How to Save on a Tight Budget

A strategy of saving whatever is left after spending is unlikely to succeed or get you out of the pay cheque to pay cheque scenario. You need to do the reverse of that in order to break the pattern.

Steps that can help you start saving from your currently stretched budget:

  • Pay yourself first: Put money away for saving as soon as you receive your salary. It is best if this happens automatically. If you are first going to repay debt, try to increase the repayment amount. If you are ready to start saving, put a debit order in place. And, if you are struggling to put money away at the moment, the best time to start is when you get an increase.
  • Understand where your money goes:  Keep a spending diary for a month. Split your debit orders into debt repayments, essential expenses and non-essentials like eating out, coffee or magazine subscriptions. You may be able to create room to save once you’ve taken a hard look at your non-essential expenses. You also need to be critical – clothes are essential, but perhaps not those designer heels and you don’t need to buy something just because it’s on sale.
  • Control your non-essential expenses: Most of us have a good idea of what our monthly essential expenses are, but we often don’t track our spending on non-essentials. Decide which of the non-essential are important to you and what you are willing to give up. For example, you can bring your own lunch to work, review your cell phone plan, use Wi-Fi calling or other social network calling options. Try cheaper alternatives for things you do often. For instance, if you eat out with your friends every weekend, you could replace some of these with an evening at someone’s house where everyone brings a dish or a course.
  • Reassess your debt: You will most likely find money to save when you start using debt effectively. Try to stick to good debt (e.g. house, studies) and use cash for other expenses instead of using credit or store cards. You pay high interest on short-term debt, so make it a priority to reduce it. Once that is done, save the money that used to go to debt repayment.
  • Create a realistic budget: While you need to make allowance for savings, you also need to budget for things that give you joy. Otherwise you run the risk of spending money on such things without actually budgeting for them. At least if you budget for them, you can make adjustments to your other monthly expenses upfront. It is easy to spend a lot of money on little things which you may not even be able to recall at the end of the month. Rather use your money to save for a real treat. Always make a list before you go shopping – this will help you stick to items that are in your budget and not get distracted.
  • Save toward a goal that means something to you: Whether it is the deposit on a house, your children’s education, a comfortable retirement or a dream holiday, it is much easier to save if the savings goal is real and important to you, rather than to vaguely saving because “everyone needs to save”.
By Danelle van Heerde, Head of Advice Processes and Tools at Sanlam
24 January 2017
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Legal ways to pay less tax and grow wealth

Accounting.In the National Budget address at the end of February, the Finance Minister is expected to announce tax increases. Fortunately, there are many ways to grow wealth in a tax efficient way. Speak to your financial adviser about ways to maximise your tax benefits while still meeting your investment needs.

Retirement fund: A retirement annuity or company retirement fund remains one of the most tax-efficient ways to save for retirement. Both your contributions and growth within the fund are tax-free. Depending on your marginal tax rate, over a twenty-year period the tax benefit could double the amount you have available at retirement. You can contribute up to 27,5% of the greater of taxable income or remuneration capped at R350 000 per annum.

  • An individual paying 18% tax on his taxable income of R180 000 per annum will save R8 910 should he contribute the maximum amount of 27,5% of his taxable income, which is R49 500.
  • An individual paying 36% tax on his taxable income of R500 000 per annum will save R49 500 should he contribute the maximum amount of 27,5% of his taxable income, which is R137 500.
  • An individual paying 41% tax on his taxable income of R1 million per annum will save R112 750 should he contribute the maximum amount of 27,5% of his taxable income, which is R275 000.

Tax-Free Saving Account (TFSA): You can invest up to R30 000 in a TFSA each year and pay no tax on any interest or dividend income, as well as no capital gains tax within the fund. Over a period of 20 years this tax saving could boost your final return by as much as a third. Currently there is a lifetime cap of R500 000, however, that is expected to be revised in line with inflation.

If a 25-year-old invested R30 000 each year into an interest-bearing bank account, by the age of 65 they would have just over R1,5 million after tax. In comparison, a tax-free savings account with the same interest rate would be worth R2,7 million, as no tax is payable.

Endowment: For higher-income earners with a marginal tax rate above 30%, endowment policies can be a very tax-efficient investment, not only because tax is paid within the fund and not in your personal capacity, but because they don’t attract executors fees should the policy have a nominated beneficiary. Tax is paid by the fund at a rate of 30% on interest income and 12% on capital gains. The proceeds are therefore tax-free upon surrender in the hands of the policyholder and when a death benefit is paid to a beneficiary. Keep in mind, however, that should the policy be ceded to a new owner, it becomes a second-hand policy and will attract capital gains tax upon disposal by the new owner.

Estate duty abatement: When it comes to estate planning, ensure you use your estate duty abatement effectively. The first R3,5 million of your estate doesn’t attract estate duty and can be left to your children or other heirs. Currently, you’re able to leave your entire estate to your spouse thereby not attracting estate duty. Should you do this, the R3,5 million abatement would roll over to your surviving spouse who would, on their death, now have R7 million abatement.

Donations: You’re able to donate up to R100 000 a year without attracting donations tax. This can be a tax effective way to transfer wealth to the next generation.

Charitable donations: You can also get a tax-break by helping those less fortunate. You can donate up to 10% of your taxable income each year and receive a tax deduction. However, this only applies to donations to approved and registered public benefit organisations.

Article written by:  Faeeza Khan, Legal Marketing Specialist at Liberty

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Time Management Rules of a Millionaire

time-management-rules-of-a-millionaire-e1477974899438

What if we said there was a single habit that led to success?

Yes, one.

Seriously, though. Just one.

It’s time management. It’s the ultimate skill that everyone needs — regardless of your industry or position. And the single most skill that most of us fall behind on. As entrepreneurs, we often collide with the misconception that owning a business allows us the freedom to do as we please. While this may be true in some cases, it also places full responsibility on yourself.

To be successful in business, you need to manage your time with a laser-focused attitude. It also requires for you to be strategic in your systems. Today, our ActionCOACH shares time management rules of a millionaire. We hope you’re able to practice it in your daily life and drive your endeavors on forward to success!

Install a gate…keeper.

Incoming phone calls and burn through chunks of your day. Have someone screen your calls or take advantage of an operating system. When the caller interacts with this, they mentally have to justify why they’re calling you. Take it a step further and provide the option of scheduling a meeting or leaving a message. This cuts times to “chat” and focuses your conversations on action.

You’ve got mail.

How many of us are guilty of checking our emails all day? Five minutes here, seven minutes there really adds up. Brad Sugars recommends checking your inbox at the start of the day and at the end of your day so you can focus on vital matters.

Make a list and check it twice.

One of the most notable time management rules of a millionaire is discipline. Delegate as needed and you’ll notice your schedule beginning to clear. Block off specific parts of the day (or the week) for dedicated focus on projects. Our ActionCOACH team recommends starting your day with a to-do list and breaking it down into 3-5 action items. It keeps you on track and allows you to measure success. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy checking off those boxes?

Protect it like it’s food.

Meetings are tricky to schedule and one of the hardest things to predict. Try to keep them to a “necessary” and opt for alternative forms of communication. Better yet, establish check-in points where you share the progress of a project. Not only does it hold you accountable, but keeps your partner in the loop. Organizing your meetings more efficiently frees up your time and saves you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Our conclusion.

Time management is easy to practice — and to break. But by breaking it down into prioritization, delegation, and focus, your schedule will begin to clear and you’ll be able to take on projects or partners.

Brad Sugars  Brad Sugars is the world’s leading Business Coach and leads the world’s number one business coaching firm, with more than 1,000 offices in 65 countries. Every day, the coaches at ActionCOACH help tens of thousands of business owners grow their companies with hundreds of simple yet powerful business development techniques and strategies.
PIeter du PlessisPieter du Plessis is a South African Franchisee of the global business coaching company – ActionCOACH.  He is a Chartered Accountant and an accredited Business Coach assisting business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. To find out more about Business Coaching or to receive a complimentary coaching session,call 012-0040379, email PieterduPlessis@ActionCOACH.com or visitwww.pieterduplessis.co.za

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Reap the rewards when client expectations are exceeded

Image_Business_Success_Relies on moeCome to think of it, it all seems simple enough – clients will consider our product or service if we help them solve a problem or address a need they have.

But is this all there is to attracting clients to our business? The qualified answer is “no”.

Potential clients have unspoken expectations from a prospective business.

These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • If we are requested to quote for business, we actually need to pitch up at the agreed upon time to do the quote. This might be said tongue in cheek, but there is a tendency among businesses to not be diligent in this respect.
  • Communication should be open – especially when things are not going according to plan.
  • Use plain and simple language to ensure that clients understand contractual terms and considerations.
  • Clients expect honesty – if we cannot do the job, be up front about it and rather walk away from a deal than tarnish our reputation.
  • Clients mostly expect good value for their money and not necessarily the cheapest price.
  • Refrain from loading prices merely because a client might be living in or coming from an upmarket neighbourhood.
  • People want a good quality product and excellent service.
  • Product and service providers need to hit deadlines or negotiate postponements when needed.
  • Respect the property of a client if work is done on site – if something is broken, even by accident, clients will take us to task.
  • After sales service is of the utmost importance – we need to implement our product or service to meet and exceed client expectations.

Here are some of the benefits we will reap if we meet and exceed client expectations:

  • Positive word of mouth – prospective clients will start to contact us
  • We will receive positive affirmations that can be used in our public relations endeavours, on our website and in brochures. Always remember to request clients to consent to the use of their testimonials.
  • It is easier to upsell or resell products and services to a satisfied client.
  • Clients might use us in their personal capacity and a positive experience in this context may spill over into their businesses, or to an employer needing a similar product or service.

Business is simple, but not easy. If we can get the basics right it will go a long way in enabling our success.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

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What to do in tough economic times

business-man-reading-newspaperRecently I asked the 15 finalists and winners of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Competition, sponsored by Sanlam and Business Partners (see www.eoy.co.za ), to tell me what they do to ensure that their businesses survive and thrive in the current difficult economic environment.

Their responses were varied, underlying the fact that no single “recipe” works for all businesses. Each business owner needs to carve out and implement the element mix which is optimal for his/her business. This article will focus on the elements which were generic across the feedback received.

  1. Let the trend be your friend
    Continuous and meticulous research is required to understand

    • how client needs in your target market change over time;
    • which technological advances will impact your business;
    • what your competition is doing.

    The interpreted findings can be used to update your product/service and value proposition.

  2. Focus on marketing
    It is prudent to keep marketing expense the same, or even to increase it, in challenging economic times. To decrease marketing expense is the conventional wisdom applied by most businesses that are looking at ways to decrease their expenditure. If you can continue at the same rate, then your business will stand out from the crowd, as your competitors will not be able to buy the same exposure with a smaller marketing budget. It is, however, important to review and choose the most optimal marketing mix for your business. Use every opportunity to market and promote the trademark of your business, products and services.
  3. Income and cost considerations
    Income can be increased if you diversify

    • Client exposure – not to be dependent on a couple of large clients
    • Market access – is it possible to move the boundaries of your geographical footprint regionally in SA or to vest an African, or even international, market expansion?
    • Distribution – have you already considered e-commerce or an online distribution capability for your business?

    Cost may be curtailed by

    • Optimising operations
    • Negotiating “deeper” discounts from suppliers – remember, they also need good paying clients
    • Considering a 4 day work week – thereby not laying staff off
    • Sharing premises/sub-letting
  4. Differentiate on service delivery
    Service delivery is not a hygiene factor in business. Meticulous efforts to continuously improve it, can serve as a business differentiator. Here are a couple of considerations:

    • Reward client loyalty
    • Run “specials” – not to engage in a price war with your competitors, but to keep your business top of mind for your target market
    • Comply with all legislation (e.g. Health and Safety Act, BEE) to make it easy and rewarding for clients to do business with you
    • Invest in “deep” client relationships; move beyond a transactional association
  5. Treat employees as real assets of your business
    People need to see proof that they are valued and respected. Here are a few considerations:

    • There is always room for personal growth – really vest a learning organisation
    • Pay them fairly – an example was cited where overtime was converted into paid leave
    • Recognise and reward them – profit sharing or even a paid holiday
    • Value their opinions – let your staff participate in decision-making
    • Support them on a personal level – an example is to help them materialise their dreams and aspirations and to provide mentorship support
    • Use flexi-time to enable work-life-balance
    • Provide them with a dignified office space and social facilities (e.g. cooked meals)

Much can be done to enable the success of your business, even in tough economic times.

Zig Ziglar (American author and motivational speaker) once stated: “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they`ll do business with you.” This might be a prudent building block for business success in South Africa.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

 

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

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Gee voordat jy verwag om te ontvang

In besigheid is die algemene siening dat daar nie iets soos ʼn “gratis middagete” is nie. Dit impliseer dat, indien ʼn verbruiker binne jou teikenmark iets gratis van ʼn besigheid ontvang, daar altyd ʼn verwagte teenprestasie is.

As dit die konvensionele wysheid is, is die vraag hoe ʼn besigheid waarde kan gee sonder dat die “hopelik” toekomstige kliënt dit as ʼn “omkoop”- aksie om iets aan hom/haar te verkoop, ervaar?

Hieronder volg ʼn paar voorbeelde van waardetoevoeging wat, indien dit nie met ʼn verkopeoproep opgevolg word nie, ʼn positiewe siening van jou besigheid by die verbruiker kan laat.

  • Illustreer jou kundigheid oor ʼn spesifieke oplossing deur aan te toon dat jy die teikenkliënt se behoefte/uitdaging verstaan. Skryf bondige artikels, en/of neem aan radio-/TV-onderhoude deel waar jy as deskundige objektiewe advies oor die probleemstelling en die geskikte oplossing kan gee. Joernaliste en ander media-eienaars is deurlopend op soek na onderwerpe waarmee mense worstel, asook kundiges wat tot die onderwerpe kan spreek. Dink aan “groen” oplossings, die strewe om gesonder leefstyle te volg, gewigsverlies, om geld te spaar in uitdagende ekonomiese omstandighede, om ʼn eie besigheid te begin, om as ouer met tienerkinders te oorleef as voorbeelde.
  • Kliënte verstaan telkemale nie hulle werklike behoefte na behore nie en dan koop hulle dienste en produkte wat oënskynlik ʼn oplossing vir hulle behoefte/uitdaging sal bied. In plaas daarvan om net ʼn kwotasie op diensversoeke te lewer, waarom nie ʼn stap verder gaan om vas te stel wat die mees optimale oplossing sal wees om die kliënt se behoefte aan te spreek nie. Dit mag somtyds beteken dat jou besigheid nie die aangewese oplossing kan bied nie – doen dan ʼn verwysing.
  • Gee gratis monsters van jou produk aan voornemende kliënte. Hulle kan die produk gebruik en self die resultate ervaar, i.p.v. net op jou verkoopsinsette en bestaande kliënte se getuigskrifte te vertrou.
  • Raak betrokke by sake wat vir jou teikenmark belangrik is. Jou betrokkenheid moet egter opreg wees, anders behoort jy dit glad nie te oorweeg nie.
  • In baie gevalle het mense vrae en wil hulle graag net met ʼn kundige persoon klankbord. Ek dink aan die adviestoonbank by ʼn kwekery waar mense telefonies of in persoon kontak kan maak indien hulle advies oor watter chemiese middel hulle benodig om ʼn siek plant of struik te behandel, of watter struike in koelte floreer, benodig. Alle besighede is nie noodwendig vir dié soort oplossing geskik nie, maar dit bly ʼn oorweging. Dit is nog ʼn manier om jou kundigheid ten toon te stel.

Indien jy dit regkry om hierdie waardetoevoeging te vestig, kan dit die volgende voordele vir jou besigheid inhou:

  • Jou kundigheid boesem respek in by jou teikenmark. Dit skep vervolgens vertroue by jou teikenmark dat jy die regte persoon is om hulle behoefte/uitdagings op te los.
  • Jou geloofwaardigheid neem toe – mense glo jou advies en leiding.
  • Jy word deel van jou teikenmark se “oplossing” – hulle sien jou as ʼn “vennoot” in hulle lewe.
  • Dit skep ʼn perspektief van toeganklikheid by jou teikenmark.
  • Reg toegepas, skep dit ʼn positiewe verwysingsraamwerk (‘positive word of mouth’) vir jou besigheid.

Na alle waarskynlikheid was Winston Churchill reg toe hy op ʼn keer die volgende woorde gespreek het: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

Kies ʼn manier om jou unieke kundigheid GRATIS met jou teikenmark te deel – na alle waarskynlikheid sal jou besigheid die vrugte hiervan in verhoogde verkope pluk.

Om besigheidseienaars in die belangrike taak van besigheidsbeplanning te ondersteun, gee Sanlam jou gratis toegang tot die boek, Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, wat ʼn maklike en eenvoudige raamwerk bied vir die opstel van ʼn goed-gestruktureerde wedstrydplan, om die positiewe verandering en groei wat vir besigheidsukses nodig is, te skep.

Gaan na www.sanlamgameplan.co.za om jou gratis kopie af te laai.

 

Artikel geskryf deur Jannie Rossouw, Hoof: Sanlam Besigheidsmark

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Ten Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

These days business owners have many challenges to overcome to build a great successful business. Here are a number of mistakes often made that could lead to unnecessary additional obstacles that should rather be avoided.

Equal Partnerships
Creating an equal partnership seems fair in theory and typically works well for a while. However, sooner or later disagreements arise and the company is then in limbo because no partner has the final say. Eventually this will erode the company’s growth.  It is wiser to give a managing partner ultimate control and a majority ownership stake – even if it’s only 51%.  Alternatively, grant a small percentage to a third party advisor who will serve as the tie-breaker for the partners.

Elusive Product Perfection
Perfection is unattainable, but that doesn’t stop many entrepreneurs from spending a lot of money trying to achieve it.  Even if the company did finally make the perfect product, the market will change and eventually make the product obsolete.

Relying On One Big Customer
If you depend upon a single customer for more than 50 percent of your company’s revenues, your company may be headed for a meltdown. It may be easier to manage  one or two big customers, but if you lose a major customer, you run the high risk of business failure.

Creating Products in a Marketing Vacuum
Some companies put all their efforts into an idea, then develop a product or service – only to find there are no buyers for it. It is crucial to perform market research in advance to determine whether anyone will buy.

Low Price Strategy
Companies should charge the highest prices its markets will allow.  Too many entrepreneurs attempt to make up for low margins with high volume.

Insufficient Capitalisation
Being unrealistically optimistic can inflate sales projections, shorten product development timelines and minimize expected costs.  It is important to check and re-check the financial business assumptions underlying the proposed venture and only proceed when capitalisation can support the worst-case scenario.

Losing Focus
Small business owners often lose focus on the company’s core areas – product or service, markets and distribution channel.  Concentrating efforts in a limited area almost always produces better results than diversifying.

Inflating Expenditures
In a quest to live the high life, entrepreneurs sometimes let expenditure inflate more than revenue.  Spend the money necessary to achieve the company’s objectives, but nothing else until profits justify the expense.

Huge Return on Investment (ROI)
If the company cannot articulate the ROI that clients will earn from its products or services, how can it expect customers to understand its value proposition?  Do the analysis.  If the company can demonstrate a great ROI, sales will be inevitable.

Refusal to Admit a Mistake
The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is to ignore failure.  If success has not come to the venture, wipe the slate clean and reassess the investment.  Assume the original investment has been lost and decide from that perspective whether you can justify further investment.  If not, walk away.


PIeter du PlessisPieter du Plessis is a Franchisee of the global business coaching company – ActionCOACH.  He is a Chartered Accountant and an accredited Business Coach assisting business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. To find out more about Business Coaching or to receive a complimentary coaching session,call 012-0040379, email PieterduPlessis@ActionCOACH.com or visitwww.pieterduplessis.co.za

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