Critical factors to your success

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the critical factors involved in launching your co-operative
  • Undertake a risk analysis to ensure that you have a plan in place to mitigate against any risk involved in setting up your co-operative
  • Outline contingency plans and an exit strategy

What are the critical factors to your success?

First you need to understand what absolutely must be in place in order for your co-operative to launch. For example premises, funding, materials or a particular contract.

The critical factors are what you will need to prioritise, and so you need to make sure a plan is in place to ensure they happen.

If there are several critical success factors, how do they relate to each other and what is their sequence? You might come across a conundrum, for example you can't sign a lease agreement until the business is fully registered and incorporated but to incorporate before all the pieces are in place could be a costly mistake. How will you handle that?

Undertaking a risk analysis

People who read your feasibility study will be looking for evidence that you have considered and taken steps to mitigate against risks. There are various ways you could do this but at this stage a SWOT analysis would probably be appropriate. 

A SWOT analysis involves listing all of a project's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Critical factors and risk 

Use the Critical factors and risk analysis template to work through the following:

List the critical success factors for your co-operative: Those things that absolutely must be in place – in the order in which they are to occur; Plans for ensuring that these critical factos will be achieved? Any problems or conflicts between any of the above? And how they be resolved?

Undertake a SWOT analysis with your steering group: What will you do to eliminate, reduce or minimise the weaknesses and threats identified above? Once you are satisfied that your lists are complete, look at all the weaknesses and threats and consider what you can do to eliminate, reduce or minimise them.

Contingency plans and exit strategy: Consider all the things that could go wrong and what you would then do. How could you scale down or close down without risking what you and others will have invested?

The information and tools in this section have been developed by our colleagues at Co-operative Assistance Network.

Updated: 26/03/2019