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IAM2028 – CEO Creates a Legacy on Building and Acquiring Businesses

Podcast Interview with Malcolm Peace

In this episode, we have Malcolm Peace the President of Tsetserra Growth Partners – a company which purchases small businesses within Texas to build on to their success.

Malcolm discusses his entrepreneurial lineage and what inspired his unique business model. He mentions the importance of understanding, preserving, and enhancing existing businesses while maintaining their legacy.

His approach is to purchase businesses, especially family-owned ones, and develop them by implementing software and standard operating procedures, thus facilitating their growth into the next phase.

Malcolm is proud of his ability to break down the complexity for others, making the larger vision achievable. Emphasizing the need for knowing what tasks to outsource, Malcolm gives advice about prioritizing work and describes the concept of the ‘$10 task'.

To conclude, Malcolm defines a CEO as one who creates a culture that brings everyone along with them and one who respects their designation enough to cultivate others into future leaders.


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Full Interview:


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Malcolm Peace Teaser 00:00

So I've been in meetings where I'm sitting with the business owner and they start tearing up because they've always wanted somebody that could take over their business within their family and they don't have that.

And so when they look across the table and they're like, I want to give you an honest, fair deal. And at the same time, I want you to feel like in five years time, you can come in and be excited about what we've done. That's what they've been seeking. So we try to fill that gap.

Intro 00:19

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of.

This is the I Am CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:47

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. And I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Malcolm Peace. Malcolm excited to have you on the show.

Malcolm Peace 00:55

Hey Gresh. Thanks for having me real honor.

Gresham Harkless 00:57

Yes. The honor is all ours and you're doing so many phenomenal things. And what I wanted to do before I jumped into. Doing this great interview. I want to read a little bit more about Malcolm. So you can hear about all the greatness that he's doing.

So Malcolm is making Texas feel smaller, working with small businesses throughout the state. His company sits Sarah growth partners buys well established blue-collar and industrial type businesses to see them thrive by implementing software standard operating procedures. Moving them into their next phase.

They are long-term buyers looking to maintain the existing team and build upon the previous owner's legacy. And what I absolutely love about Malcolm is I think he has entrepreneurship in his blood from both his mom and his dad. And one of my absolute favorite questions I always want to ask people is like, how do you come up with your business name?

So I love the legacy that he has within his business name, and I'm sure we'll hear a little bit more about that, but I also love how he couples his consulting. coaching practice and background with that. And then I think he also has been back-to-back national championship coach as well, too, if I read that correctly.

So Malcolm excited to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Malcolm Peace 02:01

Yeah, thanks so much. That was super kind words. I appreciate it. Candidly, you went deep into the history. Time has moved on, unfortunately, and life moves on real quick. I always find it. Coming up on, years and just past, all that kind of stuff.

So, grateful, grateful for you to do that background check on me. I appreciate it. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 02:19

The beautiful thing about history and doing great things is it stays in the last there. So it's good that you have those banners that you've been able to put up. I guess you can say.

Malcolm Peace 02:27

Sure, appreciate it.

Yeah, I had a recent one too. I'll have to brag a little bit. I finally got an Ironman, flyer man in my belt. So I'm pretty proud of that too. So I'll update that bio a little bit. So that was a neat thing to be able to do that. So, yeah, that's a life accomplishment that I didn't think was going to happen.

It started a few years ago and it's pretty exciting. So a few years of training, a little drop, a few years of training. Yeah. I had a buddy that was started doing triathlons. I got a little envious of his skillset and what he was building. And I was like, all right, I can do this thing. And then. He ended up being the guy that watched my dog while I went over to do the Ironman.

So, it was fun, fun how everything came around, .

[00:03:02] Gresham Harkless: Yeah, I absolutely love that. It's so funny because I remember as a kid I don't know what time of day, but I always remember seeing it super late or super early seeing the Ironman and seeing people do all that stuff. So it's super awesome to say that we have somebody now that has been able to just do that and fresh off accomplishing that too.

Malcolm Peace 03:18

Sure. Appreciate it. Yeah. So I think you asked a second ago about the story behind it, Tsetserra. So my family immigrated from South Africa. But before they did that, they were from the kind of southern part of Africa to mixed around different places over time. But Right on the border of Mozambique and Zimbabwe was Mount Tsetserra and my great grandfather owns about 50, 000 acres, 70, 000 acres of land running one of the largest cattle and dairy producing farms in the area.

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And so, candidly, he was able to employ tons of people in the area and bring, a beacon of employment as well as just a good product to the region. But that's where the inspiration comes from. That farm because of civil wars and different things that have happened over time, we've lost that farm.

And so it's always been this homage to what my family was able to build. And then simultaneously, like how we want to do business, we want to do business where we take care of the people that are in house and we want to take care of the people that are out of the house. And so, that's the way we think about it.

We try to do it differently. We try to do it right. I try, and often cases where we take over businesses. I always try to say this is where we're starting guys. And we're going to be continuing to add rungs to opportunity. Sometimes we take over businesses and they. Never had a single paid holiday to sometimes they have, never been given an opportunity to grow within the company.

People have been in certain roles for a long period of time. And so we really try to build a pathway internally. And then finally, we try to do it right by our customers by creating greater and greater value for them.

Gresham Harkless 04:40

Yeah, I absolutely love that. I love that word that you, the homage, because I think when you think about, obviously the legacy that your family has, I think anytime you probably talk to most entrepreneurs and business owners, you think about the blood, sweat and tears, all the things that they put into their organizations.

and having that opportunity to have, for lack of a better word, maybe a partnership or a way that history, that legacy, those foundational values they might even have with their organizations are going to continue on is absolutely huge.

Malcolm Peace 05:06

Yeah, no, we try to do it right. And I think That helped.

We're not going to be buying tons and tons of businesses throughout the year. We obviously try to do it just right a few times. And I feel like that's where I can lay my hat and come home to dinner and talk to my kids and tell them that we did it right and took care of these people and so on and so forth.

So yeah, we try to.

Gresham Harkless 05:23

Nice. Absolutely love that. So I know you touch a little bit upon like how that process works, how you're working with your class. So I wanted to drill down a little bit more in here. You know what that process looks like, how you're making that impact and doing things the right way that you as you move along.

Malcolm Peace 05:35

Yeah. Yeah. Great question. So, whenever we buy a business, it's often the largest asset that they will ever sell in their history of their life. And so that's a big component of it. It's a blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes there's good taste in the family because of the business. Sometimes there's not such good taste in the business.

I always try to tell people, sometimes we come in as like the quasi. Son, niece, nephew, daughter that business always wanted to have that they could hand off to. So I've been in meetings where I'm sitting with the business owner and they start tearing up because they've always wanted somebody that could take over their business within their family and they don't have that.

And so when they look across the table and they're like, I want to give you an honest, fair deal. And at the same time, I want you to feel like in five years time, you can come in and be excited about what we've done. That's what they've been seeking. So we try to fill that gap. And there are lots of great people across the country and other places that are doing this, but we try to do it really localized in tech lists were exclusively in Texas.

And candidly, I think that we have a skill set that provides ourselves, a unique opportunity with kind of 3 to 12 million type revenue businesses where anybody that's been able to do a seven-figure business. There are so many statistics out there. I think it's like less than 10 percent actually make that hurdle.

And so it's a real difficult aspect. And so we try to take over that business knowing that what you've done previously, Is a huge accomplishment. We're just here to take on the baton to the next level and we'll do it in a certain fashion with kind of our game plan.

Gresham Harkless 06:54

Nice. That makes so much sense.

And are most of the, the businesses that you're working with or to go through that process with? Are they mostly family-owned and family-connected?

Malcolm Peace 07:03

Yeah, yeah, that's exactly right. We certainly have looked at other deals that have not always been founder, family founder or family-owned still. But most of them are.

And candidly, most of them are because it's. That person has built the business around them in a lot of ways. Businesses at this size often don't transfer very well. And I hate to be a Debbie Downer about that, but they really don't. They struggle. There's a lot of statistics around, even businesses transitioning to family members in this space.

It's really tough transition because a lot of the business is centered around the business owner in our world. And the way we talk to business owners, it's usually a centralized business. It's centralized around the owner. People have built those muscles to be able to communicate to the owner in a certain way, understand how the owner works, know about his tics or her tics that go on and so on and so forth.

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And so when I try to explain to an owner, Hey, we're going to come in and we're going to create a decentralized business where I'm not in the middle. It's a very confusing, puzzling situation, or they've often wanted that to happen and they haven't figured their way through that. So we're very intentional that way.

And, but we also have to, when we're going in through a due diligence process or evaluating we have to go through the ring of a roll of like, how well will this business transition? Because sometimes it can be a little bit difficult.

Gresham Harkless 08:14

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And that might be part of what you feel like is your secret sauce. The thing you feel sets your party makes you unique.

It be, of course, for yourself or the business or a combination of both. But is it that ability to again understand that human aspect, but also understand the practical things that when you walk into a business that need to be done to help to get to ultimately where that goal that they want to be.

Malcolm Peace 08:33

Yeah, personally there's a lot of people doing the same playbook as us. I don't think we're recreating a wheel. Loco no code software is here. It's everyone's A lot of people are doing it. I think we're implementing it into a really good space because a lot of these businesses that we buy enough to give it all away have one software maybe.

And so, at the end of the day, like there's a lot of low-hanging fruit opportunity for us to do that. But I think one of the things that I'm particularly good at, and I always have to like balance between deal-making and going and finding businesses to buy and interacting with business owners that are new and the operating businesses that we have is I think I have an ability to take complex things and water them down in such a way that people can see the vision.

And I think that, that is what Is super, super important. And I can also be the energizing buddy that needs to implement stuff. And so we had a project that we had to do on Friday with one of the businesses and I spent, good portion of the day just working on that and pushing it through.

And I think that allowing everyone to see the vision of like, why this is important and why they needed to prioritize it and all that kind of stuff is maybe my secret sauce personally, that for whatever reason, going and getting my MBA, but also at the same while First generation American didn't come from much.

I think I have an ability to talk to just about anybody on the spectrum.

Gresham Harkless 09:44

Yeah, that's absolutely huge. And I always feel like and I think there's a quote and I always, butchered that one as well to his amongst many others is that a true shine of sign of excellence is actually being able to simplify the things that you do simplify the complex.

So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be an app, a book or even a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Malcolm Peace 10:06

I am ridiculous about what I call $10 tasks. So I constantly walk around with the team and all my team and so on and so forth. And say, is that a $10 task? Because if it is, we're going to outsource it. And so we, we bring on really capable, great people by way of just, economics of the world.

We can hire folks across the seas that are more cost-effective than local. And so as a result, we outsource a lot of what I call $10 tasks. If it cannot be produced in a loom video or something of that nature, we need to upscale the people and we need to hand off as much as possible.

So, yeah. My team knows like I walk around. I'm like, that's a $10 task. That's a $10 task. That's a $10 task, but they're so used to doing everything or they're so used to going through the CEO to ask a question or so on and so forth.

And so, I think that's the hack. I think that's the game that we're playing in a lot of ways to be able to scale these businesses quicker.

When I can afford three people for the price of one we're going to do it. And I hate to say it, but. I think that we're trying to build a net to catch as much value as humanly possible. And the way to do that is not just keep it just local. And there's a way to spread around.

Main team is always based in Texas. We're headquartered in Texas. Every business that we buy, but we're going to scale fast with a team who's highly capable and highly competent to be able to help us.

Gresham Harkless 11:24

Yeah, absolutely. Especially in this day and age, this globalization where you have the opportunity to be effective and efficient.

So would you consider that be a little bit more of your CEO nugget? This is a little bit more word of wisdom or a piece of advice. I usually say it might be advice. Thanks. You would tell to your favorite client, or if you happened to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Malcolm Peace 11:42

Yeah, I would say know what you're not willing to do because you're uncomfortable with doing it and go do that and bring people along with you to make that happen. I can tell you it sounds so embarrassing. I was so ashamed of my cold email outreach for the longest time that we were so bad at it, but I knew I could talk on the phone. So I just call cold call people and then I was like, wait a second this is not working well.

And so we started cold emailing and then I would follow up with a phone call and all of a sudden I got way warmer responses on the phone. And so it was like, okay, I need to stop.

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So there was an aspect of raise the level of yourself. Next. Personally, and the team will follow because they'll see you do it if they're aware that and usually they're aware because they're like, all right, Malcolm's punting this project over and over and over again, they're usually aware, like, all right, he doesn't want to do it now.

He's actually doing it. He's raising the level. I should raise my level too. So I think that's contagious and you have to be willing to do it. Starting with you initially.

Gresham Harkless 12:38

Yeah, I love that. Especially, like you said, going around the raising the level and sometimes, especially as a leader, we often forget like the change that you want to see in the world or especially in your organization starts with you and it becomes infectious.

It's for better or worse, it's That stench that might be a good center might be not so good stench. So whatever you're doing, whatever you might be planning, whatever you might be avoiding, those are the things that are going to create that culture within your organization as well to where you have team members that are avoiding certain things that maybe they don't want to level up and they want to do the thing.

So I love that practicality of it because I think it's something we can gloss over.

Malcolm Peace 13:11

I love it. Yeah, totally agree.

Gresham Harkless 13:13

Awesome, awesome, awesome. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And our goal is to have different quote-unquote CEOs on this show. So Malcolm, which is being a CEO, mean to you.

Malcolm Peace 13:23

So CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer. That was its original plan. I think that CEOs the title CEO gets given way too early. You started a business, it's just you. Maybe you got one person working with you and you call yourself CEO. I think that definition holds immense weight and how you grow the business.

So here's what I mean by that. If you say I'm going to CEO of a company, we're in year two and you don't have another. Executive. You're not the chief of the executives. And so I have a very hard opinion about that, where I actually call myself the president for a long, long, long, long time until we have chief executives to be able to go and be alongside.

So I think the definition of a CEO is someone that's willing to create a culture. That brings people along with you and don't do it where you are always at the top because candidly, it's chief CEO has a vision, but they also are not the implementer all the time. And so you've got a CEO that goes alongside you.

So I think with the CEO, the definition for me is somebody that has the self-respect for themselves to bring along. Other great people to be able to bring apart the vision and everything that you're trying to implement, not just the leader of all.

Gresham Harkless 14:39

Nice. I absolutely love that perspective and that definition.

Malcolm Peace 14:42

I look at Apple. Candidly, Steve jobs is incredible in so many ways and, got to honor his legacy, but. Tim Cook blew up the place. He made it amazing, right? Like he took it to the next level and so many ways from a revenue diversification perspective, all these things. Not saying that Steve probably didn't have some of those ideas and he wasn't able to do that in his time.

He could have, but to see a COO step into the CEO role and to be able to continue to baton just running it forward. That's what you've got to recreate. If you're going to be a CEO and you're going to put that on your mantle and say I've accomplished this, or you give yourself that title, you've got to do it with an honor that you're going to replicate yourself and be able to grow people alongside you.

That's the responsibility of that role.

Gresham Harkless 15:24

Yeah, absolutely. So what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know.

And, of course, how best people can get ahold of you about all the awesome things you are working on.

Malcolm Peace 15:35

Yeah. So we are always active in the Texas business market area. We're looking at businesses that we can buy and take over the legacy of the owners. At the same while, we're looking for great operators to be a part of what we're doing.

So we have found that over time, there's a lot of folks that want to be running businesses. They want to be in Texas. And so we want to bring them part of what we're doing and come join us and run these businesses alongside us. So we're always actively recruiting for that as well. There'll be more information on our website.

You can check it out. So you can reach us at It's spelled T S E. T. S. E. R. R. A. I'm all over social media, different places.

So love to be able to connect with you. Any of those things we have to talk a little bit more.

Gresham Harkless 16:13

Nice. Absolutely love that. And of course, we're gonna have the links and information that has shown us as well, too. So that everybody can follow up with you. So thank you so much, my friend, and I hope you have a phenomenal day.

Malcolm Peace 16:22

Cool. Thanks for having me.

Outro 16:23

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO Podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Want to level up your business even more? Read blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch videos at Also, check out our I Am CEO Facebook group. This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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