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Examine Your Co-Op(tions)

Feeling small and inconsequential? Get some small and inconsequential friends together, and you can be big.

This story appears in the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Starting a business can be a lonely affair. Most times you're not only the CEO, but also the marketing director, mail-room clerk, accountant and sales rep. Independence is great, but do you really want to be completely alone?

If you answered a resounding no to that question, a cooperative might be right for you, for a number of reasons. For a quick refresher, a co-op is a business that's owned and democratically governed by the people who buy its goods (in the case of a consumer co-op) or use its services (in the case of a purchasing or marketing cooperative). Allying yourself with other business owners in your industry can give you both camaraderie and the ability to compete more effectively with larger, or even national, chain stores.

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