I am very interested in maximizing the use of talent.  Being a business consultant to primarily successful small and medium-sized companies enables me to pursue this passion.

My clients are all fascinating. Most are true entrepreneurs and are driven and successful. They have different personalities, different talents, different outlooks and different leadership and managerial qualities and abilities. None is risk averse. That’s why they started their (very different) businesses.

Who are my clients, who do I serve?

My clients fall in four main groups:

  • services sector – where ideas and creative outputs are the main products – companies from 1 to 100 people – and mostly independent professionals
  • parastatals – receiving broad government funding
  • universities, colleges, academies & companies offering training – small groups within these organisations
  • trusts and public welfare organisations – which need to develop a business approach to satisfy donors and the communities which they serve

In which sector do you fall? You could get more information by simply clicking on…http://www.abplan.co.za/whom-we-serve.html

I find it very interesting that there is actually no difference in working with either large or small or medium-sized companies or organisations. The heads of departments in large organisations are very similar to the MDs or directors of medium-sized companies or the directors of  public welfare organisations or non-profit organisations. People are people and the principles of leading and running organisations apply to any size organisation or company. Remember this if you are thinking of  offering your services or products to corporate companies.

Often on the fringes of structured planning or coaching conversations or during telephone calls, a client makes the most interesting observation. It struck me that these observations and often resulting conversations should be shared. And this is the reason for creating this blog.

This blog is focused primarily on my clients and captures what is troubling or fascinates them. Incidentally, it obliges me to listen – an ability which I really have to develop much more. I try to provide useful answers and am bringing this blog to the attention of all my clients as their questions and observations will only enrich our insights.

If you are not a client, please chip in.  Join the conversation.

Who am I? I lived abroad for 18 years; am a positive person; and had 31 years of leading and management experience prior to becoming a consultant in the nineties. I thoroughly enjoy doing what I’m doing and especially the reading, learning, conversation and getting-things-done parts.

If you wish to know a bit more about the pressures which many of my clients face, about what they wish for, about the type of asistance that they seek, then read my letter to an MD…Dear MDhttp://www.abplan.co.za/what-we-do/letter-to-an-md.html .

I really like people who get exited by what they are doing; individuals who are interested in learning more and who wish to make a difference in their own lives (work and personal) and in the lives of those who entrusted their futures and careers to them. To all I say: It is so possible to enrich your work environment and make it a really pleasant, energetic and stimulating place and make generous profits to boot.

Most of what I coach or write about had its origin in the writing and wisdom of others. There is little new in this world. In fact, most of my clients already know what they need to know but do not realize this and do not systematically practice what they already know. I simply awake this realization and provide a few simple tools.

I hope that you will find the content of this blog useful and possibly applicable to your situation.

You are invited to join the conversation!

Warm regards


Albert van Niekerk

ABPLAN, albert@abplan.co.za & phone 021 8517685

PS. All of my posts in some way directly or indrectly supplement the 33 modules of my Built for Success Programme described on my website –  which contains lots of free information.  www.abplan.co.za


6 Responses

  1. I find when I have to start on a new technique I have to take it step by step until I have mastered the idea. I am relating to glass beadmaking, but I guess this applies to any new venture.

  2. Hi Ingrid
    Many thanks for your comment! I can assure you that planning and execution is just like creating beautiful glass beads. It requires a step-by-step approach with attention to detail and lots of passion, determination and commitment.

    This mindset and approach applies to any venture if success is the goal. It took you many years before you were able to create your museum-quality glass beads and other glass works of art with such apparent ease.

  3. I like your approach to structured planning to achieve business objectives. This forms the back bone of both your blog and your web site. And I am amazed at what a rich resource you offer for free on both your blog and on your web site. One might well ask why you are giving it all away for nothing. Of course, having been a client of yours I know the answer: You understand the most important thing of all about business: Business is not just about making money. It is also about being human; about people interacting on many levels. In the end, the successful business person is about sharing who you are with your clients. Your blog is doing this very well and I wish you great joy and success with it.

    In a nut shell, I feel that business is about people, and not only about products. Structured planning driven by a desire to make more and more money is all very well, but the heart goes out of it for me when managers use human beings as pawns along the way.

    I think that respecting the human being is the key. One can’t say, “Right, I want to make more money so I am now going to show my staff that I respect them so that I can make more money.” Love and respect can’t be switched on and off at will. It is a mind-set. It’s who one is. I have known bosses who did not understand this and I have seen how they demotivated and deflated their people; how they destroyed initiative and how paralyzed staff were because they were terrified of making mistakes.

    Here’s a simple example of the power of what I call the human element: Go to your hardware store. Which counter attendant do you like to buy from? Ask yourself why – and the answer will tell you why some businesses, no matter what they sell, are successful and why some are less so.

  4. Hi Andre
    Many thanks for your detailed and thoughtful comment!

    You are absolutely correct in observing that business is all about people – starting with the owner and with his/her staff members. The intangible assets (people and their ideas, initiatives and how they work with each other and relate to each other and to clients) create the tangible assets, products and services.

    In my career I had the good fortune of working under two kinds of mentors namely those who I really respected and emulated and those who taught me how not to be by setting perfectly atrocious examples.

    Every owner should know: Build your people and they will happily build your business and create clients for you.

  5. We have just decided to relook our company costing structure, and what an eye opener it has been!

    As a design studio, our most precious commodity is our time – we have implemented a system of actually measuring the time spent per client, so that we are able to attribute costs accordingly.

    As we go along, we can evaluate the time spent per order, and find ways to fine tune our systems to minimize unnecessary work on our side, and also to reduce costs for our clients.

  6. Hi Annemie
    It is essential to do proper costings as one should now how much time one spends on tasks – primarily to find ways and means to work smarter and more efficient.

    Take note that it is often not possible to charge a client for all the time spent on a product as one often has to put in extra time and effort to turn out the high quality which is required to enhance or maintain one’s brand.

    I am very careful not to charge my clients for my learning. New learning leads to greater personal effectiveness and efficiency and higher quality – and more referrals – and in this manner ensures new and better financial returns.

    Of course, producing extraordinary value should lead to recognition and a commensurate return – within the limits of what is charged within your particular market. It is a complex topic requiring careful research and costing.

    Elsje’s Designs (http://www.elsje.co.za/) is a market leader and your beautiful, original designs are widely recognized as among the finest in the country. I appreciate the care and effort which your team devotes to creating your extraordinary products.

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