Make Money and Support Local Businesses
I work with a company call the Cooperative Management Group (CMG) which creates and launches cooperatives (or co-ops) to help protect America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. CMG has just helped launch its third cooperative – this time to support hundreds of local manufacturers in the corrugated packaging industry. Along with this cooperative comes an interesting, potentially profitable opportunity for you. But first you need a little background.
The Corrugate Industry: A Primer
You see corrugated cardboard all the time. It’s used in temporary displays in grocery stores and mass merchants like Walmart. It’s used in all kinds of product packaging. And, of course in all those shipping boxes that protect the things you order on-line. Unfortunately, hundreds of local manufacturers who make corrugated packaging for other local businesses are being bought up, or put out of business, by a handful of huge industry players. That’s why the Cooperative Management Group helped start a cooperative for these smaller companies. Called the GlobalPac Alliance, it helps them work together to make themselves more competitive, leveling the playing field with the big guys. So where do you come in?
A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business.
If you believe that independent businesses and entrepreneurs are important to the American economy, then you’ll believe – as we do – in the importance of cooperatives. They are a proven way to help independent businesses stay strong and independent . CMG’s mission is to find industries that don’t yet have a co-op, and then help its independent businesses build one.
Here’s Where You Come In
You can help these companies too, and make money in the process. Here’s how. The co-op is looking for new customers to buy its packaging. Remember how we said corrugate is all around you? Chances are one of your friends or acquaintances works for a company – large or small – that makes something that ships in a corrugate box (almost everything sold in stores or on line finds itself at one time or another in one). So, here’s all you have to do. Introduce the idea of the GlobalPac Alliance to them. Encourage them to contact us. If they do, and they become a customer of the alliance, we’ll give you a 1% commission on the purchases they make through the co-op for as long as they remain a customer.
Interested? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you a quick rundown on just what you need to do to activate this opportunity. If you want to learn more, there’s additional information below, including why telling your friends or acquaintances about the alliance is good for them too. Just click on the link you’re interested in. And thanks for considering this.
How Companies Benefit by Buying Packaging From the Alliance (link that jumps you to info below)
More on What’s Happening in the Corrugate Industry (link that jumps you to info below)
How Cooperatives Help Small Businesses Stay Strong (link that jumps you to info below)
The Cooperative Management Group – And Our Three Cooperatives (So far) (link to CMG Home Page)
The GlobalPac Alliance Website
How Companies Benefit by Buying Packaging from the Alliance
Telling people whose companies buy packaging about the alliance can be good for you. But, it’s also good for them because buying from the alliance offers them a whole series of benefits, Here’s a quick rundown:
More Competitive Pricing
The first complaint from anyone buying packaging for their business is that pricing just keeps going up. The alliance fixes this. Because it functions as a ‘purchasing cooperative,’ member manufacturers pool their buying power to get better pricing on all the materials and services they need to operate. So they can offer better pricing to their packaging customers. Win one.
The Right Suppliers For Every Job
When a customer gives the alliance a packaging job, the alliance uses “platform technology” to match that job’s specific needs with the best member manufacturer to meet those needs – much like Uber or Lyft do when they assign a driver to a customer. This means customers are assured of the best combination of speed, service and delivery. Win two.
Meeting MBE Buying Requirements
The alliance is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Many companies and government institutions want to, or have to, buy a certain amount of their supplies and services from MBE certified businesses. Often, they have trouble finding suppliers to meet these goals. The alliance can help solve that problem too. Win three.
What’s Going On In the Corrugate Industry – A Little More Detail
You see corrugated cardboard everyday. What’s not so obvious is what’s happening right now inside the huge, $33 billion American corrugate industry. In past decades the industry was the safe home for more than a thousand local manufacturers making and selling corrugated products and packaging to other local businesses, and creating jobs for their communities. Now, its dominated by a handful of very big, vertically integrated players. Because these big companies also make the paper used in corrugate, they control industry pricing and access to the raw materials these smaller manufacturers need – and they’re using their dominance effectively. They are driving up pricing and limiting access to newer, more innovative materials – preferring to sell what makes them the most money. They are also buying up these local manufacturers. They now own about 40% of them, and they are driving others out of business. And while this kind of industry consolidation is not always bad, in this case industry experts see the long-term outcome as unjustified price increases on packaging, reduced innovation, fewer packaging options, and the extinction of a lot of these local, independent manufacturers – many family-owned for generations.
We think this is a bad thing, and something worth slowing down, or even stopping. And the Cooperative Management Group is doing its part by launching and supporting the Globalpac Alliance – the cooperative for these local corrugate packaging manufacturers. It helps them work together to make themselves more competitive and at the same time, improving the pricing, creativity and packaging options they offer their customers.
How Cooperatives Help Small Businesses Stray Strong
A Fairer and More Sustainable Business Model
Cooperatives offer an alternative to typical corporate structures. They are run democratically, by and for their members – not corporate shareholders. This simple change makes things better in ways that are almost miraculous. On top of that, most co-ops originate out of a desire to do something good for their members, customers and communities. Typical motivations include:
- Protecting small businesses facing big corporate competition
- Ensuring fair trade and fairer sharing of profits
- Improving the quality of goods and services
- Filling gaps in services that other businesses ignore (think insurance for low income people, credit unions or rural electricity)
- Sustaining and growing the communities where they operate
- Protecting the environment
- Protecting the rights of employees and consumers
Cooperative business models power these goals by giving individuals and businesses the strength and advantages typically only available to larger, more powerful entities. As businesses, co-ops are also more sustainable. The strength they get from member and community support results in a success rate for co-ops of 90% (after 5 years) versus less than 10% for traditional businesses.
For all these reasons, the Cooperative Management Group values cooperatives and sees them as an ever-more important part of a successful, more equitable, sustainable and community-focused economy.