From Getting Fired to $45M Turnover and 8+ x EBITDA

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About Our Guest

Mike Malatesta is a successful entrepreneur and business executive. Mike loves supporting and helping entrepreneurs bring their dreams to fruition, break through barriers, and achieve massive success. He has lived in their shoes since he was 26, and has been through – and still is on – the roller coaster they are. He has experienced the excitement, pain, grit, and mistakes that come with every entrepreneurial journey.

Mike has helped start, grow, and sell two amazingly successful waste management companies. One sold for mid-8 figures and the other sold for low-9 figures.

Mike founded, built, and sold Advanced Waste Services (AWS), one of the largest environmental services companies in the Upper Midwest, USA.

In 2015, Mike sold AWS to a publicly traded company called Covanta Energy. His team had grown to about 150 people, they were doing about $45 million in sales, made money, and had a great reputation in the marketplace. Selling the business was not easy, but it was the right thing for him, his family, and the AWS team.

His goal now is to create new opportunities, relationships, and success stories as a result of doing the things he most wants to do while avoiding the things he does not most want to do.

About this Episode

From Getting Fired to $45M Turnover and 8+ x EBITDA

The ‘Dream State’ is what entrepreneurs enter when they think they can do anything. Mike Malatesta entered that state around his business partner’s kitchen table where they hashed out a plan for their waste management business back in 1992.

Forget about planning with an exit in mind or developing a growth strategy. They were thinking purely of survival and how to get through today. But 23 years, 5 states, 150 employees, several strategic acquisitions, and $45M in revenue later, Mike and his business partner finally decided to exit the business.

And then, Mike did it again.

What you will learn in this episode

In this episode we’ll cover everything from:

  • When to start looking at strategic acquisitions as a growth strategy
  • How and when to let your employees know you’re selling the business
  • Why the timing of selling your business could land you a bigger multiple
  • What the essential ingredients are to getting a successful deal over the line

Connect with Mike Malatesta

Show Notes

(5:01) What started as a business idea around a kitchen table in 1992 turned into Mike’s first foray into the business world. It’s what he called ‘the Dream State’ where bright-eyed bushy-tailed entrepreneurs think they can do the invincible: start a successful business.

(14:25) The service triangulation model was Mike and his partner’s brilliant, streamlined approach to growth. So much so that their acquirer continued to build on the foundations they laid.

(22:43) Mike’s first strategic acquisition was in 1995. After getting through the growing pains of integrating a new business, the duo settled on a 50% organic growth and a 50% acquisition-based growth. Here’s why.

(32:02) You must involve your key staff members if you’re looking to buy or sell a business. Take it from an entrepreneur who has bought and sold multiple businesses himself.

(58:34) Mike leaves us with two tips on how to transition from owning a business to having sold a business. 1) Remember that the business isn’t yours anymore and 2) Your opinions are no longer the only ones that matter. It’s a humbling, but important lesson.

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