If you’re passionate about the planet, channel this into making your own eco company.
There was a time when it seemed businesses could act as they pleased. For instance, not being held accountable for addressing issues such as human rights, animal cruelty and eco concerns. Thankfully, consumers nowadays are a lot more switched on about the values held by brands. They will seek out companies who are in line with their ethics. In 2017, the UK spent over £83 billion on ethical goods due to increased environmental concern, (ethicalconsumer.org). And, a survey conducted by Futerra, revealed that if a brand isn’t helping customers improve their environmental footprint, then they’re in danger of disappointing 88 per cent of them. So, there’s never been a better time to be an eco business. If you want to make a difference, here’s how to launch your own.
Define your eco brand
A driving force behind many green entrepreneurs is a desire to make a difference. So, decide what you want your company to be about and what you’re going to sell. Perhaps you are launching a zero-waste supermarket, or maybe you’re creating your own vegan beauty products? Look at what your hobbies and interests are and let this be a starting point it – whatever it is, being passionate is key. Then, set up your unique selling point. What sets you apart from other companies out there? Are you the first shop in your local area to sell sustainably-sourced jewellery? Is there no vegan café in your town? Look for a gap in the market to ensure you really stand out.
Seek out inspiration
Look to some of your favourite ethically-minded brands and list reasons why you like and support them. Use this as inspiration for your own brand’s policies. Does their environmental policy resonate with your own vegan values, or maybe they have ingenious solutions to waste? For example, VOYA beauty products are packaged using recycled materials and the protective chips contained in an order are 100 per cent biodegradable, dissolving in water. Try to implement some of the morals you admire into your own business.
To ensure your company or brand is trusted by customers, it’s worth applying to get your products or business certified. Having the backing of trusted organisations, such as Fairtrade, The Soil Association, or ECOCERT will act as a seal of approval for planet-friendly standards. Alternatively, you could also consider getting the work building or warehouse LEED certified, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, given to buildings that meet certain environmental guidelines.
Fund your business
Having the ideas, ethics and a business plan is one thing, but as we all know money talks. Many start-ups look to benefit corporations like Kickstarter to get their company off the ground. Kickstarter allows those with a business idea to set up a funding goal, which is the amount of money they need to complete their project. People can then pledge money to this project. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. This means no one will be charged for a pledge towards a project unless it reaches its funding goal. You could also try Crowdfunding which works by raising money via the collective effort of friends, family, and individual investors. Ultimately, both appeal to public support, so it’s vital to impress potential customers by offering them a service they really care about.
Speak to other green business owners and entrepreneurs. Ask them questions, get advice and absorb as much information from them as possible. Chances are they will know someone, who may know someone else, who could have sources, stock and suppliers you need. Plus, we all know the benefits of companies staying local – less fuel equals less carbon footprint. Don’t forget that you all have the same goal in mind. Often, this establishes a little community for like-minded individuals to help each other. And don’t forget to return the favour by supporting similar small businesses – kindness is contagious.
Building a business from scratch is never going to happen overnight. Progress and growth might be slow, but don’t allow this, no matter how many setbacks you encounter, to discourage you. Ultimately, the point of being an environmentally conscious business is to stick by your ethics.
Offer incentive schemes
Once you’re up and running, extend your ethical mindset to your customers by offering discounts to those who bring in their own reusable cup or bag, rather than taking a disposable. Alternatively, you could create loyalty cards to encourage and grow your community. Also, host in-store events and parties to further increase a friendly relationship among your loyal customers.