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The early days of starting a co-operative
Your idea for a co-operative business may begin with some sort of “eureka moment” when you come up with a novel way of addressing a need, providing a service or a product. Or maybe an opportunity arises such as the local business going up for sale. Sometimes a new co-operative is created as a copy of another inspirational co-operative somewhere else.
In all cases there will be an idea, a need and, critically, some sort of realistic idea of how this could work as a business. An early exploration of all of these will often cause the initial idea to be abandoned, adapted or further developed. It is useful to run your ideas past someone else at this stage – a critical friend who will often be able to spot flaws or even additional ways in which the idea may be improved.
Key questions at this stage
What is your motivation?
Exactly what are you going to do?
Is anyone already doing it?
Are they competition or could they help?
Is there a sound business idea here – could it fly?
Does anyone else need to be involved at this stage?