Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas
Getting By - Earning Extra Income - Making a Living - Starting a Farmstead - Thriving With Sustainable Growing
- Homesteading - Organic - All Natural - Permaculture - Self Sufficiency -
The first cooperative enterprise put together with this plan opens the door for duplication. I believe the enterprise can not only make a few bucks for everyone involved, but can offer an alternative to statutory employment at an income level comparable to the median income. If this be the case, the door is not just opened, it gets torn off the hinges. We don't have to make a fortune, but there is a point at which we draw serious attention.
Right now, 5 year CD rates are 1.7%. This is less than inflation. Shorter terms pay less than that miserable amount. There are other investment options out there, but to get involved usually requires considerably more than $500. I know people who would jump at the chance to earn a 10% return. In the article "How Much Can We Make?", I ran through some conservative numbers and came out with a handsome return for the shareholders on a $500 investment. IF the co-op can generate such figures and do it consistently, we will surely draw that serious attention.
That's a big IF. I can not offer any guarantees. At this stage of development the only thing working for me is Hope. To our advantage, Hope is copious. If all we did the first year is break even, pay the bills, and keep the doors open, it would be a major accomplishment. Something like 90% of new food service operations close their doors within 5 years. Half of them in the first year. The plan is designed to bring in a large group of people which gives us advantages more traditional corporations don't have and can't get: A dedicated customer base, workers and owners with a vested interest in efficient production, the ability to extend and add new projects which enhance the enterprise, and the means for everyone involved to make a direct impact on the success of the company.
We're looking at 200 people with an investment of $500, for a total startup balance of $100,000. That 10% return people would jump at demands the company earn $10,000 over the course of a year. If we hit that mark, people will start to take notice. At 15%, a whole lot of people will take notice, some will want to visit. At 20%, done consistently for a few years, there will be intense interest in forming similar cooperatives all across the country.
It's true that the pioneers take the arrows. Our case will be no different with the innovation found in the plan. We'll make mistakes. We'll also correct those mistakes and learn from them. It will take time to get our ducks line up, but in a couple years, we'll have a crew well versed in the nuances that make the enterprise work well. This experience is invaluable to a group of people in another town looking to establish an enterprise of their own. This is a situation with Opportunity written all over it.
These new groups will be looking for experienced project managers, farm managers, kitchen managers, trainers, and consultants. Those young people of ours are well positioned to take on greater responsibility. This is another part of the attrition I have mentioned in other articles. We are not only investing in a business. We are investing in a future for our children. If we do well, our young people will be able to write their own ticket according to their own fields of interest and level of ability.
With several cooperatives, the Land Company becomes a more prominent endeavor. Our ability to raise capital is enhanced with more exposure and more people knowing about it. There is more opportunity to keep that capital invested. The notion of crowdfunding a farm entirely moves further away from theory and closer to practice.
In the spirit of cooperation, several cooperatives can join forces to greater advantage: Cooperating Cooperatives. Rather than a single cooperative shopping around for supplies, the Buyers Group gains collective purchasing power on a much larger scale. Rather than 400 gallons of milk each week, we can move thousands. The step up in volume makes dairy farming, with its huge investment of land and equipment, an avenue which can be pursued. Groups can take on specialization. This group raises hogs, that one cattle, another does quail or chickens or ducks. Here is an apple orchard, there is peaches, somewhere else has plums or avacadoes.
Those commercial products we make now have many more outlets through which to market. All these cooperatives will be put together in their own way. One is not necessarily a carbon copy of the other. It may be that one group only operates a farm, a second only operates a kitchen, another only operates a pizza shop. The pizza shop needs tomato sauce, the kitchen makes tomato sauce and needs tomatoes, and the farm grows tomatoes. Seems to me we've got a complete supply chain.
Cottage industry stands to gain with multiple cooperatives. Jack makes his own secret hot sauce. With a single cooperative, he can sell it personally and through the store. With multiple cooperatives, Jack has many potential markets through which to sell his product. Jill makes candles. She sells them at craft fairs. Several cooperatives, each holding an occasional craft fair, gives Jill a full calendar. Several crafters such as Jill gives the cooperatives a successful event.
As I have said before, there is no practical limit to how far this idea can go.