Introducing The “Small Talks” Interview Series

Have I mentioned how much I love talking to amazing small business owners, and sharing their insights with the world? I’ve met countless entrepreneurs, and I’ve heard time and again how much they love learning directly from other small business owners who have overcome similar challenges.

That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce the new “Small Talks” series – in which I hit the road, going straight to the source and getting tips directly from small business owners and the experts who have helped them succeed.

The interviews are short and sweet, under five minutes, and chock full of helpful takeaways. To kick off the series, I spoke with several prominent entrepreneurs from Minneapolis and Chicago, including everyone from a distillery owner who has helped more than 170 other distilleries get off the ground to a nationally renowned pastry chef with nine James Beard nominations. Today, I’m sharing interviews with Spencer Johnson of Sota Clothing and Chuck Runyon of Anytime Fitness.

Spencer Johnson – Sota Clothing

Johnson epitomizes the determination of small business owners. He came up with his idea for Minnesota-branded clothing items while in college. I asked him how he grew it from a dorm-room idea to a thriving business. He served up tremendous insights about working with passion and understanding your strengths. Check out the interview:

Chuck Runyon – Anytime Fitness

My conversation with Runyon took a different slant. He runs the most successful franchise model in the world, with more than 3,500 clubs in 20 countries. Yet it wasn’t long ago that he ran a single gym in Minnesota. He continues to take a small-business-owner approach, and I love his management philosophy. Runyon views it as his job as CEO to serve the needs of his franchise owners and employees. As he says, “I work for them.” Find the full interview here:


I hope you check back often on “Small Talks.” I’ll keep sharing fascinating interviews, with the goal of providing knowledge that I’m gathering from successful entrepreneurs across the country.

Amanda Brinkman

May 21, 2018

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