Monday, February 29, 2016

Motivation - Heros


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

It is said that “heroes are the people who do what has to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.”

Well ain’t that the truth!  That’s probably why heroes are usually leaders too, I am sure!  They get things done and not only do they get them done, but they also take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

For me it is just easier to get the thing done, than it is to sit around, looking at everybody, waiting . . .  Life is far to busy for me to mess around with that nonsense!

I recently had a situation, where doing some work for one of my clients necessitated that I contact one of their clients – let’s call her Sally.  Now Sally is in her mid 30’s.  She and her husband have recently split and she has gone back to Durban to be with her family.  So far so good.  The problem now is that she owes my client a heap of money for a service that was performed almost a year ago.  Sally is now unemployed and she is living off her family, and has been doing this for the past 3 months.  Now that just does sit right with me -  she should really get up off her rear end and find something to do.  That is not where the story ends though – her soon to be ex husband has promised to send her some money to sort out her debts, so now she is just sitting and waiting, waiting for money that may never arrive, waiting for her life to begin, waiting for who knows what!

Sally is the type of person who will spend the rest of her life waiting for something to happen!  She is the person who constantly says “if I did . . . “ or “if only . . . “!  Her whole life is one big IF and one big wait.

If you don’t ‘step up to the plate’ and do what needs to be done, life will pass you by.  Life is for living, for doing, for achieving – not for waiting.

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

HR 101 - Sex Workers Also Have Rights

HR 101 - Sex Workers Also Have Rights

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC June 2010

To be perfectly honest, my sense of humour really got the better of me with this one and I must admit I laughed hard and out loud at this one!

Apparently during the month of May 2010, according to Labour Bulletin “the Labour Appeal Court handed down judgement in the case of a sex worker who was unfairly dismissed by the brothel employing her.”  Man oh man – I wish I could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ at that one.  Probably just as well though that I wasn’t as I probably would have laughed out loud during the handing down of that one too!

You see, in my opinion (and I know that I am going to take a huge amount of flak over this one), sex workers, strippers and well all of the girls who work in this industry are ignored or treated like they are not people and quite frankly, that’s just wrong on so many different levels.  Irrespective of whether we condone what they do or not, the fact of the matter is that they work at the oldest profession in the world and until May 2010 have not had any protection what-so-ever and I say ‘shame on us’! Fact of the matter is that they are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts – just like we are!  Fact of the matter, that whatever the reason they work in this particular industry, generally speaking they are all just trying to get along with the business of putting food on the table, just like us!  Fact of the matter is – they are people, human beings, individuals who deserve protection, just like us!

Here’s the thing – our very progressive and liberal constitution states that “everyone” has a right to fair labour practices and I guess, for once, ‘everyone’ means just that – every single person, irrespective of whether the employer or the employee is engaged in illegal practice.

Here’s a warning though – the constitution doesn’t absolve them from having engaged in any illegal practices and obviously if they are caught performing illegal tasks (such as a sex worker) they can and will be prosecuted.

What it does mean though, is that irrespective of where you work and the kind of work that you do (legal or otherwise), you have the right to be treated with dignity and respect by your colleagues, your clients and your employers.

Sadly though, even though sex workers have the right to the protection and their employers can be prosecuted for not complying with these rights, there seems to be some confusion as to the compensation for the employee as these may be seen to violate various provisions of the “Sexual Offences Act” – still, in my opinion, it is a step in the right direction.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Blogging 101 - Where Else to Look for Ideas - Part 6

BLOGGING TIPS – Where Else to look for Ideas – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC January 2013

Last time we looked at the opportunities around Television, being Angry or Upset and Victory and Defeat, for inspiration or ideas for articles of interest that pertain to your particular passion.  Today we will have a look at a few more.

Share the lessons that you have learnt during the course of the past year and maybe some of what you consider to be your greatest achievements.

In terms of ‘lessons learnt’, if you have had to learn the lesson the hard way, I am sure that there are many individuals out there who would really appreciate not having to go through the angst and  anxiety themselves.

When you share your achievements it might be a good idea to take your readers on the journey as you experienced it as there may be someone who is on a similar journey who will be motivated and inspired by your achievements.

Everyday Activities
For me the ‘everyday activities’ are about the routine things that I have tasked myself to do every day, like for example the writing of my blog. It might be a good idea to explain ‘why’ you have chosen to perform these tasks on a daily basis and how you feel once the task has been completed.  Again for me, writing is extremely important as it is part of the ‘creative’ side of me.  If I don’t write something every day, then I am not ‘balanced’ and that causes its own set of complications. So once my blog for the day is written I feel that I have released my creative energy for the day and that brings about a sense of peace and well being – clearly a great way to start the day.

Believe me when I tell you that you can literally write something to death!  I know I did.  When I first started on my ‘blogging’ journey, all I wrote about was “The Power of Networking” – 170 odd blogs on Networking later, I found myself procrastinating every time I had to write another article and realized that I was all blogged out on the subject.  So I stopped writing about Networking and found something else to write about.  Am I still passionate about Networking – of course I am, but I can find no more to write on the subject and it is still all there for anyone to read.

Also, sometimes the creative juices are just not there – don’t force it, give yourself a break for the day or several days for that matter – you can always come back to it and re-kindle your passion for writing.

Remember though, if you do not enjoy what you are doing, then what is the point!  Always have fun!

Next time we will have a look at some more ideas to keep those blogs flowing. Until then “Happy Writing” and don’t forget to have fun!

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Networking 101 - Always be Respectful

Networking  101 - Always be respectful

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC.

One of the things that I always tell people when I Network, is that they need to treat people in the same manner that they themselves would like to be treated – it’s common courtesy and I promise you it will go a long way towards building good relationships.  Actually if the truth be told, it is essential to treat all relationships like this, not just your Networking relationships – so that means your referral sources (usually to be found when Networking), your prospective clients, your current clients, your suppliers (who knows – one day they may very well become your clients too) your partners and so on.

We all have our own way of doing things and we all have our own personalities and as much as we would like people to understand how and why we do the things in the way that we do them, so too should we try and understand why people do things the way that they do them.  Remember though that you are the one looking for the referral, so you are the one that has to make the most compromise and bend over backwards the furtherest.

Try and find out as much as you can about your prospect as you can.  The internet is a great place to find as much information as there is available.  Knowing the likes and dislikes of your prospect will mean that you are in a far better position to answer questions and give the requested information, without alienating anyone.

The secret of turning a referral prospect into a current client is to find, develop and use all the tools that you can.  It may be as simple as finding the right venue for your first meeting to how you present yourself in your personal capacity and how professional you are in your work space.

Getting yourself connected to some local Networking groups such as (but not limited to) Business Engage ( or the Real Entrepreneur ( or even the local chambers, and making sure that you attend the various functions, workshops and Networking events will ensure that you have a constant supply of referrals and also prospects.

Remember that you don’t have to just Network with like minded people, but that there are a number of diverse people out there that could possibly surprise you with who they are connected to.

Above all, remember to have fun!

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Business Tips - Rising to the Occasion - Part 3

BUSINESS TIPS – Rising to the Occasion – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Here we are looking at some more solutions to challenges around us as individuals and how we view ourselves as either winners or losers.  How we look at ourselves in terms of success or failure and how we can solve some of these issues.

Words:  Think about the words that you use.  Change your mindset and instead looking at “problems”, look at ‘challenges’; or ‘opportunities’.  The way that we use words and what they mean to our subconscious minds is very important to how we look at ourselves and how we judge ourselves.

I am sure that we are all aware of the thinking around affirmation and how if we tell ourselves, often enough and long enough, how excellent we are that we will eventually believe it.  Surely then if we continue to say the words “challenges” or “opportunities”, we will start looking for opportunities and finding solutions to challenges!

I am sitting at a “Women Making a Difference In Africa Conference” as I write this and so far this morning, all the speeches have been about ‘doom and gloom’.  My upbeat and optimistic mood of this morning has definitely slipped its moorings and has drifted somewhat southwards.  As I look around the people in the room, the looks on their faces speak volumes.  Some are bored to tears, some are filled with fear, some are angry at what is being said and me . . .  well I have found something useful to occupy my time . . I am writing this article and rising to this particular occasion.

You see, I refuse to be engulfed in the fear that is all around us.  I refuse to live my life in accordance with what other people desire to do in their own lives.

For me it is of the utmost importance to get past the fear and pessimism if I want my life and my life’s purpose to inspire greatness in others.

Next time will be the final part in sharing some of the solutions to the challenges that we may encounter as we all attempt to rise to the challenge.

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

Motivation - Dreams


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from Michael Masterson who says:

“The trouble for most people is they don't decide to get wealthy, they just dream about it.”

So what is it about dreams that make them so important, and once you have done the ‘dreaming’ thing, what needs to be done?

Well for me, the dream is the start.  It’s the first step in this incredible journey that we call life. It’s the seed that is planted, that with love, care, commitment and perseverance, germinates and becomes the tree that grows strong and true.

What we all need to remember though is that the dream is just the beginning.  Dreams without action are just ……. well  dreams.  In order for anything to happen, the dream needs to be acted upon.
Something needs to be done to change the dream into a reality.

So the next step is to decide to do something about the dream.  This is the first action in a very long line of actions that need to take place.  The decision to do something about the dream, is the second step. This is where the foundation is built.  This is where the nuts and bolts are decided upon and the plan is written down and then for me excitement and anticipation and that delicious feeling, deep down inside comes bubbling up and I can’t wait to get started because, well because something is about to happen!

As I go along, my dream morphs, due to some of the realities of life and the path that I have chosen to walk down has twists and turns and up-hills and down-hills and sometimes I need to pause and take in the scenery.  This means that my plans (or goals) need to change, they need to be flexible enough for me to be able to make changes, without losing sight of the winning flag, the realization of my dream.

This does not mean that the dream has changed or that the end result is going to be different, it just means that the actions required in order to reach my goal or realize my dream, have changed.  There are always people to have a better way or easier way to do something – so the action must change.

But none of this can happen, not the action, not the execution of the action, not the realization – nothing . . . unless the dream has been dreamed.

Do you have a dream?

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

Friday, February 19, 2016

HR 101 - Witnesses Must Testify

HR 101 - Witnesses Must Testify

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC June 2010

I have had to facilitate a huge number of disciplinary hearings during the first half of this year and each one has just magnified the importance of having witnesses.  Sure documents tell their own story but the weight of the testimony of a good witness is much stronger.

In the instances that the employee has taken their case to the CCMA – the witnesses also went along to present their testimony which has then been backed up, for the most part, by the documentation and/or other evidence.

Remember though, no matter how strong or convincing the witness may be,  the employee has the right to cross examine that witness and challenge the documentation and/or other evidence, so it is of the utmost importance that the witness is clear on the facts and that the story is told clearly, factually and without embellishments.

Whatever the story, whatever the facts, these should be backed up with documentary evidence.

Obviously the more witnesses you have and the more documented evidence you have to support the testimony of your witnesses the stronger your case will be.

Disciplinary Chairpersons and CCMA Arbitrators make decisions based on three criteria (apart from the stories that are told by the employer and the employee) and these are:

Items such as video tapes, the actual items that may have been stolen and
Witness testimony

Although the evidence is critically important, the most crucial is the witness.

Say for example that there is a document that states a particular process in a step by step manner, the author of the document and/or the person who used the document for training purposes would still be required to firstly, validate the document and secondly to explain the reason and/or intent behind why the document exists.  Finally, how the employee did not adhere to the procedures as stipulated in the document would have to be explained to.

Remember though, that for witnesses to be effective they need to be managed properly, to ensure that they actually pitch to the hearing.  They have to be properly prepared, to ensure that they have all the relevant details available.  The biggest thing to control though, is to ensure that your witnesses are not bribed and/or persuaded to lie or negatively embellish the facts in any way.

Be prepared and always be pro-active.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Blogging 101 - Where Else to Look for Ideas - Part 5

BLOGGING TIPS – Where Else to look for Ideas – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC January 2013

Last time we looked at the opportunities around Lateral Thinking and even the Wisdom of our Parents, for inspiration or ideas for articles of interest that pertain to your particular passion.  Today we will have a look at a few more.

Now I know that there are many people out there who very seldom watch TV and whilst on some level I do understand their reasons, it is one of the ways that I relax and chill out.  Also, if I am really honest, there are several shows that I am particularly fond of (read absolutely hooked on).  The fact of the matter is that I learn from many of these shows, trying to figure out who the culprit is in all of the ‘who-dun-its’ and learning the life lessons on the fantasy and esoteric type ones and just pure enjoyment and predicting the winners on the reality ones.  Yip, it’s official – I love watching TV.  There I said it!

Actually I have used examples of what I watched and the lessons learned, in several of my blogs – two that come to mind immediately are when one of the contestants in a reality show dissed the opinion of one of the judges – that was a motivational piece on respect and the other was a woman who documented her every move (giving specifics like pictures and the name of the place that she was at and then the next place she was going to) on Facebook (I think it was  CSI or one of those profiling shows) – that was an early warning about the content we share online.

So very much like Celebrities, watching TV can spark an idea that you can link to your subject material to illustrate what you mean.

Anger or being Upset
Who would have thought that being upset about something that you have read/watched/listened to/seen (insert anything you like here) would produce some of the greatest articles that you have every written?  I know that there is nothing like a good rant to clear the air and for me writing it all down transfers the anger (or indeed sadness) from my mind onto the paper.  It is one of the ways that I have of ‘releasing’ the pain or the anger. Obviously, once you have calmed down, you need to edit it to ensure that you have all your ducks in a row and that you haven’t mentioned anyone’s name, or you could find yourself in trouble.  Again I have, on occasion used some of these writings to illustrate a point.  Two that come to mind immediately are the one I wrote on the unrealistic begging bowl type expectations of entrepreneurs and/or start ups, especially around the issue of funding and the other was also about an unrealistic expectation of someone who expected everything to fall into her lap, or everything done for her, without her actually doing anything herself!  Both really got my blood boiling!

Victory or Defeat
This is one that I have used on many occasions and this year will be no exception.  My friend Perle said to me one evening during the course of the holidays, as we sat on her balcony sipping at an extremely cold beverage as we watched the sunset dip into the ocean “What were your highlights in 2012 and what were your biggest regrets”?  I really had to think carefully about this and decided to split it into two separate camps – one being in my professional life and the other in my personal life.  In both instances there were huge lessons learnt, but it was only in the “looking back” that the lessons became clear and this only re-iterates my conviction that we need to ‘look back and see where we have come from and what we have achieved’ more often.

This is a theme that I have written about on more than one occasion and clearly something that I will be writing about again, during the course of the year.

Remember though, if you do not enjoy what you are doing, then what is the point!  Always have fun!

Next time we will have a look at some more ideas to keep those blogs flowing. Until then “Happy Writing” and don’t forget to have fun!

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Networking 101 - Feeding the Hungry Beast that is Networking


PART 152

Feeding the Hungry Beast that is Networking

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. March 2010

Networking for Entrepreneurs is vital and knowing how to network effectively is an essential skill that all Entrepreneurs and Business people should ensure that they get.

It is extremely important that as an Entrepreneur, you understand the basics.  Networking essentially is about building and maintaining relationships.  So many people that I have encountered along the way seem to be under the impression that Networking is about selling their product and/or service.  The reality of course, is that very few people go to a Networking event to ‘buy’.  The reality is that if everybody goes to a Networking event to ‘sell’ – there will be very little selling (or buying for that matter) happening.  The reality is that if there is no buying or selling going on – there should be a whole lot of relationship building going on – I mean what else is happening?

Relationship building is essential for and to any business owner.  It strengthens ties between individuals, it builds trust and once trust is established, referrals are made and the ‘loop tape’ starts to play!

One hand washes the other and before you know it, other ‘players’ enter the arena and the circle of influence grows, ever wider, ever bigger, until like myself,  all or most of your business comes out of the Networking environment.

Be warned though, it’s a hungry beast and to be effective, it needs to be fed on a regular basis.  Relationships need time to grow and to maintain them also takes time.  So even in the times of plenty, it is really important to Network constantly, to interact with your circle of influence and to maintain your relationships!

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Business Tips - Rising to the Occasion - Part 2

BUSINESS TIPS – Rising to the Occasion – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

Following on from last week, this week we will be looking as some of the solutions that there are to assist us with dealing with some of the challenges that we came across last week.

These are (but not limited to):

Expecting difficulty:  People who stick their heads in the sand or who look at life through rose tinted glasses are always surprised when things go wrong.  Actually some of them look like frightened deer that have been caught in the headlights of an oncoming car!  I’m not for one moment suggesting that we should be pessimistic and always looking for things to go wrong and then nodding wisely and saying “You see, I told you it would go belly up”! What I am suggesting though, is that we become optimistic realists.  That we understand what can go wrong, that we are prepared for it should it go wrong, but that we always carry on as if nothing could go wrong – that way if it does, there is always a plan “B” and if it doesn’t – well that’s a bonus, don’t you think?

Be proactive.  This for me is an absolute ‘no brainer’!  I find it extremely difficult to understand why people don’t get things going correctly (or even going in the right direction) in the first place.  This always necessitates them having to go back to correct it.  How crazy is that and how time consuming, not to mention absolutely frustrating.  It reminds me, many years ago, of the reason that I actually left the bank.  I was in the Internal Audit Division and each time there was a problem in a department, I would be sent in to sort it out and get it back to what it was supposed to be.  One particular department was notorious for not following procedures.  It got to a point where every three months I had to go back into the department to restore order – the straw that broke the camels back came, when that particular department head received a bonus for the manner in which their department was run (when we were audited externally by the International Internal Audit Department) and my efforts were not even acknowledged.

Deal with problems whilst they are still small enough to be handled effectively and with a minimum of fuss and ensure that you maintain your preventative measures.  Think about it for a moment – we usually don’t wait until the car falls apart in a heap before we send it in for a service.  We usually service regularly to prevent the car from falling apart in a heap!

Next week we will have a look at some more solutions

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

Monday, February 15, 2016

Motivation - Don't Forget to Play

MOTIVATION – Don’t Forget To Play

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC -  September 2009

One of my biggest challenges as an adult, was to remember, and even on occasion find, the child in me.  Don’t think for one minute that I don’t laugh or don’t have a sense of humour – of course I do and those who know me can attest to this fact.  My problem is though that I am not really a ‘playful’ person, and that is what is very bad.

I first became aware of this when Vanessa, my friend, my mentor and my guide though life said to me “Play with your child!”  I remember how confused I was as I do not have children except of the feline variety and Vanessa knows this very well.  I am a very literal person you see and even thinking about a little child in the adult me is really very foreign and quite disturbing.

It was quite a challenge I must tell you and one that I am quite sure that I have not yet mastered (despite my best efforts), but it meant me going back to my childhood and remembering the things that I enjoyed doing as a child.  It meant not only remembering those things but also remembering how I felt when I was engaged in those activities and then of course it meant recreating those activities and feelings in the here and now.

Therein lay my own personal challenge.  You see as a child I was without boundaries when I played.  I did not think about how silly I might look, or whether people were looking at me or judging me or judging what I was doing, I reveled in my childish play and I had fun, unashamed fun.  Whether adults joined in my childish laugher made absolutely no difference to me and in fact I was most happy when there were no adults around to put boundaries around my play.  I did not have to play in the ‘reality’ type world, but could do so in the imagination and in the abstract and believe me, I had imagination enough to support anything and everything!

Where and when had I lost the ability to let myself go completely, in wild abandon and just enjoy the feeling of absolute freedom to be myself, of just being me?  Where and when had I lost the reality of not caring about what others thought or whether they participated or not?  Where and when had I lost the ability to live in the ‘now’ rather than worry about the consequences of yesterdays actions or the planning of tomorrow?  Where and when had I lost the confidence in myself to just be me?

I cannot answer any of these and indeed it doesn’t really matter where and when it was lost.  What matters now is that I return back to those moments from time to time.

What is important now is that I am able to disengage from the adult world and for a short time, play and feel like a child again.

What is important now is that I am able to engage with the child in me to feel the unencumbered joy of not being an adult, of not having the responsibility of my every day world, but the unrestricted, unfettered freedom of my childhood.

What about you?  Do you ever “play” with the child in you?

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

HR 101 - Maintain Control of Your Staff - Part 7


HR 101 - Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 7

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC June 2010

During the course of the several last weeks, we have had a pretty extensive look at some of the more common problems that line managers and SMME’s experience with their staff.  I have touched on some of the ways in which to combat these problems but list hereunder some additional thoughts on the subject.

Before I get into any kind of serious detail about the “how to” of controlling the situation, let me make it very clear from the get go that it is not necessarily the Manager’s fault that the staff want to get up to the mischief that they manage to get themselves into.  Human nature being what it is means that there will always be those individuals who are lazy or who actually are not interested in what they are doing or in fact have no interest in being an integral part of a team.  That is just the way that it is sometimes.

Here’s the thing though, it is incumbent upon the manager to implement measures that control staff and this is usually done in the first instance by putting together preventative and even corrective measures.  These measures of course have one of two effects upon the staff.  They will either change the behaviour of the staff member, or alternatively where the staff member is just not interested in conforming or getting back into line with the rest of the staff – these measures can and should be used to discipline and where applicable, even dismiss the individuals concerned (be sure to follow the correct procedures though).

The manager, must therefore be able to quickly recognise where there is a problem with rebellious or lazy staff.  Staff who are demotivated also need to be monitored closely to ensure that they too start working correctly.  Managers need to deal with staff in such a way that they clearly understand that their bad behaviour is not going to be tolerated.  Staff who have momentarily ‘lost’ their way, need to be guided back to what they should be doing in a fair, but also firm manner.

Where necessary, swift and appropriate disciplinary action should be taken, which not only deals effectively with the situation, but also is considered fair by the CCMA and/or the various bargaining councils.

Any kind of procedure must be fair though and disciplinary action taken must always be procedurally correct to ensure that the employer doesn’t end up on the ‘receiving’ end of the wrath of the CCMA.

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blogging 101 - Where Else to Look for Ideas - Part 4

BLOGGING TIPS – Where Else to look for Ideas – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC December 2012

Last time we looked at the opportunities around Justice, Karma and even the use of Satire, for inspiration or ideas for articles of interest that pertain to your particular passion.  Today we will have a look at a few more.

Lateral Thinking
I know that this one can sometimes be really difficult for people to get their heads around simply because many people are not lateral thinkers – so how about you try the word association game.  It’s the game where you start off with one word, any word – write it down, then when you picture that word in your mind, what is the next word or picture or thought that comes into your mind?  Write that one down and then the next and so on. Once you have finished you will find that you have written a really interesting blog, or a really hilarious one – depending on how your mind is wired.  I always have great fun with these and in fact, on the Business Master forum we sometimes, just for the fun of it do these, with different rules in place, such as (but not limited to) only 5 words at a time and only 3 posts a day and you cannot follow on from your own post.  They often go really pear-shaped because you have upwards of 20 people participating – different people, different mindsets, different ideas and different dynamics usually result in great fun!

Parents Wisdom
Do you remember, when as a kid, the stuff your parents said always was a pain in the rear end?  When I grew up however and I understood the meaning behind the words – they took on a whole different life.  Actually if the truth be told, there are many articles that I have written that contain snippets of stuff that my Dad used to say to me or even stories from my childhood.

Writing those stories transported me to another time, to another place and have brought back memories of sounds and smells and laughter and I have no doubt that they have transported the readers as well.  Don’t be scared to write about them, don’t be scared to share them – the sharing will empower you.
Next time we will have a look at some more ideas to keep those blogs flowing. Until then “Happy Writing” and don’t forget to have fun!

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Networking 101 - Networking Effectively


PART 150

Networking Effectively

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. March 2010

I’ve just read an article on Networking that says (and unfortunately I can’t see who it was written by) “For job seekers, networking is considered THE most important activity.”

In fact, in my opinion, every aspect of our lives is governed by networking of one sort or another and if we don’t work our networks properly or effectively, the bottom line is that we will not work effectively or optimally.  Quite a reality check, I’m sure you will agree.

Most of us use our networks to expand our business contacts or to get more work in.  On a personal level, I use my network for every aspect of my life.  I listen to the stories of ordinary people, both in their personal lives and in their businesses, which often add value to the articles I write.  I ‘remember’ what/who people are looking for and match them to people that need those things/services in their lives.  When I look for opportunities, I not only look for myself but also for the people in my Network

Whatever we need from our Networks, there are always a few ground rules or tips that apply across the board.  I know that I have covered them many times before, but from experience I know that often we don’t ‘hear’ things the first time that they are said. So here they are again.

When you attend a Networking meeting or event, be confident in your own ability, even if you’re not confident about yourself or have self esteem issues or even if you are shy, you have to come across as confident and that you know what you are doing.

You need to be able to market yourself and your product/service.  This means of course that you need to prepare ahead of the Networking meeting/event.  You need to have an ‘elevator’ speech ready and practiced and your elevator speech should not be longer than 30 seconds.  It should be short, concise and of course contain the correct information.  Remember that you are not the only person who is going to talk and that you also need to listen, in fact you need to understand that you will be doing a lot of listening.

No-one likes someone who only takes and never gives anything back and this is also true of Networking and Networks.  In fact my motto is ‘give in order to receive’.  The more that you give to your Network, the more your Network will give back to you.  That doesn’t mean that you should be working for nothing though – we all need to make a living, but what it does mean is that you need to give referrals or hook people up.  You can also assist those who you can see have no idea how to Network.  Share your experiences and help them get started.

It doesn’t matter if you attend 1000 Networking meetings or events, if you do not follow up, very little will happen.  I hesitate to say ‘nothing’ will happen because sometimes things happen despite what we don’t do.  You need to engage with people, you need to communicate.  If you don’t, getting contact information may prove to be more difficult for you.

So . .  take a big breath, square your shoulders, put a big smile on your face and get yourself off to a Networking meeting.

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

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Business Tips - Rising to the Occasion - Part 1

BUSINESS TIPS – Rising to the Occasion – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC April 2010

As small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs we all understand and are often touched by the adversity around us.  From political unrest and uncertainty to financial and economic recessions and troubles.  These are indeed, very trying times but also very exciting times.

Here’s the thing though – at some point in our lives, trouble will visit with us.  Even during the best of times, trouble comes to visit.  Trouble has many faces and many forms – trouble can visit in the form of an illness, or a fire or business ruin or financial challenges.  Whatever form trouble takes, it will visit.  The challenge of course is how we deal with trouble.

Many of us not only deal with every day challenges or the small irritations that life throws at us, but also have to do with some of the big things too.

Strangely enough though, it is the way that we deal with the small irritations in life that will usually determine the way that we will deal with the big things in life.

Disasters are big and in their hugeness, it is difficult to ignore them – they aren’t going to go away and you cannot hide them under the carpet or in the cupboard.  They are ‘in your face’ and you have to deal with them.

The real test though, for me anyway, is how to deal with the everyday little issues.  Those constant daily irritations that buzz around our heads like an army of mosquitoes?

Issues such as (but not limited to) getting enough rest or looking after our health or even spending quality time with our families and loved ones.  These issues are not the dramatic disaster kind and they don’t appear to be urgent, yet many of us ignore them hoping that they will go away.  For example neglecting your wife/husband and family won’t have any major effect in the short term. The long term effects though could be divorce and/or estrangement.  How sad is that?  In this particular example, it’s the small, daily, irritating mozzie that has grown into a tsunami that is causing the major problems.

People who are successful or who are high achievers, always expect challenges, in fact many of them welcome challenges because it’s in the dealing with the problem that they get to stretch their minds and their problem solving skills.  You will also find that most of these people, whilst they are realists – are also optimistic about life. They believe in themselves and understand their strengths and they are determined to put the changes in place.  They are determined to meet life head on.  They are also aware of the fact that as their success grows, so too will the number and size of their troubles. Most importantly too, is that they usually have a great sense of humour and know how to laugh at themselves as well as at life.

Next time we will have a look at some indicators on ‘how to’ solve your troubles before they become disasters.

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

Monday, February 08, 2016

Motivation - Choices


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from William Arthur Ward, who says:-

“We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them.”

More and more, as I look around me on a daily basis, and I see the challenges that we as South Africans have to face in order to live, to work, to be safe – I understand that choices have to be made in order for us to even meet the day.

Sure, there is a lot of negativity that is going around.  People whining and whinging, wringing their hands and crying “woe is me”, but look around you – I mean really, really look and you will see many, who against all odds are making a good living.

Why is that do you think?  Well because they have chosen to.  They have made the right choices and instead of wasting their time and energy on the negative in the situation and “I can’t” mentality, they have turned it around in their lives and made it into an “I can” situation.

We are our own biggest stumbling block, we can be our own mountains to climb or head up our own negative fan club, or we can get on with the business of living life.  We can stand in front of the brick wall and cry because there is no doorway to go through or we can walk around it, climb up over it, tunnel under it or simply build our own doorway.

Please believe me, that once we have shown them the way – the crying masses will try and follow, so why wait in line for someone else to do it for you?

I’m off to live my life – what are you doing with yours?

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

Friday, February 05, 2016

HR 101 - Maintain Control of Your Staff - Part 6

HR 101 - Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC May 2010

One of my ‘pet hates’ is when people miss deadlines.  I mean, what’s the point of setting a goal or a deadline, if you don’t mean to meet it?  It’s like having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting – a complete waste of time!  Having employees who consistently don’t meet deadlines can have an adverse effect on the rest of the team and ultimately on the business, particularly if, by missing their deadlines they impact on what is to follow.  Projects don’t flow, time is wasted and wasted time always means wasted money.

Ensuring that your staff meet their deadlines means that they need to be properly managed and that their performance needs to be measured.  The staff need to understand that there are consequences if deadlines are missed and employers need to ensure that these consequences are in fact enforced.

Another situation that many employers find themselves in is where money is literally being thrown away is when production materials are wasted or worse, misappropriated for personal use by the staff.  Wasting production materials will obviously have an affect on your bottom line, in that it will adversely affect the ‘cost of sale’, which in turn will have an affect on the margin and ultimately decrease the profits.

Finally, another of my pet hates is the employee who is always late, who takes extended tea and/or lunch breaks and then leaves early too.  Stealing time from employers is one of the easiest things to do – think about it for a moment – which boss gets all bent out of shape because someone is 5 minutes late?  Not many that I know of – but add it up!  5 minutes late for work, plus 5 minutes late from morning tea, then another 5 minutes late from lunch and 5 minutes late from afternoon tea and then they leave 5 minutes early at the end of the day.  That’s already 25 minutes per day – almost 2 ½ hours per week or 10 hours per month – now the whole picture changes, doesn’t it?

Employees need to understand that there is a “zero” tolerance to tardiness.  Again though, if this is not measured, controlled, monitored and implemented with consequences evidencing that you mean what you say, it is quite meaningless in itself.

Having consequences that are not enforced is the same as having no consequences at all.

Next time we will have a look at some examples of how to effectively control and manage your employees.

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

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Blogging 101 - Where Else to Look for Ideas - part 3

BLOGGING TIPS – Where Else to look for Ideas – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC December 2012

Last time we looked at describing how people use gestures, for inspiration or ideas for articles of interest that pertain to your particular passion.  Today we will have a look at a few more.

Here in South Africa, although I suspect it is the same the world over, there are more than many instances where people don’t get what they deserve.

Let’s turn it around for a change and put a positive spin on things  - we are always very quick to complain when things are wrong, but how often do we give praise or make a big deal out of things that go right?

After getting intense headaches for a while now, I realized that I haven’t had my eyes tested for over 3 years now, so I promptly took myself off to Torga in Cresta (Torga have a great deal going at the moment) and was told that my new glasses would be ready in about 10 days.  Yesterday, after only 3 days I got a call to let me know that the glasses were ready.  What great service this was – great savings on the deal and glasses ready, way before the expected date!  Well done Torga!

Don’t stress it – I am not going all ‘airy fairy’ on you all.  The truth is though, that I do believe that what you give you get in return.  It is a simple philosophy, but one that has worked well for me over the years.  Again, there is always good karma and bad karma and again, let’s turn it around and focus on the good.

The really great thing about this type of ‘giving’ though is that it doesn’t have to cost you a ‘financial anything’!  It’s about a kind word, or sharing some time with someone in need, or donating blood or even doing a ‘bro-bono’ mentoring session with someone.  Or how about endorsing some else’s blog or website or tweet, with several reasons as to why your readers may want to go there.

This is one of my favorites and let’s be honest here.  With all of Zuma’s and Malema’s antics, not to mention the rest of the crew we have, here in South Africa there is an absolute wealth of material!  Hells Bells, look at what Pieter Dirk Uys or Trevor Noa or even Zapiro have done with some of that material – not only have they built careers and made a lot of money with it, but they have also highlighted certain political and sometimes even very sensitive issues, with humour and they have made us laugh (we South African’s love to laugh at ourselves), whilst all the while also making a difference.  Now how cool is that?

My particular take on this is  . . . .  “so many articles to write and so little time”!

Next time we will have a look at some more ideas to keep those blogs flowing. Until then “Happy Writing” and don’t forget to have fun!

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

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Networking 101 - Taking Responsibility

Networking 101 - Taking Responsibility

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. February 2010

In his article entitled “Not Getting The Referrals You Want . . . Then It’s All Your Fault”, Dr Ivan Misner, puts the blame squarely at your feet and quite honestly I agree with him.

To continue where we left off last time:

Logically speaking, you need to take responsibility if your Network is not referring you.  Have a look at what it is that you are doing incorrectly or not doing at all.  Look at things like – are you teaching them about who you are and what it is that you do?  Do you come across as passionate about what it is that you do or sell?

Whilst many individuals are often very reluctant to accept responsibility, my Life Coach Vanessa Rothquel is adamant when she says “You are responsible for creating your own reality” and I agree with her totally.  I would even venture to take it one step further and say that you are also responsible for the actions that people around you, take on your behalf.  After all you are the one who ‘chooses’ to have those people around you, you are the one that interacts with them and you are the one that gives them the information that they convey to others, about your business.  Therefore it stands to reason that if something goes wrong or if you are not getting the referrals, it’s because of something that you yourself have overlooked.

It is said that one of the greatest strengths of a referral network is that ‘everyone becomes friends’ and on many levels this is true, but your also need to be aware of the fact that one of the biggest weaknesses of a referral network is that ‘everyone becomes friends’.  Taking responsibility for what your role is in the process and being accountable for what happens is the only way to ensure the success of the process

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

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Business Tips - Some More Common Mistakes - Part 2

BUSINESS TIPS – Some More Common Mistakes – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC – August 2011

Let’s be honest here, we all have good days and bad – we’re human after all and sometimes that’s just the way things are.  Of course that does not mean that we just sit back and do nothing!  What it does mean though is that we have to work extra hard at getting ourselves re-motivated.  Our lives and our businesses depend on it!

Instead of beating yourself up when you are feeling low though, try doing something different.  Do something that you absolutely love, or at the very least, do something that will take you out of the normal routine – go and watch a movie or take yourself ‘out for tea’ or ‘out for a meal’, or go for a massage, but take yourself away from your day to day drudge and troubles – chances are that when you come back you will be in an altogether different frame of mind and you can then get back onto the treadmill – ready to face whatever may come your way.

You need to understand that you will have to exercise great patience and tenacity when you have you own business.  It is more than likely that you will need to speak with someone whom you can brainstorm with and/or bounce ideas off or who can (and will) challenge you and keep you motivated and going in the right direction.  We all need a little help every now and then and having a mentor is usually a good thing – remember to ‘pay it forward’ though and help or mentor someone else too.

Keeping your emotions in check is also something that you will need to do, especially when you are making decisions that will have a huge impact on your business.

Decisions, of course, need to be made only after careful consideration, after a good deal of research and even more clear headed soul searching, in order for them it have the greatest beneficial impact.  Decisions made ‘on the fly’ or without any kind of deliberation could have serious negative financial implications, which could bring about the demise of your business.  So always think things through first.

A business needs to grow and that is a good thing – it’s a natural thing and it evidences that the product and/or service that you are offering is of value and that there is a demand for it.

Here’s the thing though that you need to be aware of and plan for.  When you grow, your will need more money to facilitate the expansion.  Ensure that your growth is measured and gradual and that you don’t grow too quickly as that will take more finance away from the day to day running and working capital of the business, which in turn would impact hugely on the cash flow and therefore the well being of the company.

Whatever you decide to do and however you decide to do it, remember why you started the business in the first place and remember to have fun!

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

Monday, February 01, 2016

Motivation - Curiosity


By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from the infamous Walt Disney, who says “Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long.  We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we are curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Imagine, if you will – never having the desire to do something new, or to the desire to learn about something new?  For a Gemini, this is the most scariest thing to even think about!

Curiosity is a natural thing – think of a young child as they touch something for the first time, or they discover something for the first time.  The look of absolute wonder and then the joy that crosses their faces and how their expressions change.

Or how about our animals, I know I am often amused at the antics of my cats, who ‘check’ everything out, like the grocery shopping bags.  I often enter the kitchen to find all the cupboard doors standing wide open and I know that Kochanie (my youngest unmarried daughter of the feline variety) has been ‘checking’ everything out again to ensure that everything is in its place.

So don’t, whatever you do, stifle curiosity in your children or yourselves.  Let it out and enjoy the travels that it takes you on, down the different pathways of life.

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