We continue the series of stories here on how you turn a struggling business around. If you are new to my stories, I’m Mikkel Pitzner, also known as The Automated Millionaire.

I help small and medium sized businesses achieve greater profits and better businesses without having to work harder by implementing a specific business method called The Automated Millionaire Business System.

Having ranked Top 3 among some 1,300 esteemed colleagues of Business Turn-Around Agents and Business Consultants with one of the largest and most successful consulting services companies in the United States, my wish has long been to take my experience and knowledge and help more business owners and their teams than I could ever possibly do with one-one-one on-site engagements.

I’m doing this by bringing my insights, and methods online to reach a larger audience, with online training programs, courses and coaching.

The current series of stories is all about the inside scoop of how I could be so successful as a Business Turn-Around Agent, and through this series of stories I will share with you some of the secrets and methods that have helped me turn many near bankrupt businesses around to enjoy a path of success and prosperity.

With this current story you’re reading now, we’ve come to the 6th installment in the series. I invite you of course to go back and ready the stories that came before this one too.

“Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Wherever you’re going you’ll be well advised to know where you’re headed. You’ll be well advised to know your destination.

So is also the case for the Business Turn-Around Agent, which brings us to the Top Business Turn-Around Agent’s Secret #3:

They Begin With The End In Mind

During the initial meeting described in the last story and during my conversation with the business owner(s), I will soon direct my questions towards the question of “What is it the business owner wants?”

This is super critical.

I need to know what our desired destination is. I need to get as many details about this as possible for several reasons.

First of all, it’s always easier to reach a specific destination when you know what that destination is. Disregard for a moment the advent of the GPS which may take us the same route and consider the following example:

If you and I decide we are going from the same starting point in e.g. New York City to the same end point in Washington DC, and we are going by separate cars, then it may very well be the case that your chosen route differs to some degree from mine, and yet, we will both end up the same place.

The end point that we have decided upon acts as our compass that ensures we eventually both get there. How we do it and by what route may differ as mentioned, but we both reach the goal.

As a Business Consultant I need to know where we are going. I need to know what the client is wanting to achieve. This seems reasonable enough, I’m sure you’ll agree. However, it’s rather incredible how many business owners I have met, who actually do not know where they are going or have much notion of any specifics of what end outcomes they wish to reach within a given time frame.

In business such goals are very often specified by a budget, and a budget will typically show you where you are working towards ending up, typically within a fiscal year for the business.

By far, most of the many businesses I have helped throughout the US and Canada, and even many of the businesses I’ve encountered in Europe were making use of budgets. Several business owners even have little idea of what a budget really is.

I usually will state, that if you do not set some sort of specific destination as your goal, then you’ll more than likely end up with “whatever” and you probably won’t really be very pleased with the levels of results represented by “whatever”.

When you operate your business with no specific financial goal in mind, you’ll soon enough end up with just tending to business using your good old routines and that often means you didn’t end up pushing towards a higher and loftier worthwhile goal, or betterment of the business. Often this even will lead to actual going a bit backwards in your results.

Also, to my surprise, when speaking to many business owners about using a budget, I’ve often been met with almost nasty attitudes towards budget. Often they will say, it’s a waste of time, and they’ll add, “How will you possibly know where you’re going to end up?’ or something along the lines that “My business is completely unpredictable.”

Agreed, there can be special unforeseen events that disrupts everything you had thought would pan out for your business (e.g. the onset of the current COVID-19 virus and its huge impact on many industries and businesses), and in such instances you’ll more than likely have to revise your original budget and make the necessary adjustments.

But outside such larger events that could not really be anticipated, it’s truly rare that you cannot with rather great accuracy predict where your business is going to be over the course of the next 12 months. So frankly if you’re one of those arguing against it, you’re just making excuses!

To illustrate this further, one of my clients is a natural gas supplier in Colorado. The natural gas was used especially for heating homes.

When I first visited him, he stated that there was no way his business could ever be predicted and that a budget could be created and trusted. His arguments ran along the lines of his results being completely depending on weather and that no one could predict the weather with any decent accuracy and that only God would be in charge of that and as a consequence what his results would be 12 months from now.

His arguments all sounded pretty reasonable, but I asked him to allow me for 10 minutes to illustrate how I believed he was completely wrong. Then I asked him for the Sales of the past 5 years month by month. I quickly put in these figures into a spreadsheet and then I added a chart illustrating each year’s sales and it looked like this:

I think you will agree that the 5 years show quite a regularity and that it would be very possible to make some deductions and prognosis on what the next 12 months would look like.

Well, this story isn’t really about budgets, but while we are at it, as you can understand I have found budgets extremely valuable. I believe they not only help a business owner and/or a business manager better towards a desired goal, but they also act very much like a roadmap for how you’ll get there.

As I have mentioned in previous stories, time is of the essence when I’m sent in to help a business that may be close to bankruptcy. So budgets may be a more secondary thing for me to get clear on. More urgent it is to do what can be done to stop the bleeding and certainly stop the cash from going out. Then implement measures that will help cash coming in.

I still though need to begin with the end in mind. So instead of budgets, it will suffice at this stage just to get clear on “what it is the client wants”. What are the outcomes the client hopes to achieve following an engagement with me. In terms of the desired top line, I will be satisfied to know e.g. that the client wishes to reach $4 million with an associated pre-tax profit of say $450,000.

But outside of the dollar amounts for top line and pre-tax, I also wish to know what other wants the client has. Perhaps it is to get their books cleaned up. Perhaps to reduce the debts by $100,000, acquire that new machine that will benefit production, get caught up with the overdue payables and similar wants.

When asking the client I’ll seek out further wants. These are the wants that are more benefits and wants that the business, when it does well, should be able to help facilitate and provide for.

These can include, to upgrade the wife’s car, or get that boat the client always dreamed of, or being able to take the family on a safari in Kenya. It can also be wants such as paving the way for more time off, or maybe even a hand over of the daily reins to a son or daughter or some other person.

All the wants are important. They let me know what the desires are that will help drive the client’s efforts, persistence and determination. They will soon enough be important for me in order to ensure the continuation of the client’s commitment to making the results happen.

Before leaving the subject of wants, I pose probing questions to dig a bit deeper. It’s important for me to know, whether these wants are true “wants” or just nice to haves.

If they are just nice to have, then the client will soon wean off the efforts when things become too challenging or become too tough along the way. Oftentimes you see, there’s a bit more pain to be had before things get better.

What is it they say?

It usually gets the darkest, right before sunrise.

Gurus in many fields often talk about your purpose, and the importance of having a purpose. I’m not venturing down that path too much, as I often find it a bit of a cliche that may actually leave you bewildered, if you find yourself being one of the ones, that do not feel you have a specific, or one specific, purpose.

But for sake of this story we may consider the true wants or goals as the purpose that drives us, or in this case, drives the client. And these are important. The nice to haves are less important.

I begin with the end in mind also because it can sometimes help me by reverse engineering what needs to be done in order to get there.

Once I know what the end game should look like, I’ll begin to look at what the current situation really looks like. This is typically supported by factual pieces of information, and as I have mentioned in one of the previous stories would include Profit and Loss Statements and associated Balance Sheets, list of Payables and Debtors, Tax Returns, Cash Flow insights and Bank Statements.

The information is deepened by narratives about the current situation, and these often entail stories containing a lot of pain, if indeed the business is suffering and perhaps have been suffering for quite a while. These are all important to me also.

So now I have the end goal and I have the current situation. For a lot of the clients that I help the distance and the differences between these two points are vast.

I know something has to happen in between in order to accomplish the end goal. That’s obvious, and that’s why I’m there.

This is where the method that I use comes in. I learned much of the basis of the method from esteemed colleague of mine who went before me in the line of business consulting, and I have added several elements to make an overall business system. I call it The Automated Millionaire Business System.

This system is based on tried, true, tested and proven best practices of business. My over a thousand colleagues and myself have implemented this basis of the system and method with several hundred thousand businesses with almost perfect success rate. Turning really struggling businesses around and making great businesses much greater.

These businesses have been in all kinds of industries and I have yet to see a business where an implementation wouldn’t make sense.

When I help a business, I diligently seek to teach the client and the client’s team this system, so that once I leave the business again, they can continue the journey successfully without me. In other words, I don’t just fish and provide the fish, but teach them to fish.

Over the course of this series, you too can learn much of this system and method, so that you can use it successfully in your business. I’d love to hear about your success with it as you progress.

Over the course of this series of posts, I will share with you my insights, including many secrets of the Top Business Turn-Around Agents and how they do it. I hope, you’ll follow along as I extend my personal invitation to do so.

If you wish to learn more about me and what I do, you can find more information on my website https://theautomatedmillionaire.com

If you wish to learn most of the content from this series of posts on how you too can turn your struggling business around or make your successful business even more successful, then visit https://theautomatedmillionaire.com/no-cost-training

That’s right, there’s a free training that reveals the system I use.

At time of posting this story the training isn’t yet available, but if you sign up for it I will let you know as soon as it is. I expect it to be available within a few days. So sign up now. It will show you the system in its entirety and as I have said, it has helped me personally change the lives of more than 50 businesses and many more thousands that were helped by colleagues of mine who used much of the foundation of this system.

(This story is a continuance and part of a series describing real life like existence of a top business turn-around agent. To be continued soon…)

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