Thomas Kivisto Provides His Best Tips for Running a Business

After graduating from the University of Kansas in 1974, Thomas Kivisto began his career at Koch Oil in Wichita, where he was promoted to Executive Vice President.

Since then, has held numerous executive positions and is considered a leader in his industry. With over twenty-eight years of professional experience, Thomas Kivisto has founded fifteen companies and has overseen more than thirty-five acquisitions totaling over two billion dollars. He looks forward to his continued success in the future.

What products or services do you provide?

Lakeshore Energy Capital (LEC), works primarily with start-ups in the oil, real estate, and technology sectors. We help our portfolio companies expand their professional opportunities while streamlining daily operations. We also recruit top talent and help clients prepare for mergers and IPOs.

How did you enter the business landscape?

I always liked the idea of being my own boss. I began my career in the oil industry, but I knew early on that I wanted to start my own business venture. I was underpaid and underappreciated, so I eventually left my position of fourteen years and took a leap of faith.

What makes your company stand out?

We are not limited by traditional deal structures or asset classes and we invest in both public and private entities. We take a very entrepreneur-friendly approach, meaning we have the flexibility to be a long-term partner that offers extended holding periods.

What type of businesses interest you and your company?

I am really fascinated by the rise of blockchain technology, more specifically bitcoin.  We are currently investing in start-up companies using the blockchain protocol. Decentralized assets are revolutionary in terms of how they are changing the financial landscape.

What are your company values?

As a leader it is my duty to offer my professional opinion; however, it is also my job to listen to my colleagues and those that I work with. I am a strong believer in the collective IQ. I want every individual to feel appreciated and know that they are vital members of the team.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy working alongside like-minded individuals, who are looking to bring their ideas to life. Some of the best friendships I have developed over the years initially started as business interactions. We help create jobs, but we also learn a lot about our clients as people and it is wonderful to see them succeed and grow.

Do you have any tips for managing clients effectively?

Always ensure an open line of communication. Business in any form is challenging and you are going to have good days and bad days. However, the worst thing you can do is fail to communicate any potential issues or concerns. Open conversation helps establish trust and enhances your credibility as a professional.

Any finance or cash-flow tips for new businesses starting out?

Invest in an accountant or a comprehensive software to help you keep track of financials. Many new businesses are unorganized and are completely unaware of exactly how much money is coming in and going out. A lot of people will attempt to keep track of everything themselves but it just isn’t feasible as you continue to grow.

If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be?

While my business was very fortunate to survive the pandemic, many other businesses are currently struggling to stay afloat. I would say continued financial support for start-ups and small businesses.

What is your attitude towards your competitors?

Competition is what drives businesses to be the best that they can be. Our company thrives off competition and encourages us to constantly innovate and improve our efforts.

Any thoughts on the future of your company and your dreams?

I am so grateful for how far the business has come since its inception. As someone who enjoys going to work each day, I look forward to our continued growth and expansion.