Javier Sotomayor: “The key to success is perseverance”
Just as on the slopes, Javier Sotomayor, the best high jumper of all time, has has seen a successful start in the world of entrepreneurship with the opening of his Bar 2.45, a name that is a nod to his current world record. Constantly creating, he confesses how difficult it is to make a name for himself in this new area.
Spread throughout the country, private bar-restaurants seem, a priori, to be one of the most competitive sectors in the world of Cuban entrepreneurship. However, the “boom” of legal norms for the improvement of economic actors and the approval of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) has been a trigger for the quantitative increase in these establishments.
But Javier Sotomayor is not afraid of competition. A little over a month ago, he opened 2.45, which also includes a restaurant named Salamanca, in honour of the Spanish city where he jumped higher than any other human being. Regarding the diversity of options for customers, he stressed that effort, time and dedication are fundamental to success.
“We have some of the most famous bars and restaurants nearby. But I have always thought big. Our infrastructure deserves to be among the best in Havana. But that’s not all you need. It is also essential to have good service, attention, and that the gastronomy is on a par. That is what we are working on,” Sotomayor explained.
In this sense, he described his first month in operation as successful. Laughing, he joked that the public quickly associated the number 2.45 with the bar, and not so much with his record. “But, fortunately, quite a lot of people have been coming and on a social level I get a lot of positive comments on the street.”
The “Prince of the Heights,” as he is also known, explained that the constant renewal of ideas and innovation are pillars to differentiate the business from the rest in the market. He explained that the team is constantly looking for alternatives, for example, to make use of the installation in the mornings.
One of these initiatives is the possible creation of a sports fan club at Bar 2.45. With it, the team intends to systematically invite active athletes or sporting glories to share experiences with clients, as well as to generate dialogue and interaction between them.
The bar also hopes to become the headquarters of the Peña Madridista de La Habana (Havana’s Real Madrid Fan Club) and is negotiating the live broadcasting of matches; a hook for potential clients eager to enjoy competitions such as the Champions League, which is not broadcast on national television.
Another option is also related to the world of sport. “I was at a point where I wanted to set up a gym. That is no longer viable. But now we are considering offering spinning classes in the morning as an alternative. The infrastructure exists. All that is missing are the bicycles,” Sotomayor confirmed.
All of this without forgetting his expectations as a Bar. In the interest of securing a regular clientele, 2.45 offers services to the restaurant including entertainment for diners. Sotomayor explained that Diván, Icónicos, Los Cuatro, Interactivo, Laritza Bacallao and Charanga Latina have all performed at the site. “We aspire to promote them and gradually create a fan club to be able to bring each of the artists on a regular basis. We have received good reviews from them,” he concluded.
This diversification will undoubtedly bring the team closer to meeting the immediate growth prospects and will also guide them on the road to evolving into other modalities as a company.
Regarding his key to success, Javier draws an analogy to the sporting world. The all-time best high jumper turned entrepreneur says that entrepreneurship is similar to the life of an Olympic athlete. To get to the top, no matter how well prepared you are, you have to wait four years. Success does not happen overnight. It takes perseverance, time, effort, consistency. And once success is achieved, another fundamental aspect is to maintain the same level of service.