Hopefully you know that Debbi Fields is the proprietor of Mrs. Fields cookies. The company produces world-renowned and much loved chocolate-chip cookies sold in malls and grocery stores everywhere.
Like Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn and the Big Mac, her brand is immediately recognizable, a staple in the lives of millions.
What a lot of people don’t know about Debbi is that she didn’t go to business school; she didn’t work with a team of developers, and she didn’t get rounds of investments. Instead, she started the cookie business—her first business ever—on a shoestring. Therefore, it’s natural to want to take some cues from her and think and act like her.
Simplicity and Humility
Debbi grew up poor and started her business with no frills and with no help in starting her business. This is important because many people are daunted by what seems like a set of requirements for starting a business: videos to show investors, a thorough business plan, the right IT infrastructure.
Some businesses need more of these things more urgently than others, and if yours does need them, you’ll have to put them in place. But the main thing to have, which Debbi Fileds clearly did have, was a good idea and a passion for bringing the idea alive. That dovetails nicely right into the next point.
Quality and Quality
Part of Fields’ modest upbringing was that the family didn’t have enough money for the best ingredients and had to use imitations. She developed an affection for baking and longed for real butter and other premium ingredients. When she got her first job, she began baking her own cookies, using the best ingredients.
As a businesswoman, she was faced with the possibility of taking shortcuts during mass production. But she stuck to her credo of always using the best, and it shows.
Don’t Ask Questions that Can Be Answered with “No.”
When Mrs. Fields needs to negotiate for some reason, Debbi doesn’t ask if she can get a lower rate, which could get a “no.” Instead she asks if she can talk to the person who can give the best rate. When she talks to the person, she asks if he or she has the authority to offer a lower rate, and she reports great success with this.
Good Enough Never Is
To go from one store with almost no seed money to billions and bajillions of stores and uncountable sales of cookies is no small thing. It all starts with dreaming big and with chasing enormous dreams. Fields always says “good enough never is,” and that has driven her all along. It’s the impetus for her recipes and the quality she insists on, as well as the success and growth of her business.
If ever there was an inspiring all-American success story, it’s that of Debbi Fields.