Image Source: Pexels
Every small detail matters when running a sustainable business. In addition to your product, sustainability needs to be ingrained in all aspects of your business which includes, manufacturing, supplier relationships, marketing, and more. While running a sustainable business can incur higher start-up costs, as reported by the NACS, around 64% of Americans are open to paying more for green products, allowing you to receive higher earnings in the long run. For those planning to start their journey as an ecopreneur, this article by Web Guy Nick will explore all the important steps one needs to take to launch, market, and manage the business.
Research & Planning
A business plan is the founding block of your business which should include information related to your business idea, goals, funding requirements, product offerings, and more. If you’ve never written a business plan before, you can use these samples.
Before creating a plan, you’ll need to decide on an idea. If you’re struggling to find inspiration, you should research successful sustainable businesses and how they manage their operations. As reported by Earth.org, these are a few of the most sustainable businesses in the world:
- Autodesk Inc.
- Dassault Systemes SE
- McCormick & Company Inc.
- Alphabet Inc.
As you’ll notice, the companies included are from various industries such as finance, information technology, food, and more. This points to the fact that it is possible to create a green business in any industry as long as the practices you follow are sustainable, helping to minimize your carbon footprint and providing customers with good quality goods/services.
Applying for Grants
Launching your business will incur various costs such as applying for licenses, purchasing inventory, software subscriptions, and more. A good business plan will make it easier for you to obtain grants, which can help you cover costs without the need for repayment or selling equity.
Here are some prominent grants you can apply to:
- Department of Energy Grants and Loans
- EPA Grants
- National Science Foundation Grants
Adopting Green Practices
Greenwashing is a term used to describe companies who spend time and resources marketing themselves as sustainable while engaging in practices that harm the environment. Being caught in greenwashing can prove detrimental to a small business as it will reduce customer trust and drive them towards competitors.
To stay true to your promise of being sustainable, here are a few practices to incorporate in your business:
- Go Paperless: Refrain from printing documents or contracts. Instead, use software to sign and send documents to required stakeholders. Additionally, going digital will allow you to save money and resources otherwise spent on paper, storage, ink, and transportation.
- Work with Local Suppliers: Partnering with local businesses will allow them to reduce their carbon footprint, as goods and inventory will be circulated locally rather than shipped long distances in planes or trucks. Additionally, it will help to create a thriving local ecosystem.
- Switch to Remote Working: Your business will save significant resources by not building or leasing an office. Additionally, as employees won’t need to travel for work, they’ll directly contribute towards reducing carbon emissions.
Marketing Your Business
Even though customers want to buy sustainable products, they often find it difficult to find them. As a green business, your marketing plan should include steps to promote your products online, educate shoppers regarding your sustainable practices, and convert them into loyal customers.
- Create a Website: A responsive website will be key to educating customers about your brand, products, sustainable initiatives, goals, and more.
- Get Active on Social Media: Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are prominent platforms used by customers to find and buy products. Post content on these platforms daily regarding your products, ongoing offers, discounts, and more.
- Promote in Your Community: Find local businesses that allow you to place promotional material in their establishment. This is a great way to create a buzz in your locality and develop a customer base. You can choose to create flyers, posters, and business cards for this activity. Here’s an amazing business card template to use.
The keys to running a successful green business will be creating a sound plan, maintaining your commitment to sustainability, and consistently engaging with your customers.