Where to Start

Where to Start

How Feasible is Your Business Idea?

Feasibility studies evaluate your business’s potential to succeed and identify areas that need further consideration.


Identify the problem your coop will solve

Perhaps you want to provide a
product or service your community
doesn’t have.


Consider why customers will choose your coop

What value are you
providing them?


Describe how your coop will operate

Consider the people, the place,
the facilities, and equipment required.

Your feasibility study should include:

  • Technical Feasibility

    What technical resources and qualifications do you and your team require? Consider electricity, internet, hardware, software, and facilities.

  • Economic Feasibility

    What are the estimated costs and revenues for the business?

  • Legal Feasibility

    How might legislation affect your co-op in the areas of land, capital, data protection, and social media?

  • Operational Feasibility

    How well does your co-op meet the needs of its members?

  • Scheduling Feasibility

    How long will it take for the co-op to set up, begin operations, and begin to serve its members?

Business Planning

Once your business is determined to be feasible, it’s time to write a business plan. A business plan describes what the business is, how it runs, who will do the work, where the start-up funds come from, and how to mitigate risks.

We’re here to help guide you through the business planning process. For more information about how to get started writing a business plan, see page 26 of our guidebook.


All businesses need money to get started. Founding co-op members can either raise funds internally or seek outside financing.

External Financing

Bands, Credit Unions, or Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) may be willing to become an investor in your co-op, providing a loan for start-up capital. Wondering how to approach financers with your business plan? See page 30 of our guidebook for best practices.

Share Capital

Co-ops typically issue two types of shares:

Membership Shares

are purchased by those who want to become an owner of the business. Depending on your co-op’s goals, the cost of membership shares will vary. Do you want the co-op to have a lot of members? You’ll probably want to sell the shares for less than $20.

Investment Shares

are purchased by those who wish to make a significant investment in your co-op. Investment shares cost more than membership shares and offer a return on investment based on an agreed-upon rate of return and payment schedule. Investment shares can be issued or repurchased as determined by the co-op’s members.