Friday, July 31, 2015

HR 101 - WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Out with the Old, In with the New – Part 4


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Out with the Old, In with the New – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC October 2009

So following on from last week – let’s have a look at some of the other changes that were made to the Act that received a typical ‘knee jerk’ reaction.  They are (but not limited to).

“Where an employee accuses an employer in court or at the CCMA of having dismissed him unfairly and the existence of the dismissal is established, the employer is assumed guilty of unfair dismissal until it proves itself innocent.”

So what exactly does this mean? Here’s the story

Sally owns a pre-school, nursery school type establishment and George works there as the gardener/handyman.  Sally has a very strict “Code of Conduct” in terms of what the staff can or can’t do and one of the issues is that staff may not drink any alcohol or partake of any illegal substances whilst on duty or come to work still under the influence of either alcohol or drugs of any sort.

One morning George came to work and it was evident that he was still inebriated from the previous evening. Clearly it is not a good idea for an adult to be drunk around small children and Sally was obviously not impressed. Sally followed all the procedures correctly.  With his written permission, Sally did a sobriety test and George was found to be well over the legal limit.  Sally sent George home to ‘sleep it off’ and when he returned the following day he was given notice to attend a disciplinary hearing.

George was found guilty and dismissed and the next thing that happened was Sally was presented with the paperwork as George had gone off to the CCMA.

On the day the CCMA agreed that George was in fact guilty of being intoxicated and that George’s dismissal was the correct thing to do, however (and here is where it gets ugly) the arbitrator still decided that the dismissal had been unfair because George had not been given the change to cross-examine those who had raised the complaint.

You see, Sally, in her fury had neglected to bring every single person who has seen the state that George was in and who had actually reported his behaviour to her.  Sally had taken it upon herself to just report what she had seen.

Herein lies much of the problem when it comes to disciplinary hearings – the more witnesses you have the better your case becomes.  It doesn’t really make any difference whether they all say the same thing, what matters is that there is a ‘visual and physical’ component to the charges that have been made.  Documentary evidence is good, but having witnesses corroborate the evidence that is set out in the documents is even better.

Knowing what the procedures are and following them is good, but understanding the law and applying it to those policies and procedures is even better.

It is also necessary for everyone to understand how important it is to get professional help when you are having HR issues, clearly trying to deal with this stuff by yourself becomes part of the problem.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blogging 101 - The Content - Part 2

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Many of us are ‘visual’ beings – I know that I am because of the constant ‘videos’ that play themselves in my brain.  Brighten your blogs up with pictures that are relevant to whatever it is that you are writing about.  The visuals will add depth to your article and enrich your post.

It’s also a good idea to visit other blog sites.  It will give you an opportunity to have a look at different styles of writing and different layouts.  You will be able to see what works and what doesn’t and take what works together with your own style and make something uniquely different.

To get readers to ‘follow you’ make sure that it is easy for them to do so, either with an RSS feed application or at the very least set it up so that an automated e-mail is sent to them containing each post.  If they don’t have to go and ‘look’ for it all the time, chances are that they will read your blogs more often.

Encourage your readers to leave a comment or engage in a discussion or even a debate.  It makes people feel that they are all part of the process and part of a community and if it’s one thing that I have learnt watching the celebrity survivor, its that people need to ‘feel’ that they are a part of something.

Challenge people and get them to challenge themselves.  When an article gets people thinking about who they are, what they are doing etc, they will return time and time again to see what there is that may be of interest.  Get them thinking and talking.

Don’t forget to give due, where and when it is deserved.  If you are quoting someone or using any part of their work, give them the appropriate credits.  I know how I feel when I see that someone has used my pontifications and they have not credited me.

Don’t jump on the bandwagon, just to promote your own stuff.  One of my personal pet hates is when people respond to one of my articles by plugging their own products.  That’s just rude and they should start their own blogs if they feel that strongly about it.

See you next time!

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Networking 101 - First Impressions


PART 124

First Impressions

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – August 2009

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

“First impressions are important.  Make them work for you”.

I am often reminded by the various image consultants in my data base, of the fact that we have about 8 seconds or thereabouts to make an impression.

For me though, there are several ‘first’ impressions – visual, auditory and for me the most important of all – the impression you give overall, which is the one that I choose to use.

Think about it for a moment – the first time you actually meet someone you form some sort of impression.  Then if you chat with someone (without ever having met them), you form a completely different idea of the person – usually a visual image that ends up being completely different from the actual visual.

Finally there is an ‘overall’ impression and that can only be brought about over time and as the relationship builds and grows so the impression also changes and evolves (and often not for the better either).

In terms of the ‘visual’ impression – those who belong to the ‘body beautiful’ fraternity are often considered to have an unfair advantage – that said, if you have nothing of consequence to offer other than ‘the body beautiful’, the first impression that you created will not last very long.

By the same token if your ‘auditory’ first impression is also not supported by anything substantial – your relationship will not last.  Any and every impression that you make has to be supported by integrity, credibility and delivery.

Don’t think for a moment though that first impressions don’t mean anything – a good first impression will assist in getting the building of a relationship off to a great start.  Making a bad first impression does not necessarily mean that a relationship cannot be built – what it does mean however, is that the building of a relationship may get off to a very slow start.

Whatever works for you would be the most effective for you – remember though, your credibility, integrity and the fact that you deliver is what will support your ‘impression’ the most effectively.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Business Tips - Preoccupations

BUSINESS TIPS – Preoccupations

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC October 2009

Dr Renate Volpe, in her Leadership Insight Nuggets says “The “new age” leader appreciates that preoccupation with living issues, affects our ability to perform at optimal potential”.

My obvious question (well to me it’s obvious) is – how could it not affect our ability to perform at optimal potential?

In my youth, I can clearly remember often being told (or hearing it being told to others), ‘don’t bring your problems to work!’  Whilst I do understand that we are employed or alternatively, we employ people to perform a specific task and/or function, the reality is that we are human beings.  As human beings we have feelings and emotions and we are not programmed like a ‘light switch’ to be turned on and off.  Quite frankly that’s like ripping the wings off an aircraft and expecting it to fly!

That said, there are often those employees that always seem to have something wrong.  If it’s not one thing then it’s another. They seem to live their lives in some form of disaster area, and the constant emotion that this generates as they go from person to person looking for sympathy and attention can be very trying as well as exhausting.

So where and how do you draw the line?  Realistically, as an employer you do need to have your productivity and the quality of your product and/or service, maintained.  You do have to ensure that the work gets done because if you don’t, you will lose clients and losing clients will put your business, your staff and you at risk.  It really is a fine line and different things work for different people.

Although I don’t really do the ‘emotional’ thing very often, when it comes to staff – I am aware that different people handle different things in different ways.  Some people withdraw, some people act out – the bottom line is that as the employer, you have to know and understand your employee and then you have to deal with each employee based on who they are and how they react to any given situation.

Obviously that does not mean that you have to allow yourself to be abused by your employee and no, showing your ‘soft side’ does not make you a softie, but you do need to be able to show empathy and support.

How you do that of course, is up to you.

If you would like to know more about Renate, please visit her website on

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Motivation - Choosing Your Own Path

MOTIVATION –  Choosing Your Own Path

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – April 11

Oprah Winfrey says “Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege.  Use it.  Dwell in the possibility.”

I have ‘the right to choose’ – what does that mean exactly?  Well, for me it means that if I am accountable and responsible for the consequences of a choice then it is my right to make the choice.

So often lately, I have heard the words ‘but I didn’t have a choice’!  Of course you do!  Many times it is our perception that is flawed – the person who works for a Company, and they are ‘stuck’ in a job that they hate -  well leave the Company, or ask for a transfer to a department where there is a job that you would love to do.  I understand that you need to work, in order to make a living, to put food on the table – but nobody can force you to work where you are not happy – it is your choice to stay, just as it is your choice to leave. Whether you leave to go to another job or where you leave without another job is also your decision and your choice.

Whether you realize your dreams or achieve your goals is entirely dependent upon your actions (or indeed your non-actions) and your actions are dependent upon the choices that you make.

Understand though that without any action on your part, your dreams and aspirations will also not be realized – but again, that would be a choice that you have made.

Clearly, the path that you choose would have to lead to the dream or goal that you have.  If it doesn’t, it would be like taking the wrong fork in the road or even turning in the wrong direction.  As much as people get ‘lost; if they don’t follow directions, you will become ‘lost’ if the path that you choose does not lead to your dream or goal.

Fortunately though, as much as we can look at a map, or get new directions to our destination, so too can we make alternative choices to ensure that we get back on the right path. 

Remember though that there may be a choice that you have previously made that may limit the choices that you can currently make.  For example if you made a choice to steal and you were caught and as a direct consequence of that choice you are currently serving time, one of the choices that are currently open to you won’t be that you can go down the road to the local Wimpey for a coffee – that is why the choice of road that you take is ‘a sacred privilege’. 

Keep your dream and your goal in the forefront of your mind to ensure that the choices that you make will keep you on the right path to achieve your dream and/or your goal
Guard that right, guard that choice, guard that dream and guard that goal.

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

HR 101 - WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Out with the Old, In with the New – Part 3


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Out with the Old, In with the New – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC October 2009

So following on from last time – let’s have a look at some of the other changes that were made to the Act that received a typical ‘knee jerk’ reaction.  They are (but not limited to).

“Employees are entitled to a disciplinary hearing even where they are accused of being on an unprotected (illegal) strike.”

For me this is just logical – I mean how can you discipline anyone for anything without a proper disciplinary hearing.  The whole deal about this however is that as the employer, you have to prove that the strike was unprotected (which usually is not very difficult at all) and then you have to ensure that the staff member was actually on strike and not on ‘sick’ leave or even ‘annual’ leave.

During the apartheid era, this was often used as an excuse to ‘get rid’ of staff that you no longer wanted around.  Nowadays the rule of “innocent until proven guilty” applies.

In fact whilst I am on the subject of disciplinary hearings – remember this.  If your employee is caught say, stealing and you have them arrested, or they are arrested and end up going to jail.  That’s not the end of the story – you still have to go through the motions of having a disciplinary (in abstentia), where they need to be found ‘guilty’ and then dismissed.  This would also apply to someone who has gone AWOL (absent without leave) and who never ever comes back to work.

The reason for this is, if you don’t hold a disciplinary, find them guilty, and summarily dismiss them, the reality of the situation is that you could be forced to re-employ (and pay all the back pay) when they are released from jail and want to come back to work or they suddenly remember that they have to come back to work after being AWOL. 

So, go through the motions, I know it is a pain in the rear end, but it certainly is less than the pain that you will feel if you don’t follow the correct procedures and then they come back and demand their jobs back.

Next time we will have a look at some of the other changes that were made to the law.

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

BLOGGING 101 – The Content – Part 1

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Over the next few weeks we will have a look at the type of content that you can blog with.  I will use some of my clients (their names will be changed) to illustrate what kind of information can be used when blogging.

Now remember I am a bit of a technophobe, so some of the stuff that I tell you about, I don’t actually use – well because I don’t know how to . . . !  It is however, on the list of things to do, so once I find a few minutes to sit with my very patient IT gurus, it will be added to my own blogs to enrich them and therefore enhance the output to my readers.

Whatever the business though, your blog needs to put you apart, so your content and the issues that you write about must create visions in the minds of the people that read them – no-one is going to read boring stuff, you have to capture the readers interest.  For example on a Friday my blogs are HR related.  I often take actual CCMA cases and turn them into stories of things that can and in fact do happen, not only to big Corporations but also to the one or two man businesses at the bottom of the ladder.

Now believe me, reading actual CCMA cases has got to be one of the most boring stuff ever to cross my desk and I can guarantee you that if I had to post it on the blog as I get it, no-one would be reading it and in fact many people would make the decision not to read any more of my blogs, going forward.  What is great though is that the content of what transpired at the CCMA is what is important and I have the ability to turn that information, through putting it into a story with protagonists that we can all relate to, into something that makes sense and is easy to read.  That is what makes it different and that is what makes it powerful and that is what makes the information readable and valuable to my readers – they can relate to the people in the story and in many instances they have been in similar circumstances and now they know exactly what to do.  That is one of the things that makes my content stand out from the rest.

One of the other tools that I use all the time is simply, simplicity.  I don’t use big words that have people rushing to dust off the dictionary.  My posts are in simple to understand language that most people can read and process, irrespective of whether they have a basic education or the CEO of a large Corporation with a string of degrees.  I know that if I get frustrated when reading something because the language gets too technical or the author has become over indulgent with his/her use of language, the article usually gets put down in favour of something that is easier to read and understand.

Most of all, my articles are also usually written with my own special brand of humour.  I know for a fact that most people don’t always ‘get’ my humour, but here’s the thing – I love to laugh at life!  I have fun with it and the truth is that if I don’t have fun writing the article, then what am I doing it for?  If I don’t have fun writing the article, then I will probably procrastinate to such an extent that the article will never get written – there goes my blog, my marketing and to some extent my Networking.  So always remember the ‘why’ you are doing this and always, always, always have fun.

See you next week!

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Networking 101 - Take an Interest in What People Do


PART 123

Take an Interest in What People Do

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. August  2009

“In 1936, Dale Carnegie published – ‘How to win friends & influence people’.  Since then, his book has sold more that 15 million copies and is widely credited as being the first book in the modern self-help genre.”

So says C J Hayden in his article entitled “To make more sales, try making more friends.”

But what does this actually mean?

Why is it that I, being as grumpy and as disagreeable as I am known to be, who ‘growls’ at people at every opportunity, am in the enviable position of having a great number of ‘friends’ and acquaintances, who not only like and even love me as an individual, but who also often heed my advice?

Well, I think it is because I take an interest in them and whatever it is that they do.

You see when I first meet people at a Networking event, I make sure that I contact them and set up a ‘one-on-one’ meeting with them.  I do this in order to get a better understanding of what they do and what their dreams are.  I take down notes and ask questions – in short, I take a genuine interest in what they do.  I listen to what their needs are, what their desires are and then I connect them with the people who can meet those needs and/or desires.

This makes them feel good about themselves, it makes them feel that they are important to me.

Now of course, as you help someone to meet their needs and/or desires, what they start to feel for you is gratitude, and as you continue to build the relationship with them, that gratitude turns to respect and if you are really lucky into a genuine friendship.

Who would have thought – that it would take the simple act of ‘listening’ to the needs of a stranger - to add a new friend, to make a new contact, to sign a new deal, to find a great opportunity? 

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BUSINESS TIPS – Politics In The Workplace

BUSINESS TIPS – Politics In The Workplace

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC September  2009

Dr Renate Volpe, in her Nuggets on Political Intelligence says “Good politics advance the organizations agenda as a whole.  They are appropriate and future oriented.  Negative politics maintain the status quo, promote group think and advance the individual’s agenda, usually at the expense of others.”

Being an Internal Auditor in many ways was my saving grace.  You see I had to remain objective, I had to put myself apart and in doing so I was fortunate enough not to get involved in the internal office politics.  What I  did do however was watch the political plays that were taking place and the various agendas that were played out, both transparent and hidden,

Very like the politics in any country, the politics in a company can actually make or break careers and if not controlled and managed properly, could ultimately result in the downfall of the company, particularly if there is a huge amount of in-house fighting and egos that are out of control.

In-house fighting and bad office politics usually has the employees taking sides as they battle for their place in the hierarchy and hold on tightly to the coat tails of the person that they have backed, and this usually results in a split in loyalties.  Focus of the business and its requirements, is lost and quite frankly when your eye is ‘off the ball’, chaos reigns.

Politics that is good for business and positive and for the betterment of the employees as well as management and the clients, usually will result in better and greater achievements.

The bottom line – happy employees and happy customers make good business sense.

For further information regarding Renate please go to her web address at .

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

Monday, July 20, 2015

Motivation - A True Leader


By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from Daisaku Ikeda. He says “A person, who no matter how desperate the situation, gives others hope, is a true leader. “

Pretty powerful stuff, I am sure you would agree – but what does that mean to me?

Well on a personal level, it means that irrespective of how badly (or well for that matter) that person uses his or her wisdom to assess my problems in my business, and gives me not only the best possible advice, but also encouragement and motivation.

It’s the person who, without talking down to me, without being smug, without the drama and the emotion, gives me practical advice on “how to” fix up my problem.

It’s the person who points me in the right direction – it’s the person who helps me stay focused on what my goals are.

Are you such a person?  Are you a true leader?

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

HR 101 - What to do when . . . . Out with the Old, In with the New - Part 2


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Out with the Old, In with the New – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC October 2009

So following on from last time – let’s have a look at some of the other changes that were made to the Act that received a typical ‘knee jerk’ reaction.  They are (but not limited to).

Employees are entitled to refuse to do the work of colleagues who are on strike.

This, quite frankly is another favourite of mine and it honestly takes me back a few decades to my Corporate life, in the bank and the again in the retail sector.

Here are the stories:

During the late 70’s and early 80’s, I worked in one of the ‘lesser’ known banks in Cape Town.  Those of you who were around at the time, will remember that here in South Africa we were in the middle of the apartheid era and life certainly was very different to what it is now.

Strikes and protests, although not quite the order of the day yet, were still fairly frequent and of course very disruptive.  Imagine working in a job that is quite pressurized (I was a clerk in the foreign exchange department at the time and the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station was in the throes of being built) and then having to take on a share of the work of the 5 or 6 employees who went on strike at every opportunity.

Working even longer than usual on a indefinite basis (who knew when the strike would end) doing work that was not mine and that I often did not even fully understand, often brought out huge resentment which would then be directed both at management, for putting me under this added pressure and for making me do work that was not mine and that I did not enjoy and my agitation was also directed at my striking colleagues, who by their striking actions, had put me in this position.

As you can imagine, inter office relationships deteriorated, both between colleagues and then also between management and employees and it actually resulted in many of the staff resigning (ironically, never the striking ones) and they were replaced by more staff who would also go on strike.  It was an absolute relief when I was offered another position in another ‘lesser’ known bank in Johannesburg.

The second story is about when I was in the wholesale retail sector in the early 90’s. The apartheid era was coming to a close, but it was during the time when strikes and protests were the order of the day.  I was, at the time a Senior Manager with around 50 employees working for me and more than half of these belonged to the unions and went on strike on a regular basis.

We were instructed to ‘share’ the work amongst the remaining staff and it pretty much also cause the same sort of problems that were caused in the previous story, but it gets worse.

You see, I still take pride in the work that I produce, irrespective of whether it is my work to produce or not, in the first place.  Unfortunately, that cannot be said about the rest of the general workforce out there and the result of that was that most of the work had to be re-done, which caused even more delays and producing even more hostility.

Clearly forcing employees to do the work of striking colleagues is not good for morale and it is not good for the business.

So how do we turn this around and make it work for us.  Well here’s the thing – when employees strike it’s a ‘no work, no pay’ kind of situation.  Doesn’t it then make sense to hire a bunch of temps and/or casuals to do the absolute necessary of what needs to be done.

Here’s the deal then – getting other people in also provides the employer with a unique opportunity to observe prospective future employees at work and also in unusual circumstances.  How cool is that?

Next week we will have a look at some of the other changes that were made to the law.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

BLOGGING TIPS – Responding to Comments

BLOGGING TIPS – Responding to Comments

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2011

Most of you who know me, know that I have an opinion about most things and I am not afraid to voice that opinion.  It wasn’t always like that – there was a time when I just kept quiet, sucked it up and said nothing.  Problem with that of course is that it does damage inside, to your being.  So once I realized that and got over myself, I stated my opinion, not just to be difficult or give someone a hard time, but to get it out there – to make others think perhaps a little more and even sometimes (if I am perfectly honest) to see if I can get someone to change my mind.

That means of course, that I often leave comments on the blogs or articles that I read and I must say that I feel kind of deflated when I don’t get a response.  I understand that we are all busy, that we all have 101 things that need to be done and usually they all need to be done yesterday – but that said, it’s kind of rude don’t you think?  It’s like not saying ‘you’re welcome’ when someone says thank –you, or not saying ‘bless you’, when someone sneezes.

Think about it for a moment, by ‘enabling’ the comments section on your blog, you are actually inviting people to interact with you, to share their feelings/emotions/thoughts on what you have written and then what . . .  nothing happens, it’s like having a one sided conversation and quite frankly, that for me is just boring.

For me, it would be the same thing as not answering questions about the topics that I train on or being ‘indifferent’ to others.  We all know that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference and ignoring someone who has taken the time and trouble to comment on something that you have written, irrespective of whether it is good or bad -  well that is just being indifferent in my book.

Being ignored, that’s just horrid and quite frankly, I often don’t go back to that particular author.  Why should I?  Blogging for me, is not only about getting my message across, it’s also about interaction and engagement and with interaction and engagement comes relationships and we could all do some more of those.

My blogs have opened my life up to the rest of the world and I now have people who I correspond with all over the world.  From the USA to Russia – from Holland to the UK, Australia to Canada – I’m sure you get the picture.  Do I get business from these people – well not directly, but I have learnt a great deal and I am exposed to more than my little world and yes, indirectly I have gotten business and even a mentor or two.

Responding to comments for me is a must, it’s a way to open up a dialogue, to interact and to grow as a person.

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Networking 101 - Giving Feedback


PART 122

Giving Feedback

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

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

“Provide constructive feedback to people in your network, that they can use to enhance their businesses.”

As some of you know, I recently had my website revamped (go check it out on – sign up, it’s free).  One of the things that I was now able to add onto my site is a ‘Testimonials’ page.  I then sent out an e-mail to my entire database asking everyone to send me a testimonial.

The response was both unexpected and even a little overwhelming.  In fact, there were several occasions where I was a little damp around the eye area, although I am not admitting to anything you understand.

You see, over the last 12  years or so I have handed out probably more than several thousand referrals and I have connected people, not only locally, but also across borders, across continents and even across time zones.

Sure there have been instances where I have a ‘thank you’ mail or call and even more rarely, I have actually received a ‘feedback’ of sorts, where I have been told that they have actually met up with the person and they are now doing business together.  Sadly though, these are very few and far between.

So I am sure you can only imagine my shock when I received hundreds of mails and testimonials and the content of many of them evidenced the difference I had made in the lives of these people.  It was a truly humbling experience and one that I will never forget.

It would be really great though, to have this experience (although on a much lesser scale) on a more regular basis and without me actually having to ask for it.

I must say though, that although my database works really hard for me and I have no problem with referring people – those who have thanked me and those who have given me feedback, somehow stick more clearly in my mind.  I do know that I get a real sense of pleasure when I am able to refer them.

So remember the person who gave you the connection and/or the referral in the first place.  They have given you something of theirs that they have worked very hard for and that they treasure – have the good manners to, at the very least, thank them.  They deserve it don’t you think?

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BUSINESS TIPS – Keeping Yourself Compliant

BUSINESS TIPS – Keeping Yourself Compliant

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2009

Over the last couple of years I have met with several small business owners who run their businesses in a less than moral manner.

In most instances they are well aware that what they are doing is wrong.  In all fairness to them – they are perhaps not fully aware of the extent in which they have put themselves at risk.

That said, they are still very much aware that there are consequences if they run their businesses in a ‘reckless or fraudulent’ way.

In fact, the bottom line and the harsh reality of the matter is that both the Close Corporations Act and the Companies Act have put processes in place that allow the courts to make the members of a Close Corporation or the directors of a company, personally liable for the debts incurred it they know that they are running their businesses in a ‘reckless or fraudulent’ way.

The Close Corporation Act says: “A member of a corporation shall be liable to the corporation for loss caused by his or her failure in the carrying on of the business of the corporation to act with the degree of care and skill that may reasonably be expected from a person of his or her knowledge and experience.”

The Companies Act says: “When it appears, whether it be in winding-up, judicial management or otherwise, that any business of the company was or is being carried on recklessly or with intent to defraud creditors of the company or creditors of any other person or for any fraudulent purpose, the Court may, on the application of the Master, the liquidator, the judicial manager, any creditor or member or contributory of the company, declare that any person who was knowingly a party to the carrying on of the business in the manner aforesaid, shall be personally responsible, without limitation of liability, for all or any of the debts or other liabilities of the company as the Court may direct.”

So what does this mean exactly? Here’s the story . . . . .

Mike owns a CC (Close Corporation) and he is in construction, but because he has been sequestrated he cannot have it in his own name, so he puts it in the name of his wife Susan.  Susan is a shipping clerk in a huge corporation, who has no idea of how to run a business, much less anything to do with construction.

Mike has five projects on the go and in the usual fashion with some construction people he has taken 75% of the fees up front to purchase materials and what have you. The balance of 25% will be paid when Mike completes the project and obtains sign off from the building inspectors and of course the client.
Mike has purchased material for project 1 and 2, using the deposit from project 1. 
Mike has purchased material for project 3 and 4, using the deposit from project 2. 
Mike has purchased material for project 5 using some of the deposit from project 3. 
The balance of the deposit from project 3 and deposits from projects 4 and 5, Mike has used to buy a new bakkie.

The materials that Mike has purchased are of an inferior quality and workmanship and Mike is hoping that no-one is going to notice.  Project 1 is about 80% done and just has to have the finishing touches, like the light fittings and what have you done but he has now run out of money and there are no new projects in the pipeline.  Project 2 is about 50% done and project 3 has just been started.  Neither projects 4 nor 5 have been started at all.

Mike has dealing with several suppliers during the course of these 5 projects and they know him and he has been paying cash up front or settling the bills on a pretty regular basis.  A relationship has been forged and Mike goes to get more materials promising to pay as ‘soon as he gets to the office’.  Mike has purchased sufficient materials to ‘finish’ project 1 and he is banking on the balance of the money for project 1 to continue with project 2. The problem is that Mike has used inferior fittings and finishes and both the building inspector and   the client refuse to sign off because this is not what was ordered or paid for.  In the mean time the suppliers are hounding Mike for payment and he is now not even taking their calls.

Mike is now deep in the smelly brown stuff – he has set up and is running a business fraudulently as being sequestrated is he is not allowed to register and/or run a business in his own name.  He has accepted money for work, materials have not been purchased.  Materials purchased are of an inferior quality and workmanship, he has not paid for some of the materials.  Mike has spent the money that he was paid on other things.  The workers have not been paid and there is now no money at all.  Mike is now trying to file for bankruptcy which means that the suppliers will get a fraction of what he owes them. Mike has run this business in a fraudulent manner and the Court can hold him responsible in his personal capacity and actually prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law – this could mean not only fines and penalties, but it could also mean jail time.  Actually of the truth be told, the Court will hold Susan responsible in her personal capacity a well since she is the legal owner of the business and she was complicit in the fraud in that she allowed Mike to register a business in her name.

None of what Mike did, was done by accident, it was all done deliberately and with forethought.  Mike over estimated his own luck and his own intelligence.  You see, by running the business in Susan’s name, Mike thought that he would be ‘outside’ of the law and could not be held responsible.  How wrong could he actually get.

Please understand that the days when less than honest business owners could get away with this kind of behavior are long gone.  Hundreds and thousands of small business owners and individuals lost their businesses and their livelihood and sometimes even their homes because of the unscrupulous behavior of some people – it may take a while, but these days, these people can be brought to justice and be held accountable for their actions.

Remember too, that ‘ignorance of the law’ is no excuse.  Make sure that you understand what your obligations are and make sure that you follow them and that you are compliant. 

Being proactive is always a lot easier than constantly trying to be reactive.

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

MOTIVATION – Liberate Your Future

MOTIVATION –  Liberate Your Future

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – June 2011

The quote today comes from Marilyn Ferguson, who says “Your past is not your potential.  In any hour you can choose to liberate the future.”

Well there it is – my old friend “choice” has come to give me a real swift, sharp, painful kick up the rear end!

Just when I think I’ve got the whole thing carefully sussed out, something like this comes along to remind me just how quickly my focus can wander and even more how quickly I can lose my footing on the path of my life.  And yes . . .  I often do write about what I most need to hear!

Quite often over the last couple of months my thoughts have turned to the past and instead of relocating them to the present and the future, I have allowed them to dwell there, with consequences you understand – there are always consequences.

I’ve allowed myself to dwell on relationships, both business and personal, that are no longer – I have wallowed in the hurt and injustice of the emotions that they aroused.  I have grieved over the loss of animals and companions and friends and seeped myself in self pity – but ultimately at what cost?

Sure these things have to take place and it is healthy to go through them, ironically though, I thought that I had dealt with this . . .  or had I?  Was this self indulgent rubbish or was this me actually going through that process that I thought I had already gone through?  Who knows and quite honestly does it really matter?  Probably not!

What does matter though, is that I shrug it off and get myself re-focused because the more I continue down this path of self pity, the harder it will be for me to get myself back on track.  I have to make a decision, a choice if you will.  That choice is to turn away from the past, forget about it, wipe the slate clean and look to the present and the future.

What do I want to see on the newly cleaned off slate?  How do I want to populate it?  I have a few ideas – do you?

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

HR 101 - Out with the Old, In with the New - Part 1


WHAT TO DO WHEN . . . . Out with the Old, In with the New – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC October 2009

One of the most incorrect perceptions and the one that is most often uttered is that the Labour Relations Act (LRA) favours the employee.

In 1995, the old Labour Relations Act that was created in 1956 was scrapped by the new ANC government and a new act was put into place.  The new act is the Labour Relations Act of 1995.  Yes the act does more to protect the employee from unscrupulous employers, but the new LRA also protects the employer – now how is that for a mind shift?

Granted the new law also meets the Labour Movements Agenda, but that said, if the employer follows the basic rules, the employer is also protected from the employee.

Here’s the way that I see it: -
The law, the way it was, was fundamentally flawed and very lopsided and very much in favour of the employer.  The law today is a lot fairer to both the employer and the employee.

Yes it is different!  The biggest difference is the fact that employers now have to know the law and they have to follow the procedures.  Here’s a thought – if people spent as much time learning the basics of the law and implementing policies and procedures in order to implement that law, as they do moaning about the fact that the law has changed, they would find themselves in an incredibly strong and empowered position.

Some of the protection for employees is (but not limited to):

“Employees are entitled to join and participate in legitimate trade union activity without fear of being fired for this.”

Now most of us look at the unions as a bad thing.  Me, I think that they are fabulous!  I can just see everybody looking at me as though I have lost the plot!  The truth is though, that as much as the unions can cause a lot of perhaps uncomfortable moments for the employer and that they are most definitely on the side of the employee, they also have a responsibility to the employer.  Employers can hold the trade union responsible for the behaviour of the employees.  How’s that for a thought?

If you as an employer have staff, who are members of a trade union – use the trade unions to get your message across to your staff.  Staff, who are not performing put themselves at risk in terms of their employment contracts.  Employers have the right to have employees that perform in terms of the requirements of the job and it is incumbent upon the trade unions to ensure that their members meet these requirements.

So once again, instead of moaning and griping about how bad the trade unions are, turn it around, use the trade unions to make your staff aware of your requirements and also, that these requirements if not met, have serious consequences.

Next time we will have a look at some of the other changes that were made to the law.

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

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Blogging 101 - Being a Blogging Master

BLOGGING TIPS – Being a Blogging Master

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2011

First off, let me just say this – not everyone can be a Master (or a Mistress for that matter) – that said, we are still always the Master (yes and the Mistress) of our own destiny’s.

As a Master (or Mistress) what are our expectations?  What are our expectations of other Masters and Mistresses?  For me, it’s not only about the content, it’s not only about the construction of the sentence or whether the grammar is correct (although that is also very important) it’s also about how much of yourself, your emotions that you put into your writing and how you connect with the emotional requirements of your audience.  You have to get them excited, you have to connect with their heart strings, you have to challenge them, you have to make them reflect, you have to make them indignant, you have to shock them, you have to move them in some way!

Again for me, the biggest challenge was getting over my own fear.  You know what I mean, the ‘what if I fail’, ‘what if people don’t like me’, ‘if I succeed, what will be expected of me’?  You can’t be afraid to let yourself out of the bag (never mind the cat)!

We all have conversations with people and we connect and engage with those people – write like that. Write like you are having an engaging conversation.  Write with compassion, with humour, with passion and yes even with anger.

People need to believe in what you are saying and they can’t do that or connect with you if you are disconnected with yourself.  Don’t be bound by your own limitations – move past those, go through those, go around those or over them or under them – you’ll learn the best way to connect with, to link to and to create that particular emotional connection.

If you battle to get started, it’s a good idea to perhaps write down the reasons why you are battling to get started.  Some of the most common reasons are (but not limited to):

-    Why – because I am not sure that people will be interested in what I have to say
-    Why – because I am not in the mood to write about anything right now
-    Why – it’s a really sensitive subject and I am not sure that I should be putting it out there.
-    Why- it’s really difficult to write about stuff that I have never really done before, I need to do some more research.

Actually at this point you probably need to really think about what it is that you want to do.

Why do you want to write ? Are you passionate about what you do – are you passionate about who you are and are you passionate about what you want to share? If your answer to these is yes, then you need to tell the story.   Every article or blog that you write needs to tell a story and every story must have a value, otherwise you are not “sharing”.

Stand up and look at yourself, really look at yourself – you know that you have what it takes, you know that you are really good at what you do.  Let go of your fear and your uncertainty.

Stand up, be yourself, be all of who you are and all of who you can be and write that story.

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

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Networking 101 - Referrals Through Networking


PART 121

Referrals Through Networking

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July  2009

I bumped into a friend of mine the other day who I haven’t seen for absolutely ages.  After exchanging the usual pleasantries, she asked me how business is and if I was being hurt by the recession or the ‘R’ word as she called it?

Well quite frankly, I’ve heard about the recession and the ‘R’ word, but I have been extremely busy, in fact busier than usual so clearly neither the recession nor the ‘R’ word apply to me.

As most of you know, most of my business comes through referrals, which means that all of my business comes through networking.  All the networking that I have been doing over the last 12 years, is now paying huge dividends and I am swamped with work and am having the time of my life.

She promptly burst into tears!  Tears mopped and composure back in place again, she told me how she has had to close her business and is now looking for work.  She also told me how she regrets not having listened to me on the countless occasions that I have spoken about networking and referrals, and how to go about both.

You see she treated the networking meetings and events as a social gathering and despite having met a huge  number of people and gathering stacks of cards, she actually did nothing else.  The result of course, was that she had not built any relationships – secure (well so she thought) in the knowledge that her business came from the big corporate companies.

Sadly, the recession  or the “R” word has had the most impact on the Corporate Companies, particularly the mining sector where she so enjoyed to play and one by one her contracts have been put on hold or not re-negotiated when they came to an end.  Depressed and panic stricken at seeing her once thriving business deteriorate, she was unable to resort to her network for additional support and referrals – she didn’t have one.

Understanding that to network right now to get leads right now would make her seem quite desperate and would probably do more harm than good, she has elected to close the business – for now.

She assured me though, that whilst she is down, she is certainly not out.  She is carefully going through all my articles on networking and she will be going to networking meetings – but from now on, they will not be treated as a social event, they will be used carefully to meet like minded people, to interact and build sustainable relationships, so that she can, in time ask for and receive referrals and slowly but surely, build up her business until once again it is filled with successfully negotiated solid business.

I certainly hope that she is steadfast in her resolve, because if she is – I have no doubt that her business will once again become a really successful entity.

I also think that she now understands that Networking is about building relationships.

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

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

BUSINESS TIPS – How to Manage Cash Flow

BUSINESS TIPS –  How to Manage Cash Flow

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2009 December 2009

Last time we looked at exactly what cash flow is and today we will look at the ‘how to’ of managing cash flow.  For me as usual, it’s the simplest method of ‘how to’ that I will be sharing, so please just be aware that there are many more components and levels of complexity to this subject.

It is important to understand that most of the money that you generate as an inflow should be from the sale of your product and/or service.  It cannot be from investing and/finance – if this is the case you are going to be very deep in the smelly brown stuff without a shovel to dig yourself out.  So sales are obviously key, irrespective of whether you are selling a product and/or a service.

It is also important to understand that the inflow and outflow of your business tells the story of how healthy or unhealthy your company is.  That is one of the reasons that I believe it is so important to have the services of a really good accountant to assist you.  The understanding and ‘reading’ of the story of your business can only be done by someone who is experienced in these matters and someone who will tell you where you are going wrong and guide you back onto the correct path.  My someone, is Nico Labuschagne of Labuschagne & Associates and I am quite happy to share his contact details on ( = Less Tax 4 U).

That said it is also very important to understand that cash flow is a ‘real time’ issue as opposed to having your books done on a monthly basis – by the time they get to the bookkeeper/accountant they are already a month or so old and are therefore a ‘reactive’ issue.  You cannot wait for a whole month to then realize that you have no money to pay the bills that are coming in and are due, right now!  In terms of cash flow, you have to be proactive – you have to know what is happening right now!

To create a cash flow statement, and remember that it is a living breathing document and it changes all the time, you need to take all the business inflows and subtract all the business cash outflows.  This is usually done on a monthly basis but it can be done for any specific period.  Obviously doing this manually is a pain in the rear end and by using an accounting package to generate financial statements and thereby producing a Cash Flow statement, would be the simplest way to do it (another reason for a Nico in my life, I don’t have to invest in expensive software accounting packages.)

When you work out your budgets, it is extremely important to use ‘cash flow projections’, because if you as a business owner, do not understand the way that your cash flow operates, you will find yourself in a cash flow crunch, where you will be waiting for funds to come in, but have operating expenses that need to be paid now.

This is particularly true if you have or run sales on account (hopefully you are then registered with the National Credit Authorities as a service provider), or alternatively have clients who pay 30 or 60 or even 90 days.  You need to make provision to ensure that you have enough cash on hand to pay your bills while you wait for monies to come in.

As SMME’s, I am sure that you will agree that this is a very difficult position to be in  and this is why it is vital to firstly know, what is happening from a financial prospective, in your business and secondly to understand what happens when you have cash flowing both in and out of your business.

Understanding and knowing where your money is coming in from and where your money is going out to, is key to controlling your cash flow.

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

Monday, July 06, 2015

MOTIVATION - A Tough Challenge

MOTIVATION –  A Tough Challenge

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – March 2010

Arland Gilbert says “When we accept tough jobs as a challenge and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm, miracles happen.”

My workshops are growing with momentum.  More and more people are attending – more and more people are ‘getting it’ and more and more people are understanding what they need to do.  Some of the people who attend are thinking about starting out on their own, some have just started and ironically many have been in business for many years.  They all still keep coming and they all still keep sending their friends, family and colleagues.

Going out on your own is tough – it’s one of the hardest things that you will ever do and yet it is one of the most rewarding things that you will ever accomplish!  I know – I did it and one of the miracles that I experienced is the fact that I am a statistic – a great one.  This year marks my 12th year in business and I can see how I’ve grown, not only as a small business owner but as an individual too.  With each step that I have taken, my confidence has grown.  With each obstacle that I have overcome, my self esteem has improved.  With each new client that I have won and/or retained my focus and resolve has strengthened and I know that I am in it for the long haul and believe me there is nothing that I would rather do.

Each time I stand in front of the delegates and I say “make sure that this is what you want to be doing, be sure about the fact that you are ‘in love’  with what you are doing, because your hours will be very long, you will work weekends and public holidays and it may be a long time before you take a holiday again and if you are not in love or passionate about what you are doing, you will begin to resent it.”  Make no mistake – I mean every single word of what I am saying and your passion for your product and/or service is what will get you through the day.  Your passion for your product and/or service will often mean the difference between putting one foot in front of the other and falling over and staying there.  Your passion for your product and/or service will often be the reason why you get up in the morning and start again.

Many of the delegates look at me as though I have lost the plot, but I know – you see, I have been there.  I have taken that long, often very lonely walk, into starting a business.  I have been so weary, bone tired and exhausted that I have felt as though I am running on the memory of what ‘fumes’ smell like as opposed to merely on empty, yet I have continued to put one foot in front of the other because of my belief in my product and the service that I render.  I am more passionate about what I do today, than I was 35 years ago when I started doing it and although many of those years were spent working for others in a corporate environment, I was still doing what I love – my product and my service are still fundamentally the same.  My belief in what I am doing is the same (if not greater) and certainly my passion is greater!

Yip, I’m pretty sure about that – I love what I do – and as challenging as it may get from time to time – there is nothing out there that I would rather be doing.

I see it every day!  I see the miracles of new businesses starting, with passionate people!  I see those new businesses growing and succeeding every day, I see people in love with life and brimming with joy at the possibilities of who and what they can become – what do you see?

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

Friday, July 03, 2015

HR 101 - Don't Forget the Basic Procedures


Don’t Forget The Basic Procedures

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC November 2009

Most people have this absolute loathing for procedures and policies in the workplace, believing, somewhat naively that “It won’t happen to me”.  Sad that.

Many others, having burnt their fingers once or twice or indeed several times over, now do a 180 degree turn and belabour the point, going too much into the finer detail and forgetting the basics.

Here’s the thing – too much is just as bad as too little.  Oh I can just see all of you, shaking your heads sadly and wondering (probably out loud) if ‘this woman will ever be happy’ with what you do.?

Stick to the basics – keep it as simple as possible.  Putting in too much detail and complicating the whole process may well result in the whole thing going pear-shaped as chances are you will be opening the lid of “Pandora’s Box”.

Here’s the story.

Mike owns a courier company and has many vehicles and drivers in his employ.  Both George and Simon are drivers who were driving around the yard early one morning prior to going out onto the road to do their deliveries.  George was still inebriated from the night before and should probably not have been driving anything.  George’s reactions were not what they should have been and coming around a corner, he failed to react in time and went smack bang into the side of Simon’s vehicle, which was parked at the loading bay.  Clearly George was at fault.

Mike drove George off to the nearest police station and requested that station commander and/or one of his staff test George for alcohol excess.  This implied that Mike did not have the means to conduct an alcohol test on his own premises.

For whatever reason, the police could not do the test either.

Mike then conducted a disciplinary hearing on George the next day.  George was found guilty and dismissed for drinking and driving, for endangering the lives of others and also for the damage that he caused to both vehicles.

George was also not advised that he had the right to appeal the findings.

The Court was not impressed.  You see although it agreed that George was intoxicated at the time of the accident, proper procedures were not followed.

•    George did not know that he could be dismissed for being drunk on duty – there was no Dismissal policy or Code of Conduct policy in place.
•    George was only advised that the charges were at the actual disciplinary hearing. The charges should have been recorded on the charge sheet or the notice to attend a disciplinary.
•    George’s previous disciplinary record was not taken into account.
•    George was not given enough notice of the disciplinary
•    Mike did not ‘test’ to see whether George’s conduct had damaged the employment relationship to such an extent that George’s continued employment would be intolerable.
•    What about the element of ‘trust’ in the relationship.  Mike had not shown that the trust between himself and George had been irreparably damaged.
•    The most damaging aspect of this case though was that the Court said that it was the ‘responsibility of the Management to ensure that George (or any other employee for that matter) did not start working if he was drunk and/or had consumed alcohol prior to commencing work.’

Mike had not followed that basic procedures when putting this case together and based on that alone, he would have lost the case.

So before you do the ‘knee jerk’ thing – step back, take some time to think about what you are doing.  Look at your own internal policies and procedures and make sure that you follow them step by step.  Chances are that if you are procedurally correct, the case will not go to CCMA for arbitration. 

Remember, if you are not sure about what you are doing, find an HR specialist, don’t try and do things yourself. It will cost you more in the long run.

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

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Blogging 101 - Great Articles equal Great Experiences

BLOGGING TIPS – Great Articles equal Great Experiences

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC June 2011

One of the quickest ways to get me to unsubscribe, fire you as a service provider or indeed walk into your competitors lair, is to irritate me.

You see, for me it is not just about what the offering is, it’s not just about the product or even the service – for me it’s about the whole experience.  It’s about how that whole experience makes me feel (and I don’t necessarily mean in a warm and fuzzy or touchy feelie kind of way).  Does it make me want to return, does it make me want to share (in a good way or even when I’m spitting mad), does it make me smile or laugh, does it make me want to change something?

Reading for me, be it articles or magazines or books, have the same kind of effect.  Is it written in a simple manner that is easy to read and understand?  Does it bring forth images that make me smile or laugh or even cry and squirm or shake with anger?  Not every ‘good’ experience is sweetly pleasurable – some sadden and make me think and then act, some challenge and some . . . . well, they just irritate!

They irritate because they are too technical or they use words that necessitate me being permanently attached to the dictionary or they are so devoid of any type of truth or figment of reality that I am blinded by a red mist of anger and indignation at the fact that someone would even think that I would be caught up in their absolute nonsense!

Like many, I do not like to steeped in and surrounded by negativity and if I am reading something that constantly brings this emotion to the forefront, I will stop and move onto the next article.

As a creature of habit, I usually return time and time again to the same sites.  When I find an article that I enjoy on a site, I will usually ‘follow’ it to see what else comes up.  That said however, I can just as easily ‘unfollow’, which is something that I will do from time to time, if I become disgruntled and irritated with the author and/or their content.

The reality is that I am not any different to anyone else out there in terms of how I deal with my own set of particular likes and dislikes.  The reality is that there are truckloads and more, of information out there – useful stuff, enjoyable stuff and of course a load of nonsense too.  It’s freely available to anyone and everyone.  The only thing between someone reading your articles or not is the choice that they make about the experience that they are having.

So, if you want your readers to keep coming back, time and time again, you have to make sure that you do not irritate and annoy them.  Make sure that every article equates to a memorable experience.

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

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Networking 101 - Be Sensitive About Sharing Information


PART 120

Be Sensitive About Sharing Information

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2009

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

“The sharing of information or mailing lists, should be done with sensitivity and permission.”

I must admit that this is one of my pet peeves! 

I was asked at a Networking meeting recently, how I have built my personal data base into more than 3000 (and that’s without ‘buying’ any data bases) and I answered honestly, by adding one at a time.  Not only have I added just one name at a time, but every single person in my data base, I have met, however briefly.  They are not just faceless names and contact details.  Each one has received correspondence from me (and often still continues to receive information from me) and each one has the propensity to be referred to someone that may need their services, at any given time.

My database works – really hard.  Sure there are, sometimes months, when they don’t get any referrals at all and then suddenly something happens and they get referrals coming out of their ears!

That said, I try and treat my database with dignity and respect.  I certainly don’t like to be spammed and I am sure that they don’t either.  So I don’t just hand out their information for the sake of it, neither do I hand over my data base simply because someone asks me.

Actually I was quite gobsmacked the other day when a colleague asked me to give her my database list so that she could phone them.  I must admit I was speechless for a moment – it has taken me many years of hard work to get my database to where it is and I must now just hand that information over to someone so that they can be phoned – I don’t think so.

So take care of your contacts, treat them right and I promise you they will treat you well too.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at

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