Early days – the big idea

This section explores the 'early days' and how to take your big idea and make it into something concrete

This phase of any start-up may begin with some sort of “eureka moment” when someone comes up with a novel way of addressing a need. Or possibly an opportunity arises such as the local shop going up for sale, a business owner needing to retire or workers “spinning out” their service from the public sector.

Sometimes a new co-operative is created as a copy of another inspirational co-operative enterprise somewhere else. Sometimes an idea is adapted to be used in a new area. For instance, the community supported agriculture model has been adapted and used for co-operative bakeries, forestry, bee-keeping and even wool production. Many ideas also come out of conversations within the community.

In all cases there will be an idea, a need or business opportunity 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 outputs at this stage will often be a simple elevator pitch or one page overview of the idea to share with other people who can help or may get involved as future members of the co-op.

Updated: 15/02/2017