Linda Descano, CFA®, President and CEO,
Susan Fries may be anti-pests, but she’s definitely pro-environment. In fact, if you ask her what she does for a living, she’ll tell you she helps people protect their property and health. If you ask her why, she’ll tell you her family’s health combined with her love for animals were the real driving forces behind her decision to operate an eco-sensitive pest-management company. Here’s how she transformed her family’s pest control business into something she is truly passionate about.
What were you doing before you began working for your family’s business? When I was first married, I was working as a sales representative for a cosmetics company. My husband and I had talked about doing business together, but hadn’t found the right opportunity. Then, one day, my father-in-law told us that his partner wanted out of the business and asked if we wanted to buy his share. We did our homework and took the leap. That was 30 years ago.
What’s the key to running a successful enterprise? Never give up, and always ask why. Constantly re-assess how to make things better. Look at all problems as opportunities. You have to be an optimist. Your attitude and those you surround yourself with will determine your altitude!
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur? You can’t sweat the small stuff. Admittedly, it’s difficult at first to know what the “small stuff” really is. The key here is that you go through something a few times, you gain perspective. You know you will survive. You’ve just got to manage through it.
Who is your financial role model? My mom was my financial role model. She was a prudent shopper. Growing up we shopped at Zody’s and Pic-n-Sav, not department stores. I still do that today. One of my pleasures is going ‘treasure hunting,’ as we call it in my family, by which I mean shopping at consignment and second-hand stores. When my kids were young, I took them with me and we would compare prices by the ounce. It was a great way for me to teach them basic math and instill the value of a dollar.
What words do you live by? People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.