Exit Strategy: Here’s How One Ripley PR Client Came Full Circle to Create, and then Exit an Empire

For many businesses, survival is the main focus. But for one of our long-time clients at Ripley PR, it’s the opposite.

Statistics tells us that a majority of businesses fail within the first two years. If a business lasts longer than that, most owners are content just building it up, running on autopilot, and maybe handing it off to the next generation.

But, for one company, who is also a Ripley PR client, it was all about coming full circle—not just to survive and grow but to exit. And to grow something else.

Mike Agugliaro and Rob Zadotti started their electrical business 22 years ago. They created Gold Medal Electric, a New Jersey-based residential electrical company. In those early years it was just Mike, Rob, and two helpers, zooming up and down the New Jersey Turnpike in vans, working long hours to help as many homeowners as they could.

Their company survived—barely—and for the first 10 years Mike and Rob put in many long hours. Then one day, everything changed: Rob paused in the midst of one busy day to tell Mike that he was burning out and he wanted to walk away from the company.

Rather than completely shut the business down, the two decided to do something different: they’d stop building a business by default and start building one by design. They would “go back to school” (in a manner of speaking) and learn everything they could about how to grow a business.

They studied companies like Amazon, Disney, Zappos, and more—learning from industry leaders and the world’s top business thinkers—ultimately transforming their company into an empire. Their first ten years were a struggle but the transformation became evident in how they grew in the following 12 years:

  •  Year over year growth of more than million dollars with last year’s revenue at $32 million
  • Staff increases to more than 190 employees
  • A loyal customer base of more than 140,000 clients
  • Mike and Rob were even able to hand off the day-to-day decision making of the company to their trusted leadership team and spend more time focusing on the growth of the company

Recently, Gold Medal Service was acquired by another company and Mike and Rob officially came full circle, successfully exiting the company they built from scratch—an exit strategy they had planned and worked toward since the very beginning.

Along the way, our team at Ripley PR has had the privilege of supporting Mike and Rob’s growth as they came full circle. We’ve worked with Gold Medal Service for the past four years, and we’re privileged to work with Mike and Rob on their newest venture, a business coaching and consultancy firm, CEO Warrior.

Mike and Rob are 100 percent committed to changing the service industry through CEO Warrior.

“PR is an essential building block in the growth of our companies,” says Mike Agugliaro. “Growth does not just come from the marketing you do to get leads calling, it also comes from the PR that gets you on the 6 o’clock news, that elevates you as an expert in front of customers, and that positions you as a leader in the industry.”

Owning a business is not just about trying to survive until tomorrow. Sure, in the early days that might be the owner’s focus. But as any business grows, it would do well to keep its eye on tomorrow, making strategic decisions to grow the company while also positioning its owners for a successful “full circle” exit.

PR is a key part of that play, since business growth and exiting is not just about getting more customers. It’s about strategic positioning to make you an attractive acquisition target.

If you are a business owner that is thinking about the long-term, consider how a PR strategy can help support your exit, and put those plans in place today so that, like Mike and Rob, you can also go “full circle.”

Mike Agugliaro and Rob Zadotti in the early days of Gold Medal Electric.

From left to right: Rob Zadotti and Mike Agugliaro in front of Gold Medal Service in 2013.

Mike Agugliaro changing lives of home service business owners through CEO Warrior.

Home service business owners listening to Mike Agugliaro for the first time at a trade show.

Mike and Rob are 100 percent committed to changing lives through CEO Warrior.

Heather Ripley, Founder/CEO

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