How many of the e-mail newsletters you receive are truly useful? Truly add value? And how many of them place such a high value on your time that they tell you how long it will take to read the article? Don Cooper has such an unusual newsletter that I asked him to tell me about it in an extended interview earlier this year. We talked about a great many things in addition to the newsletter. In the spirit of Don Cooper, this whole article will take you about six minutes to read. Or you can just scan it for the juicy quotes in about 45 seconds.
Don Cooper's roots in sporting goods and ladies apparel
If the name seems familiar to you, there's a good reason. Don started his business career in the family business sweeping floors for five cents a day. As he says, "Long days and low pay, excellent early training for an entrepreneur." The family business was Cooper Sporting Goods, at one time a world leader in hockey equipment, and a Canadian icon with over 3,000 employees.
When manufacturing began to move to China, the family believed the shift in the industry would change the success dynamics. "We had 70% market share without ever paying a professional athlete a nickel because we made better stuff." In the future, however, they believed it would all be "about who could write the biggest cheque to an already overpaid athlete. We chose not to play."
The next business was a small ladies apparel boutique in Markham, a satellite city of Toronto. A few years after opening it was voted Outstanding Innovative Retailer. A succession of awards and honors for this small retailer led to many requests. "The phone started ringing," Don says, with people saying "Can you come and tell us how you did it?"
Don shifted his career again, and is now a speaker, a consultant and a writer, something he's been doing now for two decades, and clearly loving it. And he has a newsletter. An unusual one.