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Who are we?
Exploring who will be involved, and how, in a bit more detail
This is a critical question for any organisation and particularly for a co-operative. Co-operatives have a closer relationship with their customers, suppliers, employees and community in general than that of enterprises run for private profit. The answer to this question will also determine who the members are. In a worker co-operative, these will be the workers, in a consumer co-operative the customers.
It is also good at this point to thoroughly explore the expectations and motivations of those involved to ensure a common purpose and identify whether everybody actually wants to achieve the same thing. If not is this going to be a problem?
Who will be the members? Members are the people who own and control the co-operative; they have the power to change the governance of the co-operative or even wind it up.
What will the relationship of the members be to the co-operative? – customers, suppliers, employees, investors, supporters, users or a mixture of these?
What will the relationships of the co-operative be with other stakeholders who aren’t members?
Do you need to involve all potential members in the planning at this early stage?
What will the co-operative do and what does it want to achieve?