Starting a cooperative presents a unique opportunity for a group of people to meet a shared economic or social need. As democratically governed businesses, cooperatives can be a great way to structure a business that is guided by member values.
As with any new venture, starting a cooperative requires good ideas, expertise, time, energy, and money. It can take six months to two years, sometimes longer, for a new cooperative to go from an initial concept to launch.
The following are basic guidelines for getting started, but each new cooperative is unique. The manner in which the momentum, people, and money come together will vary. However, each of the steps described below is a logical point at which organizers can evaluate a cooperative’s progress and decide whether or not the effort should move forward.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before getting started.
- What is the need that is not being met? What problem are you solving?
- Who are the members? What would motivate people to join the cooperative?
- Who are the competitors? Who else is already doing this?
- Who are your first customers?
- Who are strategic partners you can align yourselves with?
Made it through the basics? Good for you! Now it’s time to figure out if a new cooperative business is the right choice for you. You’ll find more details on how to get started in the steps below.
For even more info, please visit our Startup Resources Page.