Technical assistance is a term used to describe a specific improvement that would be helpful to an existing business. BCCO regularly provides technical assistance to cooperatives and other small businesses that align with our mission.
Some examples of technical assistance:
- Setting up your bookkeeping and training your bookkeeper
- Creating financial control systems such as petty cash and cash drawer reconciliation procedures
- Setting up Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and the process for converting leads into sales
- Choosing and getting started with Project Management, Field Services Management, and/or scheduling software
- Developing a handbook for your board of directors, with guidance and tools such as: ‘job descriptions’ for directors and officers; board calendar and checklist; guidelines for good meetings
- Bylaws and Policy reviews – in partnership with a lawyer from our network, identify any gaps in your governance documents, or provisions that should be updated
- Creating a budget or financial projection for your co-op
- Capital planning and financing strategies: loan applications, finding opportunities for equity investment
- Strategic Planning – charting a course for the future
- Identifying Key Performance Indicators, Setting up data collection systems and format for KPI dashboard
- Creating and implementing a process for employee and management reviews
- Designing, administering, and reporting results of employee/member satisfaction surveys, ownership culture surveys
- Coaching and support through periods of rapid growth or crisis
Depending on the needs of the co-op, technical assistance could mean a commitment of a few weeks to several months, and could be a regular part of the calendar every year.
BCCO provides technical assistance on a fee-for-service basis, but funding to cover the cost is often available for specific groups. For example, the City of Boston On-Site Technical Assistance Program provides free support to co-ops located in economically disadvantaged areas of Boston, and the Mass Growth Capital Corporation supports TA for co-ops in Massachusetts, particularly those with owners from economically disadvantaged communities. We often have access to funding from one or both of these programs, and will be happy to discuss funding options with you.