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Home > Feature Articles > Health and Well Being Strategies > Health Care Industry Sectors and Strategies

Living Goods Provides Franchise Model for Sustainable Micro-Businesses

Living Goods employs all the key characteristics of successful franchises to basic health services

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peanut oil biodiesel history Do you remember the story of America's "Rural Nurses"? I remember reading a mind-expanding article about how these dedicated women made a significant difference in curbing disease and family crises as America changed.

Maybe you recall that one of the Walton girls became a rural nurse on "The Waltons." That's the program...take nutrition and first aid information to rural families.

American Red Cross nurses concentrated on other areas of community service in the post-WWII era. As in the past, they provided relief in disasters and designed and taught courses in home nursing and nutrition. They became increasingly involved in the Red Cross civilian blood program following its inception in 1948. They responded to national health emergencies such as the severe polio epidemic that swept the country in the late 1940s and early 1950s and periodic outbreaks of influenza that continue to the present day. Now that idea of "rural nurses" has been taken global with the "Living Goods" company.

Living Goods, Sausalito, CA, is an Avon-like network of door-to-door Mobile Health Promoters who make a modest income selling essential health products at prices affordable to the poor. The model combines the latest and best practices from the worlds of micro enterprise and public health to create a sustainable system for defeating diseases of poverty. Living Goods (LG) reduces illness and death by significantly improving access to simple, proven health interventions in the many places these are scarce or non-existent. It also improves livelihoods by providing women a reliable source of income as Living Goods Health Promoters, by keeping wage earners healthy and productive, and by averting costly medical treatments.

Health Focus for Small, Franchisable Business Strategy

Living Goods focuses on a short list of diseases that account for over two thirds of mortality and can be prevented and/or treated at very low cost. These include malaria, diarrhoeal disease, worms, and TB.

Best Practice Micro-Franchising for Sustainable Communities

Living Goods employs all the key characteristics of successful franchises: methodically screened agents, strict quality monitoring and follow-up training, uniform branding and product mix, effective promotions, low cost of goods achieved through scale, and stiff penalties for violating the rules (including expulsion).

The Living Goods Model has powerful benefits for micro entrepreneurs: 1) A proven business-in-a-box system heavily supported with training, marketing and coaching 2) Low start up costs of just $100-250 supported with simple low-cost financing, and 3) Flexible hours and lifestyle: Sellers can work on their own schedule and in their own communities. This is particularly valuable to women who often must juggle the competing demands of family, farm, and household.

Highly Efficient Sustainable Business Model

A fundamental characteristic of the Living Goods model is its ability to deliver public health outcomes at a fraction of the cost of traditional approaches. Depending on local circumstances it may operate as a highly efficient non-profit social enterprise, as a contractor to government health ministries, or even as a for-profit business.

Living Goods 678 Sausalito Blvd Sausalito, CA 94965 Fax 415-332-1158 Tel 415-332-1153

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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