The key to starting a ‘green’ business is ensuring that the business idea, like any business idea, has legs. If you are going to go out into the market place to peddle your wares and services as green, you better know, in your heart of hearts, how exactly your product IS green.
Tip #1: How is your product and service different from the conventional non-green alternatives?
In this category I would consider what is the substance of your product and service? For products this would mean, what is it made from and how is that better than what we were using before? You should know enough about the products ‘inputs’ as possible. Inputs are the things that your product is made from. Is it made from a non-renewable resource? Is it made from a renewable resource? Is it 100% bio-based or just a little bio-based? Is it made from more than 50%, and ideally 100% recycled materials? Where are those recycled materials from? What would they be used for if they were not being used to make your product? How is that better?
Basically if a Birkenstock wearing environmentalist was going to challenge you on the greenness of your product you should be able to comfortably discuss it with him/her. You should not be aiming to be ‘green’ for the guy that recently discovered polystyrene cups are not good or who saw an old Oprah show on light bulbs. If your ‘green’ business is going to be sustainable and last, it needs to be something that is slightly fringe and will make it into the mainstream and stay. It cannot be a flash in the pan ‘green’ idea. Someone with a ‘greener’ alternative will replace you in no-time.
Tip #2: What solution does your product or service offer to improve our impact on the planet?
I would generally categorize this as the ‘output’ side of your greenness. Where is your product going to end up when people are done with it? Your product or service should have a clear, purposeful, realistic and measurable impact that is sustainable in the future. This vision should appeal, eventually, to a significant chunk of society with proper gorilla marketing.
Examples: Many businesses are either starting to sell or make ‘biodegradable’ products. Four-six years ago this was a new word that generally meant ‘ made from something natural and disintegrates naturally’. As more and more manufacturers come on board to the emerging ‘green’ industry, there will be a need for market differentiation. If everyone is green then potentially nothing is really green. So how will you differentiate your greenness? If products cannot quantify how their product is clearly green; what they mean by the terms they use; and how it improves our impact on the planet, the market will either look for ‘green’ products that do or will be turned off the ‘green’ marketing schemes and go back to the same old same old.
When most people think of what it means to start a green business, they often think of the radical groups who held rallies to help make people aware. Truthfully, this is in the past. Now, if you wish to start a business that is green, you only need to decide just how environmentally-friendly you want it to be.
The first thing to think about when you start a green business is your physical location. What type of heating and cooling system will you be using? While you may think the cost to install a more environmentally-friendly system will be more expensive, the truth is, it will save you a lot more money in the long run. Of course, if you are building and want to be as green as possible, you may even want to consider using solar-panels to supply your energy needs.
You will also want to consider how you plan to reduce and reuse the materials you will be using everyday. For example, a business can save a lot simply by keeping their records on the computer instead of printing them out. When you do have to print out various forms for your business, you will find recycled paper will work just as well. If shipping out products, be aware of just how much packing material and what kind you are using.
Of course, another consideration for your business is its carbon footprint. Your carbon footprint is the impact your business has on the environment from its carbon output. If your business has a high output, you may want to consider planting some trees to offset your use. This is one step that more businesses should be practicing.
The truth is, you can start a green business very easily. Even if you do not think you are ready to go full-force, there are many steps you can take toward being more green. From a simply recycling plan to a more intense overhaul of all your practices, there are many variations and you can decide how much you are ready for.
Starting a Green Consulting Business is a fairly easy business to start. There are no certifications needed or anything like that although they do help establish credibility. All you really need to do is learn how to help companies and individuals save money by “Going Green”.
This can be done by doing research on the subject and figuring out money saving ideas. Many people want to help the environment, but if it will cost them more, they are less likely to do it. That is why money saving ideas are a good starting point. When you decide to start your business, it is best to focus on either businesses or individuals.
Trying to market to both groups at the same time will be tougher and won’t give you any sort of unique selling proposition. We recommend when you first start to focus on individuals as this is the easier market to crack and their are many more people that are potential customers.
There are really a few simple ideas that can help establish your business and give you credibility. One idea is suggesting customers go to windows and doors that are energy efficient. This will help the customer save money on their electricity bills immediately. Also, switching to energy efficient appliances will accomplish the same goal.
There are hundreds of more things that can be done and you can start a business by helping individuals focus on these money saving ideas that will help the environment.