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CCIF Conversations: Donald Cooper’s ‘exit strategy’

Toronto, Ontario — If you need help planning a clear succession plan and exit strategy for your business, Donald Cooper is the man you need. 

CCIF held its second virtual event on Feb. 3 and 4, 2021 and saw representatives from all sectors of industry present throughout the two-day event. 

Cooper held his presentation on the first day of CCIF 2021, with the hope of leaving attendees with a new and powerful understanding of their business, and the future. 

“This session is especially for business owners, and delivers key insights, important checklists and real case studies that will help you plan and execute your succession and exit from the business summit,” said Cooper. 

A step-by-step implementation guide was prepared for participants of the presentation to help with the crazy amount of the content, including checklists and case studies. And beside each slide on the guide, there is a blank space to write down “keepers,” and a keeper was anything a participant heard in the presentation that can help them in their business and life. 

Cooper begins his presentation by defining what succession planning, exit planning and estate planning mean. He begins by discussing succession planning and its two-part process. 

“There’s an ongoing process throughout your whole time of running your business, the ongoing process of identifying and developing or hiring and strength in every part of your business, and then preparing your most talented people for career growth and promotion, you cannot grow your business without growing your people,” he said. 

There’s an ongoing process throughout your whole time of running your business, said Cooper. He explains the how the process of identifying and developing or hiring and strengthening every part of your business. From there, Cooper explains how to grow your business by preparing the most talented people in the business for career growth and promotion. 

“You cannot grow your business without your people.” 

The second part of succession planning, Cooper said, is preparing the business to operate effectively without you one day. 

“If the business can’t run without you, it’s not saleable, nobody will want a business that can’t run without you,” he said. 

Cooper introduced his business management implementation tools for no charge at the end of the presentation, however, he went through some of them in great detail during the presentation. He discussed estate planning, which is basically documenting “who’s going to get your stuff.”

The next insight Cooper goes into detail is about planning and establishing clear exit priorities. 

“For many people, they’ve made their business, their need for where they go to hide from reality, and, and businesses where we go to engage. In reality, if you’re going to work to hide from reality, you and business are in big trouble sooner, or like number three, to achieve financial security, which is defined as the ability to sustain a specific lifestyle until today,” he explained.  

Cooper then discusses the transfer of the business to a family member or key employees. He discusses how many people he coaches that this is always an unpopular topic and he goes into many examples and situations that arise from owning a business and getting too old to run it effectively. 

“How many businesses have an ownership or top management succession plan? Well, there have been lots of surveys on this. And they typically show that only 10 per cent of businesses have a written succession plan exit strategy, only 10 per cent 38 per cent say that they have an informal plan. But in my experience, when I asked those people to tell me a little bit about that informal plan, they dry up, they have nothing to say they’re just making excuses.” said Cooper. “And then finally, 52 per cent of people have the guts to admit that they have no plan at all.” 

Cooper owns his coaching business that works with business owners and managers, who want to sell more, manage smarter and grow their bottom line. 

Before starting his business, his family-owned Cooper Canada, and worked there for 18 years after university, helping the business become the world’s leader in hockey equipment. At age 43 he left to do something less corporate and became an award-winning fashion retailer and changed the customer experience forever, for which he received seven awards of excellence for marketing, service, and business innovation. 

As his CCIF presentation wraps up, Cooper provides access to his free business tools by going to the website www.donaldcooper.com forward slash my FBT (free business tools). 

“If you would like to sign up for straight talk management blog voted Donald cooper.com there’s a spot there where you can sign up. And then there’s the vision critical guide. It’s not free, it is a whole $24 at donaldcooper.com.”

“Or you could just go and pay 10 or $15,000 to a consultant to come up with something that’s not worth the paper,” laughed Cooper.

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