PART II: The 2016 Top Five Ideas for starting a green business.
Finally, environmental activism has met the marketplace. In our first part of this series, we examined five innovative green business practices that have consumer appeal. Now, in the second and final part of this series, we’ll look at the most clever, innovative green business ideas out there. Here goes!
5. A green Internet store
Can’t quite decide which green product or service is the best fit for your green business? Then, maybe, a green Internet store is the solution for you. You have a couple of choices as you get started. Conduct market research for the amenities you’re thinking of providing. Glenn Croston of Entrepreneur reminds us that time, energy, and money are necessary for a do-it-yourself green business store. So, too, is a website ready for e-commerce. A billing system. Marketing program. Shipping. Tracking process for deliveries. Another solution for aspiring green business people is to work with a pre-packaged internet eco-store, which includes a setup fee for first-year hosting as well as maintenance fees. When it’s time for your big reveal, email friends and ask them to share on social media. Have your Facebook and Twitter green business sites ready to go.
4. Native landscape designer
Invasives and drought have made landscaping harder and harder for home and business owners. But this opens up a green business opportunity. Why not create a strictly native plant landscaping company? You’d do everything from seeds and starter plants to periodic maintenance and replanting. Consider yourself an artist of the earth, preserving and rehabilitating the land. Be someone who beautifies our environment by offer competent services, quality design, and a vision for a green and sustainable landscape.
3. Goat rentals
Want to create a green business that’s just a little different? And really innovative? Well, if you live in an area where you have some land that could support a small herd of goats, you might really have something here. According to Heather Levin on Money Crashers, goats eat anything: poison ivy, bushes, brambles. They clear out difficult to reach places like steep slopes where a mower can’t reach. The key is to set up a portable fencing and let them eat their way through the brush over several days. Unlike a tractor or lawn mower, goats don’t harm the environment. Think we’re kidding? Check out The Goat Girls in Amherst, MA, which boasts that they can remove unwanted vegetation and invasives “the natural way – no herbicides.” The MD-based company, Eco-Goats, can also offer a good model for you.
2. Organic and local food catering
It is estimated that between 20 and 30 per cent of climate change caused by human activity is attributable to our food and agricultural systems (The Office of Environmental Sustainability 2009). A growing base of customers are demanding sustainability from caterers. Sabrina Bomberger on Webstaurant has a list of suggestions for a green business with food prep and presentation. Go vegetarian whenever possible. Incorporate a seasonal menu. Separate recyclable materials. Use biodegradable disposables. Swap disposable for reusable. Food Guidelines for a Sustainable Environment has some additional suggestions. Use fresh, minimally processed and minimally packaged foods. Incorporate sustainable protein sources such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and chicken in your menu and limit beef and lamb. Conserve water in your food preparation. Market in an environmentally friendly way and raise awareness about the importance of green food service.
1. Become a green consultant
Going green can provide businesses and corporations with savings and customer goodwill. The problem is that many businesses just don’t know how to convert to a green environment or don’t have the time to do it themselves. Heather Levin at MoneyCrashers sees green business consulting as a quickly expanding trend. Here’s how it works. As a green consultant, you’d do a thorough evaluation of a business. Then you’d design an effective strategy to assist the company to go green and save money. For example, poor insulation, lack of weather stripping, or leaky windows may be significant energy losers. You’d recommend green energy technologies that help them save energy. Maybe you’d start a recycling program. If you want to become really knowledgeable about green efficiency, you should get certified as an eco-consultant. If that seems too daunting, some technical schools and adult education classes will also teach you how to be a green consultant.
Now it’s your turn! Decide on your green business focus, do your research, and begin planning. Dedicate time each day toward your creativity, and, before you know it, you, too, will have a green business that will contribute to protecting our environment.
Photo Credit: Foter