MARIN COUNTY - Six professional service companies in Marin recently formed an alliance to brainstorm strategies for helping local small business and nonprofits reduce operating expenses.

"Our hope is to shift the thinking of small businesses and nonprofits from feeling like they must survive on their own, to feeling like they can relay on a support group to help them with their back office infrastructure. With greater economies of scale they can better focus on their group or business' primary mission," said alliance principal organizer, HR BizPartners founder and President Jill Collins Nelson.

The COR Alliance, or Collaborative Organizational Services Alliance, currently includes six partners: HR Biz, BayNODE, Accuchex, Burr Pilger Mayer, Nelson & Associates and Filice Insurance. The group, which is still deciding its exact structure, be it nonprofit or some other non-income generating model, plans to host an official launch event this fall and will participate in a nonprofit convention in Marin in October.

"Our main goal is to get people back to work and if we can do that while helping small businesses survive that's even better," said Nelson & Associates spokeswoman Nicole Winn. The financial recruiting and consulting enterprise, which is a division of the Sonoma-based Nelson Family of Companies, has long provided discounts to nonprofits and recently announced that it will donate 5 percent of its profits to three local nonprofits through the end of the year.

Ms. Collins Nelson said she created the alliance after reading Megacommunities, a book discussing the potential of governments, businesses and nonprofits to work together toward a common goal.

"The concept is based on eliminating redundancies across organizations, continuing to fill the local need and keeping the businesses running in a more cost-effective way," she said.

In its current form, the alliance will offer organizations and businesses of two to 200 employees a "one-stop shop" for businesses services from vetted companies in accounting, banking, real estate, human resources, insurance, technology, payroll and staffing.

Additionally, the group has agreed to offer regular, no- or low-cost educational programs and seminars. Members are currently conducting a community survey to see what topics are of most interest and other ways they can best serve their needs.

Discounts for services provided through the alliance will initially be decided on a company-by-company basis, but eventually Ms. Collins Nelson said she hopes to offer reduced rate packages. The group is also looking for other partners and would like to recruit a real estate company to add a building service to their offerings.

"If we can absorb some of our joint marketing costs and realize some savings that way, we will pass those savings on to our clients," Ms. Collins Nelson said.

The group is in the process of developing a Web site.