Ecopreneurship Principles for the First-Time Business Owner

The many benefits of launching a green business.

Entrepreneurs who are eyeing the possibility of starting their first company might do well to consider the many benefits of launching a green business. Going green as a business owner is a great idea even if you aren’t already motivated by the idea of ecological responsibility. Sustainability can help you find your niche that will set you apart from the competition. So this can be a profitable as well as an ethical option.

What does it mean for a business to be “green”?

Some might refer to this as “sustainable business” or “ecopreneurship” but whatever you call it, the principles are the same: integrate environmentally friendly principles into every level of your business. This can include selling a specifically green product, such as sustainably produced foods or clothing, or alternative-energy products. But really, any business can be made green so long as it uses sustainable methods in its processes and projects. So, if you’re thinking about starting an accounting business, for instance, you can do things like recycle, limit energy use, avoid waste, use environmentally-friendly products, and even offer “environmental accounting” services, which factor in costs to the environment as well as financial expenses.

Ecopreneurship Principles for the First-Time Business Owner © Fauxels from Pexels | INSPADES NEWS
Ecopreneurship Principles for the First-Time Business Owner © Fauxels from Pexels | INSPADES NEWS

Some successful green business models to consider.

It helps to focus on a few of the many businesses that have made sustainability a core of their identity and experienced tremendous success. One of these is activewear retailer Patagonia, which prioritizes sustainable practices, and reduced carbon footprint. Patagonia makes products that are designed for durability, which makes them eminently desirable as well as ecologically responsible. Another green business to inspire you is WiPro EcoEnergy, which works with other companies interested in becoming more ecologically responsible. Seventh Generation and IKEA are also well-known companies that prioritize sustainability.

Does it cost more to start a green business?

One thing that might deter some potential entrepreneurs from getting into green business is that the overhead or startup costs can sometimes be steeper. Of course, the extent of the cost depends somewhat on the nature of the business. Also, there may be grants to assist new business owners who want to go green. So this obstacle should not be viewed as necessarily too consequential. However, it is not negligible, either, so new business owners should factor in the added costs of sustainability when budgeting for a green business. As an example: the cost of starting a green living business can range from nearly nothing to nearly $40 thousand, with the average cost being somewhere in the middle, at close to $20 thousand.

How to effectively market your green business.

When marketing a green business, you need to know who your customers are who already want to shop sustainably – and how to message customers who haven’t been converted to green practices yet. These may require very different marketing campaigns, but make sure your business brand remains consistent through any diverse campaigns you have, so you don’t risk losing your niche or compromising credibility. In general, green marketing will lean heavily on more digital methods as being more environmentally friendly. However, there is also a time and place for more traditional marketing, such as distributing sustainably produced brochures or handing out personalized business cards designed and created by an environmentally friendly business card maker.

Missteps to avoid.

One thing you need to be cautious about when getting into sustainable business is “greenwashing” your company – that is, misleading the public about sustainable products, or using a lot of appealing rhetoric about environmental responsibility that isn’t backed up in practice. Your messaging needs to be reflected in your company’s actual practices. Another thing to be wary about, no matter what kind of business you’re getting into, is rushing things instead of taking time to plan, or quitting your job before you’re sure you’re ready to transition to entrepreneurship.

Especially if you’re already aware of the steps you’ll need to take to get a business off the ground, starting a green business is not difficult or complicated. But it does require motivation, dedication, and a willingness to keep learning. Visual artists who are considering a move to entrepreneurship should consider subscribing to INSPADES Magazine for ongoing inspiration.

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