A business is managed to benefit its owners. Unlike a sole proprietorship, partnership, or publicly traded corporation, when customers are also the owners as in the case of a co-op, managing the business becomes very different. Management techniques across the different business structures are similar. The cooperative’s purpose and operating principles are dynamic, impacting decision making that produces different goals and implementation strategies compared to other business structures. Board members provide guidance in developing a strategy implemented by the management team to further meet the goals of the members. Managers need to be prepared to answer the questions posed to them by the board of directors and by the member-owners. A trusting and respectful relationship between the general manager or CEO and the board chairperson is essential for the success of the business.

What the Co-op Manager Does (CIR 16, 2011)

Cooperative Directors: Asking Necessary Questions (USDA CIR 62, 2018)

Returning Cooperative-Level Profits: Mechanics of Patronage Refunds

Cooperative Financing, What is Finance and Why Does it Matter to Cooperatives

Defining Financial Conditions and Its Warning Signs

Strategic Planning Handbook for Cooperatives (CIR 48, 2012)

Sample Policies for Cooperatives (CIR 39, 2012)

Annual Audits – Board Responsibilities (CIR 41, 2012)

Sample Management Evaluation Form (Kenkel, P. 2019)