Winnipeg Entrepreneur Kris Thorkelson Lends His Guidance to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

For the better part of two decades, Kris Thorkelson has been paving his way as an entrepreneur in Winnipeg.  He’s the owner of The Prescription Shop, which has a number of retail outlets in Winnipeg; he also owns two medical clinics that are attached to his pharmacies.

Today, Thorkelson is expanding his focus to Winnipeg’s growing real estate sector as the owner of My Place Realty, a property management company that provides quality multi-family homes that people are proud to call home.

As someone who has overcome the challenges it takes to build a successful business, we asked Kris to share his advice for young and aspiring entrepreneurs. 

First, what’s the biggest misconception entrepreneurs have about starting their own business?

Kris Thorkelson: Owning your own business is not an easy alternative to a 9-5 job.  The hours can be extremely long and it takes a significant amount of determination and sacrifice in order to thrive.  With that said, successful entrepreneurs know what it takes to overcome those challenges against the odds.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Kris Thorkelson: Being an effective leader is a very important skill to have as an entrepreneur. You’ll be working with people on a daily basis, and they’ll be looking to you for guidance.  The values you demonstrate, the way you handle adversity and how you persevere through the biggest challenges will be the guiding factors for how others will behave. 

In your opinion, what is one thing a new business can do that will improve its chances of success?

Kris Thorkelson: Seek the opinions of your customers.  Listen closely to what they think about your product and how it can be improved. Your existing customers are your best advocate and if you go above and beyond to keep them happy, then you won’t need much marketing because they’ll do it for you!

When employing a staff, what traits do you look for in a potential candidate?

Kris Thorkelson:  I look for a person who is going to exemplify excellent customer service skills.  First and foremost, they need to be courteous and friendly, and they need to maintain a high level of professionalism. 

Over the years, what has been the most rewarding part of starting your own companies?  

Kris Thorkelson:  Personally, I’ve been rewarded by getting to help people access the goods and services that they need.  I truly enjoy the feeling of making a positive difference. When an individual tells me how they have been helped by my business it makes me feel truly great. Making a profit is crucial for any business however making a difference is just as important.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting to branch out on their own, what would it be?

Kris Thorkelson:   Treat your businesses as if they were your children. There are points in their development, especially early on, when they demand all of your energy. It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. But as they continue to grow, they will eventually gain some independence and you can start to relax a little.

Finally, what’s the best piece of advice someone gave you when you were starting out?

Kris Thorkelson: To never forget the importance of delegating responsibilities to others.  Many young entrepreneurs want to take the world by their shoulders.  It is vital to the success of a business, no matter how skilled or accomplished you are, to realize that you can’t do everything by yourself. 

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