The Dream Exit™ [409]

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In today’s episode, Mike talks about why he created The Dream Exit™ program, what kinds of entrepreneurs it’s designed to serve, and why it’s so important to plan early and intentionally for The Dream Exit™ that you deserve.

Your greatest responsibility as a successful entrepreneur is to get your business and yourself ready early — intentionally, and purposefully — for The Dream Exit™ you deserve long before you’re ready to sell — and even if you think you’ll never sell.

Because it’s never just about the money, you also need to be thinking about your “now what?” – what your life will look like in a post-exit world. That’s why you need to prepare now for Your Dream Exit™.

Maximizing your life’s work – and your incredible future – are not things that you should bet on, especially when the odds are very much against you winning that bet or realizing that hope.

As The Dream Exit Expert™, Mike knowa what it takes, which is why he created the playbook process to help you build The Dream Exit Playbook™, customized for you and your business — in less than 90 days. What makes his work as The Dream Exit Expert™ so unique is that it’s based on what he’s experienced in his own pursuit of The Dream Exit™ he deserved.  

Maximizing the value of your business and your post-exit meaning won’t happen by accident, ignorance, or grit. You can muscle, will, and ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ yourself – but when it comes to The Dream Exit™ you’ve earned and deserve, it’s not the time to ‘go it alone,’ or leave it to chance. 

Please join Mike for this exciting episode.

Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:

0:00:07 – Mike Malatesta:
Hey everybody, welcome back to the how Did it Happen podcast. This is my free thinking Friday episode, solo episode. Thank you so much for joining me. It’s your first time listening. Thank you so much for being here and, of course, if you like the podcast, please like or follow or subscribe to it, leave me a review, share it with your friends, whatever feels right to you, and if you’re returning and have been a long time listener, thank you so much for coming back today and for all of your support.

I really love doing this podcast and it makes me feel great when I can positively impact someone or talk about something or have someone on who makes a difference in your life or in your thinking or in the way you run your business or your relationships, or whatever the case may be. Anyway, thank you for being here today. I’m going to talk about something that I’m very excited about. I’ve been working on this for a few months and I think I have it right where it needs to be, and I call this the dream exit, and I think it applies whether you’re an entrepreneur or whether you’re not, because it’s really a thinking process about getting prepared for the next portion of your life. So the dream exit program is essentially a program that I developed with a goal of having every successful entrepreneur have what I call the dream exit. So what is a dream exit? Well, to me, a dream exit is being able to sell your business for its maximum value. That’s part one, and part two is to be ready to maximize your value, your meaning, in your post-exit life. By post-exit I mean after you’ve sold your company or transitioned it to the next generation or whatever it is that you want to do with it. And so why am I doing it? And does this apply if you’re not interested in selling? So I’m going to address those things. So, to me, the greatest responsibility of every successful entrepreneur is to get your business and yourself dream exit ready as early as possible to lock in your best chance to achieve the dream exit you’ve earned and deserve and I think this is true in every situation even if you think you’ll never sell. So this isn’t a process just about selling. It’s a mindset process.

And despite this truth, 75% or more of entrepreneurs don’t do any exit planning at all. None, zero. They leave the most important financial, professional and personal experience of their lives completely to chance, or pretty much completely to chance and the results of that are predictable and sad. They receive a less than an optimal price, which is bad enough less than optimal price for your business and even more consequential is that they’re unprepared for a meaningful post-exit life. And I know this because I’ve been involved in acquiring 23, 24 businesses and I’ve also started and sold two businesses of my own. And I can tell you, through my OPLUS, I surround myself with lots of entrepreneurs, many of whom have sold a business, and I can tell you that the lack of planning for this comes back to bite you Lack of planning for the sale of the business and lack of planning for being prepared for what happens post-exit.

And I think there are a few reasons that this happens. First of all, life is hard. Being an entrepreneur is hard, running a business is hard, growing a business is hard. And there’s not selling a business or thinking about selling the business. For a lot of entrepreneurs seems like it’s way in the future and it’s easy for us to kick down the road, the cans of the future. We can get to that someday. It’s not important today. So that’s one reason.

Number two I think a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners think that when they sell a business that they’ll get a lot of money and the money will solve all the problems and it will create the meaning in their post-exit life. And maybe the third thing is that they just don’t want to think about it. It might not be that pleasant of a thought If you lose your business. Sell your business, you lose it, you lose an identity, you lose your brand, you lose all kinds of things. So I think those are some of the reasons why this doesn’t get done, but my feeling is that those are not good enough reasons not to do it. And I’ll tell you why.

When you prepare your business to be exit ready, as I mentioned before, you improve the business, you put intentional thought into how to make your business better and you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. You put on a buyer I call it a buyer’s lens right An outside perspective on what your business looks like. And when you do that oftentimes it’s almost all the time, but many times it’s eye-opening. You just can’t imagine all of the things that you have been overlooking, for example, that in a buyer’s eyes, you’re going to be a negative, not a positive. There’s so many of those, but once you know them, it’s easy to put a plan in place to fix them.

And when it comes down to actually selling your business, you want to have the advantage over the buyer. You don’t want the buyer to have the advantage over you. And let’s face it in most cases, if you are unprepared and you’re dealing with a sophisticated experience buyer which most buyers are you are going to be at a disadvantage, and not just a little disadvantage, but a lot disadvantage. And I know this for sure because I’m not pontificating here. I’ve got the real-world experience and when I went to sell my own, my first business, I tried to do it myself. I thought I was prepared and then I thought I could handle everything about the negotiations and all pretty much by myself. Now lawyers get involved for the actual paperwork and stuff.

But the bottom line is I thought I could handle the deal and I made a number of mistakes during that and ultimately those mistakes they aggregated and at the end I got outmaneuvered. And I got outmaneuvered for $4 million and that’s a lot of money. I wish I had that $4 million, but I was into deep and I had given up just too much information and it came back to bite me and I don’t want that, whether it’s $4 million or $4 dollars. I don’t want that to happen to any entrepreneur. And, beyond that, this whole thing about if I have money I’ll figure out what happens post-exit Money can solve a lot of problems, but the only problems that money can solve are the ones that are solvable with money. And meaning isn’t solvable with money. In most or all cases it’s just not.

And it just drives me nuts when I see an entrepreneur sell a business and then they’re unhappy. They weren’t prepared for what was next and they don’t know what to do with what’s next and so they do Nothing, and I think that’s just a tremendous waste. I mean, you’ve got so much wisdom, so much talent, so much experience, so much knowledge and that should be used to do something that really lights you up. And yeah, maybe you can’t plan for it exactly, but if you plan early and intentionally for it, you will be in a much better position to get started on something right away I mean, I don’t mean right away the day after, but right away that you think is going to have a pretty good chance of lighting you up. Trying to find that just sort of as it happens, I haven’t seen that work very much. It certainly hasn’t worked for me and I haven’t seen it work for a lot of the entrepreneurs that I know who have been in a similar situation.

So the answer to that is a dream exit playbook, and my mission is to make sure that every successful entrepreneur has the dream exit that they deserve. So I work with entrepreneurs to put together this dream playbook well before they want to sell ideally well before they’re even thinking about it and even if they have no intention of ever selling the business at this point. And that’s because I think that the exercise of putting the playbook together has tremendous value. Certainly has tremendous value. If you do intend to sell the business at some point. I mean like multiple more value you can create in the business as a result. And even if you don’t, you are creating more value in the business that you’re going to keep, and why would you not want to do that?

So, anyway, that’s my little primer on the dream exit. I know it’s sort of you know nitched, funneled into entrepreneurs, but, as I said at the beginning, I think the idea of a playbook for a dream exit in your life is pretty powerful, even if you are not currently an entrepreneur, you don’t have any desire to be an entrepreneur. It’s still a great exercise to go through, to think about the what’s next for all of us. It’s inevitable to have a what’s next Then I want to see the world and you continue to be lit up by the experience, wisdom, talent and everything else that you have to offer, instead of it just being put on the sidelines. So thanks for indulging me today.

If you want to find out more about the dream exit, you can go to my website, mikemalatestacom, or you can send me an email through the website and or send me a note through the podcast app or whatever is LinkedIn. Whatever is the best way for you to connect with me. I focus on companies with successful entrepreneurs, with companies have an annual revenue between $5 million and $100 million and who realize that they have one chance to get their dream exit right and the odds of maximizing and realizing that by themselves, all alone or at the last minute are definitely stacked against them. So if you want to learn more about the dream exit, contact me and we will talk. So until next time, please, everyone is listening. Maximize the greatness that’s inside of you and own your future. Make it your property, something that you are very proud and very psyched to own Until next time.

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 and 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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