Why co-operatives succeed

Co-operatives succeed because of their members’ input and their strong understanding of co-operative principles and values, and when the product or service offered meets the needs of their market.

A successful co-operative has:

  • Clear common objectives to achieve both its social purpose and operate as a sustainable commercial entity.
  • A strong understanding of, and adherence to, co-operative principles and values.
  • Involved members, who are kept informed and educated, and who are committed to success and encouraging of other members.
  • Competent management, which communicates well with the Board and members.
  • Sound business planning and the ability to plan for change.
  • A positive attitude, and the belief of their members that they can make a difference.
  • A strong sense of the needs of its members and market(s), and meets them.
  • A sufficient size to receive fair treatment from suppliers of its inputs and/or buyers of its products.
  • Strong community bonds, awareness and involvement in the community, capacity for selfreliance,  and vitality.
  • The ability to provide a service or product at a price that an investor-owned business can’t beat.
  • A viable business opportunity and a realistic focus.
  • Access to skilled advisors when necessary.
  • Links with other co-operatives.
  • Meetings that are clear and focused, open, and inviting to members to speak freely and raise questions.
  • Clearly defined marketing agreements and returns to members.
  • Members who are loyal to the co-operative and who understand both their own interest and the interests of the group.
  • Constructive members with a commitment to integrity and honesty, and ability to delegate authority.
  • Sufficient capital.
  • The patience to grow slowly.