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Co-operative Business Planning Guide

If you’re starting a new business, it’s important to clearly define and articulate your plans: what will we do and how will we do it? Every business, even co-operatives, should develop a business plan that can be used to engage new members, raise capital, attract investors, and provide guidance to those involved.

A co-operative is a business and requires the same level of skill, energy, and commitment as any other business. Starting and building a business can be complicated, confusing, and frustrating — but with a well-crafted business plan in place your co-operative will be off to a good start. Co-operative businesses might be structured differently than other business models, but all businesses are built on the same foundational practices. The co-op’s structure can be built into the business, but shaping and operating the business should make economic feasibility a priority.

When writing a business plan, consider who the audience might be. If your business plan will be used to attract funders, think of ways to set your business apart from others by making a clear case for why your business should receive their support. Be honest and thorough. Fabricating a business plan with unrealistic ideals and projections won’t help you promote your business and will lead to challenges down the road. The best way to ensure you create a superior business plan is to work with experts in business and co-operative development that can review your plan and provide the advice and expertise you need.

Disclaimer: This business planning guide does provide examples where appropriate. Please note that much of the information presented in this example is fictitious and only intended to exemplify the type of information that should be included in each field.