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Naturist Legacy's business model

Long-term vision and an entrepreneurial business model contributed to Naturist Legacy's early success.
Crocus Grove Sun Club officially evolved into Naturist Legacy Inc. on September 11, 2010. New property was purchased shortly thereafter. With a new board of directors, new governing documents and an entirely new attitude towards business management, Naturist Legacy has become the steward of organized naturism in Manitoba. Created and operated by and for naturists, this new corporation will own, develop and care for its land while permanently protecting it for family-friendly naturist use. Naturist Legacy exists today because of the sheer tenacity of a small and determined group of dedicated naturists unwilling to relinquish their cherished way of life. In the face of undeserved adversity, they devised a business model that has earned them a new home of their own and achieved a level of permanency for their naturism that was heretofore unknown.

This excerpt is from "About Naturist Legacy," an article formerly available on the Naturist Legacy website as it appeared on February 2, 2011. I am the author.
Naturist Legacy's mission is to provide continuity and stability and endurance for landed social nudism in Manitoba. That mission is both our present and our future. The vision behind this mission has brought us to where we are today. It has been instrumental in the formation of our business model. We are confident that both our vision and our business model will take us successfully into the future.... (p.3).

Though Naturist Legacy Inc. is officially a non-profit corporation, it's still at its core a business, and it must be managed like one.... In order for an organization to be successful, many different skill sets must be in place along with the right resources in cash, materials and equipment. Naturist Legacy was very fortunate because the ingredients needed to create our "recipe for success" all came together in the right place and at the right time. They came together when we needed them the most. Any good chef will tell you that having the right people in the kitchen that is, people who can actually cook and who can actually make recipes work is and always will be the key to culinary success. Managing a business is no different. Naturist Legacy Inc. must always have the right "cooks" on our board of directors with the right skills to make our recipe for business success work. Our by-laws ensure that the majority of board members will always have extensive business experience. This is another key element to hold our future secure.... (p.3).

Naturist Legacy Inc. is a non-profit (non-share) corporation. No one "owns" Naturist Legacy Inc. It's governed by a board of directors (elected by its membership), who are in turn governed by the corporation's by-laws (approved by its membership). The by-laws are the "DNA" of this corporation, and the board of directors are its brain, eyes, ears and hands.... (p.4).

Naturist Legacy's primary mission is to forever eliminate the risk of ever losing our nudist location. In order to achieve this kind of security, we must own land outright. We have met this primary goal because we do not have a mortgage, and our own by-laws prevent us from ever having one. Naturist Legacy's only tangible assets are our land and its structures. Any loan undertaken by Naturist Legacy would almost certainly require collateral. It would therefore be, by any reasonable definition, a mortgage or lien against our assets, and would for that reason be forbidden. We are tasked with the goal of land ownership with no liabilities attached.... (p.5).

Prepaid membership fees have funded the purchase of our land and will continue to provide for its capital development. In order to meet the principle of having no debts to outside lenders, any improvements to the land will only be made based on actual cash of our own in the bank. This principle works. It has purchased our land, it has installed our utilities, it has built our washrooms and showers, it has put in our pool and decking, and it has created our recreational amenities. When you stand in the park and look around, you should rest in the assurance that all is secure and paid in full. The fiscal policies that have brought us to this point have been entirely successful, and there is no need no need at all to deviate from what has worked so well for us.... (p.5).

Naturist Legacy is a large naturist park with a small campground component. Naturist Legacy's business model is not patterned after our old location, which was essentially a large campground that catered to nudists. We do not actively market camping spaces. We do not need to have a larger campground to survive.... Some continue to believe that more RV sites will be essential to the growth of Naturist Legacy Park. "Build them and they will come," is the underlying message. This business philosophy did not serve our old location well in later years, and we see no clear evidence to support the idea that more campsites will assure our continued growth and success going forward. Rather than a campground, we are instead a naturist park first and foremost. We are in the social nudism/naturism business, which is a much broader vision than just the campground business. Our corporation exists to create and hold safe an appropriate location where people can come and practice naturism. We wish to limit the "footprint" of our buildings, campsites and other infrastructure in order to maintain as much of our land's natural beauty as possible.... (p.6).

We have chosen to pattern Naturist Legacy's business model after that of a fully private club. What do we really mean by that? Private clubs are most often run by members through a board, are vision specific (in our case, family naturism), and are usually limited to full members and their guests. In many respects, our business model is not unlike that of a private golf club. Many nudist/naturist venues call themselves private clubs, but their sale of "day memberships" and other such workarounds mean that they're not really private at all. We choose to be a private club in the truest sense of the phrase..... (p.6).

In most businesses and organizations, there is at least some attention paid to listening to customers and members. The better the listening, the better the outcome for all.... The Advisory Council has directly influenced board decisions on a great many matters including the establishment of standards and policies [PDF], the setting of goals, priorities and procedures, and much more. The board vets everything that it can (or should) vet through this council. What Naturist Legacy Park is today is a direct result of feedback and support from that committee.... (p.9).

Members of the board believe there is evidence that clothing-optionality has actually contributed to the decline of social nudism. By becoming a truly nudist venue, we are returning to a more fundamental philosophy that reflects what we're really here to do. Any successful business needs to be clear about what it's offering in terms of goods or services.... Visiting a naturist park should provide us with a place where we are comfortably surrounded by like-minded people who share our passion. To be surrounded by clothed people while you are nude (or wanting to be nude) just makes no sense at all, and so we are not clothing-optional.... (p.10).

Even though we are private, we are not secret (there is a difference).... (p.11).

A modest [membership] growth rate of about ten percent per year is our current target.... We must grow according to our capacity to absorb and process such growth.... Our own constraints are largely governed by the amount of volunteer time available to manage and maintain the daily operations of our corporation and our park. More members and more visitors inevitably create more work. So far, just a few volunteers have managed to do most of that work. Since the prospect of "forced labour" is not the kind of personal experience that Naturist Legacy members expect to have at our park, we need to live within the capabilities of our existing volunteer work force.... (p.12).

Naturist Legacy Inc. has crafted it's business model with great care. We are moving in a direction that opens the door to great opportunities. (p.13).

These excerpts are from the "Naturist Legacy Inc. Business Fundamentals Guide" (PDF). I co-authored and edited this important document. It was published in February 2013.
So how did we go from absolutely nothing to something quite amazing in just two short years? Countless hours of "outside the box" thinking and planning produced a solid business plan for a naturist park that inspired enough confidence in our members to both fund it and build it. We owe money only to ourselves, with not one thin dime owed to any external bank or lender. Everything we have, including our new land, is fully ours paid in full. Except for the help of a few necessary tradespeople, every hour of labour that has gone into our park has been volunteered by our own members. It goes without saying that these enormous efforts have yielded great pride and satisfaction amongst us all!

This excerpt is from "Manitoba's Naturist Legacy is open for business," an article published in the Winter 2012-13 edition of Going Natural magazine (Federation of Canadian Naturists). It was written by the Naturist Legacy Inc. Board.

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