Friday, April 29, 2016

HR 101 - When You Want To Hire Staff - Part 1

HR 101 - When You Want to Hire Staff – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC August 2010

Let me just say from the get go, that in my opinion, we, more often than not, hire staff that we either do not need or alternatively that are completely unsuitable.

Let me explain my statement.

Firstly we have the situation where we hire staff that we don’t need – this is what happens when you walk into your office and are confronted by this huge mound of paper, files, stuff all over the desk – well you assume that it is a desk, because you cannot see it.  Your first ‘knee jerk’ reaction is “I need help” and your second ‘knee jerk’ reaction is – “I have to hire a staff member”.  This is where you need to step away from the problem, take a deep breath, go and have a cup of coffee, a large whiskey (or whatever your choice of poison) and do nothing else. Chances are, you see, that you actually don’t need anything more than a student type person for a couple of hours to help you clear through the backlog.

Secondly we have the situation, where you are correct, you do need someone to help you and your friend’s, aunties sister who lives down the road was recently retrenched and ‘ag shame’ she could do with the money – so you hire her and then while she sits and watches you work, you do all the work because she has no clue how to do anything!  Bad move that!  In this situation you are stuck with the new employee that you actually don’t want because they are not helping you but rather costing you money and giving you additional work.

Here’s the thing, before you actually hire anyone, you need to sit yourself down and ask yourself some really hard questions like (but not limited too):
1. Do you really need help or are you just a little behind?
2. What exactly will the person do – or rather (in the spirit of being absolutely honest with yourself), what work, that you are currently doing are you prepared to relinquish to another person – because that is exactly what it is that you will have to do.
3. This work that you are prepared to give up to your new employee – how long does it take you to do it (this will determine whether you need a full day person, or a half day person or a now and then person).
4. Are you giving the person the things that you hate to do (in which case it would be crazy to hire someone exactly like you – you should be looking at someone completely different to you) or are you going to part with the things that you absolutely love to do (I don’t think that that is even up for discussion – do you?).

So now you have asked and answered the questions – now how do you go about finding that particular person and then interviewing them and then hiring them, and yes, it is a process.

Firstly, I would suggest that you write down exactly what they will need to do and what (if any) qualifications/experience you think that they will need to have in order to fulfil their obligations.

Hiring somebody’s aunties, granny who lives down the road and who has never used a computer to do all your online marketing, is not a good idea, I am sure you will agree.  So it’s fair to say that it would be a good idea to take each task that you want that particular person to perform and list the minimum skills that they would require in order to perform those skills.

What usually happens now, is that you are left with a list of (but not limited to)
a. Qualifications (e.g. bookkeeping certificate)
b. Skills (e.g. computer literate and versed in excel and office)
c. Experience (e.g. 3 years as an administrative assistant)

and of course a list of what you want them to do such as (but not limited to):
d. maintaining of filing, both paper and electronic, in compliance with laid down procedures
e. data capture new members and maintain existing database
f. check and confirm prices and calculation on shipping documents
g. check and confirm duties charged on imports etc

Now you have the basics of a Job description – and here’s the bonus, the new staff member’s performance (or lack thereof) can be measured.

Once all your requirements and duties are listed, you can use the list to draft your job spec and once your job spec is drafted and you have handed it to the recruitment agency and/or posted it on the various websites you subscribe to, hopefully you will now start getting some CV’s in.

Next time we will have a look at the next step.

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


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Early Warning - Paper on Your Back Windscreen

EARLY WARNING - Paper on Your Back Windscreen

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC.

I received a mail from my colleague Allen Berkowitz that says “Warning From Police”. Now whether that is true or not I have no idea. The contents of the mail however, sound like it is something that could be done and therefore we should all be aware of what could happen. It is reproduced below.

“WARNING FROM POLICE
THIS APPLIES TO BOTH MEN AND WOMEN
BEWARE OF PAPER ON THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR VEHICLE
NEW WAY TO DO CAR JACKINGS (NOT A JOKE)

Heads up everyone! Please keep this circulating. You walk across the car park, unlock your car and get inside. You start your car and put it in reverse.

When you look into the rear view mirror to back out of your space, you notice a piece of pager stuck to the middle of the rear window. So you stop and jump out of the car to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view.

When you reach the back of your car, that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off. They practically run you over as they speed off in your car.

And guess what ladies? I bet your purse/handbag is still in the car. So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your money and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now compromised!

BEWARE OF THIS NEW SCHEME THAT IS NOW BEING USED.

If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, lock your doors and drive away.

Remove the paper later and be thankful that you read this mail. I hope you forward this to friends and family, especially to women. A purse/handbag contains all kinds of personal information and identification documents and you certainly do NOT want this to fall into the wrong hands.

Please tell your friends.”

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Business Tips - Being Your Own Boss - Part 8

BUSINESS TIPS - Being Your Own Boss – Part 8

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May  2009

Passion will fly out the window if everything that you try to do becomes a nightmare.  One of the ways to minimize stress is to plan for the things that you can plan for and budget for the things that can be budgeted for.

When you start, I am sure that you will not have a great deal of spare cash or even access to spare cash.  So be careful about what you spend and what you spend it on.  Of course, that said, you still need to brand yourself properly and get your idea or your product and/or service out there.

When getting prices on products such as business cards etc, be very clear about what it is that you want.  To get the best price, it will be necessary to request quotes from various suppliers – remember, no-where is it written that you have to take the first quote that you get.

Make sure of the following:
1. That the supplier understands what it is that you want – if possible send some sort of drawing (even if it is a rough hand drawn stick insect type drawing – for your business cards) – better yet, if you are able to produce a model of sorts that would be great.
2. Do the research – get yourself a list of suppliers.  Make sure that you know where you found them.  You can look on the internet, or get referrals from friends and associates, or check out the telephone directories and/or chambers.
3. Make some sort of spread sheet with all the supplier information on it – a column for what it is that you required, be as specific as you can, a third column for the date that you requested the information, who you spoke to etc and a fourth column for who came back to you and with what price etc.
4. Send out your request for a quote to two or three companies – just to test the waters, so to speak.  Be as specific as you can about what it is that you want.  When you get the replies, add any queries that they had (and your replies) to your original spread sheet specifications.  Then send your request out to the next two or three more suppliers, including the additional information.  As you go along, your knowledge on the information required should increase and this will give the supplier the perception that you know exactly what it is that you are wanting.  If they think that you are knowledgeable on the subject, they are less likely to try and over charge you.
5. Once you have received all the information back, talk it over with a friend or trusted colleague.  This will ensure that you keep  your emotions at bay and that you look over the information objectively.
6. Negotiate with the two or three top manufacturers or suppliers.  This is a business relationship that you are starting – don’t try and do business with someone that you either don’t particularly like or trust, especially if you are going to be doing business with them on a regular basis.  Rather find someone else if you are not sure about doing business with someone.

Remember that your credibility and integrity is also on the line here, you need to find the best value for money, especially if it is a product that you are going to be reselling, as your clients will also be looking for value for money.  Cheapest isn’t always cost effective and most expensive is not always value for money.

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Motivation - Great Achievements

MOTIVATION – GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from David J. Schwartz, who says :

"All great achievements require time."

I am pretty sure that we have all heard the saying ‘Stop. . . . .  and smell the coffee’.  For some of us though, and I am including myself here, time seems to run away!

It’s not that I am unproductive or that I squander my time, or even mismanage it – it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be enough of it ever!  I sometimes get the feeling that I am literally running against time!  There is always so much to do, so much that I still want to achieve, and never enough time in which to do it!

I am always impatient with people who waste my time, especially banks, post offices and the like. I am thoroughly irritated by people who meander through life, who seem to walk with no sense of purpose.  I am frustrated by people who can’t see the big picture or the finer details, and yes – you do need to see them both!

I am frustrated by people, who don’t seem to know what they want, let alone how they are going to achieve it, and don’t get me started on people who profess to know what it is that they want but then when you chat to them it is clearly evident that they are actually quite clueless!

You see, although I can ‘talk the talk’, I am essentially a doer, so once I have had the talk and thought it through, I want to get going.  Most of the time, I am frustrated by people, who still want to talk about it . . .  for another 6 weeks (by which time the opportunity has moved on), or people who want to think about it for another 6 weeks (again the opportunity has moved on) or by people who are just plain undecided!

I agree that ‘great achievements take time’, but my biggest challenge is taking the first step towards realizing that achievement!  If it is something that I can achieve myself, I am usually off to a flying start, however if I am doing something together with others . . . well, I think I have made my point already.

Make a decision and take the first step and for heaven’s sake just get going.  Achievements take time, so I would still like to be around to benefit and enjoy the fruits of my labour as and when the achievement is realized.

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

HR 101 - UIF (Unemployment Fund) - Part 5

ARTICLE 61

UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC August 2010

Last time we had a look at how to collect maternity as well as adoption benefits and in this, our final article on the subject of UIF, we will focus on the ‘how to’ of claiming death benefits.

Obviously if you are dead, you cannot collect the benefit – however the spouse and/or the ‘minor’ children of the deceased may be illegible to receive the benefits.

Here are some of the rules though:

The benefits have to be collected within six months of the death of the worker.

Here are the documents that need to be presented when you (as the husband or wife of the deceased) have to take to the Labour Centre.

- A Form UF126 needs to be completed.  This can be collected from the Labour Centre or off the Labour Department site (but remember to check that it is the correct/current form).
- Your green, bar encoded identity document.
- Copies of the deceased’s last six pay slips
- A signed and completed form UI19 from the employer of the deceased.
- A certified copy of the deceased’s death certificate
- A certified copy of your marriage certificate
- A certificate of Service from the employee
- Proof of your (the claimant’s) banking details.

- If you are a minor child of the deceased, the claim must then be done by completing a form UF127. This must be done by the child’s legal guardian. Again this can be collected from the Labour Centre or off the Labour Department site (but remember to check that it is the correct/current form).

Here are the documents that need to be presented when the legal guardian of the child (as the minor child of the deceased), have to take to the Labour Centre.

- Your green, bar encoded identity document.
- Copies of the deceased’s last six pay slips
- A signed and completed form UI19 from the employer of the deceased.
- A certified copy of the deceased’s death certificate
- A certified copy of your marriage certificate
- A certificate of service from the employee
- Proof of your (the claimant’s) banking details.
- Proof of guardianship of the child’s representative
- Proof that the minor child is a learner who was dependant upon the deceased.

Once the above has been received by the Labour Centre, you will be issued with a Form UF 128, which needs to be completed and signed by the last employer of the deceased and then submitted to the Labour Centre.

This is a once off payment and it is the amount that the deceased would have been able to claim had they been unemployed.

Again this will be paid by means of a cheque or an electronic transfer where possible.

Next time we will tackle a new topic.

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


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Early Warning - 419 Scam

EARLY WARNING - 419 Scam

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting, December  2010.

“Dear John Smith

I am your partner in Christ and I need your confidential assistance.  I know that we have never met but when I saw your profile on the internet, I knew immediately that you are the right person and that we could do some business together.

My name is Jane Doe and my late father, Dr. Sam Doe was ruthlessly murdered by a group of armed dissidents, here on the Ivory Coast.  I was severely beaten and left for dead, but managed to escape and am now living under court protection, in my ivory tower here at the palace.  I speak to and see no-one other than the servant who brings me my meals.

My late father, may God rest his soul, left me with a large inheritance – US$29.4 million to be precise, and I would very much like this to be used to not only secure my release, but also to start my life in a new country and in a well established business.  I would like you to assist me with investing this money in the right kind of business for me.

I would of course need to introduce your name to the bank as a matter of urgency, as my late father’s foreign business partner wants to take the money and invest it in his country and then I will be left with absolutely nothing.

The bank will contact you and transfer the money to your bank account.  As soon as the money is in your account, you will need to assist me to come over to your country, where we will run the business together.  Please let me know how much you will take as your percentage to assist me in this regard.”

Sound familiar?  I am sure it does!

Here’s the thing though – I took bits and pieces out of several of these e-mails which means that whilst they are never exactly the same they are all based on the same kind of theme.

That said, they all have the same consequence – you will lose not only your money, but also the shirt off your back, if you take this discussion any further!

So don’t think about what could be or should be.  Turn your desperation key off and blow out the candle on your greed.  This is one fight you will not win.  Hit the delete button and get on with your life.

This is really one statistic that you do not want to contribute to or become a part of.

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Networking 101 - Honesty is the Best Policy

Networking 101 - Honesty is the best Policy

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July 2010

We’ve all heard (and indeed should know), that honesty is the best policy and yet how often do we not even think of that when we go about our daily business?  When we celebrate our ‘little’ victory over the taxman or we deny that we were speeding when we know that we most certainly were – do we think about honesty being the best policy then? Yet I have no doubt that we all consider ourselves ‘honest’ individuals.

What about when we attend Networking events or meetings – do we impart the truth about who we are, what we do and how we deliver – or do we embellish the truth?  A few little white lies won’t hurt anyone – right?  Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Truth is that you will probably get away with it the first time – often even the second and third time too, but at some point the house of  cards will come crashing down and all the lies that you have told and all the people you have cheated or misled or let down will be looking at you and holding you accountable, often publically and most certainly privately.  Don’t forget the ‘word of mouth’ thing either where you will be tried, judged and sentenced, without you even being present.

The world is not such a big place anymore!  The internet, e-mails, facebook and more specifically ‘twitter’ have made it very, very small and it has made you, the individual, extremely visible.

So when you are Networking, be it at an event, or individually, make sure that the words that come out of your mouth are truthful, that you are who you say you are and that you can do what you say you can do and that you deliver on time.

Yes indeed – honesty is the best policy – your business will depend on it!

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Business Tips - Being Your Own Boss - Part 7

BUSINESS TIPS - Being Your Own Boss – Part 7

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May  2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 18, 2016

Motivation - Happiness

MOTIVATION - HAPPINESS

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from C P Snow, who says:

"The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase: If you pursue
happiness you'll never find it."

So what is happiness?  How do you, as an individual define happiness and what exactly does it mean in your life?

Well, for starters it’s firstly about the way that I feel about life, about who I am and what my purpose in life is.  It’s about acceptance in terms of the things that I cannot change and the commitment (to no-one other than myself) to make a difference, not only in my life and the lives that my life touches, but also in the grand scheme of things and the big picture.  It’s about looking at the glass as half full and not half empty and if the reality of the situation is that the glass is indeed half empty – of filling it up.

It’s about turning the ‘can’t do’ into a ‘can do’.  It’s about finding simple solutions to what some people consider a huge insurmountable problem and then empowering them to implement the solution and thereby solve their own problem.

It’s about looking around me in absolute wonderment at all the beauty and the good things around me and thinking “Wow! I actually own all of this, through my sight!”

So whilst I agree that physically pursuing happiness is probably a waste of time, I believe that you can change your life style, your expectations and who you are as a person, in order to make it easier for happiness to find you!

And I believe, that happiness will indeed find you!

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

HR 101 - UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) - Part 4

HR 101 - UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

PLEASE NOTE: This pertains to South African compliance requlations only

Last time we had a look at how to collect illness benefits and this time we will focus on the ‘how to’ of claiming the maternity benefits as well as adoption benefits.

Following along from all the other collections you will need to register at the Labour office and obviously you will need to get a medical certificate from your doctor – be advised though that the doctor has to complete and sign the correct form, so make sure that you get a copy from the Labour office or alternatively get one off the website, but make sure that it is the correct one.

When you go to register, again the following documents need to be taken with you:

- A copy of your 13 digit, green bar encoded identity document
- Copies of you last 6 payslips
- Form UI19 completed and signed by your employer
- A Certificate of service from your employer
- Proof of your banking details
- A statement from your employer to evidence any money that you may have (or will be) receiving during the period that you will be on Maternity Leave.
- A fully completed and signed registration form.

When you go to the Labour Offices to register, you will also be given a Form UF92.  This form must be completed and signed by your doctor and then it has to be returned to the Labour Office.

Again the benefits will be paid to you by means of a cheque which will be posted to you or where possible by means of an electronic transfer.

If you need to apply for additional benefits after the baby is born, then you need to complete a Form UF 95 (which also needs to be completed and signed off by the doctor who delivered the baby.)

If you are unemployed as well as pregnant, then you need to advise the Claims officer as you may be entitled to additional benefits.

The documents that you need if you are applying for adoption benefits are:

- A copy of your 13 digit, green bar encoded identity document
- Copies of you last 6 payslips
- Form UI19 completed and signed by your employer
- A Certificate of service from your employer
- The adoption order or legal documentation pertaining to the adoption of the child
- Proof of your banking details
- A statement from your employer to evidence any money that you may have (or will be) receiving during the period that you will be on Adoption Leave.
- A copy of your adopted child’s birth certificate
- A fully completed and signed registration form.

Please note though that adoption benefits must be applied for within six months of the adoption order being issued – after that your claim will not be registered and you will not receive the benefits.

Again the benefits will be paid to you by means of a cheque which will be posted to you or where possible by means of an electronic transfer, however a form will be issued by the Labour Office, when payment is made and this must be completed and returned to the Claims Officer at the Labour Centre.

Next time we will have a look at the “how to” collect the death benefits too.

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


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Customer Service - 101 - Sick of Poor Service

CUSTOMER SERVICE 101 - Sick of Poor Service

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

So why is it that many customers do not complain?  Well one theory is that it is because of the physical reactions to their own bodies that make people reluctant to make the complaint in the first place.

According to Harris Interactive, 85% of the respondents in a survey said that they had “customer experiences so appalling that they have:
Used foul language (29%)
Developed a headache (21%)
Felt chest pain (6%) and
Cried (5%)

The most common frustrations being:
Not being able to understand a customer service agent (44%)
Being put on hold, listening to bad music or repetitive messages (45%)
Spending a great deal of time on a Web site or automated phone system searching for important information and not finding it (39%).”

Actually my pet hate is not even mentioned in this lot, although I am sure that I cannot be the only one to experience it.  It’s the customer service call centre person who will not put you through to a supervisor or a manager or anyone for that matter, despite the fact that he/she cannot or will not or does not have the grey matter to assist you.
Clearly the reality of the situation in South Africa is that good customer service doesn’t seem to be on the agenda at all.

Part of the problem I suppose is that many customers, who want to complain often don’t know how to complain, where to go to complain or even what to complain about, strange as that may sound.  On the other hand there are many companies who don’t have the necessary infrastructure in place to handle queries and complaints and the result is that you get passed on from one person to the next, obviously explaining the whole story each time you get passed onto another poor soul who has no clue how to help and so just passes you on again!

Talk about frustration!

The onus, I am afraid is on us, the consumer.  In order for Companies to actually do something about bad service, it is up to us to get the message through to them that things are wrong and that we want change to take place.

We, as consumers have the power to ensure that businesses give us better service, but we have to speak up, take action and get the ball rolling.

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Networking 101 - Nothing Beats a One-on-One

Networking 101 - Nothing Beats a One-on-One

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. June 2010

Nothing beats a one-on-one!  Okay, this is really important so let me say it again!  Nothing beats a one-on-one!

Oh yes, I do know that we are in the middle (or perhaps even the start) of the technological age and that we can e-mail, twitter and instant message.  We can video conference and conference call and SKYPE and all the rest, but there is nothing quite like talking to someone in the flesh – up close and personal.

You get the whole picture, the body language, the eye contact, the various tones of the voice – yip – there’s nothing that beats the one-on-one.

Meeting someone for the first time at a networking meeting or event is great, but at those meetings all you will get is a fleeting glimpse of an individual and I, for one, always want to know more about the person that I am dealing with.

I want to know more about who you are and what it is that you do.  I want to know more about ‘you’ the person, the individual.  I want to know what your dreams are and what you wish for.

I want to know what your challenges are so that I can best understand who to connect you to, in order to assist you with overcoming those challenges.

And you know what . . .?  I want you to listen to who I am and what it is that I do.  I want you to hear what my dreams are and what my challenges are so that you can connect me with people who can assist me.  I want you to hear my dreams and my wishes so that you can also get to know me.

For sure – one-on-one meetings are very important!

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Busness Tips- Being Your Own Boss - Part 6

BUSINESS TIPS - Being Your Own Boss – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – May  2009

Starting your own business and keeping things on track and going in the right direction is probably one of the most daunting tasks.

You are everything to all people – your clients, your suppliers/service providers, your staff and even yourself.  Your accountability and responsibility increases dramatically and the pressure and stress that you put yourself under would be the same as asking someone to balance a fully grown elephant on the head of a pin.

There are instances where things go wrong and you haven’t made any kind of provision for them, simply because you actually had no clue that they even existed and there are other things that go wrong because – well actually you messed up.  The bottom line is that sometimes things go wrong.

These mounting issues, and the way that you react to them actually will shake you to the core of your being.  Your self confidence takes a leave of absence and you wonder if you should have yourself committed to the nearest institution because clearly you are not of sound mind and judgment, to actually think that you could run your own business and be successful at it!

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  I promise you, you are not alone – we have all been there, to hell and back again.

Does this mean that you will no longer be passionate about your business – of course not!  What it does mean though is that you will start having to conduct some sort of reality check with yourself.

For me the easiest way is always to write things down.  So make lists of everything.  Things like ‘what you have accomplished’ and ‘what still needs to be done’.  How about ‘all the opportunities that you have uncovered’. Then of course, there are ‘issues’ or ‘things happening’ or ‘things that could happen’ in the business that could have a bad or negative effect on your business.  Decide which are avoidable and make a decision on how you are going  to avoid them.  Look at the ones that are unavoidable and decide how best to deal with those too.

Put together a plan of action and then give yourself target dates and/or times to complete the task.  Be realistic.

Once you have completed these lists and the ‘how to’ of what you can and can’t do, you will have a feeling of absolute empowerment.  You see working through issues in this manner shows you that you will be able to work through anything.

Keep you head, keep your cool, calm down and work through each issue – one at a time.


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

Monday, April 11, 2016

Motivation - Failure & the Opportunity

MOTIVATION – Failure & the Opportunity


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – April 2010

Hands up who loves to succeed?  I can see everybody’s hand shoot up.  Soooo – hands up who loves to fail?  Go on, who loves to fail?  Nope, not a hand in sight.  Yet think about this for a moment – we all know the Oscars are what actresses and actors strive to win for their performances in the movies and yet the other day I saw Sandra Bullock graciously accept a Razzie award (for the worst performance) for her acting in a film (ironically she also got the Oscar for the same role in the same movie – but then the Americans have always confused me anyway).

As far as I know, the movies (and perhaps Idols) are the only place where participants are given the ‘worst’ award.  Why is this do you think?  Well, I think it is because as children we are taught to succeed and in order to succeed we cannot and must not fail.  Well the word ‘fail’ is also a four letter word and in some households, being competitive is a way of life.  Sadly many children grow up thinking that if they don’t succeed then they have failed and as I am sure you can imagine, this produces its’ own share of nightmares.

What about if we look at so called ‘failure’ from a different perspective?  What about if we look at failure as an opportunity, not only to succeed in the future, but also as a ‘learning curve’?

Look, I’m not talking about looking at all types of failure as a good thing.  Let’s be reasonable here – imagine if you will, you lying on the operating table, about to undergo a heart transplant, and the surgeon walks in and says “oh by the way, I am not a qualified surgeon, I failed all of my exams, but I am using this opportunity of cutting into you, as a learning curve and perhaps it will allow me to pick up my grades and qualify!”  That’s just not good at all!  No I’m talking about the everyday things that we fail at and then beat ourselves up about and yes, I’m even talking about failure of businesses or business ideas.  Where those particular failures can be turned around and become huge successes.  I’m talking about the way we look at things and how we react to what it is that we have looked at.

For many of us growing up, failure was not a word in our dictionaries, or in our vocabularies and it was certainly not something that we even considered.  Yet it happened on a daily basis.  I remember being about 8 years old or so, at boarding school and being picked for a team the first time – we were playing rounders during the 10am midmorning break.  Now I have a problem judging distances, so trying to hit a tennis ball with a bat no thicker than a cricket stump, was a huge challenge.  Needless to say I was never picked, voluntarily, again.  This really suited me as it was not a game that I enjoyed and I was much happier sitting high up on a branch of my favorite tree, reading my book.  Children, being who they are though, thought that this was absolutely terrible and they teased me relentlessly about the absence of my ‘batting’ skills.  Right through junior school I was left out of the line up of any type of game that involved either a ball or a bat and I was repeatedly told how ‘useless’ I was, by kids and teachers alike.  How crazy is that and how absolutely damaging it could have been for me.  Fortunately, being an introvert and a loner, I was not really too interested in being part of the ‘gang’ and went about my business.  Here’s the thing though – I may not have been very good at hitting a ball with a bat, but my senior school days brought out a different side of me and I did well enough on the track in high jump and long jump.  I never won anything mind you, but that also never bothered me because for me it was about the enjoyment of the sport not in the winning.

So how about if we looked for the opportunities in the failure?  Things like if ‘we did this in a different way’ or even ‘clearly this is not our thing in life – let’s look at what else is available’?  What about if we looked at failure as an opportunity to ‘learn’ something new, or learn about ourselves or indeed, learn more about the product and/or service that we offer?  What if in that failure and in the ‘learning’ we improved upon what it was that we had failed at? What if in that ‘learning’ we discovered something even better and grander and we became even more successful than we ever could have been with what we failed at – would we then still be considered’ failures’?

I don’t know!  What I do know though, is that we are often so hard on ourselves that the damage that we do to ourselves is often irreparable.  So instead beating up on ourselves, let’s look at the opportunities that our so called failures have brought and rather get on with the living of life.

Learn the lesson by all means, but then let it go and live!

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

Friday, April 08, 2016

HR 101 - UIF (Unemployment Fund) - Part 3

HR 101 - UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

So far we have established what you can claim for, or what benefits you could be entitled to and then we established what the procedure is to claim unemployment benefits from the unemployment fund.

Today we continue with the ‘how to’ of claiming your illness benefits.

You will need to register at your nearest Labour Centre.  This being the ‘illness benefit’ though, means that if you are too sick to go and complete the forms yourself, a relative and/or friend can collect the forms  for you and you can then sign them.  The forms will have to be returned to the Labour office.  Some of these forms can be downloaded off the Department of Labour website, but word of caution – I have of late, discovered that you download a form from the website only to be told when you submit it to whichever institution, that the form is ‘obsolete’ and that the infamous ‘somebody’ did not update the website, so it would perhaps be a good idea to check first to ensure that the website forms are current.

When you register you will need the following documents:
- A copy of your green, bar encoded ID document.
- Copies of your last 6 payslips
- The UI19 form that must be completed and signed off by your employer
- A certificate of service from your employer
- Proof of banking details (either a recent bank statement or a letter from the bank)
- A Statement from your employer documenting the amounts of remuneration that have been received by yourself during the period that you have been sick.
- The fully completed and duly signed registration form.

Don’t forget to submit your medical certificate as proof of your illness and your doctor will also have to complete the relevant details on the form UF86 (which also has to be signed and submitted to the UIF office).  The UIF claims department will then “consider and assess” your application and if you are successful they will post you the form UF87, which again needs to be completed and signed by your doctor, before it is submitted back to the Labour office.

Should you be successful though, the benefits that are paid out to you will be from the date that the doctor booked you off, excluding the first two weeks’.  Also please note that you will only be paid for the period of time that you did not receive your normal wages from your employer.

It is also very important to understand that the ‘illness benefit’ will not be paid out to people who have caused their own illness through misconduct or if you have refused reasonable treatment from your doctor or if you have failed to follow the treatment instructions of your doctor.

Also, if you are both unemployed as well as too ill to work, this also needs to be communicated to the claims officer as you may be entitled to claim unemployment benefits for the period of time that is not covered by the illness benefit, provided of course that you qualify to collect as per the detail in part 1 of this series.

Again the illness benefits will be paid to you by cheque (which will be posted to you) or alternatively where possible, by internet transfer directly into your bank account.

Next week we will have a look at the “how to” collect your illness benefits and maternity benefits and depending upon the availability of space, the death benefits too.

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


Thursday, April 07, 2016

Customer Service 101 - Power to the People

CUSTOMER SERVICE 101 - POWER TO THE PEOPLE

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

It is said that collectively, we as consumers are incredibly powerful!  Strong words I am sure that you will agree!

You see, we vote for a company either with our wallets, our words or in fact our feet.  Every time we make a purchase for a service and/or a product, we are voting with our wallets and telling that particular company that we approve of their service and/or product.  On the other hand, every time we choose not to make a purchase or we use one of the competitors we are voting with our feet and in doing so we are actually telling that company that we no longer are choosing to purchase their products.  Then of course when we complain about a service and/or product we are voting with our words.

It is those words that can cause the most damage.  You see when we vote with our feet – it definitely has a negative impact on the bottom line, but when we vote with our words the negative impact on the bottom line is far greater because not only has that company lost our sale, but in all probability it has also lost the sale of all the people that we have spoken to.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon which way you look at the problem, statistics show that only 10% of the people who are not satisfied with a product or a particular service actually initiate any kind of action.  This, in real terms gives the companies somewhat of a false sense of security in terms of the level of service and actually does us consumers an injustice.  Why you may ask – well if the truth be told, the perception is that the service is not as bad as it actually is.

It is for this very reason, that every single complaint should be viewed in the most serious of light.  Action must be taken as soon as the complaint is received and Companies should take all complaints as extremely serious.

As a service provider you should be continuously trying to find ways in which to ‘up’ the level of your service.

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

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Networking 101 - Networking is About Relationships

Networking 101 - Networking is About Relationships

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. June 2010

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – in fact, I have no doubt that I will be saying it many times over, during the course of the remainder of my life – Networking is about relationships.  It’s about, not only meeting new people and creating new relationships – it’s also about nurturing and maintaining current relationships.

That said, I do understand that not everyone is equally as good as I am at Networking.  In fact, if the truth be told, not many people actually even like to Network. I have to be aware of that because I need to make allowances for those who do not network or operate in the same way that I do.  It means that I also tend to gravitate towards those who do operate or Network in the same way that I do, people who will reciprocate, people who will “give to get”, people who not only want referrals from me, but also who want to send referrals to me.  I tend to respond more quickly to requests from these individuals as I know that they respond more quickly to me.

I also know that the more help and assistance that I give, means the more help and assistance I will get.  All I have to do is ask and the people in my Network automatically respond. How cool is that?

It’s all good and well to ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that you should expect everyone to drop whatever it is that they are doing to come to your rescue.  That’s just rude!  If you need assistance with something, don’t leave your request to the last minute.  By all means, ask for assistance but let your Network have sufficient time to respond.  So plan properly and ask early!

When you ask for assistance and you get it, don’t just leave everything there.  Interact and communicate with your contact.  Let them know how their information assisted you, what use you made of it and what the result is.  Make them a part of what it is that you did.

Don’t, I repeat DO NOT, forget to say ‘thank you’!  You cannot believe the number of people who contact me for information, who expect me to drop whatever it is that I am doing to give it to them at no cost and then who never say ‘thank you’, let alone show any other kind of gratitude.  Understand the next time around, I am really not going to be available.  It really is a very small price to pay for the information and/or interaction.

Networking is definitely not about “what’s in it for me” but rather about “How can I be of assistance to you.”

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

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Business Tips - Being Your Own Boss - Part 5



BUSINESS TIPS

Being Your Own Boss – Part 5


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting – April 2009

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

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

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

Nowadays, I try and inspire them.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 04, 2016

Motivation - Give This Day a Purpose

MOTIVATION - GIVE THIS DAY A PURPOSE

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from Ralph Marston, who says:

“This day will soon end, yet there's a way to always preserve the value that it offers. Give this day a purpose, and make use of this day to fulfil that purpose.
With no purpose, the hours will slip by and the unique abundance of this day will quickly be gone forever. With no purpose, this day is nothing more than a meaningless span of time to be endured.
With a clear and meaningful purpose, however, this day can be transformed into a beautiful and lasting treasure. Instead of a day that will soon be forgotten, you can make it into a day that will always be remembered.
A purpose for this day will give you your very own pathway for accomplishment. A purpose for this day will help you to move past the meaningless distractions and to recover quickly from the painful setbacks.
This day is a unique moment in time. Make the most of it by focusing its special beauty and value in a meaningful and positive direction.
Give this day a purpose, and you give your life a lasting gift. Give this day a purpose, and you can add real value to your world.”

I am all for giving value and purpose to the day or even time per say. To wander around mindlessly just doesn’t make any kind of sense to me at all.  I know and understand that there are days that should be written off due to lack of interest, but those should be far a few between and the exception rather than the rule.

For me, each day has a goal or at least one thing that needs to be achieved, even if the goal is to be a lounge lizard for the day.

So, plan your day, make short term goals and strive to achieve them, that way you will ensure that your day has a purpose and meaning.

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



Friday, April 01, 2016

HR 101 - UIF (Unemployment Fund) - Part 2

HR 101 - UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

This pertains to South African Labour requirements only

Last time we looked at the “what can” be claimed from UIF and this week we will have a look at the “how to claim” in terms of the benefits.

So, how do you, as an employee claim benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)?

Firstly you would have to physically go to your nearest Labour office and there you will be required to sign the unemployment register.  Be warned though it is a slow, tedious procedure and I would suggest that you take a book along with you as you could be in the queue for several hours, just to get to the help desk.  You will need to sign the register again every four weeks to evidence that you are still in need  of the unemployment benefits and you will be told when the next date is that you are required to return.

If you are wanting to claim the ‘sick’ benefits you will need to take your doctors certificate with you each and every time that you go to sign.

You will be given a white card (or a card of some sort) that you need to take with you, each time you go to the Labour offices and the UIF officer that is dealing with you will sign the card evidencing that you have in fact been to the office.

If you have met all the requirements, you should start receiving your money after eight weeks (from the time that you originally signed) and thereafter every four weeks until such time as your benefits have been used up.

You will receive paperwork every time you receive a benefit which will have the amount that you have received recorded on it as well as what you can still expect to receive.

You will need to take the following documentation with you when you go to register for benefits:

- A copy of your 13 digit bar coded identity document – your drivers licence is insufficient as it often only records your initials and not your full names.
- Copies of your last 6 payslips
- Form UI19 – this you must get from your employers as it will confirm, amongst other things, the amount of time that you were employed as well as the rate of earnings etc.
- A certificate of service from your employer
- Proof of registration as a work seeker (so that means confirmation from where-ever you have registered i.e. employment agencies etc., showing that you are in fact trying to find work).
- A Fully completed registration form – which you can get off the Department of Labour’s website or that you will be issued with when you go to the Labour Office.

Be warned though, the UIF official may ask you to do some things that you will have to be prepared to do – these are (but not limited to):
- Go for training and/or career counselling
- Be available for work.  If the official offers you work, you have to be ready to accept it.
- Go to various companies to ask for work.  If you are requested to do this, you will be given a form that will have to be signed by a person at the company that you visited to evidence that you did apply for work but that there were no jobs available at that time.

You have to collect your unemployment benefits from the Labour Centre (or if possible they may decide to make the payments electronically into your bank account) and they can only be collected on the date that they tell you come to the offices and they can only be collected by yourself and you must take your white card and your ID document.

Next time we will have a look at the “how to” collect your illness benefits and maternity benefits and depending upon the availability of space, the death benefits too.

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