How Does Rural System Propose to Make Money?

Our staff is often asked, “How does Rural System make money?” Recently a reader also sent us the following question about the profits reaped by the community:

 “I understand [Rural System, Inc.] to be a system of land management that generates profit, both for the people who live in rural areas and for absentee landowners. What I’m less clear about is exactly how it does that.”

We’re happy to answer these questions! There are many layers to how our company proposes to achieve “profit” and we’ve touched on aspects of economies of scale, groups, reduced waste, reasonable expectations, and what we offer the landowner. But the real key to Rural System’s success can actually be understood not as profit per se, but as savings. The profit ceiling may not change much if at all, but the profit margin is wider because costs have decreased – the idea behind “lean manufacturing” practices. Thus, more money is conserved within the company and invested in the community. [Read more…]

Five Microfinance Options for Americans

In Reaching for Economies of Scale we discussed how small businesses might band together and share resources to cut costs and maximize profits. But  in order for a system of small businesses to thrive each one must first begin. It’s old news that about 80 percent of small businesses fail. Less often do we hear about the microfinance options that may have helped them stay afloat. Microfinance Options for Americans

Developing countries have been helped tremendously by systems of microfinance. Communities of men, and more often women, can lend each other money and resources in order to get their various small enterprises going. As they pay each other back and make profit, they can take their profits to the bank. Savings allows a measure of financial security and stability previously unknown to such impoverished comnunities. Virginia’s own Virginia Tech created a game in 2013 that teaches illiterate or semiliterate women how to cooperate in a microfinance community. [Read more…]

The Business Case for Opening a Suboxone Clinic

Given these indications of widespread prescription opioid addiction in rural America, we investigated the possibility of opening a Suboxone clinic as one of the Rural System Groups. rs_suboxone_clinicSuboxone is an evidence-based medication treatment known for reducing crime and illegal opioid use.

Here are basics about Suboxone: [Read more…]

What Does Rural System Offer the Landowner?

375_628602523403_1118_nPut simply, the proposed Rural System provides a prescription for generating profit from lands and waters and from the services and means for implementing it.

Many rural landowners, especially those who do not live on site, lack consistent or substantial profits from their land. Increasingly, landownership is becoming a commodity much like car ownership which consumes more money than it returns. Rural system offers options for improved income and reduced costs on rural land which in turn means a likelihood of increased resale value. We also recommend diverse profitable activities to weather changing market demand or market value in any one venture. Essentially, Rural System solves the problem of being unable to make a living from landownership. We believe all land is valuable and profitable when properly managed.

Rural System proposes to offer customers the following 3 tiers of service:

  1. A diverse list of profitable ventures for rural land including agricultural and nonagricultural activities for consideration. The list may account for local natural resources and markets and be specific to the county level only.
  2. A comprehensive assessment of the parcel of property with a full, custom report including the most suitable profitable ventures based on specific characteristics of the land.
  3. Long-term strategic management recommendations based on the assessment above for a sustainable profit margin projected for the length of ownership. [Read more…]

Building a Complex System: Top-Down or Bottom-up?

Lately my fiance has been nurturing the growth of a wildlife control business and it seems all of his attention and not an insignificant portion of mine has been sucked into the project. One business! The more I’ve read about Rural System the more I am amazed at the magnitude of its undertaking. Dr. Robert Giles has been working hard on Rural System as a start-up for over 20 years. How can such a vast project see its beginnings? Is Rural System too big?

Like with most things there is a very unsatisfying answer to this question: it depends. The launching of a project on the scale of Rural System is too complicated to reduce to a yes or no question. It is much more fruitful to imagine “yes!”

So as a writer seeking to chronicle this grand endeavor, I like to imagine answers to the first question… where does such a thing begin? What I come to are variations on two themes: building from the bottom-up and sculpting from the top-down.

Rural System and Kissito, a non-profit based in VA, bring biofilters to a community in Uganda. Aiding the growth of an existing community is a way parts of Rural System could be built from the bottom-up.

Rural System and Kissito, a non-profit based in VA, bring biofilters to a community in Uganda. Aiding the growth of an existing community is a way parts of Rural System could be built from the bottom-up.

[Read more…]