The Business Leader’s Guide to Growing an Eco-Friendly Startup - By Clara Beaufort
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Launching a sustainable business presents many unique challenges, but countless benefits exist, as well. For ecopreneurs, it’s worth the effort to build a brand with environmental considerations built in. Today, you can learn how to do just that, courtesy of Be Brave.
Define Green Goals
Deciding what “green” means to your business is the first step in defining your business goals and starting your business. While many practices can make you an ecopreneur, not all sustainable measures work for every business model.
For example, you might provide a service or product that does not necessarily focus on the environment. But your business practices could include sustainable measures like recyclable packaging, the practice of purchasing carbon offsets, and in-facility composting and recycling practices.
In contrast, your company may offer a green product like upcycled clothing or an item made from recycled materials. You might provide environmentally conscious services like landscaping with native plants—without chemicals.
Plan for Startup Costs
Startup expenses are a given in any business, but building an eco-conscious brand may involve additional costs. There’s a lot to consider, from purchasing green raw materials to investing in energy-efficient equipment.
Keep in mind that while you might face higher startup costs as an ecopreneur, Green Business Bureau notes that there are financial benefits for eco-friendly companies. Being part of the green market also means access to an exclusive subset of potential customers. Spending now to set up a sustainable brand could pay off exponentially as your company grows.
Build An Audience
Before you can begin turning a profit, you must build an audience for your business. Defining the ideal audience is a helpful starting point. Think about who you want to sell to, how your product or service meets their needs, and what pain points you can alleviate or eliminate.
Appealing to the masses is a narrow-minded strategy for any business, especially for sustainable operations. Being green is a significant selling point, so consider your intended audience carefully before beginning marketing efforts.
Focus Marketing Efforts
Marketing is an integral part of any business and ensures steady business growth. For a green business, marketing is also an opportunity to showcase your values to new and existing customers. Engaging and informative content builds a rapport with your audience. Building trust garners a loyal following that is more likely to choose your product or service. Steps like increasing your landing page conversion rate help capture interested leads and allow you to continue marketing to them.
Ecopreneurship in Action
Launching an eco-conscious company is more complicated than a startup that doesn’t promote environmental awareness. Yet McKinsey notes that 92 percent of business leaders anticipate a higher focus on sustainability in new businesses. Many brands accomplish sustainability (and financial solvency) across various industries.
For example, the well-known sustainable brand Patagonia has spent 35 years pledging funds to conservation, using recycled and organic materials, and working toward carbon-neutral status.
Craft brewery New Belgium Brewing began in 1991 with only sustainable vendors and is certified as a zero-waste business.
Green-conscious company Preserve sells sustainable products that include compostable tableware, recycled plastic toothbrushes, and more while enlisting customers’ help in collecting recyclable plastics for future products.
From outlining your “green” goals to choosing a business structure to marketing your new business, entrepreneurship has a long list of to-do items. Investing the energy now will ensure a profitable—and sustainably-minded—brand in the future.