Recruiting members and marketing your business.
This phase relates to the recruitment of either members or customers or possibly both. Even if your business doesn’t require your customers to be part of the organisation, your business planning should have told you how many customers or the level of trade that you need in order to break even and survive and as a result you will need to engage with your community as either potential members or customers.
Whether you are recruiting or marketing or both, you will need to be clear exactly what your co-operative is offering and how you will tell the world (or your bit of it).
If your business is to raise finance from the community in the form of shares or loans then this will probably be the most important phase of your start-up and also one to which you will need to devote much time and resources. This is because raising money from your community has associated issues around risk and accountability. There is also a lot of legislation associated with this type of activity which is actually a public offer of investment.
If you are “recruiting” members then this phase may also occur at various points in the start-up process from right at the start of the planning process through to the start of trading and beyond.
At what point(s) in the process should we involve more people?
How to recruit new members or engage customers?
Managing expectations of members and customers?
Do members know what they are joining and do your customers know what you are offering?
Is your offer or product legal, honest and fair?