STAY INFORMED! Click here to visit the Covid-19 South African Online Portal

Nikki’s Tip of the Week – week-ending 5th August 2017 & upcoming events.

775 Views 0 Comment

Wow! What a jam packed week I’ve had. From some new networking opportunities to International opportunities being offered, to loads and loads of training – many of them freebies being offered. It’s like someone turned the dial up and the pipeline is flowing.

I know it’s not supposed to be spring yet, but the weather is much warmer and I was in shorts and a t-shirt again the other day – be warned though, I have it on good authority that we are still in winter and there are going to be some chilly days ahead. My response to that – “I’ll enjoy the sunny and warm days as I get them!”

My friend and colleague Pete Carruthers has some news for us as well as a training offer – please see what’s happening with the PoPI Act below, just after my blog – it’s important so when you do that, remember that it’s quite a serious Act and it has some big scary teeth.

Before we continue, I would like to make my second public appeal here. It’s not for me, but for the poor animals that are still suffering and in some cases losing their lives due to starvation, after the devastation of the Knysna fires. My heart broke when I watched this clip (and really it will pull on your heartstrings, so have your tissues ready).
the harsh reality of course is the loss of lives of the birds and the bees will greatly affect the ecosystem there and this then has a domino effect on the animals. Many of the residents there, despite their own devastating losses, have banded together to source and pay for food for these animals, but they cannot do it all themselves.

If you can help in any way, please contact Rozanne Fleet on her email address being I know she will be most grateful as will the animals in question.

I too, thank you with all of my heart. These animals are not responsible for what happened there and are as much victims as their human counterparts. Please, Please, Please help if you can.

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 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Last week we had a look at some of the issues around Finance and today we continue with Margins.

As usual, let’s have a look at exactly what a “margin” is. The Wiki says :
“Profit margin, net margin, net profit margin or net profit ratio all refer to a measure of profitability. It is calculated by finding the net profit as a percentage of the revenue.

The profit margin is mostly used for internal comparison. It is difficult to accurately compare the net profit ratio for different entities. Individual businesses’ operating and financing arrangements vary so much that different entities are bound to have different levels of expenditure, so that comparison of one with another can have little meaning. A low profit margin indicates a low margin of safety: higher risk that a decline in sales will erase profits and result in a net loss.

Profit margin is an indicator of a company’s pricing strategies and how well it controls costs. Differences in competitive strategy and product mix cause the profit margin to vary among different companies.”

The easiest way for me to remember it is that the margin is the difference (financially) between what everything cost (not only materials, but also time and expenses [for me as a service type business] and research, printing, paper, ink etc.) and what I charge. If your margins are too low, you will never make a profit and on the other hand if you set your margins too high, you run the risk of never making a sale – it’s a delicately balanced scenario!

Essentially there are two ways to increase your margins (profit margins) and those are either to cut costs or cut prices. In order to know which one to do it is obviously essential that you focus on your margins on a regular basis and also on what the current economic trends are as it is not always a good thing to cut prices, although it is always a good thing to cut costs, as long as that ‘cost’ does not interfere with the quality of your product or service.

Sometimes increasing the price of your services or your product has a powerful statement attached to it – it says “I’m worth it” or “the product is worth it”. I know that when I started out, I had nothing to compare my services to and the result is that I used my corporate ‘salary’ as a gauge to set my hourly rates – wow, was that ever a big mistake. I priced myself far too low and the result is that I attracted many clients, all of who desperately needed by expertise, but all of who could not afford me! Within 24 months I had doubled my hourly rate and I was attracting clients who not only needed me, but who could also afford me.

In this particular instance, me raising my charges had an incredibly powerful effect – it said ‘this is what I am worth’ and the psychological effect on me, as an individual, was incredible. Before, even though my prices were very low, I was chasing business by giving discounts, hoping to retain the very clients that could not afford my services in the first place – that was a very costly mistake – I wrote off a lot of money to bad debt.

Nowadays, if I am going to give a discount – it is because there is a huge value to me and it is based on a whole different set of criteria, such as (but not limited to) early or timeous payment, no of hours on retainer etc.

Cutting costs is definitely the best way to increase your margins and thereby increase your profits. This is not always an easy thing to do particularly in tough times, when you are looking at staff and salaries. You have to divorce yourself from the emotions and look at the cold hard facts. Can you do without this particular function being performed by a single person, in other words “Don’t make it about a person or personal”, but rather about what’s good for the Company. If you have two people doing work that can be done by one person, then it stands to reason that you only need to employ one person – don’t get sucked into the emotional side of things.

Keeping your costs to a minimum and your clients to a maximum is therefore the best way to ensure that your margin remains on track and is the best way to meet and even surpass your budget requirements.

Next time we will have a look at your customers.

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