Need More Business? Create a Co-Op!

If you’re the owner of a small business and have limited resources, use

the power of numbers to obtain more customers or clients. Create an

informal co-op.

Creating such a co-op is simple. First, make a list of other small

business owners you know personally, trust, and respect. On your list,

include some businesses that have products or services similar to yours

and others that provide very different ones.

All of these small business owners probably have limited resources, too.

Arrange a meeting with several of these owners and sit down together at

a relaxing location (like a coffee shop or bookstore) to discuss how you

could all benefit from an informal cooperative (co-op, for short).

For example, do you all attend trade shows for your businesses? Could

you share a booth with one or two of these other small business owners

to cut the cost of a booth? Do all of you have web sites for your

companies? If so, it would be easy to create a blog for your co-op, with

links to the web site of each co-op member. Then, each member could

take a turn updating the blog, which should result in increased web site

traffic (or at least more publicity or exposure) for each member.

Co-ops are also helpful when you would like to join professional

organizations but can’t afford the dues by yourself. Join as a co-op and

you’ll probably get membership benefits for at least several of your

members. Join several different organizations so that each co-op

member can enjoy membership in at least one organization of his or

her choice.

Here are some examples of the types of businesses that would make

good co-ops:

Car dealerships – car washes – auto parts stores

Childcare centers – children’s bookstores – children’s clothing stores

Graphic designers – freelance writers – small printing companies

Animal clinics – pet stores – pet grooming centers

Advertising agencies – specialty food stores – gift basket companies

Freelance writers – gift stores – day spas

Are you beginning to get some ideas?

Start thinking about creating a business co-op and you’ll probably think

of many other cost-saving and service-sharing ways to fit your particular

needs.

Create an informal co-op, then sit back and watch your business

grow.