So you’ve formed a steering committee. Now what? Figuring out where to start can be overwhelming.
A big group project, like forming a co-operative, often requires some legwork and outreach. However, making an action plan and delegating tasks can help the committee coordinate the first phase of a co-op start-up and navigate any hurdles.
To help make this process a little clearer, here’s a list of possible tasks to get you started.
First, compile a toolkit to help you along. Consider including the following:
Next, sit down as a team and decide how to work through the following action items.
(Once you’re ready to begin incorporating the co-op, check out our incorporation service.
Or, if you prefer to do it yourself, try one of our work plans for the province you are incorporating in:
To incorporate federally, try this one here.)
||It’s a good idea to seek feedback on your business idea to gauge interest. Create a survey and check in with potential members. With the results, you can host a meeting to get more feedback. Work towards distilling the discussion to a clear purpose that the business will help achieve.|
||Crunch the numbers. Begin compiling a list of start-up costs and potential sources of revenue. If you need help with a business plan or feasibility study, consider applying for support from us.|
||After you know how much money you need to raise to get up and running, it’s time to figure out how to raise those funds. There are many options, from loans to investment equity and member shares to donations, but not all are relevant to every venture. So, choose wisely. If you need help with a business plan or feasibility study, consider applying for support from us.|
||Identify who the co-op’s members should be and begin creating an organizational chart. To learn more about governance, consider taking our governance course. Or try our governance tool.|
||This step is a bit challenging but entirely doable with the right people and support. Hiring a third-party consultant to help is a good idea. Consider applying for support from us or start your own using our online business planning tool|
|Choose a Name
Task a committee member to organize a process for naming the co-op. They can check provincial regulations to find out what has to be in the co-op’s name and then check in with potential members to get some suggestions. Have the committee vote on their favourite using a dotmocracy exercise.
||Begin drafting articles of incorporation. Reserve the name with your government’s corporate registry and begin thinking about other processes that need to be captured in the co-op’s bylaws. Search “bylaws” and the province you’re incorporating in to find a guide to writing bylaws. Or have us do the heaving lifting for you and try our incorporation service.|
Take a moment to celebrate the co-op’s incorporation.
||Set up an e-mail account and put together a member registry. Once there’s a system in place for accepting payment for memberships, the co-op can begin selling membership shares.|
||Set up a bank account and collect membership fees from incorporating members. Then, monitor the new memberships the co-op issues. Now is also the time to start applying for loans, pitching investors, or soliciting donations.|
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