(Time to read this Blog is about 3 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:
    “Failure to deal with non-performance is one of the biggest problems in many businesses today.  But you can’t deal with non-performance if you don’t measure performance.   What will you do in 2023 to measure performance more effectively in every part of your business?”
    …Donald Cooper.

  2. AMAZING  OFFER!   (I’ve not done anything like this before)
    ‘Improve clarity, commitment & accountability in your business’…for just $600!

    Lack of ‘clarity, commitment & accountability’ is one of the biggest problems in many  businesses today…and I can help solve that problem in just over an hour.     

    I’ve just delivered 60-minute Zoom Sessions on this important topic for  2 clients in the USA and Europe.  The response has been extraordinary!

    This Session delivers some of my powerful management insights and, because it has been successfully ‘test driven’ on both sides of the Atlantic, I’m doing something radical.  I’m offering to deliver it, virtually, to business teams or Associations, to offer to their members, in January or February, for just $600 per Session. Given that my speaking fee for live-session Keynotes is $9,800, plus travel, this is a ‘hot ticket’!  Call it a ‘legacy move’ by a guy who’s been at this for a long time!

    The package includes:

    1. 4 insightful ‘Homework’ assignments that will take you and your Team about 24 minutes to complete before my Session. If you won’t do the ‘homework’, don’t waste your 600 bucks.
    2. My 1-hour Zoom Session, plus all the ‘straight talk’ Q&A time required to address your questions and to discuss what your ‘next steps’ should be.
    3. A step-by-step ‘Implementation Guide’. I send you the master file and you print a copy for each attendee, before my Session.
    4. Free access to my complete set of copyrighted ‘Business Assessment and   Management Implementation Tools’ that have transformed 100s of businesses.

    How to make this happen:

    1. You contact me at Donald@DonaldCooper.com to book a date…and pay $600.
    2. You set up the Zoom Session for the agreed day and time and send me the link. We test the link the day before to make sure everything works properly.
  3. Quick Biz Tip:Our front-line people know stuff and they hate it when we don’t ask.  When we listen to our people, 2 wonderful things happen:
    1. 1st we learn from them.
    2. 2nd, we honour them.

    When we don’t  listen to our people, 2 things also happen:

    1. 1st we don’t learn from them.
    2. 2nd, we dishonour them.

    What will you do in 2023 to be the ‘Chief Listening Officer’ in your business?

  4. How much ‘gas’ do you still have in the tank?
    Last week Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s extraordinary Prime Minister, announced that she will step down in February and not seek a third term in office.

    She said that she “did not have enough in the tank” to do the job justice. Her party will vote for a new leader on January 22.

    Will you know when it’s time to step down from your job as a business owner, leader or manager?  Will you have the wisdom and courage to move on when it’s time?  And will you have built a talent pipeline in your business or department so that there are capable people ready to take over from you?  If you’ve not done this, you’ve failed at one of the most important parts of your job.


Now, to this week’s important topic:


5 important business lessons from the bird feeder!

Note:  I wrote this article a few years ago, but it’s a ‘classic’ with a timeless business message.  Enjoy! 

At the end of every year, we retreat to our country place for two wonderful and peaceful weeks to reflect, refresh and relax.  Although it’s only two hours north of Toronto, it feels like a million miles from anything ‘city’…especially in winter!  But, even here, one learns important business lessons.  Life is free research, when we’re paying attention.

As soon as we arrived this year, I hung a bird feeder right outside our kitchen window.  Think of this as a new business start-up with a great product (ok, so unsalted peanuts from Bulk Barn), no customers, but great potential in the form of a nearby forest full of hungry birds.  This new venture had ‘success’ written all over it!

But how, I wondered, do I promote my ‘grand opening’?  First, I thought of advertising but birds don’t read newspapers, or social media, don’t listen to the radio or watch TV…but they do ‘tweet’.  Then, I thought that maybe I should create a ‘grand opening special’ by lowering my price…but hell, I was giving my peanuts away.  How much lower could I go?  I even considered sampling, but didn’t fancy myself standing outside, under the feeder, at minus 20 degrees, holding out a handful of free peanuts. 

Here’s what happened during the first five days of my new ‘business venture’…   

Day #1…No customers.  Not one single bird. Our new business was a failure!  

Day #2:  Things are looking up!  We are visited by one chickadee, who apparently loves free, imported Spanish peanuts. He stays to ‘shop’ the entire day.

Day #3:  Things are really looking up. We have dozens of chickadees and two kinds of nuthatches.  Apparently, birds tell other birds. Funny how that works.

Day #4:  We have dozens more chickadees, endless nuthatches, several pushy blue jays, brilliant cardinals and two kinds of woodpeckers…both males and females.  Apparently, peanuts are a one-size-fits-all item …and not gender-specific.

Our ‘grand opening’ is officially declared to be a huge success!  We now have line-ups. It’s like an IKEA grand opening…our customers are actually fighting for the ‘merchandise’. 

By the end of the day we’re running out of peanuts and I make a special trip to town to replenish our inventory and purchase two additional feeders to expand our operation, eliminate line-ups and improve our customer experience.

Day #5:  Our customer base grows even more with the addition of one blue jay and a red squirrel.  He doesn’t fit our demographic, but we welcome him anyway, as long as he doesn’t frighten away our primary target customers.

So, here are your five important business lessons from the bird feeder…

  1. You can’t build a business in one day. Be in it for the long haul.
  2. Word-of-mouth works!  One delighted customer can profoundly affect the success of your business.  So, delight every customer…every time!
  3. Don’t run out of what your customers want.
  4. Expand your business only when you have lineups. Don’t get ahead of yourself.  Too much inventory, or too much overhead can kill you.
  5. You may get customers that you didn’t expect.  Welcome them!  They create a whole new possibility to grow your business.

If you like to chat about growing your business and your bottom line, I’m easy to reach at donald@donaldcooper.com.


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

2 Responses to 5 important business lessons from the bird feeder!
  1. What a great analogy! Nicely put

  2. Comment *Love it.

    Why do companies try and grow their business and yet restrict how much they can actually do by limiting credit. Do CFO’s who only understand numbers and have no desire or are so risk adverse even with a long term history of a perfect payment history restrict growth by their very action? As my understanding that entrepreneur (a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so). I have seen many times over the years when asked why has your margin gone down based on a percentage? This is in a commodity based business. Especially when they are trying to grow their presence in a new market in which their customer has over 45 year in all aspects of the business and knows his customer base from the 45 + years being associated with them.

    I understand credit is a privilege and not a right.

    Thanks again for your messages.


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