September 30, 2022
Starting a Green Business: Everything You Need to Know
With the climate crisis a mounting concern, there’s a great deal of pressure on businesses big and small to become sustainable. As statistics from Solar prove, customers pay extra for sustainability, investors support it, and employees expect it. If you’re planning to launch a new business, you should strongly consider going green. You’ll kill two birds with one stone – you’ll do your bit for the planet and also increase your chances of becoming successful.
Here, Marketing Magnified covers everything important about launching an eco-friendly business, from what sustainability means to the risks involved:
What does it mean to be a sustainable business?
To be able to set up a sustainable business, you need to get a good grasp of what it entails. According to Sustainability Degrees, a sustainable business has three characteristics: It preserves the environment, promotes fair trade, and supports social equity. Essentially, it’s doing business with an emphasis on the planet, people, and a fair economy.
Creating such a business can be a significant challenge. Here are some examples of the effort involved:
You can take pointers from existing sustainable businesses
There are businesses out there that have made great strides in becoming sustainable. You can learn from the ones in your niche and, when applicable, replicate their efforts. Also, leading green businesses have a lot to teach you. CleanRiver offers a list of giant companies with worthy green initiatives: Intel recycles 75 percent of its total waste, Google’s data centers are 50 percent more energy efficient than the norm, and Estee Lauder sends zero waste to landfills.
Creating a greenprint will help you define your vision
A green business plan can help you figure out how to make your business idea a reality in a sustainable way. It can contain important details like funding, financial projections, market demand, green strategies, sustainability goals, green office plans, and ideas for a sustainable business culture. It can also help you to pinpoint market demand and design an appropriate marketing strategy. Staples walks you through making a green business plan.
Make sure to plan your way around the risks
Going green isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sustainability is still in its infancy, meaning you may have trouble finding green alternatives or need to devise green processes from scratch. Also, there are other roadblocks you will have to navigate – losses, lack of demand for a sustainable product, lack of awareness among employees, and difficulty in acquiring funding. Starting small with a handful of green goals and processes and then slowly ramping up the scale may be more feasible than attempting to launch a 100 percent green business from scratch.
Choose the right business structure
Your choice of business structure can help you to mitigate the business risk of launching a green business. For instance, if you choose to classify your business as a Limited Liability Company or Limited Company (similar to an S-corp in the US) or change from an LLP, you get asset protection (against lawsuits) and also potentially save because you don’t have to pay self-employment taxes. Regardless of the entity you choose, you can avoid hefty lawyer fees by filing the paperwork yourself or via a formation service.
Reduce paper waste with digitization
One of the most powerful, accessible ways to go green is to move from paper-based processes to digital ones. You can digitize paper records and other documents – which saves paper use, storage space, and printing-related material and is super convenient besides. Saving documents as PDFs on your phone or tablet allows you to access them on the go. If you have important information in Google docs, you just follow some quick steps to save a Google doc to a PDF. The PDF format is ideal because they are highly readable and easy to store – you can easily access them from your phone or tablet, even when you can’t find a Wi-Fi connection.
Woo investors, customers, and employees with green-focused marketing
Don’t underestimate the importance of marketing – it will make or break your green venture. To be profitable, you need to acquire buy-in from your stakeholders – your customers, investors, and employees. Marketing can help you communicate your green vision, establish a presence in the marketplace, and promote your green product or service. It’s essential to attract people who care about sustainability to your brand.
Besides a green business plan and the right business structure – like S Corp or LLC – you will also need business skills to be successful. It’s worth your time and energy to try, though – Sustainable businesses are good for the planet, in keeping with the times, self-sustaining, and, perhaps most importantly, lucrative.
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