Sean Watterson, Owner of Happy Dog
"I gained the knowledge and the tools to run the business by the numbers, and the confidence to expand our operations from my interactions with the other small business owners in the room."
When Sean Watterson and his business partner, Sean Kilbane, bought the Happy Dog in 2008, they had absolutely no experience in the industry. Watterson had just left a career in global finance to move back to Cleveland with the idea that he just wanted to make a difference in the community.
While they knew how to get people in the door, Sean needed to learn more about costs and monitoring the financials. They were considering opening a second location, so he applied to 10,000 Small Businesses. Soon after getting accepted into the program, Watterson lost his business partner Kilbane in an unfortunate accident, which forced him into the sole role of business owner.
Through 10KSB, Watterson gained the knowledge, tools and confidence he needed to run the business and expand operations. He realized that he doesn’t have to be an accountant himself to be a successful business owner – that understanding his accountant and asking the right questions is enough.
In 2014, he opened the Happy Dog’s second location at the Euclid Tavern, which helped to spark growth. Watterson’s business experienced 15 percent growth in 2015, and he expects another 15 percent this year.