Guest Appearance on Time to Shine Today w/ Scott Ferguson (432)

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This episode features Mike’s recent guest appearance on the Time to Shine Today Podcast with Scott Ferguson. The Time to Shine Today podcast is an award-winning interview-style podcast that helps you build a winning strategy and level up your life!

Are you giving enough thought to your business exit strategy? Buckle up for an enlightening interview with Mike, a seasoned entrepreneur and author whose journey and insights will rock your entrepreneurial world. Through a compelling narrative, Mike dissects the concept of ‘dream exits’, urging entrepreneurs to view their businesses as a buyer would and to strategize their exit plans accordingly.

Mike’s unique superpower of sparking curiosity is on display as he shares his personal perspective and the “Dream Exit Playbook” – a foolproof guide to preparing your business for a lucrative exit. The playbook not only emphasizes maximizing business value but also encourages business owners to think ahead to their post-exit life. Mike also delves into the concept of business recapitalization and succession planning. Mike’s personal experience and insights shed light on how recapitalization can change your perspective on business goals, the importance of a strong team when selling, and how to find purpose post-retirement.

Mike also emphasizes the importance of running a business as if it’s for sale, a mindset that encourages decisions that attract potential buyers. Don’t miss out on this transformative episode filled with real-life experiences, practical advice, and invaluable insights. Tune in and set your entrepreneurial journey on a successful path to a dream exit.

Key highlights:

  • Exploring Dream Exits
  • Preparing for a Dream Exit
  • Navigating Business Recapitalization and Succession Planning
  • Run Your Business as if for Sale
  • The Dream Exit Program

Connect with Scott Ferguson:


Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:

0:00:00 – Mike Malatesta

Hi everyone. Mike Malatesta here and welcome back to the how’d it Happened podcast. On this podcast, I dig in deep with every guest to explore the roots of their success, to discover not just how it happened but why it matters. My mission is to find and share stories that inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. 


0:00:19 – Mike Malatesta

On today’s episode, I’m sharing with you my recent guest appearance on the Time to Shine Today podcast with Scott Ferguson, aka Fergie. Scott interviews high-level coaches from around the world about who they are, what they do, how they do it and why it matters. So it was great, humbling experience for me to even be included in this podcast and I’m so grateful to Scott for having me on the show. It was so much fun talking to him about how I help entrepreneurs and business owners create dream exits by teaching them how to build massive new value inside their companies and how to create maximum meaning and purpose in their lives, with or without their company. I call it having a buyer’s lens. So when you look at your business, are you running it the way that you would if you were a buyer? My opinion is that when you run your business as if it’s her sale, you are going to be a better entrepreneur and you’re going to run a better business. 


0:01:17 – Scott Ferguson

It’s just going to happen 100% of the time. 


0:01:20 – Mike Malatesta

Scott asked some great questions and we go deep exploring dream exits. I think you’ll enjoy this one. 


0:01:33 – Scott Ferguson

Time to send it a podcast. Varsity Squad. This is Scott Ferguson and I have a 2.0 interview with somebody that I immensely respect. I’ve delved into his books, I listen to his podcasts all the time and all that will be in the show notes. You have to get down and ready to listen to my good friend here, Mike Malatesta. He’s going to be super inspiring, true entrepreneur with incredible journey of resilience and success. 


Just to kind of take you back to episode 335, to just seven months after being let go from a company he once envisioned leading, Mike fearlessly embarked on his first business venture. Little did he know the decision would set the stage for a remarkable 22 year journey of growth and achievement through his leadership and dedication. That started up flourished, eventually being sold for I’m not going to say it, I’ll let Mike tell you later for a huge sum of money that surpassed his wildest dreams. But the story doesn’t end there. He’s the creator of the renowned awesome book Ownershift and how Did it Happen? Podcast. He’s now deeply immersed in his second startup, in so many other ventures. 


But today we’re kind of going to dive into his new program, the dream exits. Mike reminds us that up to 75% of entrepreneurs don’t do any exit planning and he says none, and that every successful entrepreneur deserves a dream exit that maximizes the value of your business and your meaning in your post exit life. And Mike, thank you so much for coming back on. Please introduce yourself at the Time to Shine Today podcast. First You’ve subscribed at first. Tell me maybe a superpower that you have that maybe no one really knows about. 


0:03:06 – Mike Malatesta

I think that no one knows about that’s huh Until now. I’ll tell you what. I don’t know if it’s a superpower, but I really enjoy having conversations with people where I can, in a non-manipulative way, just like a normal organic way, get them to be curious about themselves in a way that they weren’t curious before the conversation. I feel like when I’m doing, when I’m just having breakfast with someone, or when I’m doing a podcast with someone Scott, that I, if I can get there with somebody, I feel like I’ve really shown them that I’m present with them. 

0:03:50 – Mike Malatesta

I feel like presence is such a gift that so few of us give one another anymore. And it’s hard I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s hard but if I get there I feel like that’s a, that’s a gift for both of us and I really I feel like that’s at least a superpower that I would like to say that I have. 


0:04:10 – Scott Ferguson

No, I love it To be curious. I mean, you have to be present, right? Like you just said, yeah, and like so many people, have a foot in the future, a foot in the past and they pee all over the present right and they don’t realize like the gift that a present, even in the word, is right to really have. 


and you are super curious and I think if you and I met at a networking event it would be not awkward, but it would be like we would both be asking questions of each other, really getting to know the person that we went to you know, cause my biggest compliment at networking event Mikey, if I meet somebody when I walk away from them, I want them to go what? The hell is that guy? Do I? 


don’t know what I’m saying because I know everything about them. And then I’m the guy that tries to get a business card. I have a stack of thank you cards in my car and I write them out real quick and I try to get a one to one. So, but yeah, that’s just, that’s awesome. I knew it was going to have something to say with within the curiosity platform, because that is your superpower. A hundred percent, man. It’s written all through your book ownership and even in your podcasts as well. Even when you had me on, you were super curious about me. 


So again, I really really appreciate your time, brother, coming on, but what else has been going on with you, man? 


0:05:20 – Mike Malatesta

Well, you know I’ve been a lot. A lot has happened for me, both from an experience standpoint and a mindset standpoint. After I wrote the book ownership, how, getting selfish got me unstuck and you were kind enough to get the book and have me on and talk about the book and 335. I think you said the episode was Now I wrote that book for myself. That was my primary. 


I was the primary audience for that book because it had just been a goal of mine for so long that I’d been ignoring and kicking down the road I so. So I finally well, covid actually gave me the the not the opportunity it gave me. It took away all the reasons for why I hadn’t done it before, because here I was like all of us, just like what the heck do I do with all this time? But having written that book it, it changed my life dramatically because I shared things in that book that I had never shared before. So that’s one for me. It was like cathartic, I think. I I think I laid down some principles that mattered to people, that people could engage with and see themselves in in my shoes and those in the stories. But it also opened. It also opened up this curiosity of people who read it, who would come to me and ask about coaching, whether I had ever done any coaching. And I had not, not any formal coaching. 


I’d been, I’d been one of those people who helps out anybody who asked me you know for whatever that’s worth, but I had never thought about actually coaching, and so that got me started on the, the thinking about where can I be most beneficial to people, and that, under this kind of personal Epic, I think thatflies me in and out every kind of led me to where I am now, Like I was exploring it, I think, and I just don’t want to be a coach for people who think they need a coach. I want to be a coach or an advisor to people in a way that really wraps up all of my experiences and where I think I can make the biggest impact. And that’s what’s led me to where I am now with this program that I call the Dream Exit, Scott, and I feel like when you get to a point whether it’s your Jiu Jitsu or whether it’s in your real estate business or keynoting a big stage, Fergie where you’re like this is exactly where I should be, and so that’s where I am now with my focus. 


0:07:54 – Scott Ferguson

Is it like a flow or what they say, locked in with what you’re putting out to people to help them level up through your Dream Exit? Is it like a flow? What I’m saying? Like you don’t even think about it, it’s kind of happening and it naturally is just coming off of you. 


0:08:10 – Mike Malatesta

Well, yeah, as I was exploring where could I have the most impact, I kept going back to or what are the things that I’m talking about all the time? What are the things that I’m curious about all the time? What are the things that people are coming to me to ask me about because of they know, my experience with mergers and acquisitions, with founding companies, with selling companies, with investing in companies, and it kind of all came to me like the convergence of all of that thinking about all of those things got me to this. Oh okay, this is where I should be, because there’s a big need and there aren’t very many people helping with this need. 


0:08:48 – Scott Ferguson

Love it. I love it. Yeah, it’s true. It kind of reminds me a little bit, on a different scale, of an athlete will come in to an organization, make a ton of money but if he gets hurt or something like that, he doesn’t have a way that he’s to go like an exit strategy. 


0:09:09 – Mike Malatesta



0:09:10 – Scott Ferguson

But to take it back to our kind of people like who would be the avatar? If you will, someone that would really need the dream exit strategy and also, after you, let us know that, can you kind of dive a little deeper into exactly what it is? 


0:09:26 – Mike Malatesta

I sure will, yeah, so my program is targeted to entrepreneurs and business owners with companies having revenues between five and $100 million. I operated those companies, I’ve started those companies, I’ve grown those companies. I’ve sold those companies. So that’s my avatar. And here’s the deal you mentioned that stats 75% don’t plan for their exit. Here’s another one that UBS came out with recently 80, I think it was 81% 80 or 81% of business owners entrepreneurs who’ve sold their business say that they should have prepared to sell their business longer and they regret that they didn’t. 


0:10:12 – Scott Ferguson

You mean longer ago. 


0:10:14 – Mike Malatesta

Pardon me. 


0:10:15 – Scott Ferguson

Like longer ago. Is that what you mean? Longer ago? 


0:10:17 – Mike Malatesta

yes, Okay, right, and the two things converge there, because most entrepreneurs that I know and whose businesses I have bought don’t start thinking in a meaningful, intentional way about how to exit, how to have a dream exit, until someone comes along with an offer or they get so frustrated with the business that they’re like I just gotta get out of this thing. And both of those situations are not optimal and likely won’t lead to what I call the dream exit. So what is the dream exit? Well, it’s two things. One is preparing your business to sell for its maximum value. That’s number one. Two, it’s preparing yourself as the entrepreneur or the business owner for a maximum meaning and purpose after you sell the business, the. So why do I think this is a need? Well, the stats that we talked about already reflect this. But my friends, the people that I bought businesses from, my friends who run businesses this is the thing If you put your life into a business and you sell it, and after you sell it, you are like regretful, you are pissed off about how the new owners running it, you don’t like that, you’re not needed anymore, and so that’s the business side. 


And or you think you get ripped off on the escrow or the hold back or the earn out or all these things that people get themselves into. So that’s on the business side. And then on the other side, kind of like the athlete that you talked about, you don’t do any preparation for what are you? What’s gonna bring you purpose and meaning after you sell the business? And so you start to figure that out after you’ve sold the business, and my opinion that’s the worst time to start figuring that out. Or you think, well, once I have some money and I don’t have to work, I’ll figure out what works for me. Or you think I’ll retire, and I just don’t like the negative connotation, at least for me, of that word and the mindset that I think that puts people into. So rather than saying, well, I’ve had this business for 25 years and there’s so much value that I have that I can offer other people after I get out of this, you think instead, well, this is all I know, and what am I possibly going to do Because this is all I know? 


So my program is a three month program. The initial program is three month program Scott, where I help the entrepreneur, the business owner, their team, construct what I call the dream exit playbook and the dream exit playbook essentially takes them through 10 modules. This is one-on-one, it’s not an online course or anything. I mean they’re getting me, I’m okay with them. It’s 10 modules that take you from the introduction of how this process is going to work all the way through preparing the business, preparing yourself, getting the right advisory team, asking yourself the right questions to increase the value of your business, finding the right team, learning how to negotiate terms, finding the right buyers. It’s like soup to nuts on everything, and the output of this is a planning document that gets you set for the two things that I said at Dream Exit is Selling your business, preparing your business to sell for maximum value preparing yourself for maximum meaning. 


And that happens over a 90 day period and ideally I want to be working with people a year, two years, before they are thinking about selling, because what you can’t get ready in 90 days when someone gives you an offer and you decide to accept it. So two things that I really want people to get out of my program. One is I want to give everybody that comes through my program the thinking tools and the advantage of having those thinking tools and having done the thinking, because when you come up against a sophisticated buyer, they normally have the advantage. Fergie right, they know how to do this. 


And they are not looking to give you a Dream Exit. They’re looking to get their own dream purchase. And then the second thing is I want to really get people thinking about what life’s going to be like after you make this choice. 


0:15:11 – Scott Ferguson

Gotcha and Mike, if they come to you and maybe you’re in a discovery period, right yeah, Do they ask you. Hey, would you look at my books and let me know what you think, or do you want them to come to you with? Hopefully it’s within that time and it’s not 90 days and it’s a couple of years out. I mean, what I’m asking is how are you kind of really fishing or marketing or prospecting for the people? 


0:15:36 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, what I mean, my real focus is on identifying people that have audiences of these kinds of entrepreneurs and business owners already and asking them if I can present to their people, asking them if they will help me get this important information out in front of people for you. So that’s my number one. Number two I’ve got a column that I just started doing in the business, small biz. It’s called BizTimes. It’s based in Milwaukee but it’s got more of a global reach, so I’m talking about it there. I’ve already had multiple people reach out to me from that one article and, of course, my own network. But whether it’s through YPO or Vistage or some of the other groups that I belong to, I’m trying to talk to those people. That where it makes sense, just hey, if somebody who’s in this situation me what I can do, what. 


0:16:34 – Scott Ferguson

I’ve been through you feel free to make an introduction, right? Is there a day that you woke up, mike, I’m asking you to be transparent here and you’d be like holy shit, I need a dream exit, huh. So I’m saying it’s like did you learn it from something you went through? Cause a lot of my coaching right comes from what I’ve actually experienced right. 


0:17:00 – Mike Malatesta

So I just curious yeah, so I’ll tell you, in 2008, it’s 2008 or 2009, we in my first business, we went through a process so that’s lingo for hiring an investment banker and basically shopping the business to recapitalize it. I had three partners, or well, two main partners at the time and me. They were older than I was and we were looking to find a way to recapitalize a business so that they could take their money and I would stay. And that was a real eye-opening process for me because I found out that I didn’t know what I didn’t know during that process and the way it turned out. At the end. We got multiple offers, but here was the thing the offers came and we had to take on all this debt to buy my partners out. And then here I was, stuck, repaying all this debt. 


Again, it was felt to me like I was starting over, and because I went into it not knowing what a recapitalization really was, not knowing where my position would be if I stayed in, I learned a tremendous amount from that, and so after that point, I started putting together in my mind how this would have to work for me to be happy. 


And that’s always a great question to ask people that they don’t think about that often. If we look back, if we take you out into the future say a year from now and we look back over that time, what has to happen for you to be happy? And when I started thinking about it that way, I started thinking oh okay, I know, I do want to buy out my partners eventually. I do want to have 100% of this business. I do want to grow the business tremendously during that period of time too. All of those are sort of those ideas can clash together, because it’s sometimes hard to grow a business when you want to take out partners because you don’t want the value to keep going on. So that experience 2008, 2009, when we didn’t go through with it really changed my whole thinking about where I wanted to end up. And I’m not suggesting I sat down and wrote everything out at that point, but I wish at that time that I had had a playbook that I could use. 


0:19:22 – Scott Ferguson

I love it. And so maybe you’re approaching some of these business owners, not cold calling them. They read your article. You’re maybe kind of talking to them. Is there any people on their staff that you might get pushed back from? I’m saying because they’re relying on jobs, right, this entrepreneur, the people like you, me, we’re providing for people, right? Do you get any pushback from the underlings that are like, no, no, no, don’t do that. And that’s just a question that kind of came because when I go and I coach a company, the COO, somebody kind of brings me in and says, hey, man, this is what’s going on, Awesome. And then I try myself to seek out the person that is going to give me the big, because they’re like, oh shit, is my job on the line, bringing this Ferguson guy in and saying so, yeah, you get any pushback from that, Mike? 


0:20:13 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, it’s a super great question and, yes, is is the answer, and here’s how I deal with it. One of the modules is you got to get everybody on your team. They have to understand why you’re doing this and why it’s good for them. 


0:20:25 – Scott Ferguson

That’s what I pulled the question from from your module. That outline you sent me, mike is phenomenal. Thank you for doing it so I could dig a little bit. But no, thank you. Yeah, appreciate that, man. 


0:20:33 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, I mean, everybody on the team has to know why this is good for them. They can’t just know why it’s good for the business owner or the entrepreneur. And here’s the thing If we do the planning right, it is going to be good for you because one somebody’s going to have to replace the business owner or the entrepreneur right Almost always. 


Two, the people who who are there. You have to build the strongest team you can have today in order to get the best price. So the people that are involved in it have to know that that this is about rising up. Okay, this isn’t about getting cut. This is about rising up. So they have to know why it’s good for them. 


And, of course, I want to convince the business owner that you have to pay people. You have to give them something to hang their hat on just to believe in this, to stay in it, and then they have to see a future that’s bigger for them than the one that they see now, with you in charge, for example. So definitely very, very important. And when you go to sell the business, if I’m the buyer, I need to see that you got a really solid team, because there’s a lot of sort of fake lore that gets out there that the company’s going to buy and they’re going to cut everybody. That’s very rarely the case. They don’t have people. They want great people. They just want to be sure that you are a great person. 


0:22:04 – Scott Ferguson

Right, do you see people from again? You’re two key things that really stand out Prepare your business itself for max value and prepare yourself for max meaning in the afterlife in purpose, right that they have you run into any company and somebody like listen, like that number two thing is something I’m really struggling with because I have other people that are going to step up and run the business. 


0:22:32 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, so here’s my reaction to that. 


Okay, yeah please, every single entrepreneur who has sold their business that I have talked to about this have said that second part. There was nobody to help me with that. Right, that second part is what I’m struggling with right now. Even if you can get them to be honest which normally you can they look to the outside world. They look like this is great, right, I got whatever. I’m playing golf when I want, I go to the beach, I do this. All the stuff that the retirement sort of complex creates in your mind right they? 


go what Like? Nobody emails me anymore, nobody calls me anymore. I get up and I’m like what am I doing? 


0:23:27 – Scott Ferguson

I mean, I find something to do, but they’re like what am I doing? 


0:23:31 – Mike Malatesta

And I mean eventually they probably will figure it out. But why wouldn’t you want to have that figured out, at least your starting point? Why? Wouldn’t you want to have that figured? Out right away, and so that’s what I’m trying to convince people that you do it now and you’re going to be way better off later because the look, the worst thing that you can do for a lot of entrepreneurs is give them a bucket full of money and nothing to do. 


0:24:00 – Scott Ferguson

Yup, it’s just trouble waiting to blow through it, and just natural way. Yes, and living in South Florida, where I live. Okay, I’m in Jupiter, florida, basically Palm Beach right. And I see that every day, brother, like I go to certain places like Lyman cello, for example. Ken Langone goes in there and he’s the one that funded freaking Home Depot right Billionaire dude. 


And I’ve stricken up conversations with him. But he’s one of the guys that actually stays busy, stays going, has stuff, and I also see other people in there that have retired and a year later they’re dead. You know what I’m saying. Or serving in the military, bro, like the lifers that come and got out, I’m like, oh, fagallo’s out, yeah, if he died because he has. No, he didn’t feel he had meaning. You know what I’m saying and I love that you put that second part together to this, because anybody can connect anybody. But, like a lot of people in Southern business is Mikey right, but it’s like what is next? That’s why I want to ask that. 


0:25:02 – Mike Malatesta

Okay. So, like I said, the playbook is like the first thing, and then I also offer people me as an advocate when they decide that they do want to pursue an offer that they’ve gotten. 


And I and and people say, well, why would you do that? They have a lawyer at that point, they have an accountant, they have an investment banker, a business broker yeah, but what they don’t have? They don’t have anyone who is 100% their advocate. And when you go through a sale process, it’s, it’s daunting. It’s daunting, frustrating, overwhelming, particularly if you haven’t done any planning and there’s a lot at stake. And like 80%, 90% it’s hard to get exact data on this but a very high percentage of transactions don’t happen. They fail, they fail at some point. And when you go through like the one I said, failed because we didn’t want to do it at the end, right, when you go through something like this and it doesn’t happen, it can be devastating. 


I mean, it can be really hard, and so I’ve been there and I want to make sure that people have somebody like me on their side, not to challenge their lawyer or do anything like that, but just to help them execute their playbook if they have one, and, if they don’t, to be the person who says here’s how we’re going to handle this. You’re not in the right state to respond to that right now. So let’s not do that. Let’s push back on this request, because it’s something they’re just feeling their way into and it’s not necessary, and there’s all kinds of those things, and I’m just the person that keeps propping you up and making sure that you get what you want. 


0:27:04 – Scott Ferguson

I love it. You’re that 100% advocate for, like you mentioned for the person. And within the DreamExit, are you helping them build a team around themselves of other strategic alliances that you might work for that two-step process? 


0:27:21 – Mike Malatesta

Yes, so we go through building the right team. We go through building the right advisory team. So those are definitely two things that we go through Now. I don’t do the work for them. We map it out, we identify it and it’s part of the planning program. 


0:27:41 – Scott Ferguson

I love it. I love it. So maybe when you’re talking to the, you’ve kind of met with them. You’re in the discovery period. Mikey, is there any good question that you wish they would ask you but never do? 


0:27:54 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, I guess I mean not many people, not many people. Well, here’s the thing. Here’s the toughest thing. Most entrepreneurs let me know if this is your experience they don’t want to admit that they don’t know how to do something. And so you’ll bring something up and they’ll say oh yeah, I do that. Oh yeah, I’ve tried that. Oh yeah, I can handle that. Oh, I heard that that’s no good, so I don’t want to do that. They do. They’ve been very, very successful doing what they do. But this is a whole different thing. Like building a business is not like selling a business. It’s totally different. And like Marshall Goldsmith has this book, the title is like what Got you here Won’t Get you there. That’s what I like to. I wish more people would just say admit that, hey, I realize that what got me here isn’t going to get me there, and the amount of money that I will spend with someone who can help get me there is so like the return on investment is like 100X. 


0:29:06 – Scott Ferguson

Oh my gosh, if we do this right. 


0:29:08 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, and yet this rugged individualist sort of tendency is in the way, and so I have to be working with people who are willing to at least explore putting that away. I can’t tell you not to have it, because it’s part of who you are. 


0:29:26 – Scott Ferguson

But can you put it away for this? 


0:29:28 – Mike Malatesta

purpose and yeah. 


0:29:31 – Scott Ferguson

Yeah, and I used to be that guy when I was even older where I had to be involved in the stuff and I do deep dives, obviously, in people of our history and when Henry Ford was like listen, dude, the smartest man in the world hires somebody smarter than them to do stuff. And I’m saying so, that’s where I really started letting go. It took me a minute and it’s really helping out even with myself. 


0:29:56 – Mike Malatesta

So yeah, very smart. 


0:29:58 – Scott Ferguson

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what if I’m at a networking event, right, and I’m pressing some flash, meeting some people like who would be the perfect person that I’d be talking to? I understand the numbers that you’re asking for with the $5 million to $100 million, but what would make me spark and say, oh man, they need to talk to my dream exit guide, Mike Melitesta. What other things might they say? 


0:30:23 – Mike Malatesta

I think there’s a couple of things that I would ask people Okay, and that is are you running your business like it’s for sale? That’s a thing that I think. I think that’s why so. Or I might ask them what do you see yourself being or doing after you sell your business? 


And see most people don’t want to talk about that because they think, well, I’m not going to sell my business, it’s not for sale. There’s very few you meet who are like I started this business to sell it and I love those people. I’m not saying that that’s the approach that I took in my businesses, but I like that approach. So just something that gets them thinking about a period of time in the future that they’ve been kicking down the can on that down the road for many years. I love it. 


0:31:21 – Scott Ferguson

Okay, I mean, that’s why, even with myself, you don’t see Scott Ferguson anywhere. People will be like Fergie brand yourself. I’m like never, because, like Stephen Covey, I think his fourth rule was like begin with the end of night, right, and it’s one of the first books I read in my early twenties and being 51 now, it’s like I know that one day, like what I’m doing with time to shine today, which thank you so much for all the support I get out there squad, but like we’ve did a million dollars plus of referrals for people that we brought on to the time to shine today podcast, right, and it’s just going to grow and grow and grow. I want somebody really it’s going to take that in in run with it in the next 15, 20 years and I’m done when I’m in my seventies and doing my dream exit. But it’s, it’s huge and in the scene with you, you have ownership. You have. 


How did it happen? It might be, how did it happen with Mike Malatusta, right, but it’s that you don’t attach your name, your brand, if you will, to it, but people know it’s straight up if they read between the lines and I really appreciate that man. Yeah, okay, so we got the people that I love it. I love those two questions. Are you running your business like it’s for sale? I do want to unpack that one just a little bit. Sure, okay. What did you mean by that? 


0:32:35 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, so I call it having a buyer’s lens. So when you look at your business, are you running it the way that you would if you were a buyer, or the things that I see? You see, when you look at it, the things that you would want to see when you were if you were a buyer? My opinion is that when you run your business as if it’s for sale, you are going to be a better entrepreneur and you’re going to run a better business. 


It’s just happened 100% of the time. But most people they say, well, this is my business, I do what I want, I hire my friends or my brother’s on the payroll, but it doesn’t do anything. Or I run all my expenses through the business and they do all of these things that they think work for them. But then when you go now I want to sell this business, and then I make an offer predicated on what I think your business is and I start looking at stuff and I go man. 


0:33:32 – Scott Ferguson

This is freaking amazing dude why are all these like? 


0:33:37 – Mike Malatesta

what can I actually believe about this business? Because if you’re doing all of these things that don’t make sense to a buyer, then you have to convince the buyer that they make sense right. So all this right away, you are on the wrong side of that buyer. And so all I’m trying to get people to look at is, if you want to sell your business for maximum value, it has to look and present itself to a buyer with it has to look and present itself favorably to a buyer Because they’re looking for a deal too, if they see your brother-in-law on the payroll. 


0:34:15 – Scott Ferguson

That’s just dead weight that you can offer. 


0:34:17 – Mike Malatesta

Maybe even less for the business, right, because you’re seeing that, as that’s just a excuse, my language bullshit add-on, I mean okay, and once I see that I’m going to dig into everything, because I’m going to, because I’m like well, wait a minute, if that’s the way that is, or if, you like, you’re running BS expenses through your business or you’re keeping people like your brother, or you’re keeping other people around who just aren’t performing, or you have zero expectations for anyone. But thankfully the business is still doing okay. 


0:34:49 – Scott Ferguson



0:34:50 – Mike Malatesta

Those are things that you’re just leaving money on the table and you’re inviting scrutiny that you shouldn’t. So when you, if you do the planning right, you do your dream exit planning right, you create your playbook. When you do decide that you want to look at selling the business, you are going to be in control, you’re going to know what you want, you’re going to be prepared for what people ask and you are going to have slam the door on skeletons in the closet trash that’s built up in your business that you’ve just been ignoring BS, people on the payroll, all of the other stuff there’s and there’s hundreds of things so that you present like perfect. So if someone’s like buyer’s eyes on this, this is a great business. This is a business that I want. 


0:35:37 – Scott Ferguson

Yeah, this is amazing. Like that. That stands out to me more than what a lot of probably 80, 90% of what people have said on my podcast. Man and I’m going to start running my business as if it’s for sale, because I know just from this couple of things you said there’s dead weight on there and I’m thinking to myself I’m trying to listen to you, but I’m also thinking things like that. I’m like, okay, there is a person that I kind of keep on, but I can move that person to another business that isn’t as important as this business that I want to sell one day. Man, that’s strong brother. 


Thank you for sharing that man. So any big challenges that you’ve came up with this right now that you’re looking to navigate that maybe myself or someone that’s out there listening might be able to help you with. 


0:36:26 – Mike Malatesta

I think, yes, talking about it, giving me a platform to talk about it, I think, are two great gifts. 


0:36:32 – Scott Ferguson

So thank you very much. I got about five podcasts in my mind right now. 


0:36:36 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, I mean, this dream exit thing is revolutionary and huge. Yeah, Like you said, there’s a lot of people. There’s people who do exit planning, but there are not people that I’ve found who one, want to help you actually put this playbook together. Two, to accomplish the actual dream exit goal, which are those two things. And three, to just give you the confidence that you need to get to enter into the most consequential financial and professional thing you will more than likely ever do. Why would you want to go into that Not being fully stacked and ready to go? 


Why would you want to do that? 


0:37:29 – Scott Ferguson

I love it. I think I love about this conversation. I’ll go back to episode 335, when your quote, I believe, and I’m kind of paraphrasing I don’t do this work to make a living. I do make a difference to you, yeah, and you’re living it, bro, and I so appreciate that. And you are also the one that said we all know what we want, but we don’t want to talk ourselves. We don’t know how to talk ourselves. 


0:37:52 – Mike Malatesta

Talk ourselves into it. Yeah. 


0:37:55 – Scott Ferguson

And Mike, I’ve probably given you at least 50 shout outs on stages because I say that every time I’m like, listen, get a friend of mine up in Milwaukee. Mike Malatesta says that, and I add that everybody has that challenge inside them, but so does the answer is there as well. 


0:38:11 – Mike Malatesta

And that’s what a great coach will help you. So you’re right, you’re right, mike. 


0:38:16 – Scott Ferguson

how can we find the Dream Exit program brother? 


0:38:19 – Mike Malatesta

Well, my website, which is my name, mike Malatesta M-A-L-A-T-E-S-T-Acom is the place to go to find it. The program is on there. How you contact me is on there. Everything you need to know about my history and why I’m the right person to be working with you on this is on there, and then you just reach out. 


0:38:44 – Scott Ferguson

I love it. I love it and I would be remissed if I didn’t take you. I’ve added new questions to my leveling up lightning round that I got to get you through here and, if you have time. 


0:38:53 – Mike Malatesta

do you have time? Yeah, I got time Go ahead. 


0:38:55 – Scott Ferguson

Awesome Time to shine today podcast for our C Squad. Mike, we’ve went through a couple of these questions before and I’m not going to hold you to answer them like you did before, because it’s been over a year and a half since we’ve really talked, I believe, or maybe a year, but so I just love to get your take on some of these questions. You ready to level up? Let’s do it All right, let’s do it. Mike. What is the best leveling up advice you’ve ever received? 


0:39:18 – Mike Malatesta



0:39:19 – Scott Ferguson

Yeah, share one of your personal habits that contributes to your success. 


0:39:23 – Mike Malatesta



0:39:24 – Scott Ferguson

Yeah. So I’m walking down the street and man Fergie looks like he’s in his dull jumps a little bit other than owner shift. What book might you hand me to level me up? 


0:39:38 – Mike Malatesta

I’m going to go back, I’m going to go to thinking grow rich, I love it. 


0:39:41 – Scott Ferguson

Napoleon Hill can’t go wrong, can’t go wrong. Yeah, your most commonly used emoji when you text Smile at my face, love it, I’m boring Me too. Nickname’s growing up. 


0:39:51 – Mike Malatesta



0:39:52 – Scott Ferguson

Malo Love it. I’m going to go back to the previous resolutions this year. 


0:39:56 – Mike Malatesta

I did not, I did not. 


0:39:59 – Scott Ferguson

I did not. I love here and I did not. I mean I made two every year right. One to make someone smile every day, and two unless I’ve hurt you, disrespect you or judge you, I could care less what you think about me. Those are the only two that you have to have Make someone smile, and then just don’t really care what people think, unless you’ve did something wrong. So chess checkers or monopoly. 


0:40:21 – Mike Malatesta

I am probably a checkers Me too. Headline for your life he mattered. 


0:40:28 – Scott Ferguson

Yes, you got any superstitions that you have. 


0:40:32 – Mike Malatesta

You know I don’t I’m not dogmatic about it, but that whole step on a crack break your mother’s back. I’m cognizant about that all the time. I love it yeah. 


0:40:41 – Scott Ferguson

That’s awesome O2 ice cream flavor. Probably a chocolate guy Love it. There’s a sandwich called the Malo-Wallow. Build that sandwich for me. What’s on that sandwich? 


0:40:54 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, so I would do roast beef, swiss cheese, tomato, maybe a little pesto, ooh, and I would make sure the bread is toasted, because I can’t eat bread that’s not toasted. 


0:41:04 – Scott Ferguson

Oh yeah, I love that you can hang out anytime, man. So favorite charity and or organization like to give your time or money to. Well there’s you can go on with this one a little bit. 


0:41:15 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, there’s a few, so the most recent one we’re committing to is called Made-A-House. It’s a Milwaukee group that helps women with substance abuse or domestic abuse issues get cleaned up, get righted, get safe and get productive. 


0:41:39 – Scott Ferguson

I love that. I love that you’re doing it for them. So been into any good concerts lately. 


0:41:45 – Mike Malatesta

Brandy Carlisle was the last concert I went to. I wouldn’t say that I was a fan going in, but I was a fan coming out. 


0:41:52 – Scott Ferguson

She’s great, I love it. Mike, I know that you said that we can find you at MikeMalatesta and that’s M-A-L-A-T-E-S-T-Acom. Where else can we find your brother? 


0:42:02 – Mike Malatesta

Well, LinkedIn, MikeMalatesta there, MikeMalatesta on Twitter, that’s. I’d say. Linkedin is where I’m most active. 


0:42:10 – Scott Ferguson

You are yeah. 


0:42:11 – Mike Malatesta

It just seems to be where my people are. Yeah, you can find me, yeah. I mean not that many people have my name, so it’s kind of easy to find me. 


0:42:22 – Scott Ferguson

Yeah, it’s pretty unique. It’s kind of cool how it flows Malatesta it’s like how many bottles are there Malatesta? 


0:42:27 – Mike Malatesta

like four of all or four syllables in it. 


0:42:29 – Scott Ferguson

Four syllables yeah, Very good. Yeah, I’m doing like elementary school Malatesta. 


0:42:34 – Mike Malatesta

Remember that. I’ll teach you. I was. You know what I was doing the same thing with my fingers, so don’t worry, I wanted to be sure I did it. I said it right. 


0:42:41 – Scott Ferguson

I love it. Mike, give me one last favor and leave us with one last knowledge nugget we can kind of take with us and turn our eyes and take action on. 


0:42:51 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah. So this is really for entrepreneurs, I would say. But you know, if you do the dream, exit right, you’re gonna have a life that’s different than you’ve had your whole entrepreneurial career. And it’s gonna come down to these words it’s gonna be a life of options instead of obligations. 


0:43:11 – Scott Ferguson

Dude, that’s another one I use on stage. Yeah, you said that you gotta go back squat and listen to 335. And I say it a lot, even with my. What’s my definition of success? I’m asked on podcasts. I’m like I have to tell my boy, m&m Mike Malatesta, that live a life of options, not obligations. That’s huge, but that’s amazing. You’re just chock-full in the squad. 


If you’re a business owner out there or you are one that is not running it like it’s for sale, please let me make a warm introduction to Mike or just reach out to him directly. If you’ve seen the show notes, I mean Mike is super curious. He wants you to be curious as well. His presence and being present is absolutely huge. He wants to know where he can be the most beneficial to people and he would coach people and he wants you to have a coach that is going to make the biggest impact on you. And if you aren’t an entrepreneur or a business owner of $5 million to $100 million in revenue, please again and you’re not running it like it’s for sale, then please again, let me make a warm introduction to Mike because he’ll put you on the right path, because he remembered and he reminded us that failing to plan is planning to fail period and a lot of people that run businesses they should have been probably sold longer ago, at least really thought about selling it longer ago, and basically wants a meaningful and intentional existence until someone comes along, gets an offer and it’s frustrated and that’s not the way to run it. Run the business. Mike will help you prepare your business to sell at max value and prepare yourself for max meaning and purpose after you sell. You know real estate or retirement a lot of times has a negative connotation, at least to me. His dream exit playbook that he’s gonna start you on the 10 modules, how it works, prepare your business and yourself to exit the best way possible. I mean really dig into this. So if you’re out pressing flesh with somebody and you hear people talk about man, I’m really thinking about selling my business or even ask them what’s your exit strategy of business. That’s probably something that’s gonna kind of come out of my mouth quite a bit. That moving forward For me, especially so I can get business. 


To my good friend Mike here, who levels up his health. He levels up his wealth. He’s hungry yet humble. He’s an handsome devil. He’s earned his second varsity squad letter here at Time to Shine Today. Thank you so much for coming on, mike. I absolutely love your guts brother. 


0:45:34 – Mike Malatesta

Thanks, Fergie. Hey, and you can also email me the dream exit at gmailcom. Put Fergie in the subject line or Time to Shine in the subject line, and I’ll treat you really special. And, Fergie, thanks for having me on. Thanks for wearing your abundant AFT shirt. For those people who are watching, I’ve got just my abundance. 


0:45:52 – Scott Ferguson

Yes, we do we got it. 


0:45:53 – Mike Malatesta

We’re twins, we’re kind of twins here. I just really appreciate this opportunity to talk with you and your peeps. 


0:45:59 – Scott Ferguson

You bet, brother, we’ll chat soon, my man. 


0:46:01 – Mike Malatesta

Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this show and before you go, I just have three requests for you. One if you like what I’m doing, please consider subscribing or following the podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer. If you’re really into it, leave me a review, write something nice about me, give me five stars or whatever you feel is most appropriate. Number two I’ve got a book. It’s called Owner Shift how Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck. It’s an Amazon bestseller and I’d love for you to read it or listen to it on Audible or wherever else Barnes, noble, amazon you can get it everywhere If you’re looking for inspiration that will help you unlock your greatness and potential. Order or download it today so that you can have your very own copy and if you get it, please let me know what you think. Number three my newsletter. I do a newsletter every Thursday and I talk about things that are interesting to me and or I give more information about the podcast and the podcast guests that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve had with them. 


You can sign up for the podcast today at my website, which is my name You do that right now. Put in your email address and you’ll get the very next issue. The newsletter is short, thoughtful and designed to inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you.

Alexi Cortopassi

Alexi Cortopassi

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I help entrepreneurs get unstuck, take back their power, achieve their life objectives, and create the futures they want.

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