Chad Kaltenbach is a man of many hats. He is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a dedicated family man. As an entrepreneur, Chad is the founder and CEO of Kaltenbach Real Estate, a real estate company that is based in Columbus, Ohio. He started the company 25-years ago and has managed to grow it into a real estate empire with a rental portfolio worth over $100 million. Through this company, he also sells property alongside other real estate services. Chad’s success in real estate has a lot to with his background. His dad was a businessman and taught him about what it means to run a successful business. He then expanded his knowledge by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management, graduating with high honors. Chad then went further to acquire an MBA before pursuing a career in investment banking. This helped him a lot in strategic decision making, a skill that has helped drive his company to success. As a philanthropist, Chad is very active in helping kids from poor backgrounds improve their living conditions. Many who have benefited from his philanthropic activities are doing very well for themselves. Chad’s credentials as a family man are evident in his close connection with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys taking them for holidays, just to catch up and bond.
Where did the idea for Kaltenbach Real Estate come from?
My father was a businessman and had a small portfolio of real estate. This gave me an idea of the benefits of real estate, and I grew up with the mission of owning a real estate company. By the time I was starting Kaltenbach Real Estate, it was simply an actualization of my childhood dream. I had a strong base on which to begin my business, as I was already part of my father’s business. So, starting a real estate company was no brainer. It just came automatically, of course with a little assistance from my father.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts with meetings with staff to catch up on the latest developments. I then spend the afternoon meeting clients, financiers, and strategic partners. To make my day productive, I delegate most tasks to free up time for crafting the business vision. I put aside time to visit property sites that are under development and those that the company intends to acquire, and take time to explore other new possibilities. In the evening, I reconcile my day’s work and head home to my family. I can hit the gym for about an hour some days, and then spend the evening with my family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by first developing a proof-of-concept. If it works, then I go ahead and implement it. Developing a proof-of-concept is a rather complex process that I have to involve the relevant stakeholders in my business. We brain storm and come up with the very best ideas which we then implement.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am most excited by the low appetite by the Federal Reserve for higher interest rates. It is a huge boost for my company and the real estate industry in general. Low interest rates means that we get more customers as individuals are able to access financing to buy properties. The more the people that have sufficient financing, the better it is for the real estate industry. You got to keep making sales to remain afloat.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I always try and limit my direct involvement in administrative activities as much as possible. This helps me create time for activities that expand the reach and value of my business. Delegating roles I discovered while working with my father is the best way to maximize value for your business. There are roles and activities that if I were to spend a lot of time on, I would lack time to look for prospects that bring value to the company.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be goal-oriented and focus on one goal at a time. It is the secret to achieving a lot in life. Consistency is key to any business or venture. Young people tend to be a little impulsive trying out too many things at once. Such behavior is a recipe for failure. If you identify your niche, focus on a particular main goal and work towards achieving your milestones.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Nothing. In most cases, I find consensus with the people close to me on things that matter. When you understand your personnel and your partners, it becomes easy to agree to most things. Yes we will have deliberations where different individuals have different opinions, but we always come to a consensus.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would recommend that everyone focus on discovering new opportunities and take advantage of them. The business environment is always changing and if you become complacent, you may lose market share. Never settle and think that you have made it. Never get comfortable. Always be on the lookout for changes in the market, and in technology. People are always coming up with new ideas.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Forward leaning customer service is what has got me where I am today. I actively anticipate changes in customers’ wants and meet them. This has helped us build customer loyalty over time. Meeting customers’ needs and taking care of your employees are the two core aspects that have seen my business grow. I always get referrals due to my commitment to meeting my existing clients’ needs. It has seen me expand my customers portfolio.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I once bought and renovated property and after putting it on the market, no one wanted it. It taught me a lot about the importance of objective valuation when investing. I had failed to value this property properly before renovating it. It is important to check the actual demand of any property before investing in it. If there is demand then go ahead and improve the property to increase its value.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I wish I had one. I think business ideas are a function of the environment. Find a problem within your environment and solve it. I was a long time in real estate starting with my father’s business. So far, I have diversified my approach to this business by just identifying consumer needs, and finding solutions for the same. As long as you are offering solutions to real needs, then you will be in business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I gave it to a non-profit that has been helping poor kids during the pandemic. It felt good knowing that I was cushioning someone from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit in a small way. Much as we are pushing ourselves to succeed in business, and it feels good when you succeed, helping a person that has no means of repaying you is the best feeling ever. Better than even succeeding in business.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use slack a lot. It helps me organize my staff and make the most out of my time. I also use excel spreadsheets. It is an excellent software or platform that I use to keep records in order. I can follow up on dates, calculations and even schedule activities on the same. I would say it is one of the best tools you can use to keep records.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend Creativity Inc: Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration. It is an eye-opener on how to build creativity. It has been my inspiration throughout my real estate career. When you get the book, ensure you take the time to study it and not just scheme through. I am sure you will find it very useful.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is “Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow” by Anthony Robbins. It is a quote that keeps my entrepreneurial spirit alive.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.