MBOMBELA - To attain success in business, planning is crucial. This was just one of 10 pieces of advice recently imparted by Mr Hennie Snyman to Ms Phephsile Maseko.

Maseko, the winner of Bring Change Lowveld, is being mentored by some of the most successful business people in the area as she embarks on her own venture.
With the wealth of experience Snyman has accumulated in his years of doing business, he conveyed what he finds works, and what he now considers as vital.
He owns five Chicken Licken outlets in the Lowveld, which have shown almost unprecedented growth by averaging 30 per cent over the past two years. His secret recipe is his client list: they keep coming back for more soul food. However, that in itself is not enough. How do you keep your customers coming back?

Here he also divulges some guidance on the topic to Lowvelder readers.

1. Planning, planning, planning

Prior planning before embarking on any project is essential. Most projects would also consist of a number of varying components: for each you need the correct people in both the planning and implementation phases. "Ensure you have the group you need by including people in areas where you are not strong." If planned carefully and with the right people by your side, even construction projects can be completed on time and inside your budget.

2. Don't only use people you like

"There are a lot of different personalities in this world," he said. "Sometimes you need other types of people than those who are similar to you." Do not hesitate to work with such people. Snyman's advice is that, as long as the quality of their work is tops, it should be all that matters. However, having good relationships with people remains important. "If you don't have good relations with people you are going to have a problem." It is possible to develop this, so work on it if needed.

3. Hold people accountable

It is important that you make you employees feel as though the company belongs to them. "They must be proud of it and their work." He also finds that when you don't give people attention they tend to not be interested, because nobody worries about them. "People want you to see them. I made a point of seeing the top 10 big growers every year, as well as the small suppliers. You need to recognise them." Snyman said to strive to find a balance between paying attention without micro managing people. "People can't be controlled. Let an employee perform in his way so he can do the things he wants. But if he is responsible for something, you have to check it."

4. People are going to make mistakes

"There is not a person alive who doesn't make mistakes," Snyman cautioned. "If someone makes a mistake in his implementation, talk about it. Ask what went wrong and what he will do to ensure it doesn't happen again. You can't do someone else's job for them. "Remember, people are people. Motivate him though, say it is sorry he made a mistake, but now, go for it."

5. Show leadership
People are looking for leadership from you. By giving people a measure of autonomy, doesn't mean you can take a back seat.
"In a meeting people can talk and talk and talk. However, once you have their buy-in, somebody must make someone responsible for a task. He must give you an estimated date of when it would be finished. "As a leader you have to make decisions. Put the responsibility where it belongs."

6. Stick to your values

You have to have a value system, Snyman added. "Religion and your relationship with your Creator are very important. I am a Christian but it doesn't matter to which one you belong as most have the same value systems in terms of loving thy neighbour." These values determine how you work as a person: are you honest and do things the right way?

7. Find a work/life balance

To Snyman, his wife and children are an important part of his life, and he makes time to be with them.
"Give yourself time off to relax. You have to make time to spend with you family, and you also have to make time for yourself.
"If you don't, you will go for sure into a situation where stress will cause depression. It often happens to hardworking people who don't look after themselves, they become depressed from the stress."

8. Communicate

In any project, at any stage, all the people involved must at all times must know what is happening.
"As the leader, set the example of communicating. Encourage your staff to work on this as well. Keep in mind you are never going to have someone who has all the communication skills. Continue to work on it."

9.Understand your external environment

How does your external environment influence you? Any business person must be cognisant of the impact of the economic cycle and politics on your business.

10. When considering marketing, the biggest issue is who is your client?

"The first step is to identify your client. Once you know to whom you are selling, it is easy to get your message to them by using the appropriate platform to reach them," he concluded.

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