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Making the Best of a Bad Situation

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Published : April 30th, 2012
1302 words - Reading time : 3 - 5 minutes
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Category : Crisis Watch

 

 

 

 

Admittedly, I spend a lot of time at Financial Armageddon discussing the downside risks ahead. But that doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel and give up. Undoubtedly, most of those who buy into my view of the world will want to try and make the best of a bad situation.


And as much as I believe there is little we can do to change things at the macro level, despite -- or because of -- the interventions of central bankers and other overconfident fools, that's not necessarily the case in our own lives. When it comes to whether we will survive or thrive, I believe creativity and human ingenuity can still be of tremendous value to us as individuals.


In that regard, the clever ideas detailed in a Slope of Hope post, "Opportunities EVERYWHERE (Market Sniper)," on ways to make money from the kinds of situations I believe will be increasingly commonplace in the days ahead, represent interesting food for thought.


The basic concept is to find businesses with dormant or grossly under utilized assets. I have found around 30 different categories in which you can find these under utilized assets in the typical business. I am sure there are many more. What is important here is you get your creative juices flowing. What you will be doing is to find ways your "client" can make more money and/or save money. This works anywhere and in any part of the business/economic cycle. In fact, during times of economic distress, you will find that business owners are even more open to what you can offer them. When times are good, some narrow minded business owners are in the "don't rock the boat" mindset.


Here is the basic proposition you will present to business owners and decision makers: "IF I can, at absolutely no cost to you, increase your net cash flow, would you be willing to pay me 15% of that net positive cash flow that I create for you?" And/or "IF I can save you a significant amount on your operating costs, at no cost to you, would you be willing to pay me 15% of what I save you?" If I cannot help you, you are under no obligation and we will part as friends......now think about that. What business owner in his right mind would say NO to such a proposition? If he/she does, you would not want to do business with them anyway! As an aside, that 15% is somewhat arbitrary. You can make it any percentage you wish. I have found that 15% is a good rough guideline. Do not ask for too much and do not discount the service you will be providing either. Depending on the type of deal, you can set yourself up as a toll booth operator. You can create substantial monthly cash flow from your deals. Often, that is not possible and you can receive decent lump sum payouts. The more deals you do, the more deals you will be able to do! I call this "Business Combinations." Perhaps the best way to get you thinking along these lines is by illustration of some of the deals I have done and am doing.


Call Center Operation. Call centers are expensive to set up and not cheap to operate. I found a rather large call center that was dealing strictly with businesses. It is on the West Coast and its hours of operation were Monday through Friday, 6 am local time until 5 pm local time. I went to the owner and asked him: "IF I could increase your cash flow, at no cost to you, would you give me 15% of that new cash flow I bring you?" His answer was: "Of course I would!" I then found another, smaller, operation that was marginal and the owner was thinking about shutting it down. It dealt with consumers and was running him $25,000 a month to operate. His hours of operation was 5 pm to 9 pm Monday through Friday and on weekends. My question to him was: "If I could find a way to save you a substantial amount of money in your operation, would you be willing to pay me 15% of what I save you?" His answer was: "Of course I would!" So here was the deal: The call center selling to consumers was moved to the other call center dealing with businesses who was paid $10,000 per month for that use. I recieve $1,500 per month from him. I saved the other owner $15,000 per month and every month he cuts me a check for $2,250. This is a good example of a toll booth operation.


Non-competitive Manufacturing And Delivery: I found two manufacturers in the City Of industry, CA. They were non-competitors. That is very important. They manufactured and then delivered to the Western United States. As business conditions worsened, both were sending out trucks half full. So, for a fee, Manufacturer A agreed to also deliver for manufacturer B. Then, manufacturer B was able to dispose of its delivery fleet. This type of deal cannot be monitored. My fee for putting this deal together was 25% of the total fleet sale from manufacturer B. The check came to $178,600. This is an example of a lump sum payment type deal.


Exchange of Services and Adding New Business Lines: I have a good friend who is a young MD type doctor. He was loaded down with student loans and he operates his own office in Encino, CA, a fairly wealthy area. It costs him $225 per hour to keep his office doors open. He had to do hospital rounds at night to survive. Radio time is now going begging. So, I worked a deal for him with a local radio station. He gets advertising air time and even has his own medical "show" on that station. He is also now the personal doctor for the station owner and the few employees. This was an exchange of services. I did not charge for putting this deal together but it lead to a new business line for him that I proposed and share in that revenue. He is located in a wealthy area. There are a lot of wealthy older people in the area who do not like going to see the doctor but from time to time, need medical help and attention. So we set up a medical concierge service that also gets advertised on that radio station. We make house calls and the fee is not cheap. We now have eight doctors on call and business is brisk.


The Mailer: I have not personally done this but know a person who did and this is brilliant! This took some money for postage costs and he got a financial backer to put up the small sums required to do this kind of deal. He got a directory of all the independent CPA's, PA's and bookkeepers in the State of California. Around 30,000 names and addresses. He then set out a letter of inquiry to all of them. Basically: ANYBODY WANT TO SELL? He received over 1400 positive responses. He subtracted those from the list and to the rest, keeping it geographically specific, he sent out another letter of inquiry. Basically: ANYBODY WANT TO BUY? From this, he put together over 700 transactions! Many were cash transactions and he got paid. Many were non-cash transactions where the new owner pays the old owner a specific percentage of the billing on the "retired" owner's clients. He gets paid on that as well. The deals were all done over 9 years ago now. He has made over 5 million from these deals and is still getting checks. Think of the possibilities!


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Michael J. Panzner 


 


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Michael J. Panzner is a 25-year veteran of the global stock, bond, and currency markets and the author of Financial Armageddon: Protecting Your Future from Four Impending Catastrophes, published by Kaplan Publishing.
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