By: Tina Martin – Ideaspired
Starting a green business or using eco-friendly, sustainable practices in any business is admirable, necessary for the future wellbeing of the planet, and a challenge. Because the old ways have become such a huge part of how we still do business, the costs to create and maintain those old non-eco-friendly models are, for the time being at least, more affordable. Hence, the challenge for the green entrepreneur.
But if you’re contemplating starting your own business, there’s no reason not to make it a green one or at least one that practices eco-friendly and sustainable methods. Being a green business means using organic products, employing practices that reduce harmful emissions, and seeking out fair-trade, and in many cases vegan sources, for materials and products.
Start-up costs for these businesses can vary depending on the kind of business you wish to operate. The cost can be as little as $12 for acquiring a domain, to nearly $30,000 for things like office and warehouse space, software, and inventory. That is why it would be a good idea to apply for one of the grants available for green business startups. Writing a grant can be difficult and in order to make sure you’ve got the best possible chance of obtaining one (they are very competitive), it’s a good idea to hire someone to do that for you. An experienced grant writer will cost you anywhere from $25 to $75 dollars an hour.
Alternatively, you could seek to fund your startup with the help of crowdfunding. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow people to contribute money directly to your project, usually in exchange for different perks. Although this may seem like an easy way to fund your business, a successful crowdfunding campaign requires a lot of hard work.
If you’re looking for startup costs in the way of a grant, loan, or investor, they will expect to see your business plan. It must include marketing and sales strategies, along with sales forecasts and achievable goals.
Though the challenges are real with any new business venture, green businesses have their own unique hurdles, like the cost of source products that meet the criterion for being “green.” Added to that is the difficulty in selling items that have to be priced higher in order to make a profit. Taking off any rose-colored glasses at the beginning is essential for any new entrepreneur, and that’s especially true for those wanting to start an eco-friendly one.
There are enough success stories to encourage even the most faint-hearted, though. Like Traci Phillips of Natural Evolution who recycles dead electronics to keep them out of landfills and oceans. Or Sharon Rowe of Eco-Bags Products who started making reusable shopping bags for friends and neighbors and, after beginning her own company, found herself featured in Oprah and Time magazines.
How you market your business will tell people how seriously you take your commitment to leave the smallest possible footprint. That’s why any chance to create your own marketing products digitally is a big plus. And you’re not only saving resources, but you’ll also be saving money too. For example, a well-designed logo can leave a lasting impression and set you apart from your competition. Designing a logo with a pre-made template can be both easy and free to do. Just find a style and icon you like, choose your colors, and, voila! Your own personally designed logo. You can then use a free online image resizer to adjust the size of your logo depending on the project. Many resizers can have your new image ready in as little as 30 seconds!
Another online tool that can be invaluable, especially if you’re marketing a brand new product, is a go-to-market strategy template. This will ensure you don’t miss any important steps along the way. For example, the template could include your business plan, marketing strategy, and other information relevant to your product’s release. Instead of making the template from scratch, use a pre-made one. You’re already busy launching your product or service, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel too.
Last but certainly not least, make sure you have an accountant to help ensure that everything about your startup is running smoothly under the hood, financially speaking. Not only can they help you during tax time, but accountants can also help you with other important financial documentation throughout the year. If you’re not sure where to begin searching for an accountant, Business News Daily has an excellent guide to help you out.
As more and more businesses try turning from their old ways to more earth-friendly ones, you’ll be creating yours with that philosophy from the ground floor, giving you an edge. Though the challenges are many, the payoff for both you and the planet are great.
If you’re looking for a great example of how an earth-friendly way of doing business can also be elegant, upscale, and fashionable, check out EcoMogul Magazine. They feature fashion and lifestyle articles, and partner with companies offering earth-friendly products and services. With the combination of promoting eco-friendly with luxury, they are fast becoming the best sustainable lifestyle magazine in the world.