Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Cecconi, Founder of M Squared Spirits, located in Oakland, CA, USA.

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

My business is selling the possibility of a more beautiful, more delicious life. In other words, I handcrafted cocktails and bottle them, so everyone has the pleasure of a finely made cocktail whenever and wherever they choose.

Tell us about yourself

The arts got me behind the bar. I studied dance in college (MFA NYU, 1998) and was tightly advised by my brother to have a marketable skill. Two-week bartending course slinging colored water? Check (IBI Certificate 1997). Turns out that bartending not only paid the rent but gave me a stage from which to perform and an audience willing to try any concoction that I could dream up. It turns out that dance does none of those things, so shortly after ringing in the new millennium, I chose to focus my energies solely on the bar. That was several decades ago, yet every time I am behind the bar, I'm thrilled to help people feel relaxed, safe, and cared for. That feeling is essentially what I am trying to put in a bottle each day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

To date, my biggest accomplishment is threading the needles across a variety of agencies and actually bringing a product to market. I had a great deal of help along the way.

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

As a small business owner, it is all the hats I must wear: producer, wholesale sales agent, retail sales agent, marketing, etc.

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

  1. Have a plan. It'll change, but having a made-up road map is a great place to start.
  2. Prepare to work.
  3. Have a network of people. Don't shoulder the load alone. Even just having an ear to bend can help you get through the day.

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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