As co-operatives fortnight closes we here at Co-operative Credit Union salute the tremendous work of the wider co-operative sector. Credit unions are financial co-operatives and we are one part of a diverse sector which ranges from childcare to cheese, wine to wind power, so there really is a co-operative for everyone. The idea is that the two week celebration will encourage more people to make the co-operative choice.
Co-operative Credit Union chairman David Dickman has a great track record in working with co-operatives throughout his life and he says, “Potential co-operative businesses have the advantage over sole traders of several people discussing the business idea and, hopefully, scrutinising the financial projections. As business advisers know too well, many small single-owner businesses – particularly shops and cafes – are set up by individuals fired with enthusiasm (and funded perhaps by redundancy pay), only to prove in practice hopelessly unprofitable”. He added, “However: new co-ops have to work harder to create income to support several pay packets, when compared with one-person ventures. One of the problems with new-start co-ops is that you can get, say, three people coming out of university doing something like graphic design, or photography, or working with computers and wanting to work together. What they can fail to do is to build a customer base that provides them with a sustainable business. In practice, and perhaps not ideally, the early days of a co-op may be funded by sweat equity (contributions of unpaid or underpaid time and effort) but my experience tells me that small starts-up businesses have a great chance of success going down the co-operative route”.
Pease share your stories with us. If you want to learn more here is the link to the Co-operatives UK website http://www.uk.coop/choosecoop/local-loved-trusted.