The original entrepreneur
Growing up the son of an entrepreneur gave me an exciting opportunity to learn what it takes to creatively build a brand, work hard for those early customer wins, and then nurture your customer base to keep them happy for years to come.
My father led by example as he worked 15 hour days and still found time to be with his family on weekends. He always provided me with a deeper view of the operations by enabling me to join him as he worked his different businesses. I was always amazed by how close he became to his customers, knowing everything about them, both personally and professionally, while laughing and having fun with them in conversation.
My father’s primary business was as a wholesaler of baked goods, including breads, donuts and cakes. He would pick up these goods from multiple manufacturers to ensure only the best products and then would package and sell them to retailers, who would then use them to deliver a complete solution for their customers…like a bacon egg and cheese on a roll. The roll, of course, was delivered by my father.
My father also schooled me on competitive advantage. While running the baked goods route, he was always on the lookout for a superior product. But that was not very sustainable, as his competitors had access to the same goods. So my father used his customer relationships to set him apart. He powerfully demonstrated to me that, in today’s world where it is harder and harder to sustain a competitive advantage, we should look to our customers and the experience we provide to differentiate ourselves. This also means intentionally designing a company culture that drives employees to be customer first in everything they do. And, as leaders, we must ensure that our employees are set up to learn and develop their skills, to create the same opportunities to better their lives and their families.
When it was my turn to join the workforce, my dad coached me early on to work at a large company and then run your own business within it. As much as he loved being an entrepreneur, he did not want me to live the same life, being strapped to a business that took so much of his precious time away from our family. Looking back, it was easy to see why I gravitated to building partner businesses, as combining technologies to deliver better customer solutions is part of the DNA that was passed down from my father.
So that is what I have done for the last 20+ years. Building and developing businesses has become my passion. Always keeping the customer at the center of everything that I do. Making sure that we all have fun in our daily work, helping our employees grow into better versions of themselves and, most importantly, ensuring that family always comes first. Now it is up to me to pass these important lessons on to my girls as they start on their journey to becoming the next generation of leaders.
To my father, the original entrepreneur in my life!
Frank’s Baked Goods…We’re Fresh!