Intentional Growth

#155: Buy, then Build and Sell After 5 Years - How to Create Wealth and Run a Business

Intentional Growth
#155: Buy, then Build and Sell After 5 Years - How to Create Wealth and Run a Business

If you are listening to this and wondering who could buy your business, or if you want to buy a business yourself, this episode is for you. In this episode, you’ll hear the story of Mike Wickam, a corporate refugee who spent a few decades turning around big divisions of companies like Verizon. He acquired a ton of knowledge about how to build teams and grow sales. But after years of this, he found he was losing his positivity and becoming cynical. Mike left and started his own consulting company – at least until one of his clients, a plumbing company, was in dire straits. Then he took out an SBA loan and collateralized everything to purchase this dying company and turn it around. He managed to succeed in saving and building up the business, then exiting in year five, just as he planned. Listen to Mike’s story about how he dropped out of the corporate world, started his own business, purchased a struggling business, turned it around, then exited, retired, and finally un-retired.

What you will learn:

  • Where Mike’s career started and how he ended up in the corporate world
  • How to prune the people who aren’t on the team
  • How Mike moved away from the corporate world
  • What it was like not having the corporate infrastructure to enable big moves
  • Why a distressed business appealed to Mike, and how to value one
  • Why Mike took out a loan for a company that was losing money
  • How Mike planned to make the company work
  • KPIs Mike was looking at
  • Where Mike’s ability to plan came from
  • Mike’s triggering event
  • The process of selling the company
  • What retirement was like for Mike
  • Life-after-business plans


Do you have a plan for buying, selling, or retiring? If not, it’s time to start making one.

Links and Resources:

Mike's Email The Unforced Rhythms of Grace & Gratitude

About Mike

Mike Wickam is the Vice President of Gratus Capital, LLC. Mike leads Gratus Capitals’ operating companies, lending his support, guidance, and leadership. He received his B.A. in Communications from Bethel University and his MBA from California State University – San Marcos. The first 20 years of his career was spent in sales and general management positions with companies such as GTE, AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, and Verizon Information Services. In 2010, Mike founded SalesVenom Corp. to help small businesses grow their sales presence and position their companies for future exit options. Mike bought and operated one of his clients and successfully grew it and sold it and his consulting practice in 2017. He has served as an Associate Professor (Adjunct) teaching sales and marketing at Bethel University’s undergraduate program and has designed business courses for their CAPS/Graduate School program. In 2018 Mike successfully published his first book, The Unforced Rhythms of Grace & Gratitude, a series of short stories about the men and women that lived, challenged, and motivated him to become a first-generation college graduate and achieve success. Mike has lived and worked in Illinois, Florida, Minnesota, and California. Today he lives in the Twin Cities with his wife Molly, kids Blake and Savannah, and one really mean cat named Norm.

Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Intentional Growth