The intention of a green home-based business in this day and age is, in my humble opinion, to prove that business and commerce can make the world a more sustainable place to exist; as opposed to diminish resources and positive green productivity in the name of mere profit. In starting a green business from home, whether through providing services, products or consultation, the chief goal should be to contribute towards the growing green movement. In other words, it should make the planet a healthier, happier, cleaner and more vibrant place to be!
Here in the 21st century, the need for a physical and resource-consuming storefront is vanishing everyday thanks to the increasing prominence and widespread societal employment of the internet. Web innovation has made it extremely easy, affordable and sustainable to ply your trade/flog your goods from a digital storefront; and even to employ your workers as telecommuters. Moreover, green business is becoming highly attractive in the eyes of the consumer, with many people preferring to do business with organisations they know are not contributing towards the many environmental issues currently facing the planet and its some 6billion inhabitants.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of the most effective methods for getting your own green stay-at-home business off of the ground:
Research your idea
Before you start a business, there’s quite a lot of research to be done. First of all, you must establish whether or not there is room for your product or service within the current market; and furthermore whether or not the gap you intend to plug has already been plugged. You’ll also need to use any research conducted to get the very core of your concept(s). After all, the first two years are going be tough, don’t make them tougher by winging the finer details!
Another key area to your research should be funding. A major part of what makes a business green is where the capital used to get it off the ground can be traced back to. In the UK, investment vehicles such as the Governments £3billion Green Investment Bank stand alongside the £2.6billion Regional Growth Fund and the private sector operated Green Deal Finance Company in providing budding green entrepreneurs and existing businesses looking to go green with valuable guidance and finance on the matter.
Depending on the type of business you intend to do, you may need to acquire certain licenses, training and certification in order to operate legally. Given the growing prominence of green business models, there are a number of green certifications you can pursue- this is always advisable on account of the good it will do your reputation within consumers in the green industries.
Given the number of green initiatives launched by local councils throughout the UK in recent years, you'll usually encounter little resistance for actionable commercial green ideas. Though it's always best to look into these things lest they catch up with you further on down the line!
Not so much a green business-specific piece of advice as a general business piece of advice, you should always think through your concept critically in order to create a business plan. Be sure to address such things as your marketing strategy, financial projections and any expected obstacles. The latter can admittedly be rather hard to predict, though will ultimately do wonders for your chances should you be seeking financing to get things off the ground.
Create a great website
The first step towards attracting your first customers is surely creating a stand-out base of operations online. An absolute must for any business which is home-based, your website is everything. Make sure you build it with search engine optimisation (SEO) fully in mind, as ultimately the more traffic you manage to harness- the more business you’re likely going to do.
Now you’ve got a fully formed idea for your business, all of the necessary licenses and certification, a robust business plan and a wonderful website through which to communicate with your customers, it’s time to market your new green business. As a starting point, the aforementioned SEO is an absolute winner; though going beyond the science of search engine algorithms and targeting real living people is also advised.
By far the quickest way to do this is to pay for relevant advertising, however if you lack the capital to do this at first then listing your new business in all of the typical directories is certainly a good start. On top of this, the social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…) are also worth a shot, especially given their ability to benefit SEO.
Launching a green business doesn’t really differ from launching a non-green start-up. So long as the core of the idea that you are proposing is green, the methods you employ in getting it off the ground are usually of little consequence!