South Africa’s Best and Worst Insurance Companies

The Office of the Ombudsman for Long-Term Insurance is an independent body to which consumers can complain if they believe they have been treated unfairly by their insurer. In the latest annual report, it is stated that the Ombudsman had recovered R184.4 million in the form of lump sums for consumers from long-term insurance companies.

northwood-south-africas-best-and-worst-insurance-companies

The Ombudsman said it had received 9,815 written requests for assistance – which is an increase of 6% from the previous year. Of these complaints, 5,018 were chargeable complaints, with 3,491 cases full cases finalised. Three in 29.8% cases were resolved in favour of the complainant.

Continue reading

Frustrations with a Local South African Bank

I have held a Private Banking account with a large South African bank for the past 24 years. Although this is an expensive account to have, I am provided with a Private Banker – which is one of the main benefits of private banking. However, after a long time of holding the account, I have come to the conclusion that for me, this is no longer good value for money.

northwood-south-africas-best-and-worst-insurance-companies

My main concern is the overall lack of communication with my Private Banker. Whenever I try to phone her, I am met with a voicemail message which instructs me to contact her assistant. When trying to phone the assistant, who also doesn’t answer the phone, I am redirected again to the Call Centre. Here, after spending very long periods of time moving between the switchboard and related prompts, I am told to contact my Private Banker.

Continue reading

Applying for a job? Make sure that your CV is up to date and meets the employers’ requirements.

Someone once asked me what my least favourite job was as an entrepreneur…

northwood-cv-job-searchRecently, I had advertised a job listing for an accountant to join our team at Northwood Financial Services cc. Through the advert, I’d asked the job applicants to include a number of attachments along with the CV and cover letter. Of the prerequisites and attachments received, I’d conducted an analysis of the first ten Graduates who had applied:

Continue reading

The Importance of Knowing Your Customer

Deciding clients - NorthwoodFor any small or medium sized enterprise, it’s more than likely that the relationship between any given business and the client will be one of a personal nature.  Bearing this in mind, it should become immediately obvious that knowing your individual client’s wants and needs could represent a significant advantage in making consistent sales.  However, as any person who has gone to a party alone will know, forcing yourself to make friends with a stranger can be hard, uncomfortable and time-consuming work. So, as an entrepreneur, how can you tell which clients are worth your time and which are likely to sail off into the sunset never to be seen again? Continue reading

How Being Different Can Make the Difference

be-different-entrepreneurConsider the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, they are both rich, successful and, most importantly, fundamentally different from everybody else.

There’s a very good reason why the weird geeky kids in high schools across the world often go on to make a fortune: namely because it pays to be different. Think about it, in today’s world, even if you are one in a million, there are statistically 7000 people exactly like you.

The exact same principle applies through to running a small business. So, as an entrepreneur, how can you banish the generic business practices employed by most of your competitors and ultimately reap the rewards that come with offering something unique? Continue reading

Preparing for Tax Season

Why it’s better to start right now

taxes-financesBetween the 25th and 27th of February next year, SARS offices around the country will be swamped with business owners and accounting professionals as they brave the long lines to submit their VAT and provisional tax returns.

If you’d like to avoid the stress and frustration of late submissions and last-minute paperwork, here are some things you can do right now to prepare for tax season. Continue reading