunities have presented themselves and the ‘old’ opportunities  seem to have taken on a new life of their own.  I have completed as much as I can on some of the long term projects and now await the outcome, which I know is out of my hands and in the hands of the “Gods” (whomever you perceive them to be).

I look around me and have a deep sense of something about to happen, like the electricity in the air just before one of our infamous Highveld storms.

I know that whatever is going to happen, will happen whether I worry about it or not and it will happen when it should and not a moment before.

I know that I have a purpose and that I am going in the right direction, but that there are times when I am too impatient for my own good and I try and push to make things happen faster, when in fact I should be resting, so as to be ready, willing and able, when they do happen.

I know that often I am the biggest ‘doubting Thomas’ in my own life, when I doubt my ability and my capability and then I am always gobsmacked when people tell me of the impact that I have had in their lives, and then I do a 180 degree turn around and become humbled by who I am and what I have achieved and how much more there is for me to achieve.

And then I see words like “experience is not what happens to a man, it is what man does with what happens to him”, and I know that I am fine and I know that ‘ all is well’ with my world.

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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Blogging 101 - Have fun with it



BLOGGING TIPS – Have fun with it


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC March 2014

At the last count I noticed that I have now officially written in excess of 1400 articles. That’s quite impressive even by my standards.  Sure there have been times when I have written an article every single day.  There have been times when I have even been in advance – that means I have actually written articles before I needed or even wanted to post them.

On the other hand there certainly have been times when I haven’t posted or written anything for days, or weeks or even months.  Those have been times when life just ‘happened’ to me instead of me being in control.  These have been sad times or when my head space has been wrong.  Those were times when I was unable to write because writing was ‘just not fun’!

There is no logical reason to do anything that is not fun and whilst I do understand that there are often tasks that need to get done irrespective of whether we enjoy doing them or not, the reality is that I cannot be creative if I am not enjoying myself, I cannot be creative if I am not having fun and quite frankly I certainly would not have been able to sustain or maintain the number of articles or even more importantly the quality of the content of the articles, if I were not enjoying myself and having fun.

So in order for me to enjoy writing the articles, it is extremely important for me to choose the niche that I am interested in.  The reality is that I write for my own enjoyment.  If what I am writing about is useful to others and/or if I can make money out of what I am writing about, then for me that is an added bonus.  If I had chosen a niche market in order to write purely for financial gain, I would have, in all probability found the writing difficult if not altogether painful.

Much is said about compromising between what you enjoy and love to write about and what your readers would like to read.  If you only write about what you love and not what your readers would like to read – well then you have a problem because chances are you will be the only one who will be reading what you have written.  Clearly the trick is to either find something that you love to hear or read as well as something that other people love to hear or read, that you are comfortable with and then go with that.

The old adage of “if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” always applies.  You can’t improve if you cannot see that you are improving or if you think that people do not value what you are saying.  So set targets or goals for yourself so that you can track your progress and as you see that more and more people are reading your blogs, so too will your motivation to write more increase.

As your confidence increases so too will your desire to monetize it.  Money is also a huge motivator, especially in the short term.  This can be done in a number of ways and the two that readily spring to mine are add opportunities or affiliate links.

Don’t expect to get rich overnight though –slow and steady usually wins the race.

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

Friday, June 27, 2014

HR 101 - A job is just the way to pay the bills

ARTICLE 24

A Job is Just A Way to Pay the Bills

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – April 2009

Would you believe me if I told you that for millions of employees out there, not only in South Africa but also all over the world, think that ‘a job is just a way to pay the bills’.

How sad is that – and I am saying that from experience!  There have been moments in my life when I felt trapped in a job that I did not particularly enjoy but, hell it paid the bills, and I was too scared to walk away from it because to some extent, it was a comfort zone.

What about your staff – are they passionate about what they do or is it for them, ‘just a way to pay the bills’.

Wait a minute, lets look at this from a different perspective – as employers, are you hiring people ‘just to get the work done, or fill a gap’ or are you hiring people who have every intention of becoming skilled in whatever job they are in, in order to make it into a career?  Do you encourage your staff to move in the direction of making, whatever it is that they do, a career?

Again, I speak from experience when I tell you, you need to hire someone who wants to make something of their lives, people who are passionate about being the best that they can be in whatever field that they are passionate about – be it as the tea lady or the cleaner or the warehouse worker or the Accountant or the Salesperson.  If you want them to do whatever the job requirements are to the best of their ability, with passion, with thought and with love – then don’t be hiring someone just because they look good or because at a push you can ‘squeeze’ them into whatever you think the job you have on offer is.  I promise you all that you will bring upon yourself is irritation, challenges and often loss of sales, stock, clients and even money, never mind respect.

Your employees need to see  what the opportunities the job you have on offer are, they need to see that they will grow as individuals and they need to see that you will train them properly (or help them get trained properly) and in return they will, more often than not, serve you well. 

Staff who are not passionate about what they do, won’t be passionate about your business, which means they will not perform well, which means that productivity will be shot to hell and the quality of their work will be ‘just enough to get by’ and all of this will impact on your business, your sales figures, your clients.

So think carefully when you hire staff – think about what they can do to your business or for your business.  Choose wisely – the success of your business may actually depend on it.

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


Thursday, June 26, 2014

HR 101 - What to do when . . . Staff don't bring a doctors certificate

ARTICLE 23

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Staff Don’t Bring a Doctor’s Certificate

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – March 2009

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, I am sure we have all experienced the same problems with our staff, particularly around the issue of doctor’s certificates, when staff are off ill or when staff with babies or small children, are off ill.

Much of the aggravation can be avoided by having a proper Letter of Appointment in place.  Some of the issues that need to be documented are (but not limited to):

-    During the first six months of employment you are entitled to 1 day sick leave for every 26 days worked.
-    Thereafter you are entitled to 36 days (if you work a six day week) every 36 months or 30 days (if you work a five day week) every 36 months.
-    Sick leave cannot be accumulated
-    Sick leave cannot be paid out.
-    Sick leave (or indeed any leave) can only be taken in accordance with Company Rules and regulations.  (This would include things like (but not be limited to, sick leave forms that would need to be completed and when doctor’s certificates are required etc.)
-    If a staff member is off for two consecutive days or on a Friday (or Saturday) or Monday or before or after a public holiday, a certificate must be submitted together with the leave application form, from a registered practitioner.
-    A Medical Certificate can also be requested by law and in compliance with the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act), if your staff member is absent for more that one day every 8 weeks.
-    Medical appointments, unless in the case of an emergency, should be made first thing in the morning (and where applicable the staff member should then go to work) or last thing at the end of the day, so as to disrupt the work flow as little as possible.
-    Failure to produce or submit a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner, where applicable may result in unpaid leave.
-    As an employer you are not required to pay an employee if they don’t submit a doctors certificate where required.
-    The certificate must be from a registered medical practitioner.  If the doctor/traditional healer/herbalist (insert whatever you like here) is not registered as a medical practitioner you are not obliged to accept the certificate.
-    As an employer, you are entitled to verify the authenticity of the certificate by phoning the doctor to verify that the employee is/was in fact under treatment or that they did in fact visit the doctor for treatment.

Remember though – your staff are entitled to confidentiality so you are not entitled to know the details of what is actually wrong with them or the nature of the treatment.

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


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Networking 101 - Make an Impact

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 49

Make an Impact

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Make an impact!  Walk into a room knowing that you have something important to offer, that is worth sharing.”

As usual Renate is spot on the money!  This is a great tip indeed.

I know that, since I have finally ‘got’ the whole networking thing and actually, I walk into a room differently and people have noticed.  It’s like I have a secret weapon and whilst I am quite happy to share with anyone that wants it, it is actually mine and that is a very powerful emotion to have.

It’s like having your ego constantly stroked and it certainly puts me on a ‘high’ (without the use of any kind of other substance). 

You see, in most instances – I know something that those people don’t know and that makes me a very special person.  The fact that I am willing to share my secret with anyone and everyone – well that makes me kind of unique, don’t you think!

What ‘anyone and everyone’ does with the secret that I share with them of course is an entirely different thing altogether and that often is very sad.  Actually I used to get very upset and frustrated, when people didn’t understand the whole networking context – now I understand that sometimes things just are what they are.  So I share with those that want to hear, to learn and to understand and the rest, well life will take care of them I guess, and at the end of the day it really isn’t my problem at all.

I look at the world differently and I see people differently, and it has nothing to do with whether I like someone as an individual or not, it has to do with that person’s circle of influence, who they are connected to and who I am connected to.  It has to do with adding value to people’s lives and having value added to mine. 

It has to do with having a secret that I am dying to share with you – would you like to hear it?

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at http://www.drrenatevolpe.co.za

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Business Tips - Being your own boss - Part 7



BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 7


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May  2009

Being passionate about your business and what it is that you do is a given and it is something that you should not be faulted for.  Having a business that you are not passionate about is just plain madness and it will break your heart as well as do damage to your soul.  That said however, as business owners we also need to ensure that our passion does not get us carried away.

Let me explain.  Sometimes we are so ‘gung ho’ about our product and/or service that we feel that every single person on the planet should be jumping up and down for whatever it is that we are selling.  Don’t be na├»ve.  Don’t be so arrogant!  This is what is commonly known as ‘selling to yourself’ and we are all guilty of it at some stage of our business lives.

On a regular basis talk to people, family, friends, acquaintances, potential customers, your networking group, whoever will give you the time of day and give you an unbiased opinion – and ask the question.  “Is this what people need/want/desire to have”?  It is important to ensure that what you are selling is current.  Don’t get bent out of shape if you get an answer that you are not particularly looking for, in fact be thankful that people are honest – it may be your saving grace.

By getting this honest feedback on a regular basis, you may very well be able to make changes in the direction that your business is going, before disaster strikes.

Don’t be scared to engage these incredible people in some more questions – ask them how you could improve your idea, your service and any other ideas that they may have.  Get down off you pedestal and don’t be defensive.  Listen carefully to what they have to say – write down all the ideas that come out of the brainstorming session.

Once you have calmed down and you are thinking clearly again – take a look at what came out of the session.  Keep an open mind and honestly analyse the ideas.  Keep the most useful, tweak those that need tweaking and discard the rest. 

Get these people together on a regular basis – let them challenge you and your ideas – your business will only prosper because of it.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Blogging 101 - The Writing




BLOGGING TIPS – The Writing


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

About now we hit a complete blank!

We all know what it is that we know and given any other opportunity to tell people what it is that we know is never a problem.

Ask us to write down what it is that we know in anything other than a ‘strictly business sense’ and quite frankly we are up *&^% street without a paddle.  Actually if the truth be told, many of us do not even have any kind of business profile to speak of.

Here’s the thing though – to talk and gesture and pontificate, well that’s easy – we do it every day, but to put our thoughts, our passion, our feelings down on paper, well that’s an entirely different thing altogether!

Somehow, through our own perception, we lock into something dark and unacceptable when we put our own thoughts down on paper.  Truth be told, I guess – these thoughts come back to haunt us or bite us on the bum.  Strangely enough for me at any rate, what I write about is what I most need to hear myself.

Many of my most profound lessons and the things that I have most needed to learn or understand are the things that I have shared with the world, on my blog.

Many is the time that I have ‘kicked’ your rear end and my own at the same time!

You see, I don’t just rely on ‘what I know’, I research almost every article that I write, which means, not only do I provide you, my reader, with information, but I also keep myself up to date and that is extremely important!

Often as Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners we are so caught up in the running of our own businesses that we do not keep up with what is happening in the world around us. Doing the research for my blogs allows me to do this.

My marketing becomes my training and my R & D too – how cool is that?

Blogging really has become part of my marketing and the time that I spend on it is really worth while.

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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Blogging 101 - Your writing style



BLOGGING TIPS – Your Writing Style


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC March 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

HR 101 - What to do when . . . Staff need to work overtime

ARTICLE 22

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Need Your Staff to Work Overtime

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – March 2009

We haven’t visited with my favorite protagonists for some time now, so let’s re-introduce them.

We have George who is a Salesman at a retail store and Mike who owns the retail store.

Mike wants to do a year end stock take after hours so as not to interfere with the daily turnover and he therefore asks all the staff to make themselves available to work overtime on the Sunday afternoon, after hours to do the stock take.

George has decided that he will not work overtime.  Mike is furious and wants to discipline George.

We’ve all been there I am sure.

Here’s the thing though – you cannot force a staff member to work overtime, unless there is a documented and signed agreement in place and this is accordance with the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) Section 10(1)(a).

When reading the BCEA, you will note that they have made provision for a certain number of hours of overtime.  The Bargaining Councils have also made this provision but that doesn’t mean that you can force someone to work overtime.  You still have to get the consent of the employees.

So how do you get around this problem, I mean realistically speaking, no-one wants to have to rush around to all the staff with Letters of Consent, every time that you want them to work overtime.

It’s actually quite simple – you put a clause in the Letter of Appointment/Contract that stipulates that they agree to work overtime from time to time.  If this clause is not in your Letter of Appointment/Contract, as a standard requirement, what you will have in fact is a work force who will have a lot of leverage over you.

Why do I say that – well here is another scenario.  Let’s go back to George and Mike.  Let’s take the same setting.  Now all the staff see that George has refused to work overtime and they now know that they are not obliged to work overtime and they also know that being year end, Mike has no option but to do the stock take, for the year end figures.  If Mike does the stock take during working hours it will impact on his turnover as well as his year end figures and if he doesn’t do the stock take by close of business on the last working day of the year, this will also impact on his figures.

What do they do, well George and his fellow workers go into ‘demand’ mode.  They demand additional overtime pay, they demand a ‘food’ allowance, they demand an additional ‘travel allowance’ and they also demand ‘time off for time worked’.

Mike is in no position to do anything but agree to their conditions, because the reality of the situation is that it would cost him more in the long run if he didn’t do the stock take on time.  There would be costs on time lost as well as the time it took to adjust figures and a whole bunch of other issues to be taken into account.

So putting this clause as a standard into your Letter of Appointment/Contract could save you a huge amount of headache and money in the long run.

Make no mistake, staff can still ‘refuse’ to work the overtime but then it becomes “Breach of Contract” and the matter can then be dealt with as such.

As always, if you are not sure about what to do, contact a reputable Labour Attorney to assist you.

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



Thursday, June 19, 2014

HR 101 - Attendance Registers

ARTICLE 21

Attendance Registers

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC – March 2009

I am often astounded by people’s reactions when I tell them that it is a legal requirement for staff to complete and sign in, in an attendance register.  The usual response is something along the lines of “well George has been with us for a number of years now and he is like part of the family and we don’t want to change that in any way, so we don’t want to implement an attendance register.”  Fine – if that’s the way you want it, my job is merely to tell you about it, whether you listen or heed that advice is of course, your prerogative.

So why is it then, that 9 out 10 people who react like this when I tell them to implement an attendance register end up phoning me to assist them with a CCMA case several months or even years down the line?  Well that’s really quite simple.  You see, George (who was ‘like part of the family’) has decided to leave the company for greener pastures and when he left he wanted and was entitled to have his leave paid out.  The problem of course is that there was no record of the amount of leave that he took, so you guessed it and paid it out to him in good faith.  He on the other hand, was only part of your family because it suited him at the time and now he wants his pound of flesh, so to speak – and he knows that there is no record of when he was on leave and so he will claim as much as he can, going back for as long as he can and there is pretty much, nothing that you can do about it.

Having an attendance register in place, and insisting that the staff abide by it, means that you have taken the emotion out of the situation.  Now no-one can get hot under the collar because they were sure that they were at work on that day and you were sure that they weren’t.  The attendance register will prove who was at work and when. 

Remember though, the attendance register must be signed EVERY day when the employee comes to work and not months in advance and/or months in arrears.  Even your domestic worker who comes in once a week or your gardener who comes in once a week should be signing the register.  In fact my rule is – if the attendance register has not been signed, it means that you were not at work and if you were not at work, then you will not be paid.
It’s quite simple isn’t it?

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


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Networking 101 - Networking with Integrity

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 48

Networking with Integrity

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Resist short term gain, at the expense of trust and integrity.”

Now this is an interesting one!  Many times, a few days after meeting someone at a networking meeting, I have phoned said person only to be told – “I’ve not gotten anything out of the meeting from anyone, so this networking thing doesn’t work for me!”

Oh how sad and how very short sighted!  Here’s the thing see – if you go to a networking event purely with the intention of getting some work or selling a widget at that meeting, please don’t go.  All you are doing is wasting everybody’s time and energy and more to the point, disillusioning yourself!

Think about this logically for a moment.  If you do a cold call and you manage to get past the gate keeper and in to see the top brass – how often will you make a sale of your widget and/or service at that first meeting?  The answer is pretty much NEVER!  So why on earth would you think that you could get it right at one networking meeting?

The truth is that networking doesn’t, by itself, get you any business!  What it does do is get you to meet people, far more people than you would if you were going door to door and cold calling.  It is still what you do, after you have met with those people that counts.  It’s how you build the relationship thereafter that makes the difference!

Networking is about ‘warm’ calling – once you have met or even seen someone at a networking meeting, when you call them up – even if they don’t remember seeing or meeting you there, once you introduce yourself and say you were at that meeting, they will remember being there too and it is easier to set up the appointment!  Once you have your foot in that door, the building of the relationship can start taking place and the referrals of your own ‘circle of influence’, can take place and the meeting of the other persons ‘circle of influence’ can start to take place and big business can start being done.  It has to start somewhere though and that somewhere is at the networking meeting!

So in essence, networking is about meeting new people in order to start building relationships.  Once you have grasped that, you will be well on your way.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at http://www.drrenatevolpe.co.za

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Business Tips - Being your own boss - Part 6



BUSINESS TIPS – From Employee to Entrepreneur – Part 6


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – January 2013

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.
5.    Knowledge & what you do with it
6.    The Generosity of your Spirit
7.    The Role of Technology in your Business
8.    Self Confidence
9.    Creativity and
10.    Focus
11.    Vision
12.    Result

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

1.    Networking
One of the quickest ways to get to people who have more knowledge and more experience than you do is to network.  There are many SMME (small, medium, micro enterprises), entrepreneurial or start up networking groups out there for you to choose from.  Some leave you to your own devices, some are semi facilitated and some are fully facilitated – find one that suits your requirements and get networking.  Networking is also a great way to build relationships with like-minded people who often become suppliers and even customers and you will find people who will be willing to assist you by sharing their knowledge and experience.

2.    Leadership
Every company needs a leader and as a business owner that is who you are – the leader.  Quite honestly, your business success (or failure for that matter) is intrinsically linked to and dependent upon your capability as a leader.  You will need to inspire your staff, you will need to gain the trust and respect of your staff and you will need to commit to them if you want commitment from them.  If you are not a natural leader or are unsure of your role as a leader, I would suggest that you get yourself off to some training as soon as possible as leaders are not necessarily born, they can also be made.

3.    Management
Every business needs to be properly managed.  Whether you are on your own or you have staff, your business still needs to be managed and this is achieved by having some sort of plan in terms of the operation of the business.  What are you going to do with regard to sales, delivery etc. and how are you going to achieve that.  You have to know where you are going and how you are going to get there in order for you to succeed.

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 nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motivation - Starting the change with you

MOTIVATION – Starting the Change with You


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – January 2010

There is a story that goes something like . . .

Once upon a time there was a man who always felt insulted by people around him.  This man went to visit a very wise man and told the wise man all about this problem that he had. 

He told the wise man how easily he was insulted by the people around him and how it hurt him when people said bad things to him or about him.

The wise man then asked the man a question that went something along the lines of ‘if someone gives you a gift and you don’t accept the gift, who does the gift belong to?’

The man was thoroughly confused and conveyed this to the wise man.

The wise man tried again saying, ‘if someone gives you a gift and you accept the gift, who does it belong to’? 

‘Well it belongs to me’, said the man ‘if it was given to me, then it belongs to me.’

‘So’, said the wise man, ‘if someone gives you a gift and you don’t accept that gift, who then does the gift belong to?’

‘Then’ the man replied, ‘the gift still belongs to the person who is giving it to me’.

‘So there’s your answer’, said the wise man, ‘if someone insults you and you don’t accept the insult from the giver, then the insult still belongs to the giver.’

As usual it’s about choice and how we choose to react to issues and other people’s stuff!

I am often amused at the reaction of people when I say that ‘other peoples opinion of me is none of my business’!  Believe me when I say it, because it is something that I really believe and quite frankly I really don’t give a continental . . . well, I’m sure that you understand exactly what I mean.

That said, I still seem to get angry when people have disparaging remarks to say about the people that I love.  Clearly, that too is my choice and it is something that I will need to look at and process once way or another.

It’s also often about negativity.  I have spent most of the year listening to people moan and groan about the economy, the government, taxes, non-paying clients, the recession (insert anything you like here) and most of the time their comments have irritated me because of what I saw as ‘their’ choice of actions and yet I am doing exactly the same thing when I get annoyed by other people’s remarks about those that I love.  Instead of rejecting their ‘gift’ of insults or disparaging remarks, I buy into them and react negatively.  Clearly that has to change.

Now it is much easier to say than it is actually to do, but that said change can only happen if it starts with me.  I cannot just sit here on my rear end and command that things change.  The change starts with me and in order for it to start, I have to be aware of what the choices are that I am making.  So for me, it is one of those times that I do the ‘note to self’ thing and this article is clearly, my ‘note to self’.

So starting from today – insults will no longer be accepted by me?  What about you?  Will you still be accepting the ‘gift’ of insults?

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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Blogging 101 - What makes a blog well written - Part 2



BLOGGING TIPS – What Makes a Blog Well Written?

Part 2


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC  2010

So now we have a great title and . . .  now what?

It feels like a hundred years ago since I was at school, but I do remember the
English teacher always drilling into us the basics of a good composition – it, the story that is, has to have a beginning, a middle and an ending.  Let’s be honest here, what is a blog – if not a story about your business, or about who you are or what it is that you are doing and why you are doing it?  The reality is that it is a story and it is in the telling of the story, that you have the power. 

A story is no good, if the beginning makes you want to fall asleep.  Most people will stop right there and not continue reading.  So too is having a fantastic and strong ending, without a great beginning.  That is just a hopeless exercise.  Conversely having a fantastic beginning, that grips the imagination or curiosity of the reader and then having an ending that makes them feel like they have just lit the soggy end of a wet squib, will also make them reluctant to read any of your future offerings.

So you’ve got a fabulous beginning and an ending that will make the reader bang down the door for the next installment, but what about the middle?  How do you tell the story?  Does it follow the twists and turns, does it have a surprise somewhere along the way, does it make the reader engage with the characters or feel that they want to buy your product or service?  Does it conjure up pictures or colours or smells or memories that reach down into the very core of a being?  How does it make them feel inside?  For example, what are you ‘feeling’ right now as you read these words.  Are you nodding your head furiously because you understand exactly how you feel when you are reading something that bores you to tears or the excitement that creeps up from within as you read something that gives you an ‘ah-ha’ moment or that challenges you or that makes you think, I mean really think – or are you sadly shaking your head from side to side, because you don’t have a clue about what it is that I am going on about (and yes, there will always be those who remain utterly clueless – no matter what the topic)!

For me, the beginning must grab my attention from the getgo – I must think, I have to just read this page before I  . . . .  (insert what you will here).  The ending must make me sigh with pleasure, sad that I have come to the end and eager to start reading the next article or the next book by the same author and the middle, well the middle must keep me engrossed, it must feed my imagination and satisfy my curiosity, it must stretch my mind and leave me with an internal sense of well being. It must make me willing to follow without question, not make me feel like I am being dragged along, resisting all of the way.  Reading the kind of articles that make me feel like I am being forced to read, irritate and annoy and sap all the pleasure out of reading the written word.

Step back from your page for a moment and ponder – what is the picture that you want your reader to have?  What is the experience that you wish for them to have? Is it a pleasurable one?  Now sit down and write the story with all of those images that run around and swirl about in your head – they will see them, they will feel them and I have no doubt that they will enjoy them.

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

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blogging 101 - What makes a blog well written - Part 1



BLOGGING TIPS – What Makes a Blog Well Written – Part 1?


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC September 2010

There’s very little, in terms of feeling a great sense of achievement, as writing the last word in your article or blog.  It really gives me a sense of wellbeing that carries me well into the remainder of my day.

Checking my spelling and my grammar is something that I do as a matter of course.  That said though, I have recently become more aware of a few more elements that are needed to ensure that my blog gets read by as many people as possible.  As much as the feeling is absolutely great when you complete the blog, so too is it absolutely  devastating, when you look at the statistics and see that no-one has read the article or blog.  That can be absolutely soul destroying!

So how can we fix this?

Think about this for a moment.  As we travel around town, to and from our places of work, to a meeting or indeed, just going to the local mall, we see the newspaper headlines that are strung from lampposts or advertisements up on billboards everywhere.  The headlines are designed specifically to entice us to buy the newspaper or buy whatever is being advertised.  So too, must our headlines (or titles if you will), entice the readers to read our blogs or websites.

The headline is very important – it must pack a punch, it must captivate the imagination, it must magnetically pull the reader in.

Having the right headline (or title) can actually mean the difference between having your blog being read by a multitude of people and not being read at all.

For me, part of my test is to read the blog out loud.  This means the headline as well.  Read it out loud and then ask yourself a few questions.  What picture does it paint in your head?  Does it make you want to read more?  Does it capture and hold your attention?  Does it draw you in and make you feel like you are a part of the whole story?


The next question is this – I use ‘Google’  to search what I am looking for, but it doesn’t really matter which search engine you use – if your headline was in the line up (of whatever it is that you are looking for), would you be compelled to click on it before you clicked on any of the others?  If you really are stumped and you can’t think of a suitable headline, ask a friend.  Brainstorm!  Throw it out there and see what comes back at you.  You will be amazed at the amount of help there is and even more amazing is the fact that as you practice your writing, your skill at writing will improve immensely.

Next week we will have a look at a few more points on how to write a great blog.

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

HR 101 - What to do when . . . Staff have accumulated leave

ARTICLE 20

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Staff have accumulated Leave

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

This can be a real nasty!  Clearly it is in your own best interests to have the correct wording for what you want, in your letter of appointment.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act says that the staff member is entitled to a minimum of 15 working days leave per annum.  It also states that the staff member cannot ‘sell’ you their leave.

Here’s the problem – there’s nothing in there to stop staff members from accumulating leave and this is where you will ultimately have a problem, one way or another.

Obviously prevention is better than cure, so let’s put down here some of the things that you should have in your letter of appointment:

The 15 days per year as per the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.  Now if your company closes over the December holiday period, your staff will only accumulate 3 maybe 4 days per annum, which means that they should still take those days during the course of the year.  I would suggest that you have a clause that says something along the lines of – leave cannot be accumulated. At least 80% of the leave must be taken within the course of the year, the balance of 20% must be taken by no later than 31st March of the following year.  Leave accumulated and not take at this time will be forfeited and lost. Remember though that if the employee resigns or is dismissed, the leave that has not been taken (unless it was forfeited and lost) has to be paid out at this time.
   
If your company closes down in December, but the staff member wants his/her full leave during the course of the year.  Your letter of appointment should state clearly that taking leave during the closure of the Company is mandatory and that any leave not taken at that time must be taken during the course of the year.  Staff will only be granted at a time that is convenient to the Company.  There is nothing in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act that states that staff can take leave as and when they feel like, it has to be at a time that is convenient to the Company.

Then of course, you will have the odd members of staff who will phone you on a Monday morning and say ‘Oh by the way, I’m not coming in today because I am taking leave.’  Not nice!  So in your letter of appointment, you should state that – leave must be applied for at least a week/month (whatever is convenient to you as the employer) prior to leave being taken.  This will give you a chance to put measures in place to accommodate being short staffed.  If the nature of your business means that everyone is under extreme pressure during certain times of the month this can also be factored into the Letter of Appointment along the lines of – Leave will not be granted during the period between the last weekend of a month and the first weekend of the following month.

If you follow these simple guidelines, the only time you will have a problem is if a staff member has applied for leave and you as the employer has denied them that leave for whatever reason. If the employee then resigns or you dismiss them, you will have to pay them out. Don’t do that and believe me you will be paying out – big time.

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


Thursday, June 12, 2014

HR 101 - You have to pay UIF

ARTICLE 19

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Have to Pay UIF

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

It is said that there are three things in life that you can count on, they are:-
1)    You will pay taxes;
2)    Things will change; and
3)    You will die.

Keeping this in mind, I am constantly amazed at the number of people who think that they don’t have to pay UIF for themselves and their staff members.

Here’s the thing, it is a legal requirement.  If the Labour Department sends an Inspector to your place of business or even your home and they discover that you have staff members or that you have a gardener or that you have a Domestic worker or that you pay yourself a salary and you do not pay UIF, you will be fined.  There is a penalty.

Don’t be thinking that because you have had the same gardener for the last 20 years and he only comes in once a week, that you don’t have to pay UIF on his behalf.  You do and please don’t come with the ‘he’s a casual’ story either!

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act is very clear on this.  A casual worker is someone that you pick up on the side of the road and who does something for you on a ‘once off’ basis.  You never see him again, you probably don’t know his name and you certainly don’t welcome him into your home or your garden on a weekly basis.  

In fact anyone who works for you for more than 24 hours a month (that 3 days people) is considered a permanent employee and is entitled to the benefits of a permanent employee irrespective of whether you have given them a letter of appointment or not!

So make sure that you have registered your business as an employee and make sure that you have registered yourselves as employers and register your gardener and your Domestic worker and then register yourself.

It’s really not a big deal and the amount of money that has to be paid every month is really quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  That said, the irritation, the inconvenience and the size of the fine that you will get if you do not comply is far greater than making the payment every month and with the introduction of e-filing, paying this is an absolute pleasure.
   
Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Networking 101 - The Elevator Speech

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 47

What is an Elevator Speech?

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Your elevator speech should sound natural, be interesting and be no longer than 15 seconds.”

Ok, ok – I can hear you all saying ‘what’s an elevator speech?’  So here is the explanation.

An elevator speech is usually a ‘one’ liner that gives a taste of who you are and what it is that you do.  It is used in most semi facilitated networking events, where everybody gets to introduce themselves to everyone present, quickly.  What usually happens thereafter is that you go round a second time and everyone gets a longer time (say a minute or two) to give a little more detail.  It is used specifically, when there are a large number of people present and time is limited.

Here’s the best way that I know how to describe it.

Imagine that you are in a lift with Madiba (for those of you who don’t know who Madiba is – it’s Nelson Mandela).  It’s one of those slow creaky lifts and he is getting off at the next floor.  You have exactly that much time to tell him who you are, what it is that you do and make an impression! 

Pretty tall order I know, but then if you are going to do something in life, you might as well do it properly!

Take some time and prepare something short and I mean short!  I recently attended a networking event and one of the ladies got up to do her elevator speech and she took longer than the opening of parliament!  Don’t do that – not only is it disrespectful to the rest of the people there, they also need to be heard, but it’s also extremely boring.  People will ‘switch off’ and travel elsewhere in their minds, while you waffle on.

It must be something catchy, something that will ‘grab’ the attention of whomever you say it too.  It must make them want to do the 30meter dash to your side, before anyone else gets to you – in order to do business before anyone else can. It must make you stand out in the crowd, so that they will never forget you – they may forget your name, but they will never forget you.

To give you an example – here’s mine (and no you can’t use it – find your own!).

“My name is Nikki Viljoen.  I am part of a dedicated team of people and committed Corporates’ who are passionate about helping SMME’s start up and grow successful, sustainable businesses.  I have helped thousands of people during the 30+ years that I have been doing this. Who here would like to start-up or run a business that is effective, efficient and sustainable?”

Now everyone wants to talk to me – why?  Well because there is not a single Business owner on the planet who would not like to run their business like that.

Remember it has to make you stand out in the crowd.  It’s about what makes you different – imagine if you will that you are - say a bookkeeper and there are 5 other bookkeepers at the meeting or in the room – what makes you different, why should people do business with you and not one of the other 5?  See what I mean?

Getting your elevator speech just right is extremely important, especially if you are at a networking event with a number of people.  So take the time to perfect it.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at http://www.drrenatevolpe.co.za

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Business Tips - Being your own boss - Part 5



BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 5


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – April 2009

It is said that “There are none so blind as those who will not see”!

Ain’t that the truth!  One of the most frustrating things for me is trying to convince people – especially about the work that I do.  Most of the time people are stuck in the whole philosophy of “It won’t happen to me” and then of course it does.  It’s Murphy’s law.

I have learnt over the years though, to just let them be and even when the brown smelly stuff hits the fan and splatters all over them, I bite my tongue (when I really want to tell them ‘I told you so’) and instead outline a plan of action to correct the problem and then prevent it from happening again.

Nowadays, I try and inspire them.

Many of the experts say that you should have a one page sales kind of brief.  I find though, that people are skeptical of the salesperson who continuously tells everybody how ‘wonderful’ they are and how ‘wonderful’ their product and/or service is.  Now I quote some of the more touching testimonials that my clients and colleagues have sent to me.  Believe me, those testimonials have far more impact, in terms of trust, than any kind of sales spiel.

Do you love what you do?  Are you passionate about what you do?  If you are, chances are that it will change the way that you speak and it will change your body language and it will change the energy that you exude. Your passion, the love of what you do and the belief that you have in your product and/or service will be clearly evident for all to see.  There is nothing more soul satisfying than to watch people becoming infected by and with your passion.

Don’t be shy to tell people who you are and where you come from.  Describe your struggles and how you overcame them.  People relate to struggles – we all go through them.  People applaud success – even the very small ones.

Be sure to always include your contact details, make it as easy as possible for people to find you.

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

Monday, June 09, 2014

Motivation - Self Image

MOTIVATION –  Self Image


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – March 2010

Dr Joyce Brothers says “An individual’s self concept is the core of his personality.  It affects every aspect of human behaviour, the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change.  A strong positive self image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”

This just reminds me how many thousands, in fact millions of people throughout the world there are, who live with little or no self esteem.  It reminds me of the damage that parents have inflicted on their children or that teachers have inflicted on their students or employers on their employees.  Even more sad, I see on a daily basis how we, as individuals, not only drive self esteem from the lives of our colleagues and friends but also from our own hearts.

A few years ago I employed a young lady who I put through a bookkeeping and later on an accounting course.  Although extremely bright and intelligent she had not completed matric due to circumstances beyond her control.  Having left school a number of years before I met her, I was pleased at her agreement to ‘go back to studying’ and very proud of the commitment she had made.  I was so excited about this undertaking that I told everyone who would listen.

She was devastated and insulted!  Her take on this was that she had to  ‘go back to school’ because she was ‘stupid’.

Sadly there are many similar stories such as this one and I was recently reminded of this just last week.

A friend of mine had entered a dance competition.  She was nervous and excited as she watched some of the other contestants dance.  Her turn came and she executed all her dance moves with elegance, passion and precision.  Chatting to her later, while we watched some more of the contestants, she was again extremely nervous and very critical of her performance.  I pointed out to her that the lady who was dancing at the time was ‘out of sync’ with the music, her music in fact, did not match or compliment her costume and her movements were not fluid but stiff and unyielding.  My friend turned to me, the pain evident in her eyes and said something along the lines of “I don’t see myself the same way that you see me.  I don’t see myself the way anybody else sees me!”

Here is an intelligent, beautiful woman, with her whole life before her and the world at her feet, who does not see her talent or her potential, who does not see her ‘worth’.  My heart went out to her and I was suddenly angered at the person or persons who had caused this pain and damage to her.  Her perception was one of that she was not worthy, that she was not good enough and this had created her reality.

The true reality is that she will, in all probability win the competition – she’s that good!  The true reality is that she is incredibly talented and her potential is huge and she is limited only by her own perception.

The lesson here today is that we, as individuals need to be positive, not only in our own lives but also in the lives of the people whose lives we touch.  We need to encourage and uplift the people around us.

In essence we need to let them look at themselves through our eyes.

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


Sunday, June 08, 2014

Blogging 101 - The pros and cons of weekend blogging



BLOGGING TIPS – The Pros and Cons of Weekend Writing


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC January 2011

I have often been asked why I don’t have a weekend post.  Well the truth of the matter is that generally speaking, I am battling to keep up with the writing of the daily articles right now, even the thought of having to write another one or two more articles a week, is enough to send me into a state of panic.

The reality though is that many people only work on the internet during the week, although we small business owners would generally not fit into that particular category.  Depending on who you target with your blogs, this would mean that there would be a lower number of readers over the weekend but that the number of readers on a Monday would increase sharply as these readers played “catch up”.

Many individuals though, just stop following a blog if they feel that they have missed too many ‘episodes’ and some also feel really overwhelmed if they have too many unread articles waiting for them from their favorite blogs.

So in view of this, is there even a point to posting something over a weekend?

Well here’s the thing, even though there are many individuals who aren’t on the internet over the weekend, there are still many who are and these clearly are the folk that you need to target.

All the articles that I have read on the subject though really emphasize the need to write shorter, thought provoking articles.  These are sure to catch the attention of the individuals who brave the internet on the weekends as well as appeal to the Monday morning folk who play ‘catch up’.  The weekend readers are also more likely to end up with a burning desire to ‘know more’ and hopefully will then also begin reading your posts during the course of the week.

Remember though to keep it short and interesting.

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

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Blogging 101 - Full time blogging



BLOGGING TIPS – Full Time Blogging


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2011

Someone asked me the other day if I had ever considered writing – blogs, articles, whatever -  full time.  My knee jerk reaction was to burst out laughing and reply “No, not for me thank you”.  That was the end of that particular discussion.  Much later though, I did think about it . . . .  carefully . . .  and I must admit, that although I do love to write, writing full time, meeting daily deadlines and doing research on stuff that I am perhaps not that interested in, will be the quickest way to put me off writing forever!  So my knee-jerk reaction was not so far off the mark after all.

Here’s the thing though – just because writing full time is not for me – doesn’t mean that it can’t be for you. There are probably a few other things that you need to think about before you make that decision though, such as (but not limited to):

Do you really love to write?  I mean really, really love it!  Is it something that you think about all the time?  Do the stories and words just run around in your head and continuously spill out as you frantically try and get them written down?  Do they make ‘little tornadoes’ in your mind until you can think of nothing else, but getting them written down and then as soon as they are written, is your mind instantaneously filled up with the next story or more words? Whenever you go somewhere, as you look around you, are the words describing the experience or what you are looking at, forming in your mind and demanding to be written?  If I was asking myself these questions and I had to reply “no” to any one of them – I would seriously re-think whether I was meant to be writing full time.  You have to have the passion, if you don’t, you will end up hating to write.

Are you leaving your current job?  Ok, so this one is a biggie!  For me this is a big question – you see, I am passionate about what I do.  My business has been going since 2003 and each day put’s me that much closer to my goal – the one that the dream was started and built on.  My business is how I make my bread and butter and would I be prepared to either “dump” the whole thing or put everything on hold whilst I write full time?  I think not! Even if I were to decide to go the writing full time route, it would need to start slowly as it is not something that I have been trained to do – better to start off,  say blogging part time and see how that goes.  My advice on this one would be caution – a lot of caution!

Learning and research.  Talking about not being trained to write for a living, are you prepared to learn?  I know that many people pay ‘lip service’ to the whole idea of ‘learning new stuff until the day we die’, but the reality is that many folk don’t want to be ‘learning’ new stuff every day.  I know that from my own experience, every time I write a new blog or an article,  I have to do some sort of research and in so doing, I learn something new.  So, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about my opinion, it’s also about the facts and to get to the facts, you have to do the research – are you willing to spend that kind of time.  If not, then I seriously suggest that you don’t go into writing full time.

Collaboration.  Here’s another thing that many people pay ‘lip service’ to.  Many ideas are born out of ‘brain storming’ or people discussing issues or people sharing experiences.  Are you one of those kinds of people or is ‘your stuff’ exactly that – ‘Your stuff’?  Often writing an article is a very personal or even intimate thing that is torn from you.  It can be painful or even embarrassing – would you be able to share then?  Perhaps I should also ask – COULD  you part with it then?  I know from my own experience that there are some stories that I had to write down, that is often how I have dealt with some of the issues from my past, but that doesn’t mean that I am willing to part with them or share them, but what about if you are being paid to write that particular story – how would you feel about parting with it then?

Endurance and patience.  Just like any other enterprise, you have to endure and be patient.  Chances are that you are not going to be earning huge amounts of money from stuff that you have written, five minutes after you have written it and before the ink is properly dry on the page. I have often heard journalists talking about how badly they are paid and how they write for the ‘love of it’. That writing is not a job, it’s a ‘calling’ or even a ‘responsibility’.  The reality is that like any other job or business endeavor, it takes time.  Again from my own experience, I have been writing my blogs now for a good 5 years and I am only now starting to reap the rewards.  Has it been worth it – absolutely!  Without a doubt!

Could I do it full time – absolutely not!  The question here of course actually isn’t about whether I could write full time or not – the question is, can you?

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

Friday, June 06, 2014

HR101 - What to do when . . . You need to compile a Job Description - Part 5

ARTICLE 18

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Need to Compile a Job Description

Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

Finally, let’s have a look at some of the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of writing a Job Description.

•    Do ensure that the questions “what”, “why”, “how” and “how often” are answered, clearly and concisely.  Remember to use words that are easily understood so that there can be no confusion.
•    Do make sure that there is sufficient detail for each task.  Again, you don’t want to confuse the issue – make sure that it is simple and to the point.
•    Do use examples in order to highlight or explain tasks, especially where a task is described in general terms.
•    Do use short and concise sentences.
•    Do begin all sentences with an action verb (for example use words like assists, advises, controls, approves or authorizes.)
•    Do use precise numbers (for example – reports into two directors rather than reports into a number of directors.) It is better to be specific.
•    Do number the task.

-    Don’t use an individual’s name in preference to job titles (for example – reports into Operation’s Manager rather than report into Joe Soap – Joe Soap may leave the Company in the next few weeks and then who do they report into?)
-    Don’t include duties and/or responsibilities of others where these don’t directly affect the job that is being described.
-    Don’t include incidental activities which occur once only and are never likely to be repeated.
-    Don’t lose the basics of the task by putting in data that is totally irrelevant.
-    Don’t describe attitudes and opinions – stick with the facts.
-    Don’t start sentences with “if” and “when”.
-    Don’t pad the job description to make it look more important than what it is.  Some times things just what they are – leave it simple clear and concise.

Remember always, the Job Description must fit the job not the person or the person must always fit in with the Job Description.

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


Thursday, June 05, 2014

HR 101 - What to do when . . . You need to compile a Job Description - Part 4

ARTICLE 18

WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . You Need to Compile a Job Description

Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – N Viljoen Consulting CC.

So far we have covered that the Job Description needs to be accurate and realistic.  It has to outline the location of the job within the organization, the purpose of the job, the content, the relationships, authority, controls and checks.  Both the supervisor and the staff member must understand and interpret it the same way.

Today we will examine some more of what must be in the Job Description and the first thing that we need to understand here is that the Job Description MUST be used as an interview guide.  The candidate must match the basic requirements of what is expected in the Job Description.  Remember, it must always be the ‘person’ who matched the Job Description and not the other way around.  So if the Job Description requires someone who has Matric, then interviewing someone who never finished school is not a good idea.  You wouldn’t hire a medical student as the Chief of Surgery, so you shouldn’t hire someone who doesn’t have the right qualifications to do the Job.

When your staff members are appraised, the Job Description should also be used as a tool to assess their performance.  If the perception is that they are not fulfilling their obligations in any way, this could be established by checking to see what their requirements are and if the particular task, in question is listed, then you have a case.  So make sure that all the tasks that are required to be performed are listed.

It also makes sense to list the tasks in order of importance or alternatively in some sort of logical sequence.  Each task should have enough information with them to ensure that the incumbent (and the supervisor) understands the WHAT and the HOW of the job.  When this is stated correctly, it becomes a measurable entity and it makes the requirement clear, concise and to the point.

Next week we will continue with some Do’s and Don’ts -  tips when writing a Job Description.

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


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Networking 101 - Recognising the Opportunties

THE POWER OF NETWORKING

PART 46

Recognising the Opportunities

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Don’t expect colleagues with similar credentials and expertise to be referral sources.”

This one always makes me smile!  Don’t get me wrong, Renate is spot on the money, it’s the insecurities of the human race that makes me smile!

I’ve said this so many times, I feel like I should actually make a recording – there is enough opportunity and work out there for all of us to get more than we could possibly handle!

So what we should be doing is referring colleagues with similar credentials and expertise. 

I can hear the buzzing – why?  Well firstly, why not?  Secondly, because by doing this you start and nurture a relationship with them, and then when they get too busy to cope with their workload, (presuming of course that you are not too busy yourself), instead of just getting new staff in to do the work that they have to train and then keep after the project is finished, the two of you could join forces in a joint venture or strategic alliance and do the work together!  For me it’s a no brainer!

I honestly cannot understand what this ‘jealously guarding your clients, potential clients or any rumour of any kind of work that may be available in your area of expertise,” is all about.  When you behave like this you are so focused on keeping everyone at bay, that you end up losing your clients and your potential clients too, because you have kept them at bay too!

Seriously people, there is more than enough to go around and then some – you just need to recognise the opportunity and then do something about it!

So go on, share your information, share your resources and refer as many people as you can – what will happen is that people will start referring you and before you know it, you will be so busy you won’t know what to do with yourself.

The more you give, the more you will get!

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at http://www.drrenatevolpe.co.za

Nikki Viljoen is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and she can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Business Tips - Being your own boss - Part 4



BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 4


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – April 2009

As much as we would like to think that the world is a great place, the reality is that it isn’t.  People will steal your ideas and your dreams and pass them off as their own.

You need to protect your ideas and yourself from the charlatans out there.

It is not really necessary to register your business name or get copyright protections for your logo or your ‘by line’ because there are laws in place that protect you.  Basically what that means is that whoever used a name or a slogan first is then the owner of that name or slogan.  The problem with this though is that if someone else then uses what you consider to be yours, the only way then to stop them using it again is to take legal action and go to court to enforce the law.

One of the ways to ‘prove’ that it was your idea or theme or that it was used by your first is to document everything.  Use a daily planner or your diary to make notes and keep track of who you met and what was discussed.  This will provide you with a ‘paper trail’ which could be used as evidence should you ever need to go to court.

Although many will tell you to continue your business as a ‘sole proprietor’ for as long as possible before you register as a ‘close corporation’ or a (Pty) Ltd, be aware of the fact that this has tax implications both to you as an individual and also for your business.  Make sure that you understand the why’s and wherefore’s of registering your business before taking the plunge.

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

Monday, June 02, 2014

Motivation - Pushing the Limits

MOTIVATION – Pressing Limits


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – November 2009

Dr Joyce Brothers says “In each of us are places where we have never gone.  Only by pressing the limits do you ever find them.”

Good Grief!  It is said that as authors, wordsmiths and writers, we often write about what we most need to hear and quite honestly, this is never so true as it is right now.  You see for years and years I have lived in a very safe space in my personal life and right now I am pushing the boundaries and pressing for ‘no’ limits.  In some ways I am scared out of my wits and in another space it feels like I have shrugged off the velvet ropes that have kept me bound for so long. It is liberating and empowering and deliciously, enticingly scary.  It feels as though every nerve ending is straining at its roots to stretch itself to its fullest capacity in order to achieve its ultimate goal. 

Quite honestly I cannot wait to see what happens next. 
Quite honestly I am petrified at what could happen next.
Quite honestly I wonder why it has taken me so long to get to this point – I cannot believe that it was fear alone or perhaps I don’t want to believe that I could allow fear to hold me captive for so long.

The point is though, I feel alive! 
The point is I am really excited! 
The point is, I am the author of my own book, the director and star of my own movie.  The point is, that for the first time, in a very long while I am doing what is important for me.

The strange thing though is that I am always aware of me pushing the limits in my business capacity.  My friend Tess Elsen of Tessen Enterprises (http://www.tessen.co.za) said at out monthly breakfast get together, that for years now, she has seen me work hard towards my goal, my focus has never waivered and my intention were very clear.  Sure there were months when I wondered what the hell I was doing.  Sure there were months when I did not know if there was enough money to put food on the table.  Sure there were months when I faltered and fell, but I got up and shook my fists at the Gods and at the Universe and more often than not, even at myself, but I persevered.  I knew that deep down in that place inside all of us that hears the truth, what it was that I wanted to achieve.  I knew that what I wanted to achieve is right for me and I also knew that I could achieve it. It is within my grasp!

So if I knew all of this in my business life, why did I not know it in my personal life?  Truth be told, how could I not know it in my personal life?  Quite simple really – I think that in our business lives, we write “Business Plans”, we compile “Mission Statements” and live our professional lives by a business “Code of Conduct” and our personal lives just get the scraps that are left.  The moments in time that are not focused on what we need to do in our professional capacity.  It’s like we put the business before anything else.

Here’s the thing though – by leaving the ‘personal me’ behind, I am making it all that more difficult to achieve the ‘professional me’!  Confusing as that may sound, Gemini or not, I am still one whole person and whichever side I neglect will have a pronounced affect on the other sides.  I need, as a whole person, to be balanced.

In order to achieve that, I have to push the personal boundaries in much the same way that I push the business boundaries. 

I have to ensure that I find those places inside of myself that I have never gone to and get myself there.
I have to ensure that I am never in my ‘comfort’ zone for too long.
I have to ensure that I am focused on what it is that I want to achieve.
I have to be all that I can be, at work, at play and as me.
I have to ensure that I live my life, my whole life for me.

What about you – do you push your limits?

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