Live Interview, Audience Q&A

Google what it means to be an entrepreneur and you’ll get a variety of answers: a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money; a person who can identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings. Indeed, Google is right. An entrepreneur is all of these things. But also, so much more. The Small Business Development Center in Mankato is doing a deep dive into what it means to be an entrepreneur in southern Minnesota. And they invited the community to join them. To kick off the Behind the Success Series-Lessons Learned From Entrepreneurs series, the SBDC brought in a Minnesota State University, Mankato alum Kris Lindahl. If the name doesn’t spark recognition, his billboards will. Since launching the 600-strong billboard campaign two years ago, Kris has sold $2.5 billion in real estate. But Kris’ journey actually started more than a decade ago. It has taken time to build his success. He shared his lessons learned with the crowd of entrepreneurs. Here are their takeaways:

Tom Clement, assistant professor of management with the College of Business, had several thoughts on the event.

“First, I enjoyed his story about selling his first several properties when it was just him and his administrative assistant. The theme was that in order for entrepreneurs to be successful, they have to be willing to put in the work. Long hours, crazy schedules, etc. Every entrepreneur needs to hear and be prepared for that,” says Clement. “Second, I appreciated that he was open to any and all questions. No filters. And he was also willing to answer and not duck those questions. Third, there was a genuineness that I was not necessarily expecting. The real estate profession has its share of disingenuous characters, especially when it comes to new approaches to making money, like the ‘Guaranteed Offer’ program. Kris was high energy, but he was a really likable guy. Approachable, not phony.”

Another set of entrepreneurs in the room, Ryan Sturgis and Michael Chalhoub, of True Facade Pictures, agree.

“We think his authenticity is the key to his success. It was good to hear as that’s been our approach, as well, using our clients’ truth to succeed in their market. Kris obviously gets it. He imparted so much wisdom in that hour conversation! It was an awesome event,” says Sturgis.

After the interview, attendees join Kris Lindahl in doing “The Lindahl.”

Colette Drager, a new entrepreneur who worked with the SBDC to start her business, The Meatery, appreciated Lindahl’s insights.

“Kris Lindahl’s speech was a powerful reminder of what you can accomplish with hard work and perseverance. The Be Generous mentality and other business leadership principles shared by Kris resonated with the room of entrepreneurs. Appreciative to the sponsors for bringing Kris, an MSU grad, back to Mankato. Successful startup stories like Kris’ are what inspires emerging businesses to keep going.”

Want to come learn for yourself? Save the date now! The next Behind the Success event is planned for January 18, 2023.

Lisa Cownie

A freelance writer from Mankato