Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Setterington, Co-Founder and CEO of Island Fin Poké Co., located in Orlando, FL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a Hawaiian style poke shop with incredible food and remarkable service in a cool casual atmosphere. Our guests are anyone that is hungry for a delicious and healthy meal. We have guests that are aged 5 to 90.

Tell us about yourself

I am a lifelong restaurant guy. I cannot imagine doing anything else. I love the action, the excitement, and the relationships with our guests. We started this because we wanted to do our own thing, but we wanted a lifestyle, not a job. We wanted something simple and easily replicated. What motivates me? Our franchises, our team, and our guests. All equally important. We can't sacrifice one for another. We need to nurture and support all. This is what drives me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

That is a hard question to answer. We are so far away from our goal, I do not think we have really accomplished anything yet. Each day is a new day, and we have to strive to be better and better. We will get the prize one day.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing is fostering relationships when times are tough. I am the franchisor, so I am the face of the business. I can live with that. The problem comes when the going gets tough, I am the one that has to take the hard from the franchise team and try and be compassionate of their feelings. The saying that goes, “it isn't personal, it’s business,” is so untrue. It is very personal to me.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be patient. Success will take time. A long time.
  2. Surround yourself with people that share your vision. It’s your plan, stick to it but listen to your team and stay grounded.
  3. Set goals that are far out and do everything you have to do to hit them. You are going to fall, get back up, brush yourself off, and go again. Can you ever really be successful if you haven't failed? I do not think so.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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