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Bankrupt to $3 Billion: How Rich Balot Grew Victra From a Side Hustle to Household Name

Case Story

Rich Balot opened his first Victra store to save his parents’ marriage.

His father, a talented salesperson, had been unemployed for a few years. His mother was about to kick his dad out.

“My idea was to start a business so my mom wouldn’t divorce him,” Rich says, reflecting on those first years.

So the twenty-something did just that. Riding the trend of cell phones, Rich opened a cell phone store in the small town of Wilson, North Carolina. Before long, his side hustle grew from two stores to three and then 50.

“I fell in love with deals,” Rich explains. “Acquiring companies is fun. Sometimes, it can be too much fun because you don’t want to worry about the business. You want to acquire more businesses.”


As Rich rode the cell phone wave further and further away from Wilson, Victra grew too quickly. Finances were a disaster, so Rich hired a CFO to try to straighten things out. Things went South.

The CFO came from a manufacturing background but did not know small-box retail accounting and the importance of having individual store P&Ls. He could not give Rich the information he needed to make the tough decisions that would turn the business around. Rich knew he was the wrong person for the job but dragged his feet on pulling the plug. “It got to the point where I didn’t want to go into work because I didn’t want to hear my CFO telling me I was about to go bankrupt,” Rich says. “I’ll bet you I aged more in those three to four months than any other time in my life.”

The management issues did not stop there. Rich had systemic cultural issues. He needed to turn things around fast if he wanted to stay in the game.

He brought Mark Moses in as his coach.

Rich committed to the Make BIG Happen System’s Rhythms, adopting a cadence

Between planning sessions, they got to work getting the right people in the right seats. When they realized the head of sales, one of Rich’s personal friends, had to go, they moved him to another role where he would be a better fit and replaced him with one of the best sales leaders in the business.
Together, Rich and Mark continued to upgrade Rich’s staff yearly to ensure they had the absolute best people in each role.

It paid off.

In 2015, Rich merged his company with a much bigger one, retained a 20 percent interest in it, and became the chairman and co-CEO of a $750 million juggernaut.

But Rich’s Make BIG Happen story does not end there.

Rich, Mark, and the team during a planningsessions in 2023.

A year after the merger, Rich and Mark hired a senior executive from a publicly traded company to become the new CEO. The new CEO was not a big believer in coaching. He was too busy for that, so he cut Mark and the team at CEO Coaching International loose.

In two years, the company grew fast, but the culture disintegrated. Rich’s world-class sales team, which he’d worked so hard to build, was in shambles. Victra was hyper-focused on cutting costs, and the culture had gone down the drain.

Turnover within the stores hit historically high levels. Sales was blaming ops. Ops did not like sales. Victra Rich had become so toxic it could be classified as a biological hazard.

In early 2019, the new CEO resigned. Rich stepped back in to lead a company that had $1.7 billion in annual revenue, more than one thousand stores, and nearly six thousand employees.

As soon as Rich resumed his position, he rehired Mark as his coach. They returned to the annual and quarterly Make BIG Happen planning rhythms with Mark and other coaches, including Sheldon Harris, facilitating to make sure Rich could get in the weeds with his team while a trusted third party would keep him honest and accountable.

Rich and Mark overhauled his team once again with help from CEO Coaching International community member and recruiting pro Marty Parker, President and CEO of Waterstone Human Capital. He and Mark hired a rock star sales leader from a competitor to lead the sales team and replaced three out of four regional vice presidents. Then, they went down a level and replaced 16 out of 24 district managers with new all-stars. Down each level they went, replacing the bad actors with people who could take Victra to its next leg of even BIGGER growth.

By changing a few key players and putting the Make BIG Happen System back in place, company sales and profitability rose meaningfully, and Rich’s cultural disaster did a 180.

Rich’s commitment to the Make BIG Happen System saved him from the brink of disaster and produced massive results not once but twice.


He grew Victra to a one-thousand-plus-location retail empire, produced a nine-figure cash event for himself, and set his company up for sustained year-over-year growth. And, when things went off track, Rich’s decision to recommit the company to the Make BIG Happen System produced an even BIGGER outcome.

In 2022, Victra announced its acquisition of GoWireless. Today, Rich’s Victra has grown to more than $3 billion in sales.

That’s not too shabby for a cell phone side hustle with humble beginnings.

Victra_600x600_01_121523

THE PATH TO EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS

  • Rich Balot hired Coach Mark Moses to salvage Victra, his cellphone business, from disastrous finances and systemic cultural issues.
  • After overhauling the team, and instituting the Make BIG Happen System, Mark helped Rich merge his company with a much bigger one. In the exit, Rich retained 20 percent interest in his $750 million juggernaut business.
  • After a new CEO mismanaged Victra into nearly irretrievable toxicity, Rich returned as CEO, re-hired Mark, restarted the Make BIG Happen System’s planning rhythms, and overhauled the team again.
  • In 2022, Victra announced its acquisition of GoWireless.
  • Today, with the Make BIG Happen System and Mark as his guide, Rich has grown Victra to more than $3 billion in sales
Make BIG Happen

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If you’d like to see BIG results like these in your own business, don’t wait another day to get started. Claim your complimentary 1:1 coaching call.
Case Story

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