The World Economic Forum explains that eco-friendly businesses have become more and more popular in recent years as entrepreneurs look for ways to do their part for the planet, but there’s a lot that goes into “ecopreneurship” and it’s important not to overlook any important details. Utilizing digital tools, using sustainable packaging, buying local, and remaining flexible with your workspaces are just a few of the ways you can be Earth-conscious and run a successful business.
Start by thinking about your business model and mission statement; what are your goals, and how will you map out a plan for remaining eco-friendly? Once you’ve written up a business plan, make sure all the legalities are taken care of so you can focus on the next steps, as outlined here by iEcoCleaning.
Register for an EIN
An Employer ID Number is crucial for even the smallest business because it allows you to open up a business checking account or credit card and keep those accounts separate from your personal finances. It also helps the IRS keep up with your payroll and federal taxes and prevents you from having to disclose your social security number to lenders and vendors, which is an extra security step against identity theft. Not only that, an EIN can help you get approved more quickly for a loan because it lends your business credibility. The good news is that you can apply for an EIN online, reducing paperwork for a more green process.
How green will you be?
Once you have a business plan written up and the legalities covered, it’s important to consider just how green you want your company to be. Will you base your business model on eco-friendly services and offer products that are made solely with recycled materials? Or will you focus more on utilizing sustainable packaging and energy-efficient practices? When looking for a supplier for your products, US Chamber suggests doing some research to find out how they source their materials and whether they use green energy. Be thorough, since the suppliers you choose will be associated with your business, and your customers will want to know the details.
While you’re doing some research on suppliers, it’s a good idea to look up local farmers, crafters, and creators and reach out to them for ingredients, tools, and materials. Shopping within your community is not only a great way to support other small business owners, it will also reduce your carbon footprint by cutting down on fossil fuel emissions. Check out your city’s chamber of commerce website to see if they offer local buying guides for small businesses.
Another easy way for ecopreneurs to cut down on their business’s carbon footprint is to allow for remote work. Not only will this flexibility help your employees with children or other family responsibilities, it will reduce the number of cars on the road and eliminate the need for a large office or workspace, which uses a lot of energy on a typical day. Keep in mind, however, that in order for remote work to be sustainable, you’ll need to have a solid plan in place that will allow you to maintain communication with your employees and manage projects easily. Utilize some online tools, such as Asana and Skype, to stay in touch with your team and track productivity.
Make some energy-efficient changes
For your in-person business needs, or for your in-home office space, you can make some energy-efficient changes that will both help the planet and save you money. Using LED light bulbs, utilizing natural light during the day, investing in smart appliances, going paperless, and requesting an energy audit are all great ways to cut down on your use of electricity and natural resources. You can also install motion-activated lights and faucets in the bathrooms to cut down on waste.
You can also look for eco-friendly cleaning products to keep your office or store space sparkling. These days there are several on the market that includes antibacterial properties and are gentle on all surfaces, making them perfect for quick cleans between customers during the pandemic.
Get involved in the community
While keeping your office space green is important, it’s also a good idea to get out into the community and see how you can get involved. Partner with other businesses to create eco-friendly initiatives, such as recycling or starting a community garden. Donate unused materials or pieces of equipment rather than throw them away. Support entrepreneurs who want to move into the area, since having access to several different businesses can encourage customers to walk while they shop rather than drive.
Keep your marketing green
Staying active in your community is also a great way to spread the word about your business, which is a key aspect of green marketing. Rather than using print ads, you can host local events to draw customers in, partner with other small businesses to boost awareness of your brand, and focus on email and social media marketing. Targeted ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are perfect for small business owners who don’t have a ton of money to spend but want quite a bit of exposure. Creating an ad for these social media channels isn’t rocket science; you can start with a Facebook ad template to quickly design and post a slick ad that may be seen by millions of users.
When it comes to your marketing campaign, highlight the eco-friendly features of your business to let potential customers know why they should choose your products or services. Don’t be afraid to make your green initiatives a key component of your campaign, especially in relation to your competition. What are you doing differently to create a more sustainable product? Why should customers invest in what you have to offer? If the cost of your locally-sourced supplies raises prices, make the benefits clear from the very beginning.
Becoming an ecopreneur comes with a lot to think about, so it’s crucial to sit down and create a solid plan that will help you make the right choices with every step. Make connections with other local business owners to strengthen your network, as this will be beneficial to both of you as well as to the planet.
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