Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Marketing 101 - 7 Steps to Starting Out

MARKETING 101 - 7 Steps to Starting Out – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

I know that when I started out I had no clue about ‘how to’ or even ‘where to’ market my service.  Coming out of a Corporate environment, where the accounts department was down the corridor and to the left and the marketing department was up the corridor and to the right and the art department was somewhere in between - starting your own business is not that easy as you may think.

Having spent, up to that point, most of my working life, just getting on with it, in a Corporate environment, where the assistance that I needed, was on tap so to speak, and then having the disciplines that the Company required me to meet, very clearly defined, meant that it was a huge ‘wake up to reality’ check when I finally ventured out on my own.  I learnt though – very quickly.  Sure if you are working from home like I do, it’s great to be able to work in comfortable clothes, which for me in summer is shorts and a t-shirt and in winter, my favorite tracksuit.  The reality though, is that irrespective of how you dress, the work still has to be done and you learn very quickly that you have to put proper structures in place in order to remain focused and  disciplined.

The biggest thing of course is that, on your own you do not have the resources at your fingertips that you perhaps had at the office. Let’s face it, in your Corporate world you were plugged into everything, but remained only responsible for your particular job/position/field of expertise.  On your own, you are in fact the whole shebang!  There’s no-one else to do the marketing/finance/design etc and then you will still also have to make the tea!  The reality is that you are everything to your business all rolled up in one.

Here’s the thing though.  As frightening and as daunting as it may seem, with a little bit of research, a bit of planning (and yes you do have to do it) the whole thing may not be as scary and frightening as you think.

Remember though – no planning and no research will undoubtedly result in a big disaster!

One of the first issues that needs research is the target market.  Let’s face it, pitching your product/service to the wrong target marked will result in disaster or more specifically – no sales.  So it is imperative that you know exactly who you will be offering your services to.  Once you get to the point that you can picture them in your mind as clearly as you can, your own family and close friends, then you know that you are going in the right direction.

It is of vital importance that you have a very clear picture of your product or service.  It you are vague about what it is that you are selling, chances are that your communication about the product/service will also be somewhat vaguer and your passion about what it is that you want will also come across quite diluted.

The third issue that you need to deal with is your Marketing Message.  Remember that this is how you will be engaging and communicating with your target market.  This, in essence is how you explain, in words (or sometimes pictures), what your product/service is.  This is where you get them interested and hungering for more information. So your message must be very clear, exciting and engaging.  There is nothing worse than trying to tell people what it is that you do or sell and they are struggling to stay awake from absolute boredom.  So make sure that your message is informative but also exciting and interesting.

That’s it for this week folks – next time we will look at the rest of the points.

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Business Tips - Unlocking Our Hidden Potential

BUSINESS TIPS – Unlocking Our Hidden Potential

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

I seem to be on a mission lately to discover exactly what makes me tick, particularly in terms of business.  I seem to have these brilliant (well I think they are brilliant and only my opinion counts here) ideas and that’s where they end.  Sure, everyone who hears what I have to say also thinks my idea(s) are great, but still nothing happens – clearly I have to change something.  A little research got me to this.

1. Thinking and planning ahead.
How difficult can that be I thought!  Ja right – apparently the trick is to go forward in time to 50 or even 100 years from now irrespective of whether you see your product and/or service (not to mention to yourself haha) lasting that long.  It has something to do with shifting your mindset and allowing it to project into the future.  Anyway, I digress – from there you have to work backwards and create a ‘vision’ plan.  You do this in blocks of ten years at a time and it is very important to ask and answer the questions of “who, what, where, when, why and how”.  For example, who will be your target market and whether it is local, national or international.  The what would be either the product(s) and/or the services that you provide and so on.  Getting this practice right will tell you exactly how you are going to achieve your objectives and therefore your business goals.

2. Getting hold of the data inside our own heads.
I am sure you’ve all heard about how little capacity we actually use of our brains. It has been suggested that we use something like 10% of our ‘conscious’ minds and the rest of all the information, memories, data, knowledge and what else have you is then stored in our ‘sub-conscious’ – how one would actually measure this is beyond me, but then again I am no expert.  In any event the idea here is that we should try and get into our ‘sub-conscious’ minds in order to access this very valuable data that is stored there.  Now the experts say that for a period of 21 days (I suppose to get us into the habit) we should write something brief on whatever we want to improve on our ‘leadership process’.  So for example if we have a problem with dealing with customers or staff, the more we write about it the more we’ll access our sub-conscious mind and the easier we will find solutions to the problem.

3. Improving and increasing productivity.
I am sure that you will agree that your staff will never have the same level of energy as you do, particularly when they are selling your product and/or service.  It stands to reason that they will never be as passionate about your business as you are – so logic must tell you that you need to motivate them to be, well almost as energetic or passionate as you are.  To do this you need to get them to participate in the exercise – you need to find out what it is that ‘drives’ them in terms of the work that they do or what would drive them and then use that information to empower them.  This means of course, that you would need to tailor their specific talents or skills or needs to what you need done.  It will become a win/win relationship and you will be amazed at the difference it will make.

4. Being Innovative and Creative.
Oh here is one for the history books!  Use your staff – I don’t mean in a nasty way, but use their individuality, their passion and their creativity to help you (and them) see things more clearly.  One of the most common things that I am told my small business owners is that they often feel ‘lonely’ in business. In a Corporate environment, it is easy to ‘bounce’ ideas off colleagues or have ‘brainstorming’ sessions – when you are in business for yourself however, you often don’t feel that you can ‘talk’ much less brainstorm with anyone.  Just because your staff ‘work’ for you, doesn’t mean that they will not have some great ideas – so talk to them, encourage them to come to you with those ideas.  If you have a problem – get the staff around the table and let them brainstorm with you, to find a solution to whatever your problem is.  You’d be amazed at what comes out of these sessions.  One of my clients does this once a month, usually about ideas on how to bring in new business and they have a prize, once a quarter for the best idea. Several of those ‘ideas’ now are bring in handsome profits.

5. Take responsibility
Taking responsibility for our own actions is one thing, but taking responsibility for something that someone else does is very difficult.  I had a friend once who, when her daughter and her were at loggerheads, would often stand back and say ‘She is acting like that because of what is happening in my life!’  Often who we are and what we are going through influences those around us and then their behaviour is as a direct result of what we have done or are doing.  So when your staff are acting up or acting out – it’s a good idea for us you step back from the situation and see what is happening in you life that may have influenced their actions.  Remember you are responsible for putting food on their tables and they may just be trying to protect that.  Obviously I am not talking about someone who is, say stealing – they would need to take responsibility for that, but someone who is out of sorts or is moody or is not doing the job in the way in which you want it done.  Take a look and see what the underlying problem is – look at the cause rather than just the symptom.  Talk to them, ask the question, open up the avenues of  communication – let them know that you are willing to talk about issues.  It will make a great deal of difference to the way that they perceive you and often will be enough to ensure that perceptions and expectations are met.

Whatever you do and whatever your challenge may be, remember why you got into business for yourself in the first place – and don’t forget to have lots of fun!

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

Motivation - Perseverance

MOTIVATION –  Perseverance

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

H Jackson Brown says “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but by perseverance.”

Ain’t that the truth!

On a personal level, I find that when I am going through a particularly rough patch or trying time, the only way to get through it is to ‘Grit’ my teeth, square my shoulders and put one foot in front of the other and just keep going – sooner or later you have to come out the other end.

I remember my favorite teacher at junior school – her name was Olga Barrett, and she was the strictest disciplinarian in the school – stricter than even the headmaster.  Mrs. Barrett saw something in me that I don’t think anyone else saw.  She saw my ‘heart’ and understood that I was different to the other kids.  She saw that although I was by no means gifted or genius, but that my mind need to be stimulated differently.

She saw that I was determined to succeed, but that I went about things differently and instead of trying to force me into a mold as the other teachers seemed hell bent on doing,  she took my tenacity and taught me how to harness that energy, that spirit, that heart . . . and then use it to my own advantage.

Olga Barrett, encouraged me to reach for the stars and not give into the challenges that would come my way.  Instead of forcing me to look at the world through her eyes, she tried to see it through mine.

Her patience and perseverance with helping me to achieve and be all that I can be, certainly went far beyond the call of duty and I will be forever grateful to her.

That tenacity and perseverance has certainly allowed me to meet the challenges and heartache that I have endured in this life time and I have no doubt that it will continue to serve me to the end of my days.

So remember, if your life is challenging or if there is something that you really want, because you have dared to dream – square your shoulders, grit your teeth and put one foot in the front of the other and just keep going.

You will eventually get there.

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

HR 101 - Who is an Employee - Part 4


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC.

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations and Best Practice requirements.

Ok, now that most of you have gotten over your initial shock and realized that you are actually an employer and that the person working for you is actually an employee and not a contractor, let’s get into a little more depth here.

1. The Manner in which the person works is subject to the control or direction of another person.

So what does this mean in English?  Well for starters it means that the person is required to take note of and follow instructions, procedures and policies as laid down by the employer.  Take me for example, I am an independent Consultant.  As such I don’t have to follow the rules, policies and procedures of any company that I am Consulting too.  I don’t have to follow their dress code, I am not required to be at work (on their premises) at the same time as their staff do, I can come and go as I please without having to ask anyone’s permission, I do not get a salary at the end of the month or a pay slip of any kind.

So basically if you have a “contractor” that you are currently in a ‘relationship’ with, in which he/she supplies you with only labour (for example) and you have to direct or supervise the way in which they work , then guess what – they are an employee.

Let’s take the example of a garden service.  They come in once or twice a month, there is a whole team of them under the direction of a supervisor (well hopefully under the guidance of a supervisor).  They come in, with their own tools and equipment and mow the lawn, trim the hedges, cut back unnecessary growth, etc., and then off they go.  From what I can understand, they are there for a limited period of time.  You, yourself don’t need to stand over them and supervise.  They know what is required of them and they get on with it.  Your only input in this one is right at the beginning, when you set up the contract with their employer to say what your requirements are, in terms of what you want done.  You have no say in how the job is done or what tools they should use or what brand of anything they need to use.

In an employment ‘relationship’ the employer has the right to determine which tools will be used, who the staff are going to be, what raw materials are necessary.  The employer will determine the work ethics and performance boundaries and rules.

A very strong indicator of when there is an ‘employment’ relationship, as apposed to a ‘contractual’ relationship is where the ‘employee’ is subject to the Company’s, and therefore the employer’s, disciplinary code, company policies, procedures and Code of Conduct.

Next week we will continue with our more ‘in depth’ look at the remaining 6 indicators of ‘Who is an Employee’.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Customer Service 101 - The Customer is Always Right

CUSTOMER SERVICE 101 - The Customer is always right

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

We’ve all heard the phrase “The customer is always right”.  The phrase was apparently first coined in 1909 by the founder of Selridge’s Department Store in London.  It was used to instil a greater sense of awareness amongst the employees, of their attitude towards customers and how they interacted with them.  It is used today, rightly or wrongly, by business to indicate or give the impression of providing good service.

In many businesses today, particularly where there are call centres in place, this has become merely lip service.  Nowadays though, with the internet, e-mails and blogs, the networks and people who are linked with working networks, when a client chooses to complain, very few companies can afford not to listen.  With the introduction of industry ombudsmen there are even more complaint channels available to people who wish to voice their complaints.

This makes consumer power bigger and better than it has ever been.  The question of course is do we, as consumers, complain enough, or do we just put up with bad service, poor quality and indifferent sales people for the sake of a quiet life?

If a client takes the time and/or trouble to voice a complaint it should be seen as an opportunity, by the business, to right a wrong, or as a second chance.  The fact is that customers who complain give business the opportunity to improve their service and thereby retain the patronage of their clientele.

Ironically, the reality of the situation is that very few of us take the time and trouble to complain or express our dissatisfaction directly to a company usually because the perception is that it is not really worth the effort.  Many South Africans just tolerate bad service.  What we usually do is ‘vote with our feet’ and of course our voices, when we tell all of our friends, family and colleagues or in fact anyone who will listen about the bad experience that we had.  This does not help the situation at all, as we have not dealt with the root of the problem.

Human nature being what it is though, means that we usually complain a lot more that we praise.  So when we moan and groan quite liberally to all and sundry we very rarely spread the news when service or quality is exceptional.  The result of this of course that we as consumers have the ability and potential to make or break a small business.

Clearly it is of the utmost importance to deal with customer complaints effectively and efficiently.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Marketing 101 - Why Do What Your Competitors Do?

MARKETING - Why Do What Your Competitors Do?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC.

From an information point of view, it is of the utmost importance to know and understand what your competition is up to.  The saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer”, really applies in this case.  You need to see what kind of prices they are charging and what products and/or services that are offering or even how they are packaging and/or promoting their offerings.

Whilst it is important to know what the competition are doing, it is equally important not to follow exactly in their footsteps.  You need to be unique in what you do and you need to develop your own strategy.

So if your competitor puts everything on sale at less 50%, it is not necessary for you to put everything on sale less 55%.  This can only result in a really ugly price war.

Rather think of, or come up with innovative ideas on how to give better value.  Most people know that the best is not necessarily the cheapest and that the most expensive is not always the best.  So find ways of adding value, best value.

Do some research on your target market – find some need that has not been met or something that your competitor doesn’t have and add it to what you offer.  Make what you do or the way that you do it, not only different but also irresistible.

Make your client conscientiously choose you, your products, your services before they go anywhere else!

Set you apart from the rest.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Business Tips - Storing Your E-Mails

BUSINESS TIPS - Storing Your E-mails

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC.

I must admit, this is something that I have had to research on a personal level.  When you get to the stage of getting in excess of 100 mails a day it can be a daunting exercise to try and manage and/or prioritize the mails.

The research that I did came up with the following suggestions:

I keep all mails that pertain to my clients and my service providers.  I have a file for each client and/or each service provider and pretty much in the same way that I would file my paperwork, I use these files on the computer.

So for example if I have a client ABC Consulting – I would have a folder (under clients) called ABC.  In the folder ABC, I would have sub folders such as invoices, quotes, payments etc – but for the e-mails I would also have sub folders for incoming mail and another for outgoing mail.  It just makes it easier if I am looking for something that I sent to the client or something that I received from the client.

The rest of the mails that pertain to anything other than clients and/or suppliers, that I want to keep go into sub-folders of my Inbox.  This means that I can search though all my messages (particularly if I am researching something) all in the same place.

I have also discovered that you can have replies that you send out, sent to a sub-folder too.  How neat is that?   You can write a rule to have messages sent to various folders on receipt or on sending the message, depending on what it is that you want to do.  Click on the Tools tab and then select Rules and Alerts.  Remember though that if you have more than one ‘rule’ that applies to incoming e-mail, the rule that was placed first is the one that takes precedence.

Keeping a handle on your e-mails will make it easier to manage all the information overload that most of us experience on a daily basis.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Motivation - Playing the Victim

MOTIVATION – Playing The Victim

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Stedman Graham says “People who consider themselves victims of their circumstances, will always remain victims unless they develop a greater  vision for their lives.”

That just hits the spot!  I am so tired of hearing about people being ‘previously disadvantaged’ and the ‘suffering’ and the rest that goes with it.  The racist card is played at every opportunity and the ‘poor me’ card brought out at the drop of a hat and yet we don’t seem to do anything about it.

A couple of months ago I wrote an article for the Business Report in the STAR Newspaper on “Intimate Relationships in the Workplace”.  You can just imagine the responses that I received!

One woman phoned me to tell me that her husband is having an affair at work and then asked me what to do.  Well I am no ‘agony aunt’ and I am certainly not a medical person who is qualified to hand out this kind of advice, but what I can do is voice an opinion on what I would do if I were in the same circumstances.  This woman, (lets call her Jane) was quite indignant about the fact that her husband was ‘lying to his children, imagine’ and yet . . . here she was telling a total stranger intimate details of her personal life.  She laid it on thick, telling me ‘when and where’ he met up with his illicit romantic partner and that ‘everybody’ at his work knew about it and yet they did nothing.  The truth is of course, that it’s not their job to do anything, it’s hers.

You see Jane really got off by playing the victim and the martyr, she could gain everybodys sympathy and this made her feel like a worthwhile person, it also was the only kind of attention that she seemed to be getting.  When she paused for a breath, to tell me some other despicable thing that he had been doing, I asked her why she had not turfed all his stuff out onto the street and changed the lock on the door.  She seemed quite taken aback by the very mention of that.  I told her that she had given him permission to act the way he was acting because of her inaction.  By not doing anything when she found out about the affair, she was telling him that it is ok for him to treat her in this manner – so of course he did, constantly.  Furthermore, she was also lying to the children, every time she made an excuse about where he was at night.

Jane was gobsmacked for a few seconds and could not get the words out to say anything.  I suspect that I had just taken the wind out of her sails and she was taking a good hard look at what she was doing too.  Finally she agreed with me saying that she had never looked at it like this before.

Is Jane still with the wondering husband – I have absolutely no idea.  What I do know though is that Jane stopped in her tracks and probably for the first time in her life understood that she could change her circumstances by changing the way the she responded to things.  Whether she has made the changes in herself and her circumstances or not, is a whole different ball game, but I do know that she is now aware of what she is doing and hopefully she will make the changes that she needs to make.

Going back to apartheid and the ‘previously disadvantaged’ – quite honestly, right now I don’t even have much empathy left, let alone sympathy!  Oh and I know that I am going to upset a huge number of people too and so be it.

For every one person who is still flying the ‘previously disadvantaged’ banner, there are probably two or more who have done something to change their circumstances.  I would rather help these folk and have oodles of time and respect for them.

There are those that have done things for themselves instead of standing around, begging bowl in hand, waiting for someone to do something for them.  I would rather help them turn their lives around and respect them for the changes that they are not only willing to make but are also making.

There are also those who have perfected the art of playing the victim and for them, ‘being the victim’, is their full time employment, it’s their right and quite frankly, it’s probably exactly what they deserve.

So today, I challenge you – if you truly want something to change, then get up off your rear end and make it happen.  If you’re not prepared to make the changes or do something for yourself, then quite honestly – please don’t tell me, I really don’t want to hear it, because my time is better served making things happen and changing the aspects in my life that I don’t want to stay the same.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

HR 101 - Who is an Employee - Part 3


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour and Best Practice requirements.

So now it’s crunch time!  Who is an Employee?  Well the Code  states that there are 7 (seven factors) in determining who an Employee is – the challenge lies in the fact that only 1 of these factors needs to be present, not all 7!

Let me say that again for those who were not listening the first time around.  Only 1 out of 7 factors needs to be present when determining who an employee is!

These factors (in no particular order) are:

1. the manner in which the person works is subject to the control or direction of another person.
2. the person’s hours of work are subject to the control or direction of another person
3. in the case of a person who works for an organization, the person forms part of that organization.
4. the person has worked for the other person for an average of at least 40 hours per month over the last three months.
5. the person is economically dependent of the other person for whom he/she works or renders services
6. the person is provided with the tools of trade or work equipment by the other person.
7. the person only works for or renders services to one person.

So now you have it and while you all fall about in fear/laughter/joy and whatever other emotion that you can bring to the surface, I will leave it there for this week.

Next week we will drill down deeper into each of the factors, so that the lines are clear – no smudges - it either is or it isn’t!  So by the end of this article you will know exactly where you stand and where your employee stands, whether you would like to justify it otherwise or not.

So be brutally honest with yourself (not anyone else, just yourself), examine each item individually and if you can honestly answer yes to any of the above – you have an employee, whether you would like to admit it or not!

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

Thursday, November 17, 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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Marketing 101 - Targeting a Market You Can't Reach

MARKETING 101 - Targeting a Market You Can’t Reach

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC.

As much as we all like to think that our product and/or our particular service is something that everyone on the planet really, really needs – the reality of the situation is that there are really some people out there who don’t need the product or service, or who don’t want the product or service and in some cases don’t deserve the product or service, and in some extreme cases some who you don’t want to have the product or service.  These people are very definitely not in our ‘target market’ and I am sure that you will agree, marketing to them would be a complete waste of time, energy and money. It’s just the way it is.

So logic must therefore tell us that there is a specific group or type of people and/or businesses that it would be ideal to market to – those specific people and/or businesses are commonly known as our ‘niche’ market and/or ‘target market’ and they are the ones most likely to purchase whatever it is that we are selling.

What we often do then is to market to people that are in our ‘niche’ or ‘target market’, but then going from one extreme to the other – instead of marketing to all and sundry (which as we have seen from the above is a complete waste of time, energy and money) we tend to go to the other extreme and narrow the target market down to such an extent that it only pertains to a handful of people and they live in Alaska.  Now that is also not too clever is it, as it means that that particular market will not sustain your business.  So clearly it is a good idea to be really sensible about this.

I find that writing stuff down helps me, so make of note of EXACTLY (the narrowest ideal person(s)/company) who need your product and/or service.  Then expand on that list to others that may have a need (but not necessarily understand that they need it yet) and then people who would love to have it (whether they need it or not) and of course people who have the money to purchase it.  Your list will have grown somewhat by now I am sure.  Then have a look at the things you can ‘add on’ or value add to what ever it is that you sell and go through the exercise again – you will be amazed now at how your list has grown.  Finally see if you can partner with someone who does something similar or something that can fit in with your business (for example for me as an Internal Auditor to partner or JV with an Accountant is quite logical and now I have two data bases and two lots of target markets to look at) and then go through the exercise again – you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.  Each time you ‘partner’ or ‘collaborate’ with someone else, go through the exercise again – so if I now ‘collaborate’ with an attorney, I will be able to target a far greater number of people again, and so on.

So now you have created a customer profile and identified the characteristics or needs of your potential buyers and you have identified your ‘niche’ or ‘target market’.  Now you need to have a look at whether they are long term clients or ‘once’ off.  As much as it is really great to sell to ‘once’ off buyers – they are spending the money after all, it’s even nicer to be able to build up a data base of clients who come back time and time again – not because your product broke or because your service didn’t do the trick, but because of the quality of your product and/or service.

Finally, beware of targeting people who cannot afford your product and/or service.  There are some people out there, who no matter how much they love your product and/or service, no matter how much they desire your product and/or service and no matter how much they need your product and/or service – just can’t afford it or don’t have the money.  Don’t make the mistake of trying to sell your product and/or service to them – the sad reality of this is that either you will sell it to them and never see the money or you will be competing for their grocery money.  Not a good idea all around.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Business Tips - So You Want to Buy a Franchise

BUSINESS TIPS – So You Want To Buy A Franchise?

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

So many times I’ve heard people say “My dream is to open a little coffee shop/restaurant/take away/pizza place (insert your own dream/idea here), when I retire.  Sadly, more often than not they sink their hard earned life savings into a Franchise something, only to discover somewhere down the road, that it is not what they expected or even worse, the business is not able to sustain them and they end up losing everything.

Research people!  Research!

You really need to know exactly what it is that you are getting yourself into.  You need to understand, in graphic detail exactly what the business entails, especially if you have never worked in that particular arena before (cooking dinner for family and friends once a week is very different to running a kitchen in a busy fast food outlet).

Here are some of the issues that you need to look at, familiarize yourself with and indeed, understand at some level.

1. As I mentioned before – research is vital and just to be clear on this, the research that needs to be done, needs to be done by you!  You are the one that needs to understand all the pros and cons.  You are the one who needs to be interested in the whole process – therefore you are the one that needs to develop as much first hand knowledge as possible.  Attend as many franchise expos as possible, surf the internet, find something that matches your passion and once you have decided which franchise you are interested in, you can move to the next step.
2. Now the real research begins!  Firstly, look at the industry that your choice of franchise is in.  Find out all the information that is available for that particular industry.  Have a look at all the other franchises that are in the same sector.  What makes the franchise that you have chosen ‘stand out’?  Is the sector a growing one (this means that you have to look at lots of statistics and even know how to read them properly)?  Have a look at all of the trade magazines (or on the internet), what do they say about the industry, the sector, the competition and the franchise that you have chosen?
3. Next you need to look at the brand of the franchise that you have chosen.  What makes it unique?  Why would customers/clients use this brand and not something similar around the corner?  Look at the physical branding – things like signage, logos, staff uniforms, shop fittings – does the branding run through all the stores so that they all look and have the same ‘feel’, or are some of the stores different and if so why? In other words, is the brand, colours, logos easily identifiable and recognizable?
4. The next thing to research thoroughly is the actual franchise organization.  What are the rights and obligations of the franchisor, and what are the rights and the obligations of the franchisee?  What are your expectations and will they be met.  What are the expectations of the franchisor and will you be able to meet them.  What is the support structure in terms of procedures, policies, templates, IT, staff training, product training and so on?  Will the franchisor give you all the investment and financial information that you need?  Will the franchisor give you their ‘disclosure documents’?  Are their disclosure documents updated annually as prescribed by the FASA (Franchise Association of South Africa)?  Make sure that you not only read, but also understand all of these documents.  Ask questions.  Get your lawyer and/or accountant to also look at the documents and ask questions.  Make sure that the answers that you get satisfy the question that was asked and don’t be afraid to ask more questions.
5. If, after all of this you still want to purchase the franchise talk to the professionals, take the documents to a franchise consultant or a business broker (preferably one that works in the franchise arena) and get their opinion.  Get them to look at the questions you asked and the answers you got. Make sure that they are comfortable with every single point in the contract.  Let them explain it all to you again, point by point and in a language that you understand.

Until next time

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Motivation - My Stones


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

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

Well here we are again and it’s all about the choices that we make to any of the situations that we may find ourselves in.

A huge debate has been raging on one of the forums that I used to belong to.  You see as in most aspects of life, there were several people who were very active and prolific on the forum.  They all came from different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions and so on.

Whilst discussion took place over a varied number of issues, usually these could become quite colourful as people voiced their opinions and their beliefs and it was easy to see that people were really passionate about what they did and what they believed in.

Where the whole thing started to go pear shaped (well for me anyway) is when certain individuals would not allow people their own opinions in their own beliefs (or lack there of) and started to almost force their own religious beliefs onto everyone else, belittling the beliefs of everyone else and quoting chapter and verse at every inappropriate opportunity.

Pretty soon every discussion ended up having some sort of religious debate and the own/founder of the forum stepped in and censorship was born.

Constantly members complained about what could be or couldn’t be discussed as the offending few continued their barrage of religious innuendo, until many members just quietly left, no longer wanting to be party in the foray!

Several members bravely continued to try and keep the forum going and new discussions were started only to be promptly invaded by the quoting of  scripture either offered up as a solution and/or given as the cause of whatever happened.  It became so that you couldn’t go anywhere on the forum without tripping up or falling over a scripture of some sort.

The founder of the forum, whilst implementing rules, failed to enforce said rules and the offending few just continued at every opportunity, climbing over every discussion and every debate, quoting scripture after scripture, chapter after chapter and verse after verse.  Remember this a Business forum, where issues around business were discussed and so every discussion from ‘Crime affecting Business’ to ‘staff behaviour’ came under some sort of religious attack until finally, in disgust and frustration, I have picked my  stones, that I was trying to build a community with, and I have left.

I will use my stones to build another community.  One whose members will, hopefully also use their stones, to build the forum into a community with a strong foundation, good business ethics, a value of friendship, an understanding and respect of the opinions of others and their right to think differently.

A community who can share ideas, debate issues, care about one another and laugh together.

But if they don’t – remember my stones can always be gathered up, tucked back under my arm and moved to greener pastures.

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

HR 101 - Who is an Employee - Part 2


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC.

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour and Best Practice requirements

There is a “Code of Good Practice – Who is an Employee”, that has been published and it is a 53 page document, that looks at this question, in great detail – I will be dealing with this over the next couple of weeks.

The code starts out by setting a whole bunch of guidelines.  Its’ main objective is to make things clearer to Joe Public, about who a staff member is for the purposes of the Labour Relations Act and other Labour related legislation.

It also deals specifically with all the differences between an employee, and everything about that relationship, that is controlled (or should be) by the regulations that are promulgated by Labour Legislation and independent contracting.

There is a very big difference between the two and although we, as SMME’s sometimes blur the lines, there is a very definite line between the two.

The code also ensures that the employee is protected through the various Labour laws and that these employees are not put by the SMME into contracting arrangements, thereby depriving them of the protection of Labour law.

We need to understand that Labour Department are not complete idiots, they are aware of the fact that there are some employers out there, who have contracts that because of the wording, camouflage the employment relationship, and in so doing ensure that the employee does not have any legal rights to fair treatment.

There appear to be some really strange employment relationships in the Labour market such as, but not limited to:
Disguised employment,
Ambiguous employment relationships,
Non-standard employment and
Triangular relationships.

It stands to reason, that the employers to whom this applies, will at some point be caught out and when you do – understand that you will be way up past your eyebrows, in the smelly brown stuff.  So if there are any of you out there, understand you need to sort it out and you need to do that quickly!

The code requires that “any person who is interpreting or applying any of the following Acts, must take this code into account for the purpose of determining whether a particular person is an employee, in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LBR); the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 (BCEA); the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 (EEA); or the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998 (SDA)”.
This obviously means that the definition of ‘who an employee is’? is slightly different in the Code than it is in the various Acts, and that the definition in the Code now supercedes those in the above mentioned Acts.

It also requires the Code “should also be taken into account in determining whether persons are employees in terms of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 86 of 1993 (OHSA); the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 (COIDA) and the Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001 (UIFA).”

Again, the definition of ‘who an employee is’? is slightly different in the Code than it is in the various Acts, and that the definition in the Code now supercedes those in the above mentioned Acts.

Next week, we will continue to look at exactly “Who is an employee”.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Marketing 101 - Relying on Networking to Generate Sales Leads


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

Now what I am about to say is probably going to sound like a huge contradiction in terms.  You see I always carry on about the fact that I get all of my work through Networking and now I am telling you that relying on Networking to generate sales leads is not a good idea.  I can just see all the eyes raising heavenwards and groans of ‘well make up you mind!’

Well it’s like this, I am a natural Networker and a natural connector – so it works for me as an individual.  For those of you who find Networking hard work or in any way difficult or you actually just don’t ‘get it’, relying on Networking to generate your sales leads is a really bad mistake.

You see most people will join a Chamber of Commerce and go to one or other of the meetings and shuffle around meeting one or two other people who are doing exactly the same thing.  You may or may not meet someone with whom you can form a joint venture or strategic alliance with, sometime in the future and it may give you a few brownie points for being visible as a supporter of your community, but in all probability it will not generate you any kind of sustainable sales leads.  That is because you will not ‘work’ it.

One-on-one networking is time consuming and it is hard work and if you don’t work at it properly, there is no guarantee that you will get any work out of it.  So be sure that you are aware of what it is that you are doing and why you are doing it.  It can become a very costly exercise both financially and also with your time.

So for those of you who are uncomfortable (or perhaps that should be not as comfortable as I am) in the Networking environment, you should use Networking as any other of your marketing strategies – measure them and determine the cost to you versus your payback.

Don’t be too quick to blame Networking for your lack of sales leads though, it is probably your lack of knowledge and/or your failure to understand how to Network correctly that will result in zero sales leads.
Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Business Tips - Measuring Ourselves

BUSINESS TIPS – Measuring Ourselves

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Incredible as it may seem – we all use about 10% of our mental processing patterns in the conscious part of our brains.  That, of course, means that around 90% is stored in our sub-conscious or unconscious minds, and these are responsible for activating our day to day habits.

This means, that if we are not constantly measuring and adjusting, only some of the things that we are doing will actually end up being productive and/or effective and a lot of the things that we do automatically will just be completely ineffective and quite frankly, just a waste of time and energy.

So it stands to reason that feedback is essential that if we are completely aware of what we are doing that we are able to measure it too.

So – how do you measure?

Well the first thing that you need to do is put a plan into place.  Then you need to track your results and take score.

Once your plan is in place, and you have set up what your time frame is, you have to ensure that you are very clear about what actions are required and that your attitude is correct (in case you meet any challenges along the way).

Now you have to ask yourself the following questions from time to time.  These are (but not limited to):

a) Am I on track to achieving my goals and desires?
b) Is what I am doing taking me in the right direction in terms of me getting closer to my goals
c) What variables have come into the situation and does that mean I have to change and/or adjust what I am doing in order for me to continue going in the correct direction?
d) If an adjustment must be made, what is it and what do I have to put into place to ensure that I meet the requirements to ensure that I continue on the correct path?
e) Will these changes still bring about the results that I require and in the time frame that I have set – if not, what do I have to do to adjust it to meet the time frame requirements?

Understand though, that if you do not take the time to ask and answer these questions, you will fall right back into your old habits as these are governed and controlled by your sub and/or unconscious mind.

So – make the decision and make the choice to become a participant in your own life.

Remember always to measure and adjust.

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

Monday, November 07, 2016

Motivation - Postage Stamps

MOTIVATION – Postage Stamps

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Bob Proctor says “Be like a postage stamp.  Stick until you get there.”

Quotes like this always remind me of the story that goes something along the lines of ‘there was this chap who went mountain climbing.  He went on his own as he enjoyed the solitude and it was his ‘me time’.  It was the time that he used to reflect upon his life, to look at the memories of where he had been and where he wanted to go.  It was the time that he could empty his head of everything and live in the moment.

Whilst climbing down a particularly steep and dangerous mountain face, a storm arose and before he could get to the bottom or take any kind of shelter (remember he was on a sheer rock face), the mist came in and he could not see anything.  He tried as best as he could to climb down very carefully, but after several hours he slipped and fell, holding onto the piece of rope that was attached to a piece of rock somewhere high above.  There he was dangling at the end of the rope in the mist and the rain and then to add to his woes, night fell.  The man hung on for dear life, he had no way of telling how far down he was, how close to the bottom of the climb he was – disorientated, alone, cold, afraid he faced his biggest fears.

He decided that it was time to Pray “Oh God”, he prayed “Please help me, please don’t let me fall, please tell me what to do”.  “Oh God, please don’t let me die, tell me what to do”.  Over and over he said the words and over and over a voice inside of his head said – “let go of the rope!”  The more he asked what to do, the more the voice told him to let go of the rope and the more he held on.  His shoulders locked, his hands locked and he dozed from time to time.

Morning arrived and with it a glorious dawn and clear skies.  “Thank you God” the man breathed and as he shrugged his cramped shoulders and hand, he looked down to see how far he still had to go to get to the bottom and found that his feet were dangling about six inches from the ground!”

For me the moral of the story is two fold – stick as the postage stamp until you get there and . . .  know when you get there and it is time to let go!

Often we hold on for too long, we get all emotional about the little space that we are occupying, instead of taking the leap of faith and putting our feet forward and taking the next step.  As SMME’s and/or entrepreneurs we have already taken that first step or leap of faith.  We have all gone in a totally new direction, trusting in ourselves, in our intuition and in our capabilities – we have faced our fears and we have come out the other end triumphant – now is not the time to quit – now is the time to take the next step!

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

Friday, November 04, 2016

HR 101 - Who Is An Employee - Part 1


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note that this pertains to South Africa Labour requirements and Best Practice.

When your business has gotten to the stage that you need to employ someone to assist you, there are certain guidelines that you should follow in order to meet the requirements of the Labour Relations Act.

Hopefully by this stage you have actually identified what it is that you want them to do, whether you want them as a full day employee or a half day - obviously dependant on the amount of work that there is – and of course whether they are a senior person or a junior person that you can train and/or mold into doing things the way that you want them done.

So now you think that you are sorted and you can start putting out the word, and/or advertising for the staff member that you want!  Not really hey, there are other things to take into consideration.

These are but not limited to:
1. Are you going to employ them on a full time basis, as a permanent employee ?
2. Are you going to employ them as a temporary and/or casual basis, or
3. Are you going to employ them on a sub or independent contractual basis?

Perhaps it is time to step back a little and go back to basics.  It’s time to discover if we actually know “Who is an Employee”?

Over the next couple weeks we will go step by step through the process and discover what is required by law and what the different terms actually mean.

So here is step one.

I have found, during my travels through the SMME market that there are many and I mean many employers, who think that if the staff member is a Contractor, he/she is not entitled to leave, sick leave or any other benefits.

In fact I am sure that I can say with confidence, that there are many employers who think that if a staff member is an Independent Contractor, and he/she has a contract in place that also indicates this, that he/she is not entitled to leave, sick leave or any other benefits that are laid down in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Most employers who think like this are merely using these terms to avoid their obligations in terms of the Labour Laws and Labour Legislation and of course by doing this they are also avoiding things like pension and medical aid and any other benefits that they give to their “Permanent” employees.

For the record: An Independent Contractor is not an ‘employee’ and cannot be an ‘employee’ – so don’t get confused by this.

In next week’s article I will start documenting exactly ‘Who is and Employee’ in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

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

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Motivation - Overcoming Our Own Egos

MOTIVATION –  Overcoming Our Own Egos

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Nowadays our lives are lived at such a break neck speed that we often don’t have time to draw a breath, much less have time to reflect.

We suppress our emotions, we manipulate others around us into doing what we want them to do, we play the political games in the office with our peers and our managers and even on occasion, with our subordinates.

All this is done in an attempt to get our own way and whether we win or lose is usually as a direct result of how much we believe in ourselves or don’t.  I guess it would be easy to say that much of our lives is governed by how much ego we have.  Too little and we are plagued by issues of self esteem and too much and we strut our stuff like we are ‘cock of the coop’.

So how do we get real?  How do we get in touch with ourselves?  How do we get beyond that ego?

Well as I understand it, we ‘speak’ from the heart.  Whether we speak to ourselves, or our colleagues, or to our peers and our clients, it all boils down to the same thing.

It means that we have dropped down from our self imposed pedestals and our egos and that what we are say or talking about is ‘what is’ rather than what we would like it to be.

It means that we have stripped ourselves down to the core of us, our souls, our unconditional selves and that what we are saying is what we really believe deep down inside of ourselves, rather than what we have been conditioned to believe, or what we have been taught to believe or what we think we should believe.

I also believe that there is a place down deep inside of ourselves that knows the truth.  Some call it the core, some the soul – whatever you would like to name it, it is the place that we all have that knows the truth when we hear it.

So it stands to reason then, that when we speak from our hearts, from that place down deep inside of us and those words are heard by people, in that place down deep inside of them that knows that truth when it hears it, that that is when we have made and make the most impact.

Doesn’t it make sense then to always speak like this – whether you are dealing with your spouse, your children, your colleagues, your bosses, your subordinates, your clients (insert whomever you would like to here)?

It makes the most sense to me . . . .

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Marketing - Realistic Belief


By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting.

I know that on many levels, it is really sad if you can’t dream – hell, I do!  That said, I also know how dangerous it can become if your dreams are out of the ball park.  Think about it for a minute – most evenings, sitting watching some of the ads that they present on TV, I actually have to ‘suspend belief’ in order for me to even try and understand the message that they are trying to get across.  As an Internal Auditor, that for me is incredibly difficult – remember I live, deal and work in an environment that is based, strictly on fact!

Take for example the host of motor vehicle ads that are doing the rounds at the moment.  Cars that morph into spiders, and snakes and the like, in order for them to travel where no other car goes.  Firstly the idea of me actually believing that a car could change shape like that is an insult to my ‘logical’ brain and intelligence and secondly, I have no doubt that there are other brands of vehicles that can not only do the same kind of terrain, but probably a whole lot more than just that, seems to me to be a whole lot more reasonable.

Or how about the one where the driver, tired of listening to his girlfriend yapping away, opens the cubbyhole (or glove compartment – for the foreigners amongst us), and she gets ‘sucked’ into the compartment, never to be heard of again – well not until the next time that the ad is aired, you understand.  Now I understand that they are trying to ‘sell’ the concept of ‘more space’ or spaciousness, but the idea of getting a whole body into that space for me is just ludicrous!

To be sure, that could be very well what they are trying to do to get me to remember the ad and therefore that will become my car of choice – but quite honestly, I don’t remember the make of the car or anything other than what a ridiculous ad that is!

Now if the car manufacturers have to go to these lengths to try and increase the level of sales, on branded products – why is it that so many of the small business owners or SMME’s as they are called, seem to think that because they have produced an ‘incredible’ product and/or service, that said product and/or service will automatically sell itself!

That for me is also where I have to ‘suspend belief’. Why would brands such as ‘Coca-Cola’ who are internationally branded and are known by just about every person on the planet, believe they need to advertise and yet someone who knows exactly 100 people on the planet, feel that they don’t need to advertise because the product will sell itself?

Clearly you need to market yourself.  I, as an Internal Auditor – really do not know much about advertising and marketing – it’s not what I do.  What I do know however, is that if people don’t know about you or your product, you are not going to sell any of your product and that is the bottom line.

Marketing can be as expensive or as inexpensive as the amount of money that you have to spend, and for me it’s got to be believable too.

When I started, I certainly did not have a huge budget (and to be quite honest – I still don’t), but I did know that I had to get myself out there.  I had to tell people about who I am and what it is that I do and believe me, telling them once just doesn’t cut it!  You have to go back and tell them time and time again, at some point a light bulb will go off in their heads and they will understand that they need either your service or your product, but until that time – you have to keep telling them.

As an Internal Auditor, I always tell people, that it is not about making money – that’s easy!  It’s about making a profit!  To make a profit, you have to sell and in order to sell, you have to market yourself and/or your product.

It does not matter how incredible your product and/or service is, people still have to know about it in order for it to ‘sell itself’, so the job of marketing must still be done.

To make your marketing easier, you need to ascertain who your customers would be and those are the clients that you need to be make aware of what you have to offer.  I am sure you’ve  heard the saying ‘as difficult as selling ice to an Eskimo in the middle of winter’?  Well that’s exactly what it is. Selling to the right target market at the right time.

So remember, tell people who you are and what it is that you do and don’t forget to tell them why your product is different to all the others out there, and/or why your services are different.

Marketing, in its most basic form is about making people aware of what you have.  Good marketing is making the right people aware of what you have, at the right time, and making them understand that your product/service is the best value for money.
Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Business Tips - Opportunity - Buying a Franchise

BUSINESS TIPS – Opportunity – Buying a Franchise

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Well let me say this – there are franchises and then there are franchises!

As with most things in life, you need to be careful about what you purchase – do the research, check the numbers – better yet get an Accountant (not a bookkeeper mind you) to check that the numbers are correct, insist on a Tax Certificate,  if need be, get a Business Broker involved to ensure that the business is all that it is made out to be.

That said, there is a newly promulgated Bill that has just gone through called “The Consumer Protection Bill” (CPB).  This Bill was put into place in order to “promote and advance the social and economic welfare of consumers in South Africa.”

So what does this actually mean?

Well, years ago when the whole Franchise thing started, many people got their fingers seriously burnt. The support that was promised never materialized. The Franchise business was never what it was made out to be and many people went out of business and lost everything.  Make no mistake, there are still those Franchises that are still exactly like that!  With the new Bill however, because all Franchise agreements will have to comply with the Bill, which will clearly give the Franchisee a lot more protection and they will also have some sort of recourse to the Franchisor.

An added protection is if the Franchisor is registered with the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA).  As a member of FASA the Franchisor would be obliged to meet the Franchising standards as set out by the Association.  FASA makes sure that everyone follows and is compliant in terms of the internationally accepted Franchise principals.

Quite frankly if for no other reason, I would ensure that the Franchise business that I was intending to purchase, is registered with FASA – that in itself would give me a lot more peace of mind.

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