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Creating an action plan

Starting a new business can be overwhelming. So, break the project into manageable steps. By assigning a set list of tasks, an action plan increases organization and decreases stress.

Here’s a list of possible tasks to get you started – customize this action plan to suit your project.

First, compile a toolkit:

  • Dedicated group of people to start the business
  • Somewhere to store files for everyone to share: try Dropbox or Google Docs or a project management software, like Trello, Monday, etc.
  • A scanner or scanning app on your phone (we like CamScanner) or software to record an online meeting (Zoom)
  • 1-2 vigorous notetakers or ability to record meetings (Zoom)
  • 1 Co-operatives First team member
  • A few flipcharts or an online program that replicates the process like mural.co
  • Lots of pens and paper or an online doc (Google doc) or program (mural.co, for example)
  • Coffee
  • The best of intentions

Task

Notes

Outreach

  • Conduct a survey
  • Present findings
  • Clarify a purpose

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.

Budget Planning

  • Identify start-up costs
  • Create member equity plan
  • Begin searching for grants

Strike a Finance Committee to crunch the numbers. Starting with our budgeting tool, begin compiling a list of start-up costs and potential sources of funds. It might be helpful to work with your local Community Futures office to get the data you need.

Fundraising

  • Identify opportunities to secure funds
  • Organize and hold
    fundraisers

Because the co-op isn’t incorporated yet the committee can’t take out a loan or sell
memberships, but you can raise money in other ways. Hosting fundraisers or
accepting informal donations can help cover the early costs of creating a
co-op.

Governance Planning

  • Identify ownership group
  • Draft an org chart
  • Present for feedback

Strike a 2 to4-person Governance Committee to tackle the tough questions of ownership, authority, and accountability. Work through our Governance resource to identify who the co-op’s members should be and begin putting
together an organizational chart that potential members can offer feedback on.

Business Planning   

  • Early market research
  • Identify consultant/support
  • Begin business planning

Rely on the Finance Committee to continue digging into the data. Consider hiring a
third-party consultant to help create a business plan— or start creating
your own
using our online tool.

Choose a Name

  • Compile legal framework
  • Engage potential members
  • Select the best option

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 then check in with potential members to get some suggestions. Have the committee vote on their favourite
using a
dotmocracy exercise.

Incorporation

  • Reserve a name
  • File articles
  • Draft bylaws

As the governance committee clarifies important organizational details, begin capturing this information in the 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. You will find more specific information about this in your province’s workplan.

Take a moment to celebrate the co-op’s incorporation.

Hurray!

Membership Start-up

  • Create a membership agreement
  • Set-up an e-mail
  • Create a member
    registry

Have the board secretary 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.

Finance Start-up

  • Set up a bank account
  • Incorporators deposit
  • Compile a list of funders

Have the finance committee, led by the treasurer, set up a bank account and collect the
membership fees from the incorporating members. Monitor the new memberships the
co-op issues and begin researching and applying for additional start-up funds.

 

Downloads

Business resources make life easier

Need a business plan? Start here. The Biz Plan Creator is an easy-to-use and helpful tool. Designed to guide you through the process, the Biz Plan Creator offers a user-friendly platform and clear advice at every stage. Plus, it includes a secure account and customized branding of your plan. So, you can leave and come back to your plan as needed. And when you’re done, a branded PDF business plan ready for investors and financiers is your reward.