Start trading – what next?

This section identifies the important elements that need to be considered and monitored to keep your co-operative on course. 

Once your co-operative is up and running and all that business planning is now being put to the test. Think of your organisation like an aeroplane which is now in the air. Are the instruments showing the right readings and are you on course?

Your co-operative will generally have a governing body or Board and it is their responsibility to act in the role of pilot. It is very easy to get bogged down in the day to day running of the co-operative and whilst this is critical, someone needs to be taking a strategic long term overview of the co-operative. This is the governing body’s role.

The governing body:

  • Own and monitor the strategy and business plan of the co-operative; and
  • Remain accountable to the members who are the ultimate authority within any co-operative

Note: In some co-operatives there is no separate governing body – all members of the co-operative are also Directors – members of the governing body. This is known as collective governance.

Your first governing body will often be the people who started the co-operative or registered its legal form. They will usually have the power to invite other members onto that governing body to help them until the first Annual General Meeting when they will typically present accounts and a report to the entire membership who will then also elect a new governing body.

Whilst the governing document of the co-operative will define how important decisions are made within the co-operative, there is generally much flexibility around the inner workings and organisation of a co-operative.

The co-operative movement is very supportive and there is a wealth of information available around, particularly around governance and decision making.

Some useful and commonly used resources are:

Updated: 15/02/2017