Challenges and growth

Co-operatives, like other organisations, will always face the challenges of survival and growth. Every co-operative that grows experiences growing pains. The members’ enthusiasm at the start may falter when the day-to-day management duties become the focus of activities.

The co-operative will continuously need to provide good quality and affordable services and products that the market and members want. It will need to find ways to grow financially and build member equity, attract finance, and attract and maintain membership.

People can become attached to old ways of doing things, which can create problems when a co-operative needs to change. It is therefore important that members are kept abreast of impending changes in the market and co-operative, so that change can be anticipated and planned.

To grow and meet constant challenges, a co-operative needs to maintain a strong, experienced and diverse board and competent management and staff. It will need clear lines of responsibility and accountability, have the appropriate systems in place to provide timely and accurate financial and operational information, keep abreast of changes in legislation and industry, commit to member and employee education, work with other co-operatives, and maintain (or change) its primary objectives. The co-operative may need to consider whether the current structure or operating procedures are still relevant and allowing the co-operative to grow.