Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jason Cooney, Operating Partner of Tom's Watch Bar, located in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

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

Tom's Watch Bar is a premier sports bar featuring the best viewing experience outside of the stadium, elevated bar food, creative cocktails, and All the Sports, All the Time. We have a variety of games playing at all times on our oversized screens and 360-degree viewing experiences in every space. There is no bad seat in the house. Our customers are sports-loving fans and those attending a game who want to grab a bite or a drink before or after the game. They are those that want to come out and celebrate their team with others and be a part of the community that sports create.

Tell us about yourself

A 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry, I've led teams large and small in operations ranging from fine dining to health & wellness to entertainment and now a sports bar. As an Operating Partner at Tom's Watch Bar, I am motivated by the growth in my team, both individual and group. I am motivated by watching people come together to cheer their team's success or mourn their loss. I am motivated to continue growing this incredible brand nationwide.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Minneapolis has not been without difficult circumstances, but it's my hometown. My greatest accomplishment has been to open a successful business in Minneapolis, even when there was skepticism it would work, and to be a part of the rebirth of this great city. Bringing people back into the core of Minneapolis is what we all need, and it's what we've helped do.

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

I believe one of the hardest things to do is to build your business with so many amazing employees that become like family, and when you can't meet every single one of their needs as seasons change. This feels like you're letting your team down, even when you have such a high desire to support each other.

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

  1. Be ready to work long, difficult, thankless hours leading up to and out of your opening. If you're not committed to giving it truly everything you have, you're going to have a difficult time.
  2. Love your people and believe in your product. When you create a team of mutual support and trust, what is important to you will be important to your team. Having a strong belief in your product will make them believe too.
  3. Have fun with it. What's the point of starting a business if you don't enjoy it? Build it, staff it, enjoy it. Projecting an amazing idea that you believe in, you enjoy and you staff it with incredible people will be successful.

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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