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Last Update: Friday December 15, 2017

Key Idea: Thrive on Competition

These owners are happy to go after the challenging jobs.

Key Question:


Have fun winning new business and even figuring out why you lost some.

Search for more on the topic of motivation and click on the question to get more answers.

Think about it

How do you think about the challenges and the problems you face running a business?  What do you do when you don't get a sale?

Clip from: Meetings America

Salt Lake City:  Meet  Kathleen Barnes and Judy Cannon.  Both of them are in love with their hometown. And, both of them separately became part time  tour guides for the tiny destination management company, Sample Salt Lake.  Then, together these two became quick studies of business operations when the owner of the business asked them to take over. With their cadre of part-time and full-time guides and planners, they all love everything about this special place.

They bought the business and changed the name to Meetings America.  They grew strong enough to win the 2002 Winter Olympics as a client.  Then, unexpectedly,  the husband of one of the guides, Ralph Johnson, made them an offer they couldn't refuse! They sold the business!

Go to the homepage and all the video for this episode...

Meetings America

Judy Cannon, former owner

210 North Redwood Road
North Salt Lake City, UT 84054

Visit our web site:

Office: 8019949000

Business Classification:
Travel Services

Year Founded: 1984

Thrive on Competition

HATTIE: What if one of your daughters came to you and said, `I want to start a business'? What advice would you give her?

KATHLEEN: Well, I think, first of all, you have to have a passion for what you want to do. I mean, you've got to have something that pushes you in that direction, either a basic knowledge or a basic skill or just a great love of something. It would be too hard to do this if you didn't love it.

HATTIE: It's not worth it.

KATHLEEN: It isn't worth it.

JUDY: Well, it wouldn't be worth it because so much of what you have to deal with is being inconvenienced. I mean, the business has its own life, and you have to accept that. And if you're committed to it, you have to be able to spend the time, you have to give up other things that might be even maybe more important. Now one of the things that we've always been careful about is to keep our families first.

KATHLEEN: It was just a little glorified hobby in the beginning, but when we got into it, you know, the juices began to flow and we got excited about what we were doing and we could see the potential, and we just started to roll.

JUDY: And we loved the competition. Can you imagine?

HATTIE: You loved the competition?

JUDY: We...

KATHLEEN: Well, it really moved us forward.

HATTIE: You mean...

KATHLEEN: We just couldn't stand to lose.

JUDY: I think you just have to feel OK about being out there in a competitive world and taking the knocks, and we're OK with it. Now I think it helps for the two of us to do it together because we can comfort each other, we can buoy each other up, we can inspire each other. I have had a lot of empathy for people who have partnerships because I can think of maybe 100 points at which, if you disagreed on even one of those and it was a major point, you would have trouble in the partnership.

HATTIE: OK. So it's probably better for most people just to...

JUDY: Go it alone.


HATTIE: Uh-huh.


JUDY: Unless you are just extremely compatible.


JUDY: Well, we have always prided ourselves that we have staying power no matter what.

KATHLEEN: And we've seen, in our years in the business, a lot of companies come and go.

JUDY: Our type companies.

KATHLEEN: Mm-hmm. There's a lot of satisfaction that comes at the end of a convention when you've done it. You know, you've worked on this at least a year out, sometimes two years out, where you've been putting this together and creating this and getting ready and taking care of the details. And then you get into it and it starts to unfold, and it is so exciting every time to watch this unfold. And when the last person drives off into the sunset, you want to just go, `Yes! We did it!'

JUDY: And you...

KATHLEEN: `And they were so happy!'

JUDY: I think we never planned that we would stay in this business as long as we have.


HATTIE: And now you've got a plan to stay in it for a lot longer.

JUDY: Till, you know--even last year, when the investors came to us, we weren't even sure. `Do we want to work that hard?' You know, that was the question we asked. And we agreed we did.

HATTIE: You're very lucky.

JUDY: There's something in our nature that says, `We like the challenge.'

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