Monday, October 31, 2016

Motivation - Peaceful & Calm


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote is one from Ralph Marston who says:

“You can choose to be annoyed by just about everything. But why would you wish to be annoyed by anything?

As easily as you can choose to be annoyed, you can choose to be peaceful, patient and understanding. Instead of putting your energy into being annoyed, you can put it into more valuable and productive pursuits.
Would you like to make yourself into a victim, or would you prefer to be firmly in control of your life? Peaceful patience, tolerance and acceptance will keep you in control.

If there is a situation that needs to be changed, take action to make that change happen. Don't waste your time with being annoyed.

The next time you encounter a situation that would normally annoy you, stop and remember that you have another choice. Instead of letting outside events control your attitude, choose to control it yourself.

Being annoyed is a waste of your life. Be peaceful, calm and powerful instead.”

Man, oh man – does this ever pertain to me!  I have noticed of late that I am constantly challenged by the things around me, my pet hate at the moment being the lack of or bad service.  It really makes me see red!  My blood level rises along with the sound of my voice.  The sad thing is that it very rarely makes any difference to the situation at all, other than to just make me mad.

If it made any difference to the level of service that I was getting, then it would probably be worth my while, but it doesn’t.  The person doesn’t care two hoots about the service that he/she is giving or not giving (as is usually the case) and just labels me a difficult client.  Would you believe that they actually have workshops on ‘how to deal with a difficult client’!

Now that made me smile – you see I don’t think that I am difficult! If they gave me good service and exactly what I asked for in the first place, life would be easy and I would not be labelled a difficult client.  Perhaps they should run a workshop on ‘how to give good service to avoid making a client difficult’.  Now that one would get my vote!

In the meantime, here we still are with me being anything but peaceful and calm!  It doesn’t change the situation in any way, I haven’t made any difference to anything (other than my blood pressure) and quite frankly it is out of my control anyway – so what I should be doing is walking away and voting with my feet – just don’t go there or use that service any more.

Let’s hope we all have a peaceful, calm and extremely profitable week!

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

HR - How to Report Work Related Incidents - Part 2

HR – How to Report Work Related Incidents – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note that this applies to South African Labour and Best Practice Requirements

Last time we looked at some of the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), in terms of the reporting of incidents that occur in the workplace.

We looked specifically at the reporting requirements around (but not limited to) incidents such as:

- When someone dies
- When someone becomes unconscious
- When someone suffers the loss of a limb or part of a limb
- When someone suffers a permanent physical defect or
- When someone is likely to be unable, for a period of at least 14 days to either work or continue with the activity for which he was employed or is usually employed.

Today we will have a look at some of the other reporting requirements.

In terms of the OHSA subsection (C ), the following incidents endangering the health and safety of any person must also be reported to the inspector:-

- Where a dangerous substance was spilled,
- Where the uncontrolled release of any substance under pressure took place
- Where machinery or any part thereof fractured or failed resulting in flying, falling or uncontrolled moving objects or
- Where machinery ran out of control.

So let’s bring on the protagonists.

George owns a furniture manufacturing company. He is preparing for his year-end stock take and is having an ‘end of year’ sale to try and sell all the “older” lines before year end to get as much turnover through the books and also to make space in the warehouse for the new lines and stock that are to be manufactured in the new financial year.

Samuel is a fork lift driver,  He works specifically with the fork lift that has the ‘telescopic’ arms that reaches the highest shelves in the warehouse.

Some of the furniture cannot be palletised and this means that several employees need to be lifted up onto the top shelves to manually move and manover the furniture onto the “telescopic” arms of the fork lift.

John and Simon are at the top of the shelves moving an awkward six seater semi circular lounge suite couch onto the ‘telescopic’ arms of the fork lift. As John moves the couch onto the one arm, he slips and loses his grip on the couch.  To stop himself from falling, although he is secured in a safety harness, he grabs the nearest post and with legs flailing and kicking he manages to pull himself into a more comfortable and secure position.

Unfortunately as he was flailing and kicking he dislodged the couch even further as Samuel moved away from the shelves to give him more room.  The couch is now swinging wildly out of control.

Samuel, in an attempt to try and get John to some sort of safely, tries to move the forklift closer to the shelves, but unfortunately the forklift is long overdue for a service and the gears are slipping and instead of a ‘smooth’ forward slow motion towards the shelves the forklift jerks backwards and stalls snapping the harness that John is attached to and putting John in an even more precarious position as the unexpected forklift movement has dislodged him completely from his position on the shelving and he’s lost his balance.

The jerky movements of the forklift  has also caused the couch to not only swing from side to side, it is now also spinning and John grabs desperately at the legs of the couch in a last ditch attempt to grab onto something . . .  anything to break his fall.

John misses and the last thing he remembers is the terrified look on Simon’s face as he falls some 15 meters to the floor and lands with a sickening resounding thump!

As Simon is leaning over the edge of the shelf and watching his colleague fall to the floor he is not aware of the danger that he is in from the ‘out of control’ couch as it swings wildly.

Suddenly some instinct seems to warn him of danger and as he looks up the couch crashes into him, causing him to lose his balance and he loses his grip on the post and his footing and he also plunges down the same 15 odd meters to the floor.

Samuel, in his panic to control the forklift and the madly swinging and gyrating couch presses the wrong button and the forklift leaps forward driving over the now prone unconscious bodies of Simon and John.

Clearly this is now a very serious situation on multiple issues.

So what has to be reported here?

George obviously needs to take immediate action in terms of the requirements of his staff , the out of control swinging couch and the forklift.

Once the ambulance has arrived and taken care of his two employees,  there are obviously certain requirements in terms of the OHSA that have to be met as well as certain requirements in terms of the Workmen’s Compensation Fund that need to be dealt with in order for the claims to be approved and paid out.

In this instance, the OHSA requirements are that an incident has to be reported when:-

- A person dies or
- A person becomes unconscious or
- A person suffers the loss of a limb or part of a limb or
- A person is otherwise injured or becomes ill to such a degree that he is likely to die or:
Suffer a permanent physical defect or
Is likely to be unable to, for a period of at least 14 days, either to work for or continue with the activity for which he was employed or is usually employed.

Don’t forget though, that your report has to contain the following information:

a. The name of the injured person(s);
b. The address of the injured person(s);
c. The name of the user, employer or self-employed person(s);
d. The address of the user, employer or self-employed person(s);
e. The telephone number of the user, employer or self-employed person(s);
f. The name of the contact person
g. The details of the incident
h. What happened
i. Where it happened (place)
j. When it happened (date and time)
k. How it happened and
l. The names of the witnesses.

Also to contained in the report (because machinery was involved)

“Where the machinery ran out of control as a result of the failure of a control or safely equipment and could have caused an injury to a person who had been conveyed on or in such machinery or had been in the vicinity thereof.”

Getting the reports right and submitted correctly and on time will contribute to the effectively of the actions that need to be taken.

Next time we will look at a new topic.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Motivation - Making Opporunities

MOTIVATION – Making Opportunities

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

I have no doubt that the average South African who owns a TV, will remember the advertisement about the guy who moves into his new office, all bright eyed an bushy tailed, at the beginning of the day.  As the day progresses, he continues to watch the phone, that is clearly not ringing and eventually in frustration, he picks it up to check whether there is a dial tone or not.  The look of absolute disappointment on his face says it all, when there is obviously nothing wrong with the phone.  His expectation certainly did not align with his reality!

Sadly, for many South African SMME’s and Entrepreneurs – this is their reality – the silent phone – and it has nothing to do with the phone being out of order.  In my opinion, it has everything to do with their mindset being ‘out of order’.

I know that I have said this before and I have no doubt that I will say it again, many times over – I am seriously confused as well as really exasperated by the sense of entitlement that some (actually make that many) people have.

Like the chap in the TV advertisement, many people think that because they have made the decision in life to open their own business/office/shop (insert what you like here), that Joe Public, who has never met them before and in all truth, has no idea of their very existence, will suddenly be overcome by some mysterious malady, that is air/water/thought borne and they will now miraculously flood though their doors or ensure that their phone rings off the hook as they try frantically to purchase their particular product/service.

Please people – get a grip!  And I would suggest that it is a very large and ‘real’ grip on reality.

For someone to walk through your door, or phone you – you yourself will have to do something!  There has to be an action of some sort on your part!

Absolutely, categorically and without a doubt, there are opportunities out there – in fact, again in my opinion – there are probably more opportunities than there are people on the planet, but there has to be some sort of action on your part, to make or turn that opportunity into a successful, viable reality.  Oh and . . . opening an office and staring at a phone, willing it to ring just doesn’t cut it!

You have to go out there and ‘create’ your opportunity.  You have to take your idea or your product and do something about it.

You have to use your talent, your strengths and go knocking on doors, attend Networking meetings, write blogs or articles for newspapers or magazines.  Get yourself interviewed on radio or TV.  Create a stir so that people will sit up and take notice!

Obviously as an SMME, you do not have access to a huge budget for marketing, so you have to be innovative and creative in finding different ways to get your name, your brand, your product, your service out to the people you want to sell it to.

Not only that, but if you are really smart and wide awake, you will ensure that whatever it is that you are peddling – product or service –  will be something that Joe Public actually wants as opposed to what you think Joe Public wants.

Whatever it is that you decide though – you can be sure, your actions will determine how successful you are.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Marketing 101 - Preparation and then . . . Nothing!

MARKETING 101 - Preparation and then . . . . Nothing!

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

I was reading an article (and yes I do read, I don’t just write articles) by Martha Beck in which she said “To fail is divine she (Martha Beck) has repeatedly, and she has nothing to show for it except freedom, serenity, and a sure –fire recipe for success.”

Yet we all have a frighteningly huge fear of failure.  The really crazy thing is that we fail on a daily basis, no matter how successful we are, we still experience failure on a daily basis.  The missed or late arrival for an appointment. The missed or late deadline. The closed bank teller.  They are all failures on our part, in one way or another.  Even though we all fail on a daily basis, our fear of failure is so great that it often overwhelms us and we go to great lengths to avoid it.

How do we try and avoid failure, well we prepare and organize and research and then we prepare some more, and we organize some more and then we do some more research and so it goes on!  Pretty soon we are so busy preparing and organizing and researching and running around like lunatics, to prevent failure that we don’t ever get to the point of actually getting started.  How scary is that?

Think about a baby who is learning how to walk.  No child that I have ever seen, got up onto his/her feet and walked after doing only crawling for the better part of their lives.  They all fall down and then with immense cheering and motivation and yes, even a little bribery I suspect, they get up again, only to fall down again.  Along the way however, their tenacity pays off and they start to walk.

Starting a new business is much the same, we all fail a little, adjust our thinking, pick ourselves up and get going again.  Remember tenacity will pay off, but you still have to take that first step.

It is a good idea to remember two basic points, I would actually write them down somewhere where you can see them every day.  They are:-
Just because you are running around frenetically all the time, doesn’t mean that you are actually achieving anything.  So Activity is not productivity!
Just because you have this brilliant idea for a product or a service that you think you can sell one to every individual on the planet – you still have to sell the first one, before you can sell the rest!  So make the first sale!

Bottom line, preparation and research are very important, but just get going!

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Business Tips - Leveraging Off Your Customer Capital

BUSINESS TIPS - Leveraging Off Your Customer Capital

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

Everywhere I go these days, be it to Networking meetings like Business Engage (  or onto FaceBook or Destiny Connect ( or any of the many other sites that I contribute to, I hear the same story over and over again.  The story of “I have this brilliant concept, but I need funding – where can I go for funding?”  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

So why is it so difficult to raise funding for your brilliant new business/concept/idea/product/service (insert whatever you like here)?  Well apart from the fact that you probably haven’t done your research properly or perhaps you haven’t done a Business Plan and often you don’t have any collateral, one of the biggest things is that you are trying to raise capital for your business before you have any paying customers!  Actually it is as simple as that.

The reality of the situation is that investors won’t be interested in your business or your ideas until such time as you can show them that you have got clients who are willing to buy and pay for whatever it is that you are trying to sell – until you have buying customers in place all you have is an idea or a dream and investors are in the business of business not pipe dreams.

Think about it logically for a moment and without emotion – you can theorize and pontificate to your hearts content about whether your idea/concept/product/service (insert whatever you like here) will make you the next billionaire in 5 seconds flat, you can do the sums on a piece of paper evidencing what could happen when it sells, the bottom line is that it is still a dream and it is still only a bunch of numbers on paper.  But when the first customer buys whatever it is that you are selling and then the next one buys and the next – nobody can argue with that – because sales are facts and facts are what the investors want to see.  Sales fact will give you leverage when you are looking for funding.

Every Rand that your business earns from your customers is worth it’s weight in gold, because it demonstrates the fact that people are prepared to pay for whatever it is that you are selling and this makes it less of a risk to the investor and tells them that you are serious about your business and that you are in the business of business to make money.

Facts, not dreams are what investors are looking for, so find some paying clients before you start looking for funding, it really will make your life a whole lot easier.

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Motivation - Living Each Day

MOTIVATION – Living Each Day

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from an anonymous donor who says “Live each day as if it is your last, but start each day anew.”

Live each day as if it is your last!  What a statement!  What a mindset change!  What a life style change!

I am of the opinion that we are all very guilty of becoming complacent.  Of taking life and our lives for granted or for just going through the motions of living.  In reflection this is very sad and such a waste.

Then there are those who often live each day as their last, but very seldom start each day as a ‘new’ day – they drag every hurt and perceived wrong doing through the dawn with them, making the burden of ‘living’ the day as if it were their last a very burdensome one.  Thinking on it, logic must tell you that the lighter the load the easier it would be to live the life, so to speak.

So it is my recommendation that we try to recognize what needs to be done on a daily basis, deal with what can be dealt with, accept what can be accepted and discard the rest – just walk away, it will not serve you in any way to hang onto feelings and emotions or perceived slights and transgressions.

In fact, not only will they not serve you, they will drag you down and in dragging you down, they will prevent you from living each day to the full.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Motivation - Let Life Begin


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from Grace Hansen, who says “Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.”

That surely brought a smile to my face, when I think about all the millions and billions of currency that have been spent to keep us young, take away the wrinkles and stop the ageing process.  Imagine if you will, if that money had been spent on ensuring that life was lived?

I am often amused at the idle conversation at a dinner party – where the discussion is usually centered around who has had what work done.  Quite frankly I can’t see the attraction, but then I guess I have more important things to think about, like the content of the next article or how I am going to assist a client with getting BEE compliant or assist them with getting the most benefit out of being a VAT vendor.

Perhaps that is because I have gotten to that place in my life where it’s not the “what I look like” that is important, but rather “who I have become” and what I want to achieve that takes precedence.

I have made peace with my bulging midriff, and my breasts that have lost the battle to gravity, and my ‘crock’ knee that was abused during my youth when I played a lot of sport.  So what if I can’t (or perhaps won’t even attempt) to run the four minute mile, or that I have grey streaks in my hair or that I have laughter lines around my eyes – they are all earned and deserved!

Rather think about the battles that I have fought and won!  Things like making a difference in the lives of individuals, playing it forward and giving back.  Think about the journey that I have taken where I have grown as an individual and a person (yes and around the midriff too).  Think about the person who has challenged the universe and come out the other end – positive and with a purpose in life.

So before life passes you by, and believe me it will – think about doing something worthwhile with it rather than running around frenetically looking for ways to prolong it.  No matter how much you stretch it, if you do nothing with it, nothing will have been gained.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Marketing 101 - Making Time to Market - Part 4

MARKETING 101 - Making Time To Market – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

As promised last time, here are the last of the ideas, in this particular series, on ‘making time’ to market yourself/your business.

Social Event
Some of my best and even biggest clients have come out of a chance meeting at a social event or when I least expected them.  Let me explain – some years ago now, I was at a club, spending time with friends, laughing and chatting with not a thought of business in mind.  A young chap, standing at the bar on his own, came over and introduced himself.  Turns out he owns two very successful businesses and he has been both client and friend from that day (about four years ago now).  Chances are that I would not have met him anywhere else as we mix in totally different circles.

Remember though if it is a social occasion, to keep it light.  No-one wants to talk business all the time.  Exchange contact details, exchange cards and then get back to them the next day or at a later stage.

Relax and make it happen
If you are anything like me, you will understand that it is extremely difficult to relax in the normal sense of the word.  For example it is very difficult for me to even contemplate sitting at the beach for a couple of hours or lying next to the pool, soaking up the sunshine – my mind would completely rebel at such inactivity.

For me this would be the ideal opportunity to update my data base or plan new marketing strategies or to re-evaluate plans or goals or even for me to  write a couple of articles for my blog.  Whilst my body does need to relax, my mind still feels the need to be active and it is something that I cannot just ‘shut down’.

As you can see there are many small, yet effective ways in which to include your marketing requirements in your everyday activities.

The secret is to be innovative, be creative and just do it!

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Business Tips - Keeping it Real

BUSINESS TIPS – Keeping It Real

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Dr Renate Volpe, in her nuggets on Leadership insights says “What do you have to offer the world other than your true self?”

I must say that this is a subject that is absolutely close to my heart.  We are all here to do business.  We are all here to earn an honest living and most of us are here to make a difference.

Perhaps it is something in the air, or a changing of the winds or perhaps it is just because it is that time of the year, but I get the feeling that there are some things that are just not as they should be.  I seem to be being messed around much more than usual lately and quite frankly it is getting up my left nostril.

We’re all busy, we are all trying to get done before everyone leaves for the annual migration to the coast and yet in some ways I seem to be going round in circles.

People want to see me, they book the appointment, hell they even get me to move other appointments around because they absolutely have to see me and then at the last minute, they cancel.  Well I suppose that I should be grateful that they did cancel and that I didn’t have to find out when I arrived that the meeting was no longer.

Here’s the thing though, if you are wanting to meet with me as a matter of urgency, then meet me – whatever else comes up schedule it for another time or another day, but meet me – my perception is then that you are serious about what it is that you want to discuss with me.  When it gets to the point that the 3rd meeting in a row is moved, rescheduled or cancelled by the same person, my perception is one of  - if you are messing me around at this early stage of our relationship, what on earth is it going to be down the line?

In all honesty, what is it that you are telling me by doing this – that your time is more valuable than mine, or that your clients/suppliers/friends (add anything you like here) are more valuable than mine, or that your business comes before mine, despite the fact that I have something that you want!  Actually, what you are showing me is your true self, what you are telling me is who you really are and in the words of Dr Maya Angelou “Believe someone the first time they tell you who they are!”

So think about what you show the world, because sooner or later – the true self, the person that you really are, will come out.

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

Monday, October 17, 2016

Motivation - Keep Going


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

It is said that you can keep going long after you think you can’t!

So many  times we have heard, and no doubt said ourselves – “I just can’t go on anymore!”  Sound familiar?  Yet somehow we always do.

From my own perspective it is at these times that I understand that I need to ‘step back’ from the situation, remove the emotion and the drama, the perceptions and the expectations and look at the cold hard facts.

Often it is my perception that has become skewered by the “what” is happening around me.  Often I am just too close to the issues and have lost my focus or have become caught up in the emotions of those around me.

I am sure that I am not the only Small Business Owner out there (SMME) who loses focus from time to time and this is not a good thing for any individual.

We constantly worry about deliverables, cash flow, stock, clients who don’t pay or clients who can’t seem to make up their minds.  Then there are the clients who want nothing, but then at the 11th hour expect you to perform near miracles to get the work done on time.  Sourcing new clients and accommodating old ones can take the steam out of any engine and as people who perform all the tasks in our businesses, it is easy to forget, just for a moment you understand, that we are not superman or superwoman, but in fact ordinary men and women who have decided to live extraordinary lives.

So when everything becomes over whelming and the walls start closing in – take some time out – even if it is only half an hour.  Get out of the office or the store. Get up off you chair, switch the phone off, walk away from the computer.  Brew yourself a great cup of coffee, take a walk or even a long bubble bath and just relax.  Re-group and then go back to the problem at hand.

Many times, quite miraculously a solution will have appeared.  You will be surprised just how often, when you think that you just cannot go on, that something, someone intervenes and life becomes sweet and full of promise.

Remember, always have fun and never give up on your dreams!

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

Friday, October 14, 2016

HR - How to Report Work Related Incidents - Part 1

HR – How to Report Work Related Incidents – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note that this applies to South African Labour and Best Practice Requirements.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) has several requirements in terms of the reporting of incidents that occur in the workplace.

Let’s have a look at some of these through our protagonists.

Mike has a Postnet store in a busy mall.  He supplies certain stationary as well as services related to business operations such as (but not limited to):
- Photocopying of documents
- Binding of manuals
- Faxing
- E-mails and internet usage

Joe is one of the employees who works on the counter.

A client enters the store and wants 200 manuals copied and bound.  There are two items on each page so the pages therefore have to be cut in half before they are all bound.

Joe works quickly and efficiently for a while until, whilst he is busy with the guillotine cutting the pages in two he notices something lying on the floor.  Without thinking about what he is doing, he steps back to pick it up off the floor and the guillotine handle drops with a loud thud, cutting the back of his hand badly and severing his pinky finger.  There is blood everywhere and some of the female staff are screaming with fright.  Joe, shakily looks down at his damaged hand in disbelief and reacts to the sight of so much blood by promptly fainting!  As he falls down one of the female staff, Lizzy, tries to assist him but trips over a box of photocopy paper and falls down hitting her head on the corner of the Photostat machine.

There are now two unconscious individuals lying on the floor with blood everywhere!

So what has to be reported?

Clearly Mike needs to take immediate action in terms of the medical requirements of his staff.  Once the ambulance has arrived and taken care of the two staff, there are obviously certain requirements in terms of OHSA that have to be met as well as certain requirements in terms of the Workmen’s Compensation Fund that need to be dealt with in order for the claims to be approved and paid out.

OHSA states that an incident has to be reported when:
- A person dies or
- A person becomes unconscious or
- A person suffers the loss of a limb or part of a limb or
- A person is otherwise injured or becomes ill to such a degree that he is likely either to die or
Suffer a permanent physical defect or
Is likely to be unable for a period of at least 14 days either to work or continue with the activity for which he was employed or is usually employed.

Mike of course now has to provide two reports - one being for Joe who was unconscious and who may also lose part of a limb and one for Lizzy who was knocked unconscious.

Both Joe and Lizzy were at work performing  their normal work duties when the incident took place so therefore both are entitled to claim from the Workmen’s Compensation Fund but both incidents also need to be reported in terms of the OHSA requirements.

Next time we will look at some of the other reporting requirements.

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

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Motivation - It Might Have Bee

MOTIVATION – It Might Have Been

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

John Greenleaf Whittier is the man who wrote today’s quote which goes “For all sad words of tongue & Pen, the saddest are these ‘It might have been’”.

I am often asked if I had to die right now, if I had any regrets.  On the face of it, it’s a really simple question but look beneath the surface and it becomes a whole lot more.

For many, there is little more than the drudgery of life.  Putting one step in front of the other with no thought to anything other than remaining barely alive.

For many, there is nothing more than the hope of finding a few hours of work in order to put food on the table.

For others, there is nothing more than the hope that your favorite intersection has not been taken by someone else, and you are forced to beg elsewhere in the heat of the sun, or the cold of winter, through the storms and winds.  Forced to look at people who either show sympathy by giving you a few coins or disgust at the fact that you are begging or many who don’t even see you as human – to them you are invisible.

For many, who merely exist from day to day, there aren’t even any dreams of what could be or what might be, all they have to look forward to tomorrow is exactly what they had today – nothing!

I wonder what they would say if they were asked if they had any regrets?  I wonder, if their very lives are something that they regret?

What about those who have been physically and mentally damaged by violence, by crime, by life – would they even understand what a regret is, or are they locked into a world so very far from ours?

So, to get back to the original question – do I have regrets, I don’t think so.  There are many things that I have done, that in hindsight, I would have probably done very differently.  But actual regrets – no – I think everything that was meant to happen, has happened at exactly the right time and space that it was supposed to have happened.  Any sooner and I would not have been able to cope and any later and I would have been off in another direction.

So, you see – I am one of the lucky ones.  I can dream, I have hope and although I may have been slightly ‘damaged’ along the way, by life – I am still essentially just exactly who I am meant to be.

Will I change – of course I will!  I will continue to grow, I will continue to dream and I will continue to move forward – just as I always have.

What about you – any regrets?

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Marketing 101 - Making Time to Market - Part 3

MARKETING 101 Making Time To Market – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

As promised last time, here are some more ideas on ‘making time’ to market yourself/your business.

Sharing some time over coffee or a meal.
I usually set aside, one day a week to do my networking – this means that I usually can be found on a Thursday having a ‘one-on-one’ meeting with several people that I have briefly met at a networking event or meeting.  Whilst I have my networking meeting and find out what it is that the other person does, I also take the opportunity to do some marketing as well.  On occasion there may be someone that I have already ‘earmarked’ within my data base to meet, or there is a particular person that I want to discuss issues with, or there may be two individuals who I want to introduce to each other and I will, on occasion also invite those people along too.  It gives me an opportunity to ‘catch up’ with a colleague as well as introduce two people, who in all probability should be doing business together.

Over exercise
Those who know me well, know that I am not too keen on the whole exercise thing.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I used to be a sports fanatic and I used to do the gym thing on a daily basis.  Then I started my own business and well, that’s where things went pear-shaped for me in terms of my daily routine – somehow the time just wasn’t there anymore.  That said, there are many of you who love to exercise at the gym or walk or even when you go and watch a game – how about inviting a colleague or someone that you would like to do business with to your exercise class or on your walk or to watch the game with you.  Think about how much business actually gets done on the golf course and use the same opportunity in whatever sport it is that you play or participate in.  You’d be amazed at the results that you can achieve.

More tips next time.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Business Tips - It's a Sign of the Times

BUSINESS TIPS – It’s a Sign of the Times

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC 

As Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, we all need to look for new opportunities – if the 2008 ‘so called’ recession did not teach you this and if you are still in business, then I am really surprised.  We all need to find the ‘edge’ over our competitors.  We all need to do things differently.  We all need to ‘think out of the box’ (well those who still live in a box need to – that’s for sure).  We all need to look at doing things differently or finding new ways in which to ‘work it’.

I have, for several years now been using my blog as a marketing tool and quite honestly it has worked fantastically for me.  Early in 2009 I started using Twitter – just playing around with it, ‘tweeting’ and having fun – it was, quite frankly addictive!  I had to limit the amount of time that I sat playing on it.  It opened up a huge new world for me.  I found interesting articles that I would never have even dreamed of ‘googling’ for and it put me in touch with people that I would never have ordinarily met.  It actually made me look at life in an altogether different way – a great way.  Slowly, but surely I have started building relationships with these people – virtual relationships.  Will I even meet them in person, who knows!  What I do know though is that there are some of them that I follow religiously because I enjoy the type of information that they hook me into.  I like the way that they think and I also like the way that they share.

I have also been on facebook for a number of years now – I never looked at it other than in an absolutely ‘social’ type of way and it has been great to catch up with friends, all over the world that I had lost contact with.  What’s also great is that thanks to my web designer Meryl Rosenberg of Pixel Magic, I now also have my own ‘page’ on Facebook, which means that I can set up events, such as my workshops and as a result of that I now also have connected with other people all over the world.  Complete strangers, who I interact with on a daily basis.

Now here’s the thing, I have started using both Twitter and Facebook to link to my website and thereby to my blog articles and the response has been absolutely fantastic.  On Twitter, the number of people who want to follow me has increased quite dramatically – clearly there are people out there that want to read/hear what I have to say.  The number of hits to my website has increased, more than tripling and in the space of 5 months I had more visitors to my website than I have had from the day that the website was launched to the end of September 2008.  How absolutely cool is that?  

The average time spent, by visitors, at the moment is around 5 ½ minutes and I am told that that is really good and it is because my website is so ‘content rich’.  Apart from that, I got my first ‘twitter’ client in January 2010 and that makes the whole deal the sweeter!

Will I stop using traditional methods of Networking – not at all, but what it does do is show me that ‘new’ is not always bad and even if I don’t really understand the technical aspects of what it is that I am doing, I need to move with the times.

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

Monday, October 10, 2016

Motivation - Integrity


By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

The quote today comes from the great Confucius himself, who says:
“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

Pretty straight forward I would say – but what kind of integrity do we have in the home?  Therein lies the million dollar question!

My Concise Oxford Dictionary says that integrity is: “Wholeness, entirety, soundness, uprightness, honesty.”

Those are some ordinary words with huge meanings behind them and if we would have to live up to them or the perception of them – what would that mean in the grand scheme of things?

On a personal level, integrity means a whole bunch of things – like;

Being honest about things – honest with myself, first and foremost because I cannot possibly be honest with anyone else, if I am not honest with myself!

Standing up, and being counted for what I believe in, irrespective of what the consequences to that is.  Things like - I will not tolerate cruelty to animals, to children or the elderly.

When making a commitment, sticking to the terms of that commitment or the spirit of that commitment.  It’s about delivering on promises.  The deliverables must be met.

Giving my word – that for me is good enough because my word is my bond!

Treating people the way that I would like to be treated.  So many of us have double standards.  We do things, but then when others do the same thing it suddenly becomes an issue.

Being respectful of people’s time.  Being late for or not pitching for appointments for me is one of the most disrespectful things that I can do to someone, the minute I know that I am going to be late or cannot make the meeting, I phone and tell the person that I am supposed to be meeting.  – by not doing this, I am telling the other person that my time is far more valuable than theirs.

Then of course there is acceptance – none of us like to be judged, especially by someone who doesn’t know us at all, and yet we judge people on a daily basis, based on our perception of what and who they are.  Don’t do it. You don’t have the right!  We all want people to accept us for who and what we are, so how about we afford them the same consideration and respect.  Accept people for who they are.

So, think about it – carefully – what is your integrity like?

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

Friday, October 07, 2016

HR 101 - How to Manage Sick Leave Abuse - Part 2

HR 101 – How to Manage Sick Leave Abuse – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Last time we looked at some of the records that need to be kept in order to ascertain the trends of absenteeism.

This time we will look at what you need to do in order to try and get to the root of the problem.

You need to do an audit on your company to see if you can highlight the problem areas.

Included in your audit should be the following (but not limited to):
- Is there a documented leave policy in place and do all of your staff know the possible consequences of abuse to absenteeism.
- Whether or not the line managers and/or supervisors (and indeed even you yourself) manage the absenteeism.  Do all the employees face the same consequences or do some employees get preferential treatment?
- Are the workspaces and/or working conditions comfortable, are your staff working in a safe environment, is there sufficient lighting and air circulation etc.
- Are there any other factors that could have any bearing on job satisfaction?  If so, these could be part of the absenteeism problem.

There are several ways in which to conduct this type of audit, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune and it can be done ‘in-house’ as long as the person conducting the assessment remains impartial and of course there cannot be any ramifications and/or consequences  for the answers that you get from your employees.

One of the most successful ways to conduct this type of audit is by interviewing the staff.  Ideally this would be done with the line managers and employee representatives.  Another way to do this is to get the staff to complete a questionnaire or survey on the important issues – this of course can be done anonymously.

Some of the questions that could be asked are (but not limited to):-
- What work do you do?
- What are your responsibilities (as you understand them)
- What department do you work in
- Do any of the following impact on your work (work flow and/or quality of the work that is produced):
Level of noise
Attitude of fellow staff members and to fellow staff members
Attitude of management and to management
Availability of tools and equipment
Training to use the tools and equipment (and include in here computer and technical skills too)
Physical layout and accessibility of the work areas in relation to the work flow
Personal circumstances that may make coming to work difficult
Personal health problems
Any other factor that may make coming to work difficult

Don’t forget to include something where the staff can list some additional comments or expectations.

Once you have gathered all the information together, it might be time for you as the employer to make some changes.  Continue to monitor the absenteeism to see if those changes have made any difference.  If they have, well done – if they haven’t then probably it is just in the nature of the employees that you have and it is time to bring out the big guns and institute proceedings against them for the excessive absenteeism or “Incapacity” to give it the correct term.

Remember though that it is a process and it’s a process that will have to be properly managed.  So every step along the way needs to be documented properly.  As the employer, you will have to ‘show’ that you have given them every opportunity to improve their attendance and assist them with their health care.

The bottom line however is simple – as much as the employees have all sorts of rights from the employer, the employer also has the right to expect the work to get done and therefore the employer has the right to expect the employee to be at work.

Don’t get emotional about it, just stick to the facts and if you are not sure what to do, then get a Labour Consultant to assist you.  It will be the cheaper option in the long run.

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

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Motivation - Improving the Present


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who says,  “Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.”

So what does this mean to you?

For me, it’s a reminder not to live in the past.  So many times, I find myself looking at instances that occurred in the past, not only from a personal point of view, but also from a business point of view, and getting upset all over again.  What an absolute waste of time and energy!  It doesn’t matter how upset I get, or how righteously angry I may get – nothing will change what happened.  We can’t re-live it, we can’t go back and do it again or do it differently.

This of course means that we have to live with the consequences of the past and we can surely learn from our mistakes.  But none of those consequences and our subsequent learning means anything if we don’t use them in a present to make our lives easier.

So when you find yourself wallowing in self pity because of something that happened to you in the past – do yourself a favour.  Kick your own butt, and get down to applying what you learnt and apply the lessons from the past to what you are doing now.

Make a difference to your life now – you cannot do anything about the past, but you can certainly improve the present, by utilizing the lessons learnt from your experiences in the past.

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

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Marketing 101 - Making Time to Market - Part 2

MARKETING 101 - Making Time To Market – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting.

As promised last time, here are some more ideas on ‘making time’ to market yourself/your business.

Attending Networking Meetings, Workshops & other events
Going to events such as these, really gives you an opportunity to tell people who you are and what it is that you do.  Often all that is needed is for someone to start the ball rolling and that someone should be you.  Exchange business cards, listen to what others do and try and match them up with someone in your data base.  Before you know it the favour will be returned and referrals will be flying thick and fast.  Try and make it more interesting – take a colleague along with you, you double your value add and your colleague will also have an opportunity to do some marketing of their own.


Whether you are on a business trip, and let’s face it we all do that from time to time, or whether you are on holiday – make time to meet a colleague or a client or even a prospective business referral.  Use times such as meal times – this is ideal for someone who is already on business and means that it is one less meal that you need to eat on your own.  If you are on holiday, you still have to eat at some point so it does not take anything away from your holiday time and it is also a great opportunity to find out more about the locals and get great tips on where to eat and what to visit.

More tips next time.

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

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Business Tips - Improving Your Business Website

BUSINESS TIPS - Improving Your Business Website

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting.

Before we go any further, and before all who know me fall about with laughter – I am a bit of (hell let’s be honest – a helleva) a technophobe.  So what I am putting down here is what I have found on the web (a little common sense and logic) and because, no matter what I tell you or write here, my web is looked after by Meryl of Pixelmagic (, so no matter how much I ‘break stuff’ she assures me she can fix it!  How cool is that?  Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  The bottom line of course, is that if you are going to try these things yourself, it’s a good idea for you to have a “Meryl” of your own, or I am quite happy to share mine with you.

Here goes!

It really does not matter if you use your website for fun, family connections (when your family is scattered to the four corners of the world, like mine is) or for Business purposes, the fact is that around 70% of Businesses have websites.  No wonder we are spoilt for choice!  The problem however is that the majority (some home made and even some that have been professionally done) are really crappy!

The reality is that even the really crappy ones are competing in the market and trying to sell their products  or services – how scary is that!

So – let’s have a look at what the internet says are the top 10 tips for improving your Business Website.

1. You have to have a plan!
As is most things in life, if you don’t have a plan, you have exactly . . . nothing!  Write it down – what is the purpose of your website, what do you hope to achieve.  Write down your goals, short term, medium term, long term and then brainstorm them – how are you going to achieve them.  What do you need to do in order to fulfill them.  Be realistic, we all have budgets.  Match your immediate goals to your wallet – you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!

2. Measure.
Again – if you can’t measure it you have a problem.  How would you know if your website is being effective, or if you are just wasting your time, money and effort.  You need to measure, how many people visit your website, how many sales result from your website, how many connections are made out of your website?  Is enough traffic being driven to the website and how can you improve on these numbers?

3. Promote yourself?
I keep saying – if you don’t tell people who you are, how will they know?  So, use your website.  Keep your customers updated on what is happening in your life – actually they are interested.  Tell them about your successes, post your testimonials, tell them what plans are in the pipeline (they may want to partner up with you).  Now is not the time to hide your light under the bushel – let it shine out brightly!

4. Branding
Remember your brand will always be associated with you – so make sure that it is special! Your brand, logo and by line should be unique to you and your product and/or service. It has to stand out to the world and especially your target market.  Keep it simple though – complicated branding looks messy and cluttered on a website.

5. Content
You are the expert on what it is that you do – aren’t you?  So write down what it is that you do, give out tips or teasers.  Keep your content updated and interesting.  Like it or not, we are all looking for information (yes even in this world of information overload) – make sure your information is new, fresh and current – it will keep people coming to your site on a regular basis.

6. Navigation
This is one of my pet hates – getting myself lost on a website or having to ‘go back’ all of the time to get myself to the home page or where-ever it is that I want to go, is really just a pain in the rear end.  Let me tell you from experience – the easier it is for me to get around your site the longer I will stay and browse.  So keep it simple.

7. Sales
Statistics tell us that Product and/or Services sold over the internet increased by 100% between 2002 and 2005.  How fabulous is that?  This means that your website should make it easy for your clients to purchase what they want/need/desire online.

8. Database
Your database on your website should not only have all your business and personal contacts on it, but it should surpass anything that you may have in your ‘little black book’ or your customer base.  This is because as people visit your website, they should be encouraged to leave their contact details behind.  This gives you a huge opportunity to entice them to spend some money with you by sending out regular communications to them, in the form of newsletters, specials and useful tips and information.

9. Promotion
Make sure that everybody gets to know about your website.  Put the address on every single piece of literature that you have, your Business Cards, your Letter Heads, in the signature on your e-mail – everywhere!

And finally

10. Overloading your website
It is said that often ‘less is more’ – keep everything short, simple and to the point.  Don’t waffle on and on about something.  Say what you have to and then move forward.

Now – let’s have a look at an additional 3 tips as recommended by Meryl.  Meryl says:

a. Know what you want your website to do for you
Yes, generate more income, but how?  Do you want to be talking about your past successes and showing testimonials from other clients?  Do you want your site pointed towards getting the visitor to contact you?

b. Know what you want your website to ‘feel’ like
The ‘feel’ of a website selling kids’ toys is going to be very different from one selling financial services to big corporates.  Draw up a list of 20 or so emotive words that describe the tone of your site: fun, funky, young, colourful or corporate, serious trustworthy etc.

c. Copywrite
Also, asking your designer to get you a good copywriter is a very valuable option.  Copywriters ensure that Search Engines love reading your site as much as humans do, as well as getting the feel you’ve chosen to carry across into the words!

Oh, and a – don’t have a look at my website just yet – Meryl and I will be doing some changes right now!

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

Monday, October 03, 2016

Motivation - If You're Not Growing, You're Dying


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

The author of my quote for the week is David Molapo.

"If you’re not growing – you’re dying"

What a powerful statement and how incredibly true! Think about the life of a child. Your mother carries you for nine months - pretty exhausting I might add, and then as she gives birth and thinks 'ok now I can rest for a few moments' and then the child starts wailing to be fed, or watered, or changed. Once they settle into a routine, she thinks, 'ok now I'll rest.'

Sorry for you, because then start the teething and then the usual children’s ailments and before you know it the baby is crawling, and then walking and getting into all sorts of mischief. Then come the terrible twos with the temper tantrums and then before you know it the child is off to school - 'ok, now I'll rest" thinks the exhausted mother.

Not yet, because there's homework and projects, and the taxi service to and from soccer and rugby and dancing and sleepovers and.......

Then comes high school and boyfriends or girlfriends and ......

Now consider for a moment - what would have happened to the child if as it was born, it fell asleep and that is the way it stayed. Not only would the child have probably 'died' if not physically, certainly in some or other sense of the word, but for all her wanting to 'rest' the mother would have been beside herself with worry as the child was not 'growing' in any sense of the word.
That growth should never stop - from school to University and into the big wonderful world, that abounds with opportunity. Our thirst for knowledge and experience should never abate. If it does we will surely shrivel up and die.

Don't let anyone or anything stifle your natural curiosity - it is there for a reason. Strive to learn, to understand and then to put that skill to use, as you go forward and then . . . well then go and learn some more.

Here's hoping that you have a 'curiosity' filled week!

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

Motivation - It's a Matter of Choice

MOTIVATION – It’s A Matter of Choice

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Jeremy Kitson says “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Oh my, that certainly has brought a huge smile to my face!  You see I am of the opinion that not only do most of us do not achieve all that we can, but we do this because of the choices that we make (or don’t make for that matter).

Since working with my mentor and friend Vanessa and meeting Donna McCallum the Fairy Godmother ( , I have become a huge deal more aware of the choices that I make.  In fact, often as I make the choice I realize that it’s the wrong one and then I have to run around un-doing what I have just done. Note to self – stop, think and then make the choice!

It is imperative though, that once the choice has been made that it is followed by an action, without the action there may very well be a result, but it’s probably not the result you were hoping for.

So often we work really hard at what we are doing and we seem to be going backwards or round in circles, so we work harder still.  Sweat pouring down our faces, we put our shoulders to the grindstone and we push ourselves even harder until we fall down in this little heap of exhaustion.  That was our choice.

The choice however was based on an antique belief system that has been passed down from generation to generation and that is (but not limited to) that we have to work hard to be successful.  Notice the ‘hard’ part.  Think about residual income – that is money working ‘hard’ for you – not you working hard, but rather you working smart.  Now that’s the kind of work that I love to do.

Of course it doesn’t just happen though.  You have to make it happen, by the choices that you make.  By the way that you set it up.  By following the natural flow that your life takes instead of trying to swim upstream like a salmon!  The action still has to take place in order for the result to be the one that you want.

I guess, what I am trying to say is that we need to decide what we want to achieve and then we need to look around and see how best to achieve that result and when I say ‘how best’ I mean the most simple, the easiest, the most gratifying and the most fun – don’t forget the fun!  Then of course we need to take the action, even if that means inaction – like sitting still whilst we ascertain in which direction ‘the flow’ is going or resting to ensure that we are fit and healthy to take on the challenge.

Yip, it’s all in the choices and like most things in life, the more you practice the better you get at it.  So go on, make the choice!  Make as many choices as you want, and then just for the hell of it, make some more.  The more choices you make towards achieving your goals, your dreams and your aspirations, the more opportunities will arrive in your life to encourage you to make  . . .  still more choices.

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