In the business world, people often have inaccurate ideas about certain models and approaches. The cooperative business model is an example of this. Even though there are many examples of successful cooperatives, common myths still affect people’s opinions of the model.

Allow us to clear up the confusion by telling the truth behind three common myths about cooperatives, as well as explaining three key facts about the cooperative model.

MYTH 1: Co-ops are always non-profits or charities.

Many have the impression that cooperatives are always non-profit or charitable organisations. However, the truth is that they can also be for-profit businesses. But unlike traditional corporations, co-ops are run by their member-owners, each of whom has an equal voice in decision-making processes.

MYTH 2: Cooperatives are small businesses and cannot compete with larger corporations.

A common myth about cooperatives is that they are always small businesses and that they cannot compete with larger corporations. But in fact, many co-ops have been able to compete effectively in various industries, using their collective resources, knowledge and bargaining power. Moreover, cooperatives often prioritise community needs, sustainability, and quality over maximising profits, which can provide them with a unique selling point.

MYTH 3: Co-ops have limited access to capital and financing options.

In reality, cooperatives have various ways of accessing capital and financing. They can attract investment from members, community members, financial institutions, and even seek out specialized funding opportunities. Additionally, they can explore alternative financing options such as crowdfunding and grants.

FACT 1: Co-ops are found in a range of sectors.

Many believe that cooperatives only exist in the agricultural industry.
But while there are co-ops that provide essential services to rural communities, such as healthcare, housing, electricity and internet, the cooperative model can also be found in various other sectors such as retail, financial services, information technology, and art and culture.

FACT 2: Co-ops can be innovative and scalable.

Contrary to common misconceptions, cooperatives have proven they can be both innovative and scalable. Co-ops from various sectors have embraced innovation by introducing new products and services. Many have also grown significantly by using their collective resources and knowledge.

The cooperative model does not prevent innovation or scalability but rather encourages creativity, collaboration, and growth.

FACT 3: Non-members can often use services or goods provided by cooperatives.

One common misunderstanding is that only cooperative members can use their co-op’s services or goods. However, the main difference between cooperatives and traditional businesses is the fact that cooperatives are run for the benefit of their member-owners, rather than external investors. In fact, cooperatives do allow non-members to shop and use their services.

Common myths often prevent people from seeing the innovation and success that cooperatives can achieve in various sectors and industries. It’s important to explain the facts about the cooperative business model so that people can recognise its potential and benefits.

Interested in Learning More?
If you have more questions about the cooperative model, we are here to help you. Feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected] for a complimentary consultation with one of our team members. We are eager to provide the support you need.