With 2 redundancies in less than 2 years, Robert Cooper was left wondering what to do next. Cooper Professional Risks (trading as CPR Insurance Services), was the result, providing specialised insurance products and risk advice for small business.
My name is Robert Cooper, I've got a business called CPR Insurance Services and we're located in Grange, Brisbane.
I was always used to working for other people and so to me the ultimate challenge was to go out on my own and start my own business. Fortunately, I did do an MBA about 18 years ago, and that gave me a good grounding in what was needed to run a business.
Well, we've grown to a size where we've needed to take on additional people and we have a couple of employees that are very valuable to our business. One of our employees we took on we decided that we should train someone up from scratch, so we took on a school leaver and we found that there was a grant available to assist with paying for their training and the costs of training them up, so we took advantage of a traineeship from the government.
I've always taken the philosophy of being a learning type atmosphere and to encourage, nurture, and try to be clear in communication and explain how to do things as much as possible, but also give the person a feeling of responsibility for their own areas.
After being made redundant from 2 well-paid insurance broking jobs in the space of 15 months, Robert's world was turned upside down. Not being able to find work left him in a difficult and dark place but after picking himself up, his own business journey started when he realised he could do it himself.
Before starting out, Robert realised comprehensive research would be an initial key. Obtaining his own insurance broking licence and the compliance around it was a major obstacle because of the expense. Robert learned about becoming a corporate authorised representative for another insurance broker. In exchange for a percentage of his earnings, Robert would be able to use their systems, be compliant with the law and have access to their accounting and insurance markets and still trade under his own business name. The first company Robert approached to be their authorised representative knocked him back. Persevering, he approached another and was accepted by a Perth based broker.
Using the last of his frequent flyer points, he flew to Perth to sign the agreement, both excited and daunted. When he returned to Brisbane, he set up his business to specialise in professional indemnity insurance for small-to-medium enterprises. He joined as many business organisations and Chambers of Commerce as possible, contacted old clients and wrote letters to new ones. It was tough going early on, but slowly Robert, joined by his wife, built their client base of small businesses. These clients tell Robert they use CPR for a variety of reasons, including trust, reliability and availability, but also for the understanding and empathy that comes with dealing with a fellow small business.
CPR Insurance Services has now grown to provide a full range of insurance products for small business. Now employing 3 staff, Robert is proud that his small business journey has seen his hard work pay off and brought in many clients that have also become good friends.