John Mautner: Business Coach Breathing New Life Into Struggling Companies

John Mautner is not a business consultant. As John puts it: “A typical consultant will give you a fish, and when you’re hungry again, you’ll call and say, ‘Give me another fish.’ ”

“I don’t consult. I teach and coach a clear structured 12 step process. I coach them, I motivate them, I hold them accountable for result, but they’re going to have to do the work.”

“Business coach – that’s really what I am. I’m teaching them to fish.”

John is the founder of Cycle of Success Institute, or COSi as most of his clients know him by. Founded in 2001, COSi has helped small to mid-sized companies throughout the country – some of which literally came back from the dead.

“Some of these companies, literally if they were a person, they’d be on life support,” John says. Some, on the other hand, are just companies who feel like they’ve reached a plateau and aren’t progressing fast enough.

John is a seasoned entrepreneur who started at 26 with just a dream, built a single-cart roasting hot cinnamon glazed almonds and rapidly expanded to become one of America’s 500 fastest growing companies with locations around the globe in major league stadiums, theme parks and arenas.  John took that experience and started coaching entrepreneurs how to build profitable high growth companies.

John’s coaching starts with what he calls “Voice-Of-The-People.”

“Nobody knows the company better than the people that have worked there for years and years,” John says.

He gathers a group of employees, “from the person sweeping the floor all the way to the owner of the company,” and sits them down in a room. There, they discuss everything that’s going on within the company: challenges, successes, big ideas, speed-bumps – everything and anything that can be better, like a think tank.

“In two hours, they can find 100 areas that will make the company more profitable and increase revenue, just based on the ideas of the people that work there every day.”

John is actually writing a new business book on this process – digging into the top ten things that kill companies and what they can do about it. During the writing process, he took a look at his last 100 clients and the 100 improvement areas that came out of Voice-Of-The-People for each of them. That’s 10,000 problems from businesses all over the map – big and small, construction, retail, manufacturing and distribution companies, family-owned businesses, restaurants, you name it. He found patterns and trends; no matter what type of company, all businesses suffered from the same thing such as:

  • A lack of quality control
  • Poor communication and accountability
  • A lack of innovation, and a lack of standard operating procedures

This is what sets John apart: his employee-centered starting point, and the belief that answers to turning around and growing any business faster, lie within the company itself.

Some of John’s clients expect him to be their savior, to come in and have all the answers. “I don’t know anything about your business, you know your business better that anyone,” he tells them. Another misconception is that if John isn’t going to be the hero, than it has to be the owner.

“I think a misconception is that the owner has to muscle it through by themselves and be the hero… that’s wrong,” he says frankly. “What they should do is engage all their people to help – everybody work together to move the company forward, empower the people in the organization to make something good happen, because they can.”

Employees “feel proud” when their voice is heard, John says. “Let’s say Tony is on the shop floor, grinding metal for 20 years, and the owner wants to know what he thinks. “Tony has several good ideas that might save the company thousands of dollars but, he is never asked.” When you involve employees in the process, “they feel their voice is heard, they feel part of the company, and engaged companies are much more profitable than non-engaged companies.”

John tells a story about one of his many clients, a woman who inherited her family’s trucking company. She ran this company with her husband, but when they got divorced things got messy. On his way out, the ex-husband tried to sabotage the company and, unfortunately, he succeeded. Things were falling apart, customers left, banks were calling, and employees were days away from not getting paid. She brought in John, he helped keep her focused, motivated, and on-task to attack the problem, taking it one step at a time and things started improving.

Today, he says with a genuine sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, “she has an award-winning company. She’s doing over $5 million dollars in revenue. She’s won several awards and she’s can travel around the world, life is good for her.”

One pitfall of achieving the success John has is that reviving companies from the dead is just an everyday occurrence. But every once in a while, he says, “I stop myself and realize, ‘this is meaningful, this has changed lives.’ It’s a gratifying thing when you see them happy and successful in businesses and in life.”

To learn more about John Mautner and the Cycle of Success Institute, visit