Start from Scratch

Starting a business from scratch is by far the most difficult route to go.  It may also be the most rewarding.  You and your fellow workers get to design every aspect of it.

Cooperatives face challenges traditional businesses do not.  Traditional businesses owned by a single or small group of people, making decisions is a lot easier and faster.  Because the purpose of cooperatives is for the workers to have more control over their work lives, they need to be part of the decision making process and need to feel that what they have to say matters.

Define the Vision
By its very nature of cooperative, you will be in business with other people. It just can’t be random people you meet.  It is absolutely necessary that you have a shared set of values.  It is on this foundation of values your vision will be based – how you want the world to look like when you have reached all your goals.  All of this needs to be written down in great detail.  There is no way around this.

Define the Mission
Once you have agreed on where you’re going, you need to decide how you’re going to get there.  Planners call this defining your mission.  Again, it needs to be written down in great detail.

Creating a business plan, marketing plan, obtaining financing is not that much different from other businesses.  Those tasks are all important and cannot be skipped.

Study these two books first

Putting Democracy to Work: A Practical Guide for Starting and Managing Worker-Owned Businesses

Business Plans For Dummies

One way to kind of shortcut this is to buy a franchise.  This route has challenges of its own.  All sorts of sordid outfits try to make a buck on “franchises” with little or no value.  Stick with a well-known national brand.  After all, branding is one of the major advantages of a franchise.


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