Fear is a most motivating factor

Phyllis J. Cannava | Office Direct owner and president

There are situations that have defined my success and helped me learn as a business owner in the design industry.

After working for several local furniture companies – that included a frustrating period of trying to find a job – the last straw came when I was deprived of my commission check as the last company went into its fourth bankruptcy.

I decided I could not do any worse for myself, so 30 years ago, I started my own business.

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Terrified as I was at the thought of not having a weekly paycheck to rely on, I found motivation in that fear.

Go beyond your comfort zone as I did to get out and get going, because if you don’t go for it, you will never know that you would have made it.

Of course, running a business is much more complex than starting one.

Early in my career, working in sales, I learned a few key points:

• Listen to the client’s needs.

• Learn about product.

• Follow up on orders.

• Insist on quality installations.

I keep those qualities in mind today.

For instance, having watched the owners of the companies that I worked for not appreciating the people that they employed taught me to recognize their talents and abilities, and give them the responsibility to grow and realize their potential and accomplishments.

For without the listening, learning and living the experience, we could not have achieved what we have so far.