Robert Natoli '80 had to hear dozens of nos before someone said "yes."
Back in the mid-1980s, his
budding rent-to-own business was compromised by a fire. But in 1999,
Natoli sold his nationwide chain of Rentavision stores for nearly $100
"The process drives the
event," Natoli told Professor Ashraf Attia's classes in the School of Business,
when he visited campus as part of the Oswego Alumni Association's Alumni-In-Residence
Program. "And the more difficult the process, the greater the event."
recalled his stints selling burglar alarms, playing disc jockey and working in
the Nestle chocolate factory. Early on in his career, one of Natoli's first Rentavision
stores was razed by fire.
His entrepreneurial spirit
was dampened as 32 banks declined loan applications for rebuilding. Thanks to
perseverance, though, the 33rd bank said yes.
"Never stop until you get
the desired result," Natoli said, likening success in business to the reward of
competition that an Olympic althlete trains years for.
"My path was starting my
own business," said Natoli, a communications major at Oswego. "I did it, you can do it - or
whatever goal you have."
Natoli has applied his
drive to physical endeavors as well, gaining entry in the Guiness Book of World Records for the most chin-ups and squat
thrusts in one minute.
The 2005 Alumni
Association Anniversary Class Award winner advised students to make the
difficult decisions - like choosing work over play - to find success in any
Natoli also recommended a
commitment to building personal savings, continuing education beyond college,
treating everyone "as if they're the most important person in the world," and
focusing on goals.
He highlighted the
importance of internships in building careers. Natoli recalls the curriculum at
Oswego as a
challenging one that helped shape his ambition.
Natoli hopes to build his
current franchise, Time Buyer, into his next success story. He plans to grow
the Oswego-based vehicle-financing business several-fold over the next few
- Shane M. Liebler
Robert Natoli '80 speaks with School of Business
students April 1 as part of the Oswego Alumni Association Alumni-In-Residence
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