Growing a Business to Over $25M and Getting Acquired

Apple Podcasts

About Our Guest

Wally Akacha and his wife, Ranya are professionals having a combined 22 years of experience in buying, running, and selling their own businesses, and also working in Senior roles in large organisations like Qantas Airways and Downer EDI. They decided to alter direction and share their passion of helping others through their current business, Real Business Matters.

Wally and his team now work with business owners to create successful companies that they love, and help them create their ideal lifestyle. They also work with corporates and mid-tier organisations by helping them create high performing teams by running action based award winning programs.

Wally’s career highlight to date was kicking off a start-up civil engineering business with a colleague, and then rapidly growing it over a 12-year period. Wally successfully managed a 25% year on year average business growth rate whilst achieving profitability, maintaining compliance with health and safety standards, managing a robust and engaged workforce, and focusing on client relationships.

After completing four successful years as General Manager, he was promoted to the Managing Director role where after two years, he led the business through a full sale to a large multinational company.

About this Episode

Growing a Business to Over $25M and Getting Acquired

Wally Akacha operates in absolutes. He knew from the age of five he wanted to be a civil engineer. He then entered into a civil engineering firm as Employee #1.

With no plan to exit, Wally grew through the ranks from General Manager to Managing Director, successfully stabilising cashflow and growing the business 25% yearly. Twelve years later, turning over $25M in revenue, he sold it to a listed entity.

Follow along on his journey as he honed and developed his leadership skills, figured out how to manage a team’s expectations through an acquisition process, and dive deeper into the nitty gritty details of team transitions.

This episode is a must listen for any business owner, but especially if you’re operating in the civil space.

What you will learn in this episode

In this episode we’ll cover everything from:

  • The importance of forecasting in business
  • Decision-making, de-risking and setting up stable cashflow models
  • How to shift from working in the business to working on the business
  • How to absorb your team into a larger team respectfully

Connect with Wally Akacha

Show Notes

(10:20) Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up, just as not everyone gets to be the first employee of a business, take it over, and then scale up before selling. But Wally did.

(17:20) In 13 years, Wally started at under $5M in revenue and experienced 32% compound growth every single year. Learn how.

(23:19) Lumpy cashflow is a problem in a lot of project-based businesses. Especially in Wally’s case where his biggest client accounted for 35% of his revenue.

(35:23) Once Wally’s business started turning over $25M in revenue, he had to fend off a slew of strategic acquirers until the right one came along.

(40:58) The methodology for valuing a business can vary. If you’re in civil construction, here’s how Wally’s team came to their valuation.

(49:35) Transitioning your team into a larger team can be a challenge. Rather than approach it with trepidation, here’s how to run through these scenarios with your team.

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