American entrepreneur Debbi Fields, founder of the Mrs. Fields cookie brand, brought her message about success to the 2021 NCRA Conference & Expo happening at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nev.
Fields said she has been a friend of NCRA President Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, for more than 30 years.
“She just absolutely never stops trying to build a better tomorrow,” Fields said about Dibble.
Fields said the steps of her story are:
- Failing your way to success
- Beating the odds
- Not accepting the word “no”
She does that through using the SMILE thought process:
- Every day
To do this she uses the key ingredients of passion, perfection, perseverance, and the power of people. She said perfection is an especially important trait for court reporters and captioners who have to be great listeners, precise, and perfect.
“The idea that you can move your fingers 225 wpm is awesome!” she said.
Fields said it’s important to look at your skill set and know that you are awesome.
“I accepted the fact that life is a challenge, and I was going to make each moment the best moment. I see challenges, not barriers. No is an unacceptable answer,” she said.
Power of people reminds her of the people who have supported her. She learned from her father that true wealth comes from family, friends, and loving what you do. The way you find out who you are is to find what you love.
Her mother’s bad cooking led her to realize how much she liked baking. She said she started out with margarine, fake chocolate, and fake vanilla, but she thought the cookies she made were great.
When she got a job at 13, she spent her first paycheck on butter, real chocolate, and real vanilla.
“Butter is better. Buter is life changing,” Fields said.
After trying those first cookies with butter, she said to herself that from then on, every cookie she made would be made of butter. That’s all part of perfection.
She started bringing cookies with her everywhere. When she made the decision to go into business, her family and husband were not supportive. It didn’t stop her from trying. She brought her cookie tray with her to meetings with bankers and didn’t give up until she got a loan.
“I owned and celebrated my uniqueness,” she said.
She had to seize the moment and finally found a banker to say yes.
She kept perfecting her recipe. She added chocolate until she couldn’t add more and concentrated on what makes her unique. When people told her she had to concentrate on location, quality, or price, she said she would concentrate on all three.
No customers came the first day her store was open. She said she hadn’t considered the possibility she would be a failure. She realized she needed to be innovative. She started carrying a cookie sheet outside and giving cookie samples. People would then follow her back to the store. She built a special relationship with her customers and built a staff that was a team.
She had grown to seven stores when she sold her company.
“Passion is love,” Fields said. “If you love what you are doing, you will always be great at it.”
And when it comes to the NCRA Conference & Expo theme of “Together we shine brighter,” Fields agrees.
“I never met a sparkle I didn’t like,” she said.