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Financial Tips for Businesses #1

Personal versus Business Expenses

When having a business it is important to have a separate business bank account. Pay your business expenses from your business bank account and your personal expenses from your personal bank account. It may sound obvious but many business owners get it wrong. If you don’t keep your personal and business finances separate:

  • You run the risk of your financial results not being a true and accurate reflection of your business.
  • The accounting function can become a nightmare.
  • SARS might penalize you for incorrectly deducting personal expenses for tax purposes.
  • Your profit margins and other ratios will not be accurate and provide you with a false picture of your business.
  • It might become a habit relying on your business to cover personal over-expenditure.

Analyse Combined Financial Results

Business owners wanting to make meaningful decisions, should analyse their combined financial status. Don’t analyse your income statement or balance sheet in isolation. To make optimal and powerful decisions based on your financial results, analyse all of these in relation to each other and as a combined picture: income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, statement of equity, budget and financial ratios.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Business owners should always calculate and know the Return on Investment (ROI) they make in their business. ROI is a solid performance measurement ratio assisting the business owner to understand how profitable the investment in the business is or how efficient any other investments are. ROI basically calculates the profit or loss generated on an investment in relation to the amount of money invested. The formula to calculate ROI = Net profit of the investment (total return less costs) divided by the total investment x 100. ROI is measured and expressed as a percentage and therefore it is easily comparable to other investments. The ratio will assist you to make the best decision if comparing different investments. It also assist you determining whether your current investment in your business is profitable.

Direct and Indirect Expenses

Certain products / businesses seem profitable but when the indirect costs are added to the costing model, the profit margin can become a lot smaller or the product / business might even make a loss. For example when selling hamburgers: the direct costs will be purchasing bread rolls, patties, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and cheese. But don’t forget to add the smaller indirect costs like sauces, packaging, printing price lists etc. Other costs like rent, salaries, water and electricity, marketing etc. should also be factored into account. Always consider all costs when making financial decisions; when determining prices; when doing cost projections and when calculating profitability.

Budget for Income and Expenses

When preparing a budget, it is critical to budget for both income and expenses. When budgeting for expenses only, you will not know whether you are projecting a profit or a loss. You will also not know if you are exceeding your budgeted income and should be cutting costs.

Master Finances: Health Terms

Since October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, we will be focussing on mastering financial terms relating to healthcare in this article.

Income Protection

What is Income Protection and why is it beneficial? Income Protection (also referred to as ‘salary protection’) is an insurance policy that covers policyholders who are unable to earn an income due to serious illness, accidents or unemployment depending on the nature of the policy. The policy pays out a monthly tax-free ‘salary’ during a period that the policyholder is not earning an income to help cover living expenses. This type of policy is very useful for people who are self-employed and don’t have paid sick leave or people losing their jobs. Make sure to understand the policy’s conditions and exclusions.

Dread Disease Cover

Dread disease cover (also referred to as severe illness or critical illness cover) is an insurance policy that covers the policyholder in the event of being diagnosed with a specific severe illness by paying out a lump sum. The illnesses that are covered are predetermined and are listed in the insurance policy. Cancer, heart attacks and strokes are typically classified as serious illnesses. Ensure that you do understand your policy in terms of any pre-existing medical conditions; the list of illnesses that are covered and to what extent as well as the exclusions.

Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB)

The Medical Schemes Act refers to ‘Prescribed Minimum Benefits’ or PMB. PMB is a set of defined benefits to ensure that all medical scheme members have access to certain minimum health services, regardless of the benefit option they have selected. The aim is to provide people with continuous care to improve their health and well-being and to make healthcare more affordable. Medical schemes have to cover the costs related to the diagnosis, treatment and care of:

  • any emergency medical condition;
  • a limited set of 270 medical conditions (defined in the Diagnosis Treatment Pairs);
  • and 25 chronic conditions (defined in the Chronic Disease List).

Health Insurance

Health insurance (also referred to as medical insurance) is an insurance policy that pays for medical expenses incurred by the policy holder due to illness or injury. Health insurance can pay out directly to the policyholder. Health insurance policies are issued by insurers and are governed by the Long-term Insurance Act while medical aids are governed by the Council for Medical Schemes. The policy will pay out the stated amount and can assist to cover shortfalls not covered by the medical aid. Health insurance is more affordable than medical aids but provides more limited cover. It is a good idea to have health insurance in combination with a medical aid. Contributions (premiums) paid to health insurance policies are not deductible for tax purposes.

Gap Cover

Gap cover (also known as Medical Top-Up insurance) is an insurance product that covers any shortfalls between what service providers charge for a hospital procedure or emergency surgery and what the medical aid pays from your medical scheme hospital benefit. However don’t assume that you will be covered 100% when you have gap cover in addition to your medical aid. There are certain exclusions, read the fine print of the contract.

Your Tonic for Healthy Finances

Many people strive to be healthy. Health refers to more than only having a healthy body. Optimum health includes a healthy body; a healthy mind and healthy finances. There is a direct and indirect relationship between a healthy body and financial wellbeing. Financial difficulty can result in increased stress levels; lack of sleep; reduced energy levels; eating disorders; and alcohol abuse to name a few, which could in turn impact on physical health. A lack of financial resources can also have a direct impact on being able to afford proper health care. The other side of the coin is also true – poor health or illness can ruin your financial wealth.

You often need a tonic to boost your physical health. You also need a tonic to boost your financial health. The following points will definitely act as a tonic to healthier finances:

Monitor your expenses by using a budget

Refrain from over-spending. Compile a budget and keep to it. Divide your budget into the following categories: income; savings (i.e. investments, saving for a holiday, etc.); “cannot live without expenses” (i.e. groceries, water and electricity, medical aid, etc.); “nice to have expenses” (i.e. hairdresser, DSTV, entertainment, etc.) and emergency expenses (i.e. medical expenses which are not covered by the medical aid, etc.).

 

Make saving a priority

South Africa is one of the countries with the poorest saving habits. Saving should be a priority; not something that happen on an ad-hoc basis. Save at least 10% of your monthly income after deducting tax, pension fund contributions and medical aid contributions. If you do not have any debt to repay, increase your savings to at least 30% of your monthly income.

Avoid debt at all cost

Debt is easily available which explains why more than 11 million of South Africans are over-indebted. Stay debt free as far as possible. If you cannot buy it cash, do not buy it. Whenever you have additional cash, use it to repay your debt.

An emergency fund is a necessity

Build up an emergency fund that you can use for unforeseen big expenses. Having funds available to use during an emergency gives you peace of mind especially in a medical emergency. Use the funds for real emergencies and don’t be tempted to use the money for an overseas trip or the latest fashion trends.

Take care of your health

Good medical care is expensive. Don’t underestimate the importance of having proper medical aid cover in place. It doesn’t matter how healthy, fit or strong you believe you are, it can change in a split second. If you fall ill, you want the best medical care possible. You might get away with only having a hospital plan, provided you have an emergency fund in place to cover unforeseen medical expenses.

Protect yourself and your loved ones

Hopefully you will never need it, but rather be safe than sorry. The amount of your life cover depends largely on your dependents and your level of debt. Disability cover and dread disease cover become critically important in the event of an accident or you do fall ill.

Retirement planning is crucial

Less than 6% of South Africans will be able to retire comfortably without having to drastically change their lifestyle. The younger you start planning and saving for your retirement the better. Review your retirement savings on an annual basis and adjust your contributions accordingly. Remember you also receive a tax saving for retirement contributions.

Don’t leave chaos behind when you die

Ensure that you have a will and that you keep it up to date. It is especially important to update your will when big life events happen like getting married, having children or getting divorced. Unfortunately death is a reality for all of us and you don’t want to leave chaos to your loved ones when you die.

Become financially independent

Too many women are still dependent on their partners to financially provide for them and their families. High divorce rates, crime rates, men dying young due to critical illnesses and retrenchments are a few factors that can force a woman to become the breadwinner and having to provide for herself and the family. Set a goal to become financially independent and actively strive to achieve it. You will never regret this decision.

Equip yourself with financial knowledge

Financial literacy will enable you to make good financial decisions without having to rely on partners, financial planners or employers. Read books, attend seminars, do online courses or get yourself a financial coach. You are the only person who will always have your best interest at heart.

You are the architect of your future. You can continue to be stressed about your financial situation or you can actively do something to change it. You need to exercise, eat a healthy balanced diet and get sufficient sleep to improve your physical health. Similarly you need a financial plan, discipline and knowledge to improve your financial wellbeing. Don’t neglect to drink your tonic to boost your financial health.

Unedited version of the article published in SA Womens Health, August 2017

Written by Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Coach

Contact Ronel: ronel@physeqfit.co.za

For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit my website: www.financiallyfitlife.co.za/financial-wellness

5 Basic Principles to Healthier Finances

Often coaches and captains of sport teams who have lost will make a standard comment during the post-match interview: “We need to go back to the basics”. This comment holds true and is equally true in our daily lives and when taking care of our financial wellbeing. We often tend to underestimate the importance of applying the basics correctly. When you have a rock solid foundation, you can build any structure on top of it and it will remain solid. Therefore we are going back to the basics of good financial management:

   1. Set financial goals and have a plan

If you don’t have financial goals in life, the likelihood of you becoming wealthy and financially independent is fairly slim. Financial goals can include a variety of things and it will differ from person to person. Financial goals can include: to retire comfortably; to be able to live the lifestyle you dream of; to afford that overseas holiday; to send your children to university; to repay your bond; to start your own business; to buy a new home theatre system or those snazzy high-heels and to be able to provide for your family. Whatever your goals might be, write it down and then compile a plan to get you to achieve your goals; otherwise it will forever remain a dream and you will never realize it. When you have a goal and a plan and you are actively working towards it, you will achieve it. You can achieve anything you set your mind to if you believe it and work hard for it. But you need to take Action!

2. Discipline

Having strict discipline when it comes to your money will hugely benefit building your wealth. Discipline plays a vital role in multiple financial decisions. These are a few easy techniques that can help you to apply good financial discipline:

  • Don’t spend more than what you earn. Prepare yourself a budget and keep to it. If you cannot afford a certain expense refrain from buying it. A budget is an effective tool to help you monitor your expenses and help you not to over spend.
  • Saving money should become a lifestyle. Set-up automatic debit orders to deduct your savings each month when you receive your salary and transfer it to an investment account. By transferring the money out of your operational account, you won’t be tempted to spend the money. Sooner than later your pocket won’t even feel that you put money away.
  • Develop a mind-set of ‘cash is king’. If you cannot buy it cash, don’t buy it. It is not always possible to buy houses and cars cash, but avoid using debt to pay for luxury items like bigger TV’s, holidays and clothes. Teach yourself the discipline to wait until you have saved up sufficient money to buy it cash.

3. Time equals more money

The younger you are when you start taking your financial future seriously, the more you will gain from it. Very few people make mega bucks overnight. Most people build up a solid wealth portfolio over a period of time. This is where the principle of ‘time value of money’ comes into play. Over time your money will start working for you. You will start earning interest on interest. You will earn maximum return on your investment in unit trusts, shares, off-shore investments or properties when you wait until the specific markets are performing at a high before you cash it in. Time also plays a crucial role when it comes to retirement planning. Don’t delay putting away money for retirement because you believe you are still young and very far from retirement age. You have limited time to save sufficient money to retire comfortably one day. Make proper use of the time you have left by starting today.

4. Start small

Often when I coach people, they will say “I don’t have lots of money”. That is not an excuse. You don’t need thousands to start saving or to put away for retirement or to pay additionally on your debt. Start small but at least make an effort to start. Every little bit helps. I can guarantee you if you track and analyse your expenses on a regular basis, you will most likely find an expense that you can live without. Use that money to start working towards your goal; no matter how small it is. If you read the life stories of the very wealthy people, you will know that very few of them started off with lots of money. The majority of wealthy people started off small, but they had a goal and a plan and they worked hard to achieve it.

5. Plan for the unexpected

Those unexpected emergencies are often the root-cause for derailing your financial position. When you think this month I am going to have extra money; an unexpected emergency appears from nowhere and there your extra money disappears again. It is crucial to build up an emergency fund as soon as possible. Put away money that you can utilize when those unexpected emergencies creep up again. Those unexpected emergencies can include for example: your car breaks down and the motor plan doesn’t cover the costs; you suddenly get sick and the medical aid doesn’t pay for it; your geyser bursts; your laptop crashes or your child needs money for a school tour. It is important that you have access to money that you can use for these emergencies rather than using debt to fund it.

Go back to applying these basic principles and your financial situation will definitely benefit from it. If you build a solid financial foundation; it will become a lot easier to create financial independence and a wealth portfolio on top of it.

 

This is the unedited version of the article that was published in Shine Magazine, April 2017.

Written by Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Coach

Contact Ronel: ronel@physeqfit.co.za

For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit my website: www.physeqfit.co.za/financial-wellness

 

Be Healthy, Happy and Wealthy

We all want to be the best person we can be. We want to be healthy and happy. Health plays an integral part in striving to be the best we can be, but being healthy doesn’t refer to a healthy body only. For you to be the best you, it is important to take care of your overall wellbeing.

According to Wikipedia the definition of wellness is: ‘a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of wellbeing. Wellness is much more than meeting the basic needs of food, a place to live and the absence of illness. It is a dynamic process of change and personal growth; an active process of becoming aware of the importance of wellbeing. Wellness is not a one-dimensional concept but consist of the following dimensions that all require similar focus and attention:

  • Physical Wellness: maintaining a healthy body.
  • Emotional Wellness: understanding and acknowledging your feelings and emotions, as well as coping effectively with life challenges such as stress, anger, fear, etc. For purposes of this article, emotional wellness also includes: spiritual wellness (set of values and beliefs that give meaning and purpose to your life in the form of religion, yoga or meditation), social wellness (positive relationships with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances), intellectual wellness (developing an open mind when encountering new ideas and life-long learning), occupational wellness (personal fulfillment through your job and career) and environmental wellness (respecting the environment that you live in and making a positive contribution towards conserving the environment).
  • Financial Wellness: managing your financial status in an effective way to create wealth and become financially independent.

Taking care of your wellness and becoming the best you, starts with a choice. Choose to live a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle and take action to actively live it. We all know to maintain a healthy body we need to exercise regularly; eat a healthy balanced diet; go for regular medical check-ups and get sufficient sleep. But what action steps can we implement to enhance our financial and emotional wellness?

Although the saying “money cannot buy you happiness” is true, we cannot ignore the role money plays in society and our daily lives. We need money to pay for our daily living costs like food, accommodation, electricity, transport and school fees. Financial independence has become a necessity especially in these days where retrenchment is a cruel reality that can happen to anybody no matter who you are or what your qualifications are. Also do not rely on your partner to take care of your financial needs, especially when you take into account the high divorce rates and people dying at a young age due to life threatening diseases.

Important action steps to improve your financial wellness:

  • Keep a budget to effectively control and monitor your expenses. Divide your budget into the following categories: income; savings (i.e. investments, saving for a holiday etc.); ‘cannot live without expenses’ (i.e. bond instalments, water and electricity, groceries etc.); ‘nice to have expenses’ (i.e. hairdresser, DSTV, entertainment etc.) and emergency expenses (i.e. maintenance on your car which is not covered by the motor plan, medical expenses which are not covered by the medical aid etc.).
  • Save, save, save! The general rule of thumb is that you need to save at least 10% of your monthly income after deducting tax, pension fund contributions and medical aid contributions. If you do not have any debt to repay, increase your savings to at least 30% of your monthly income.
  • Become debt free and stay debt free as far as possible. If you cannot buy it cash, do not buy it. Always repay your more expensive debt like car instalments, credit cards, personal loans and clothing accounts first.
  • Whenever you have additional cash, use it to repay your bond.
  • Build up an emergency fund that you can use for unforeseen big expenses. Use it only for emergencies and don’t be tempted to use the money for that big-screen TV or that trip to the Greek Islands.
  • Retirement planning is crucial. The younger you start planning and saving for your retirement the better.
  • Ensure that you have a will and that you keep it up to date. Unfortunately death is a reality for all of us and you don’t want to leave chaos to your loved ones when you die.

Furthermore, don’t neglect your emotional wellness. Your state of mind has a direct impact on your health, your energy levels, your appetite, your relationships, your productivity and what you achieve in life. Your partner, children, boss, job or hobbies cannot make you happy. Happiness comes from within yourself. To become the best person you can be, you need to be positive and believe in yourself and your abilities. A few important action steps to enhance your emotional wellness:

  • Surround yourself with positive people who will support and uplift you.
  • Schedule time in your diary to do things that you enjoy.
  • Spend time with your loved ones. Tomorrow might be too late.
  • Continuously look for opportunities where you can expand your knowledge.
  • Give and you shall receive. Learn to give without expecting anything in return. That feeling when you know you made a difference in somebody’s life is priceless.
  • Spend a few minutes every day writing down all the things you are grateful for. It will teach you to appreciate the smaller things in life.
  • Create a vision board of your life goals and put it up where you can see it every day. Believe that you will achieve all of that and much more. Have a plan and take action to achieve your goals in life.
  • Pray more, laugh more and love more.

In conclusion: your wellbeing is your most valuable asset and only you can take care of it. Choose to live a healthy, happy and wealthy lifestyle and take action to achieve it. Become the best you, you can be. You deserve it and owe it to yourself!

By Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Wellness Coach

ronel@physeqfit.co.za

This article is the unedited version of the article that was published in the GetIt Pretoria Magazine in March 2017.

Warrior girl Carina Marx: Life Lessons Learned

There are three words to describe Carina Marx: pretty, modest and pleasant. But throw some obstacles, mud and challenges at this pretty girl and she instantly transforms into a real Warrior girl. Carina has been consistently ranked as one of South Africa’s top performing Obstacle Course Race (OCR) athletes since she started competing in the sport. Carina shared the life lessons she has learned through OCR with PhysEQFiT:

     By Carina Marx

     OCR Elite Athlete

OCR, Obstacle Course Racing, has been a booming sport in the USA and Europe for the last decade. In fact more competitors crossed the OCR finish line last year in the USA than marathon and half marathon competitors combined! We are going on to the 4th year of OCR’s in South Africa and its growing in its popularity by the day drawing thousands of competitors at each event and series of events such as The Warrior, The Impi Challenge, The Grind, The Beast and Battle Rush races. OCR mainly consists of trail running and obstacles. The obstacles themselves can consist of climbing nets, crawling through mud, jumping into water from high platforms, tyre flipping and intricate rope climbs to name but a few. They are based on what the navy seals use to train on.

 Before you say, “Oh no! I would never be able to do that! “, I would like to invite you to come and experience the fun and camaraderie at one of the events. It is not only a physical challenge for yourself, but it will also challenge you mentally. It will return the self-belief and confidence you lost along the way in the relatively mundane existence we follow daily. You are guaranteed to walk away with a new spark for life after an OCR race. I guess that is what made me so addicted to this sport.

 There were a few life lessons I have learned through OCR. The first was a reminder to live again. My first event was that of Rookie race (Rookie race, is a category in the Jeep Warrior race with the shortest distance) with some of my work colleagues. I ended up smiling from ear to ear with a certain sense of achievement. This was a good way to start and I got hooked. For once I felt alive again!

 Another major life lesson was to believe in myself. I struggled with a very low self-esteem and hardly had any confidence in myself throughout life. OCR changed that for me. These days I can overcome obstacles that I could only dream of. It became visible in my daily life and I came to realize that very little is impossible.

 

OCR has taught me what a healthy and sustainable lifestyle can be. You cannot afford to starve yourself when you train for this type of sport. I still managed to lose 10 kilograms in 18 months, albeit in a healthy way. All the running in my training is a big contribution to weight loss, but I changed my way of eating too. My sports nutritionist, Karlien Duvenhage, is the best. She taught me how to enjoy a balanced diet and still having energy for my 2 to 3 training sessions a day and to lose weight gradually. Lesson learnt: Stop beating yourself up for cheating now and then. It is okay, but don’t overdo it! That is the key!

 After being involved in Obstacle Racing for 3 years, I have learnt to always strive going forward. The only time you look back is to remind yourself how far you have come. Once again it is a great metaphor to describe how I live my life. I believe in growing and moving in a positive direction. Use the failures as learning curves, so you don’t repeat your mistakes.

 

The last, but most important life lesson I have learnt from OCR was that I had to face my weaknesses and accept myself for who I am. That was probably the hardest thing to do. But since I started facing it I decided to make the best of what God has given me. I had no excuses. I had all my limbs and great health, what was there to stop me? Absolutely nothing! Initially I was too heavy and far from being a runner, but I had a dream to compete alongside the top Black ops Elite ladies (Black ops Elite, is the category for experienced athletes who have to complete all the obstacles unassisted over the longest distance) and today I am living that dream!

Often you are your own biggest obstacle, because ultimately you make your own choices in life. So be careful and make wise decisions. You might be missing out on life and a lot of the pleasures it has to offer. Live with no regrets!

Give and You Shall Receive

By Ronel Jooste

I was invited to the birthday party of Nicky Coleman, founder of The Gift of Joy (www.tgoj.org), a non-profit organisation. It was a birthday party with a difference though – Nicky decided to donate her birthday party to a group of eight kids living in the township Alexandra. I immediately accepted the invite and started looking for kind-hearted people to donate some cupcakes for the party.

Nicky and I embarked on our township journey armed with cupcakes, sweets, balloons, banners, party packs and gifts for 8 kids known as Thandi’s kids. Thandi takes care of these 8 kids; all of them between the ages of 8 and 18 years. These kids are from Thandi’s extended family and have lost both their parents. They live in a small house with one bedroom, a lounge area and a kitchen. There are only three beds which some of the children share while the others sleep on the floor in the lounge. There aren’t any toilet or bathroom facilities in the house, exacerbating living conditions in the already congested house. However the house is spotlessly clean considering 9 people are living in it.

The first thing I noticed was how peaceful the neighbourhood is. You don’t feel scared or threatened – everybody is friendly, greeting you and treating you with respect. The second thing I noticed was how late these kids came back from school. It was already after 3pm when they arrived back from school and that speaks of their commitment to their education.

The kids were pleasantly surprised when they arrive home and their lounge was decorated with balloons and banners and the floor was packed with birthday hats, party packs, party food and cold drinks. At first they were a bit shy but they quickly settled in. Before we knew it the party vibe kicked in and the room was filled with laughter, babbling and singing. The kids really enjoyed the party food and they complemented us on how good the cupcakes tasted.

The third thing I noticed was how well behaved and well educated these kids are. They are intelligent, treat everybody with respect, speak properly, say thank you, don’t waste with the food and when we finished eating they all got up and started cleaning the lounge. No arguing about it and no sign of laziness. They know what needs to be done and they work together as a team getting it done.

After we have finished eating, it was time to hand them their gifts. It was so special witnessing them opening their gifts and seeing how their faces lighted up and their smiles got even bigger. The girls immediately put on their make-up, jewellery and lip-gloss and posed for us. The older boy demonstrated to us that he can make a tie and he bragged with his new watch and sunglasses. The cute 8-year old boy proudly showed us his colouring book and toy cars. Their joy and happiness receiving those gifts engraved priceless memories into our souls.

While experiencing this I once again realised why social wellbeing is such an integral part of your overall wellbeing. There is so much need in this world and each one of us can contribute to make a positive difference in this world regardless of the size. It also taught me that all my achievements and qualifications are worthless if not used to make a positive difference in our country and giving back to those in need. Even though you give your time and money, you receive so much more in return. You don’t receive something in monetary terms but the sense of achievement, gratitude and fulfilment is priceless. Money cannot buy that feeling. At the end of the experience I was a wealthier human being.

 

PhysEQFiT Guesthouse is turning 1

By Ronel and Marli Jooste

Owners of PhysEQFiT Guesthouse

I was the Head of Financial Reporting at Momentum Group (became MMI Group after Momentum and Metropolitan merged), when I decided to leave the corporate world in 2015 after 10½ years with the group and pursue new opportunities. Together with my sister, Marli (a registered Psychometrist, Counselling Therapist and coach) we started our own company called PhysEQFiT. We specialize in physical (=Phys), emotional (=EQ) and financial (=Fi) wellness where I focus on financial and physical wellness while Marli look after the emotional wellness.

Marli was already running her private practice from home for about 4 years at the time. When I left the corporate world we needed a bigger property where we both could live and run our offices from. We ended up buying a guesthouse in Zwartkop, Centurion (www.physeqfit-guest.co.za). It happened unintentionally but I believe if an opportunity comes your way, grab it with both hands and work hard to make it work. Marli and I always dreamt of owning our own guest lodge with a wellness centre one day and I guess this was a step in the right direction; even though for a Chartered Accountant and a Psychometrist to step into the hospitality industry is taking quite a giant leap of faith. In April 2016 after doing renovations and furnishing the guesthouse, we opened our doors and our new journey started.

We certainly faced multiple challenges:

  • We decided to only buy the property and not the previous guesthouse’s book of business. For safety reasons we decided not to advertise on the accommodation websites or allow any walk-in guests. Therefore we had to start from scratch building up a client base and we only relied on referrals – an exceptionally hard job in itself.
  • Moving from an estate environment to a guesthouse where privacy is pretty much non-existent was something to get used to. But we decided we will tolerate it because we want to run the guesthouse ourselves for at least the first 2 years.
  • Owning a big property with 9 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in total is a maintenance nightmare especially when two girls are running it.
  • We had to get used to the fact that in the hospitality industry it is about the client / guests. If guests say they will arrive at 8:00am; it actually means they can arrive anytime between 7:00am and 10:00am.
  • Running a guesthouse when we have our wellness business to also focus on requires a lot of juggling around and multi-tasking.

Fortunately the highlights overshadowed the challenges:

  • One year later and we have a few regular guests whom we have great relationships with.
  • We hosted quite a few events including conferences, training workshops, ladies groups, bridal showers, birthday parties and year-end functions at the guesthouse.

  • We opened our private gym at the guesthouse for guests and private clients.
  • Nowadays we also offer an in-house mini-spa at the guesthouse after partnering with DD Touch Spa. The spa is popular and we often host groups of ladies for pampering and lunch.

  • We took over two staff members from the previous owner. Joyce and Evah used to be domestic workers (cleaners). We sat down with them asking them about their dreams and aspirations. Joyce wanted to get involved with administration and Evah wanted to learn to cook. Fortunately my partner is a chef and has a catering business. He is assisting us a lot in training the staff to cook and today they can cook and prepare delicious food. Evah completed a cooking course. We are busy teaching Joyce basic computer and administration skills. We spend a lot of time with them teaching them about basic business principles and explaining to them how vital their roles are in the success of the business. They are very loyal and reliable and we all work together as one big team with one goal – to run the business successfully.

  • Our staff member, Evah, made us really proud with her 3rd place in the “Hirsch’s Domestic Worker of the Year” competition.

  • On the catering side we have partnered with Bredies Bites. We have experienced what it is like to cater at big sporting events for up to 1,000 people; catered at a wedding on a farm for 230 guests; catered for 185 guests at their year-end function and catered for the VIP-guests in the bush at the Ashburton National Mountain Bikes series held in Rooiberg and Sabie.

 

  • We opened a canteen in a corporate office building in Centurion.

  • We appointed a qualified chef, Khensani to assist at the canteen and the guesthouse when we have functions.

  • Our delicious platters are popular and we definitely want to expand on our catering for corporate clients.

It all started with looking around for bigger property and exactly one year later it developed into owning a guesthouse with six guestrooms, a conference venue, a private gym (where I can also live my fitness dream), a mini-spa, offices, an assessment centre (for Marli’s private practice), a canteen and catering services. Hard work is still required to build and grow solid and sustainable businesses, but we have a deep desire to make a success of everything. It was a journey that started unintentionally and we had to build it from scratch without having any experience in the hospitality industry, but we certainly are learning and growing all the time. What a journey it has been!

Why is Money Important?

 

By Ronel Jooste

CA (SA) and Financial Coach

Contact Ronel: ronel@physeqfit.co.za

 

Money cannot buy happiness, time or health. Yes that is true and we all know that, but we can also not discard the important role money plays in our lives. Taking care of our financial wellbeing is as important as our physical and emotional wellbeing.

 

Considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we need money to fulfil our basic needs for food, water, a house to live in and to provide for our family. We need money to take better care of our health and to pay for proper education. In short we need money to pay the monthly bills.

 

When finances are tight it can put unnecessary pressure on our relationships and increase our stress levels, which again can have a negative impact on our health. Studies have shown that theft, crime, illiteracy, poor health, broken marriages, children with behavioural problems and poor performance at work can all be a result of personal financial difficulties.

 

Apart from fulfilling our basic needs, money also plays a vital role in creating the lifestyle we dream of. We need money for that home cinema; Mediterranean cruise; new house; new car… To create the lifestyle we dream of, we need to have a proper savings plan; make good investment choices and build our wealth portfolio. Becoming debt free as early as possible is crucial in creating wealth and to create that dream lifestyle.

 

Sometimes we tend to plan properly for the shorter term but we forget to plan for our retirement and for that event we all rather ignore – death. Yes we need money to retire comfortably and it is a known fact that in South Africa and world-wide a huge percentage of the population cannot retire comfortably. Making provision for our retirement through pension funds and retirement annuities, is an important part of our financial plan that needs to be revised and adjusted on an annual basis.

 

We might not need money once we are dead, but our loved ones definitely do. Many people leave their loved ones in severe financial distress when they die. We should ensure we have proper funeral cover and life cover in place; and that our wills are up to date especially when big life events occur for example getting married or divorced or having children.

 

We should teach our children the importance of money at a young age. Children who understand basic financial concepts like saving, investing and financial independence will make better financial decisions when they are grown-up. Start building our wealth at a young age will become extremely powerful as we grow older. The time value of money can never be over-emphasised.

 

Don’t become addicted to money and don’t ever make the mistake to believe that money will buy you happiness. However don’t underestimate the important role money plays in our daily lives either. Having a proper financial plan and goals is as important as having an exercise plan and following a well-balanced diet. Your financial wellbeing directly contributes to your overall wellbeing. Take good care of it.

Relationships are about completing each other

By Stephen van Basten

Marriage Expert and Author

Contact Stephen: www.stephenvanbasten.co.za/author.html

 Steve van Basten Website

This is an excerpt from the book: “So you’re married, now what?

When you have a good long look at life, you eventually see that it’s all about relationships. We have a plethora of relationships raging around us all the time. We have a relationship (good, bad or indifferent) with our maker, our parents, our siblings, our children, our friends, our bosses, our sub-ordinates, our colleagues, our government, other drivers on the roads, waitrons, tellers, suppliers, clients, customers and the annoying taxi driver in the yellow line during peak hour traffic.

So how do you think you are performing in all of those areas?

I believe we have all heard the saying that 50% of marriages fail (don’t shoot the messenger hey!!)? That would mean that we fail at about 95% of relationships! Remember, we do not marry everyone we date. Personally I believe this is why 80% of new businesses fail too.

Interestingly enough, when my wife Jacqui and I visited India, we were surprised to find that Indian arranged marriages beat the divorce statistics. Indian parents use astrology to pick partners for their children and it seems to work better than our chemical reaction (read lust) method here in the West. And here is a nice little challenge to all of you; someone once asserted that an enlightened being could be married off to anyone on earth and make the relationship work!

Then of course we get the common malady of searching for one’s soul-mate. I believe we do this out of pure laziness! We think we want to find someone that is so perfect that we think the same, react the same, want the same, vote the same, say the right things, do the right things and fulfil every single need we have. Indeed you don’t even need to talk because you are automatically tuned into each other almost telepathically. What rubbish. In my opinion, your soul mate would be someone who is the exact opposite and COMPLETES you. They would challenge you to grow, call you on your actions, tell you when you are being stupid and force you to grow (and probably grow up too!).

That is why my favourite relationship symbol is the yin-yang symbol. Not for religious or spiritual reasons but because we are opposites that complete each other. The little “dots” are where we are the same and they anchor us. The black and white are how different we are. The beauty is that we COMPLETE each other! Whenever I work with a couple who are struggling, it’s usually because one partner wants the other partner to be more like them. Imagine the entire seven billion people on earth were exactly like you. The world would be a mess. My advice is to love yourself for who you are, then love your spouse for who they are and then don’t try to change each other!

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