Business Basics to Help “Do Business Better”

Whether you’re a sole entrepreneur running a retail business, a group of workers who own a café cooperatively, or a non-profit organization working to improve your community, basic business skills in marketing, finance, and human resources can be important for success and cooperative approaches might help you overcome challenges. That was the simple idea behind a learning series in Gallipolis, Ohio, this spring presented by the Small Business Development Center at OSU South Centers and College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives and sponsored by United Way of the River Cities and Gallia County Chamber of Commerce.

A woman teaching attendees in front of a slide presentation People sitting at a conference room table watching a presentation A woman teaching attendees in front of a slide presentation

Caption: Training participants heard from Melanie Sherman, Hannah Scott, and other partners during the series, held at Ohio Valley Bank On the Square in Gallipolis, Ohio.

Explore Resources from the Training Series

The three-part learning series kicked off on March 28, 2024, with a dive into best practices in branding, identifying target markets, finding low and no-cost media tools, and exploring cooperative approaches to small business marketing. As part of the training, CFAES Center for Cooperatives staff shared approaches like group purchasing of supplies, pooled advertising and customer outreach, and shared space, that may help small businesses lower costs and reduce transaction costs.

A slide titled "Business Basics Marketing" with logos for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, Environmental Sciences, Ohio Small Business Development Centers, and U.S. Small Business Administration

Explore select slides from the finance training here.

Accessing capital and managing finances can feel like a hurdle for small businesses and community organizations. Whether it is funds to purchase a building, hire staff, or invest in new equipment, or understanding basic financial statements to make better business decisions, these areas can seem overwhelming. On April 25, 2024, Hannah Scott, CFAES Center for Cooperatives Program Director, and Melanie Sherman, a small business counselor with OSU South Centers, helped attendees learn about basic business financial terms and statements, reviewed best practices for pricing products, and outlined processes for finding loans and grants. The team introduced participants to the worker cooperative model, using a mock worker co-op as a model throughout the presentation to help attendees learn about the unique business model. Worker cooperatives, among other opportunities, may help individual entrepreneurs pool equity investments and share risk.

A slide titled "Business Basics Financial Literacy" with logos for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, Environmental Sciences, Ohio Small Business Development Centers, and U.S. Small Business Administration

Explore select slides from the finance training here.

Hiring and retaining the right team is integral to business success. Small businesses and non-profits need to consider many factors to manage talent, from meeting various regulatory requirements to keeping workers engaged and effectively reaching new candidates to join their team. On May 23, 2024, Melanie Sherman and Hannah Scott, both with business programs at the OSU South Centers, shared basic considerations for recruitment marketing to help hire the “right” employee and cooperative shared service approaches for human resource functions. Ms. Scott also introduced participants to employee owned business models, like worker cooperatives, which can create benefits for workers like increased wages, greater retirement earnings, and opportunities to meaningfully shape their workplace.

An image of the title slides of the presentation "Business Basics: Human Resources for Profits and Non-Profits"

Explore select slides from the finance training here.

Connect with the Speakers!

A black and white photograph of a sign for the OSU South Centers and Endeavor Center with a field and buildings in the background.

Do you want to learn more? Offer similar trainings in your community? Interested in one-on-one counseling to grow your business? Reach out to Melanie or Hannah!

Melanie Sherman, CBA
Venture Development Analyst

614-247-9729 Office /

Hannah Scott, JD
Program Director

(614)247-9705 Office /

Cooperating for Childcare

Rural Ohioans are more than two times as likely to live in an area without enough licensed childcare providers than their fellow citizens in urban areas of the state.[1] In West Virginia, 78% of rural families live in areas considered a “childcare desert.” A “childcare desert” is any census tract with more than 50 children younger than age 5 where there are either no childcare providers or where there are more than three times as many children as licensed childcare slots.[2]

Childcare providers in Appalachia may face challenges with profitability, even when they receive available public support, along with challenges around regulatory compliance and insurance.[3] The childcare sector across the county is projected to experience a decline in employment over the next eight years, despite estimates that there are projected to be approximately 153,000 openings for childcare workers each year, on average.[4]

Colorful children's toys like letter blocks, legos, and shapes on a multi-colored background.

Some communities, providers, and employers have turned to the cooperative model to help meet their childcare needs.[5] Cooperatives are businesses owned, controlled, and used by people with mutual needs using a democratic approach. Childcare cooperatives can take various forms, including:

  • Childcare worker cooperatives where providers jointly own and operate a childcare center, like Shine Nurture Center in or Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative.
  • Parent-led childcare cooperatives where parents cooperate to meet their childcare needs while jointly setting policies and democratically governing the group.
  • Early childcare providers working together to jointly purchase goods, provide resources like curriculum, and create leave programs, like CoRise Cooperative.
  • Employer-assisted cooperatives where employers help develop a cooperatively owned and operated childcare program to enhance the benefits available to their employees, like Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care.

For more information about and resource for cooperatives in the childcare sector, visit:

On Tuesday, April 30, 2024, from 10am-11am Eastern, the CFAES Center for Cooperatives at Ohio State will host a virtual roundtable focused on childcare in West Virginia. Kristy Ritz, Executive Director of the West Virginia Association for Young Children, will speak about the association’s work and challenges faced by childcare providers in the region. Staff from the CFAES Center for Cooperatives will share resources to explore cooperative models in the industry.

Register for the free, online event on March 25, 2024, at:


This virtual learning program is part of the Center’s Appalachia Cooperates Initiative, a learning and peer-exchange network connecting cooperative, community, business, and economic developers and advocates in Central Appalachia to resources about the cooperative business model. Find more information about the Initiative and recordings of past learning programs at:


Data Sources:

[1] “Expanding Child Care in Rural Ohio,” Groundwork Ohio. Accessed March 19, 2024.

[2] “Childcare Access in the United States,” Center for American Progress. Accessed March 19, 2024.,enough%20licensed%20child%20care%20providers.

[3] “Appalachian Early Childhood Network,” (July 21, 2021). Mountain Association.

[4] “Childcare Workers,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed March 19, 2024.,Pay,was%20%2413.22%20in%20May%202021.

[5] “Childcare,” University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. Accessed March 19, 2024.; “Early childcare and education cooperatives can help build economic power.” (December 13, 2022). U.S. Department of Agriculture and NCBA CLUSA.