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Nikki’s Tip of the Week – week-ending 12th August 2017 & upcoming events.

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I’ve just been approached to be one of the speakers at an event that highlights the ‘before, during and after’ one of your clients is put on the Business Rescue plan. Listening to some of the grizzly details of how many of the creditors or suppliers of the businesses under Business Rescue got to be in that position and how they in turn ended up losing their own businesses made me very sad.

The reality of course, is that it’s not always about being ‘compliant’ (although that does help) but it is also about running your business in a ‘best practice’ kind of way. It’s about being aware of the ‘measures’ that you have put into place, your own procedures that will highlight a problem that needs to be dealt with and then dealing with that problem before it becomes an issue. It’s about having contracts in place that are fair to both parties (and obviously compliant in terms of the law) and about having your finger on the pulse of your business. Sadly many business owners and leaders do not.

Time to check the numbers folks, make sure that your debtors book is not out of control and that you are collecting your money timeously. This is one time that you do really want to be proactive.

Anyway . . . on a lighter note, but still being proactive.

So this is what my friend Peter Carruthers said about to the response to his first webinar on the subject of PoPI (Protection of Public Information Act) that recently took place. Please see below (my weekly tip) for the link if you were not able to attend the last webinar.

“Last night I was stunned at the number of questions asked at my Free POPI/ Protection of Personal Information Webinar. Great questions. The event lasted for two hours.

But it was when we began to look at the costs of compliance that the brown stuff hit the fan. All the expensive training on offer tells you what to do, but not how to do it.

So, next week, Tuesday night, 22 August, 8 PM, I’m going to present the webinar again. I will build into the core material the answers to the questions I was asked. (250 people ask many questions.)

This POPI issue is a little like my uncle Stanley. We know he’s there, but we are all a little afraid of him, so we don’t want to go too close.

The bottom line is 670,000 businesses in South Africa have to comply with this new legislation. It doesn’t matter whether we think it’s bogus. The option is simple: Comply or Consequences.

Compliance will cost money. It’s going to cost time. Lots of time. And it’s going to cost effort, learning what needs to be done, and doing it.

Consequences will be a whole lot more expensive if we choose to ignore this.

In this free webinar I’m trying to offer a fast track that we small business owners can use.

I was told last night that this free webinar offers as much useful content as seminars costing R3000 upwards and taking up an entire morning or afternoon”

Here’s the deal . . .

Please feel free to engage with me, or not. Please feel free to send me your own snippets of information, early warnings, appropriate funnies and what have you, to share with other like-minded individuals, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

I hope and trust that you will enjoy the journey with me.

This weeks’ Blog:

BUSINESS TIPS – Managing Your Business – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

So far we have dealt with Finance and Margins. Today we have a look at your Customer’s requirements.

In my experience, one of the biggest challenges for SMME’s (Small, Medium, Micro Enterprises) is retaining clients. Now I am really not sure why this should be since the fact of the matter is that it is easier to sell to existing clients than it is to procure new ones. So what’s the deal? Perhaps it is because we don’t really know who and what a customer is!

The Wiki says that “A customer (also known as a client, buyer, or purchaser) is usually used to refer to a current or potential buyer or user of the products of an individual or organization, called the supplier, seller, or vendor. This is typically through purchasing or renting goods or services.”

So how do we retain our customers? How do we ensure that we not only find new customers, but that we continue to sell our services and our products to current customers or even customers who we have not sold anything to in years?

Well there seems to be a whole host of different options and tips – some of these are (but not limited to):

– The personal touch. Here’s an example of both good and bad. I have been a client of Nedbank in my personal capacity for in excess of 30 years now, and in my business capacity for almost 15 years – quite frankly I bank with them through absolute habit, it certainly is not because of the service that they have given me over the years, but rather the perceived hassle of changing banks, debit orders etc. that keeps me with them. I have no idea who my ‘personal banker’ is, or if indeed I have one. I have been dealing with the Cresta branch for the last 20 odd years and sadly the only person who knows my name, when I walk in, is the security guard. In my opinion, the security guard should be doing their PR, he greets most people by name, always with a smile and a sunny disposition and the good that that does is soon smashed to pieces by the ineffectual, anal retentive service received by the branch staff. So make sure that you give your clients your absolute attention and use your personal touch as part of
your branding and marketing.

– Assumption – I always say that perception and assumption are the two most dangerous words on the planet – and certainly what I am going to say now will bear that out. Just because your customers are not complaining, don’t assume that everything is peachy! Your perception of ‘everyone is happy because no-one is complaining’ is probably so far off the mark that it is scary. Many people don’t complain, they just vote with their feet or their wallets. Ask them if they are happy and if they aren’t do something about it!

– Expectations – all customers expect to receive good service and that is a reasonable expectation. Not only meeting that expectation, but exceeding it will bring them great delight and will go a long way to ensure that they become loyal customers. Remember though, do it once and the customer will expect even more the next time around, so don’t stop trying to do better.

– Customization – “One man’s food is another man’s poison!” Just because one client is crazy about your product or your service, doesn’t mean that everyone will be. Be prepared to ‘customize’ your product or service to meet the requirement of the client. In fact, make sure that what you are selling (service or product) is what the client wants, rather than what you think that the client may need.

Next time we will have a look at managing your working capital.

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

Look what happening in the world of Pete Carruthers.

A new law kicks in soon. It affects each of the 670 000 businesses in SA, including yours.

Most small business owners know nothing about it yet. They may have heard about the R10million fines and the 10 years in jail, but that’s about all most people know about PoPI.

Find out what you must do to survive the Protection of Personal Information Act, coming soon to your business.

Free online webinars, in association with Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting at 8pm on Tuesday 15th April or 22nd April. Click here to attend

It’s FREE folks so you have nothing to lose and some knowledge and wisdom to gain.