Entrepreneurship Lessons from Frank Ski

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Last night, I had a great opportunity to meet Frank Ski at his new restaurant in Buckhead. For those of you who don’t know, Frank Ski is the morning DJ at one of Atlanta’s most popular radio stations, V103. Frank recently opened his own restaurant (called Frank Ski) near Piedmont Hospital in Buckhead.

We had a lengthy conversation with some key takeaways:

Entrepreneurship is hard work….regardless of who you are

I admit, I thought Frank Ski simply put his name on the restaurant to drive traffic. I was wrong. As with most successful entrepreneurs, Frank is involved in all aspects of the business from food procurement to staff training to furniture selection. He wears multiple hats every day to ensure a unique consumer experience.

The learning curve is steep

Early in our conversation, Frank used the famous entrepreneur’s saying, “If I could do it over again….” Despite his name recognition, Frank has faced a steep learning curve while starting the restaurant. Licensing, food quality, cleanliness, inventory, parking, security, and staff performance are only a few of the many challenges he deals with on a daily basis. Yes, he has a general manager but the buck stops with the owner.

Branding is business

Frank never thought of calling the restaurant, ‘Frank Ski’. That name was not part of the original options as Frank wanted to avoid the perception of being an ego centric owner. The name “Frank Ski” was a marketing/branding decision. Companies spend millions trying to develop a recognizable, trusted brand. When you have one in the owner’s name, why not use it.

Focus on the now

I asked Frank about his expansion plans and, while he had some general thoughts, his focus was on ensuring the success of the Atlanta location. Like our favorite athletes, Frank is ‘in the zone’ with his new business. It’s great to see an entrepreneur that can balance strategic visions of the future with the operational and customer needs of today.

Overall, the time spent with Frank was a tremendous learning experience. Starting a restaurant is incredibly difficult but I think Frank has the right ingredients to make it a long term success. I want to thank Frank for his time and insights.

What else? What are some key entrepreneurial lessons you’ve learned from other business owners?

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