DALLAS TWP. — Jim Tunison has a monster in his backpack.
A monster business idea, that is, in the pages of a notebook that was recently fed by a meeting with celebrity Jon Taffer in March.
Tunison’s entrepreneurial idea involves producing a series of instructional videos where musicians teach novices how to play their songs. The business concept won Taffer’s entrepreneurial contest called Taffer Virtual Teaching Contest in February.
Tunison, a business administration graduate student at Misericordia University in Dallas, received $10,000 and a free trip to Las Vegas to meet Taffer and further develop his idea.
Taffer, who garnered fame as the host of the show “Bar Rescue” on Spike TV, provides business consultations for bar and restaurant owners. He also developed a program called Taffer Virtual Teaching, designed to help all entrepreneurs foster their business ideas.
In mid-March, Tunison, 21, and his mother, Suzette, flew out to Las Vegas for a one-day meeting with Taffer to discuss the next step for his business, named Face To Face.
“It was the furthest west I have ever been,” he said.
The day after arriving in Vegas, Tunison and his mom met with Taffer and his staff.
“He (Taffer) was easy to talk with,” Tunison said. “We spent about an hour and a half shooting ideas around.”
Some of Taffer’s suggestions included: an introduction segment that would give each musician an opportunity to address challenges they faced when learning to play an instrument; an area for customers to make notes; sheet music training, and a section in which the user could virtually “play along” with the band, Tunison said.
“It would give them a rock star moment,” he said.
The next phase for the young entrepreneur is to start researching music licensing and studio fees.
“He (Taffer) thinks all I need to do to get Face To Face going is a good production company,” Tunison said.
He already reached out to a music studio in Las Vegas to get an estimation on studio fees.
“They were kind of expensive,” Tunison said. “I need to look at ones around here. (98.5) KRZ offered to assist me in reaching out to some artists.”
Dreaming big, Tunison would love to see Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty be some of his first artists featured. But he also wants to work with Dirks Bentley and Tim McGraw.
“I have already made a template email to send out to studios,” he said.
But for now, the New York native has to rein in his entrepreneurialism enthusiasm and focus on his targeted August graduation date and pitching for the Misericordia Cougars.
“I want to enjoy my last few months here (at Misericordia),” he said. “My parents taught me to be grounded in my faith, work hard and dream big.”
As for that monster in his backpack, Tunison tries to allot time each day to nurture the idea and jot down questions for the next time he talks with Taffer.
“I feel like I’m on the cusp of something,” he said.