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Is your email taking up too much of your time?


How to prevent email from being the most counterproductive activity in your work day!

Email is fast becoming the number one enemy when it comes to being productive. I know because I have been there too. I have spent much time trying to master a method that deals with my emails in the fastest and most efficient way. Make no mistake, it is a very useful tool that we all need, but in many ways it is counterproductive.

How many of you start your day by switching on your computer, opening your emails and spending the next few hours stuck there feeling overwhelmed by this endless flow of emails coming at you, not to mention the ones left over from yesterday, and the day before, and the week before?

Have you ever analysed what all these emails are about? When you do, you will see that very few of them are directly related to you doing business. There are bank notifications and statements, emails trying to sell us things like Groupon, emails from experts who we have signed up to because we are interested in something they have offered us for free, but are now trying to sell us something, people who want to connect with us, Facebook notifications, those lovely little emails that circulate with feel good things, spam and junk mails that make no sense whatsoever, information about your neighborhood, kids school emails, other informative emails AND maybe an email or two where a client is inquiring about your product or service because they want to do business with you.

So how do we deal with them in a way that they are not swallowing up time which could be spent doing things that actually make us money? It is not like Facebook where we can just decide one day that we no longer want to be part of it, there is information that we actually do need in our emails. Here is my system that has worked really well for me:

STEP 1 – Become selective about what you receive
The first step is to become really selective about what you need and what you no longer need to receive. Go through all you emails and choose who you can unsubscribe from. As business owners we are all trying our best to get our goods and services out there and email is very much part of that. I am reading more and more where people are advising that one needs prospective clients to see something at least 6 times before they buy and one should send out an email daily in order to make this sale. So we see an article that interests us and in order to get what is on offer for “free”, we need to sign up to a mailing list. Then the countless emails start, one after another. Because it is a topic that we are interested in or need to learn more about, it catches our attention every time we see another email come in, taking our attention off whatever we are doing at the time. When you have the information that you initially needed, unless you are planning to buy something or you actually read the newsletters, just hit unsubscribe. When you need that course or information, you can Google it again. If it is someone that resonates with you and you want to remember their name, have a place in your diary or journal where you keep names and websites of interest and you can rather refer to that when the time is right.


Why do I need a Supplier Agreement?

Why do I need a Supplier Agreement

You often hear business owners say that, either their business is too small, or they only provide a modest service or deliver humble products. For example, baking muffins in your kitchen and selling same on order. So why is there the need for a supplier agreement to regulate something seemingly this simple from the surface?

This is ultimately true, but let’s look at the simple example above – you bake muffins and the local school puts in an order for the year’s sports days. Suddenly your normal order of a dozen muffins once a week increases to 2000 muffins once every two weeks. So, what happens if 3 months down the line you are still awaiting payment? Or the muffins fall off a table at school and they refuse to pay you? Or all the muffins are baked and ready to be delivered and they cancel the order on last minute?

This is exactly the type of situation that could’ve easily been saved by having an agreement in place. Not only does an agreement protect you, should payment not be forthcoming, but it also clearly sets out each party’s obligations and rights to ensure there is no confusion or blame-shifting possible. It basically ascertains where the risk lies at all stages.

Even when you are dealing with the corner shop
A supplier agreement is an agreement between a business and a client or customer for the delivery of a defined set of products and/or services. This agreement documents the terms of your agreement with the client or customer. It really does not matter if you are dealing with your corner store or a multi-million rand business. Not having at least a one page agreement in place, can cause irreparable harm in future dealings.


The relevance of Intellectual Property Rights to a small business owner

The relevance of Intellectual Property Rights to a small business owner

For a small business owner, it can be daunting to comprehend what exactly is worth protecting, and how to go about this may seem complicated. For this reason, the majority of business owners often forget that their intellectual property (“IP”) is a big asset that also deserves protection.

IP refers to “a creation of intellect” - basically the ownership of an idea or something intangible. Unlike the tangible assets of your business, IP is a collection of ideas and concepts and can exist in various forms; a new invention, brand, design, or artistic creation. This term, however, is often only associated with works of art, IT or inventions and the normal person on the street will thus only relate it to big businesses, IT developers, artists, writers, or inventors.

IP is an important asset in today's so-called knowledge economy and should be strategically managed by business owners. In a business, IP can include the company name, logo, slogan, website and advertising, and most importantly the exclusive rights to original work/products created by the company, i.e. designs, codes, formulas and trade secrets.

Why is IP relevant to your business?
When you started your business, you thought of an idea that would distinguish you from the business around the corner and that is the key to your success – so why won’t you want to protect it?

No business owner would want the competition to duplicate your business’ branding, or name or logo. All of this information, including your business’ processes, which ensure cutting edge service and products and more efficient methods of operation, are knowhow that you developed and which are of value to the business.

Not only can the protected IP generate an income for your business through the licensing, sale, or commercialisation of the products or services, it will enhance the value or worth of your business in the eyes of investors and financing institutions.

IP affords the owner thereof similar proprietary rights as any other form of assets of a business, whether moveable or immovable. By registering a patent or trademark on your idea/brand or just ensuring it is copyright protected, it will protect you from the competition that may want to copy it and use it for their own profit, or even worse, dilute or damage the positive selling power of the brand.


Sectional title schemes and executive managing agents

Sectional title schemes and executive managing agents

The sectional title schemes management act 8 of 2011

Trustee issues in sectional title schemes or body corporate issued can be very time consuming, it can also be every costly. In this article, we will take a look at the possible remedy for the aforementioned issues.

The Sectional Tiles Act 95 of 1986, as amended (“STA”), initially regulated all the aspects of sectional title schemes, however, as from 7 October 2016, the management part of the STA has been repealed and replaced by the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act, 8 of 2011 (“STSMA”).

In terms of section 28 of the STSMA, provision is now made for the appointment by special resolution (or by application to the Community Scheme Ombud Service by members of the sectional title scheme who are entitled to 25% of the total participation quotas of all sections in the scheme) of trustees of the body corporate of a scheme, of an executive managing agent to perform functions that would usually have been performed by the trustees themselves.

Reasoning behind the appointment of an executive managing agent
It is probable that the legislature decided on the creation of section 28 to make provision for instances where the trustees of a body corporate do not get along and cannot function in a cohesive manner or make informed decisions regarding the management of the scheme.

An executive managing agent is appointed by way of a management agreement between the trustees of the body corporate and the managing agent. The executive management agent is appointed to perform the functions and to exercise the powers usually performed by the trustees.


Amending your antenuptial contract after its registration

Amending Your Antenuptial Contract After Its Registration

Your antenuptial contract is one of the most important boxes to tick off of your proverbial wedding to do list before you say “I do”. If you do not enter into an antenuptial contract before date of marriage, you will automatically be married in community of property in terms of South African law. What this means, is that you and your spouse will each jointly own all assets and liabilities accrued by either party before the marriage and during the marriage in equal shares.

More and more couples are realising that a marriage in community of property holds little benefits while the financial risk and exposure is tremendously high. On the other hand, the main goal of an antenuptial contract is to ensure that there is complete transparency in your relationship by recording the rights, duties and consequences of the marriage and because each party’s assets and liabilities are their own, you are entirely financially protected. An antenuptial contract not only dictates your financial future after marriage but also how you transact with third parties.

It is thus very important to ensure that your antenuptial contract encapsulates your specific needs. Another reason for ensuring that you are wholly satisfied with your antenuptial contract and the marital property regime selected, is the difficulties you will face should you wish to amend your contract after date of registration or if you wish to change your marital property regime entirely.

Amendments to your antenuptial contract after registration
As soon as the antenuptial contract has been registered in the Deeds Office and confirmed by your marriage, it cannot be altered inter partes (between the parties) informally. The only way to amend the contract is by way of both parties to the contract bringing an application in the High Court in terms of section 21 of the Matrimonial Property Act No 88 of 1984.

The Court will look at the validity of the parties’ reasons for the request for an amendment and based thereon, grant an order for the rectification or amendment of the contract to reflect the true intentions of the parties. However, all other parties concerned must consent to the rectification, and the rights of creditors and third parties are protected first and foremost.

As the parties’ creditors might be prejudiced by this change in the contract, an advert needs to be placed in the local newspaper to inform all concerned parties of the intended amendments. They will have the opportunity to oppose the application with reasons should the change affect them in a negative way.


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