Green Business Opportunities
for Entrepreneurs

Green business opportunities are all around us -- this is an area that continues to expand and grow with the imaginations and the entrepreneurial spirit of many. 

As we all become stewards of our Mother Earth, we begin to see the waste that is around us.  This will help each one of us to consider new ways to handle our daily lives and how we might better use resources, limit our use of certain resources, or decided not to use them at all and find alternatives.

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This shift is going to be gradual for some.  Many elderly grew up in the depression and were less likely to "throw things away" as I can attest to my grandparents who saved just about everything because you didn't know when you'd need it.   They didn't have stores so very close where you could just buy anything (again and again) anytime you needed it.

Then there are the Boomers (generally speaking) who got used to having whatever they wanted when they wanted along with their children. 

Now the twenty-somethings are re-visiting this question again and have grown used to considering how to re-use and recycle.  I believe they will help open many of our eyes to better practices in the case of our young friend who encouraged his family to start their own recycling program.

Green Business Opportunities

Eco-Friendly Consumers – there is currently a lot of on-going education and marketing on a large scale which can aide your business and help you “be in the right place at the right time”.  Watch for specific areas where you can identify a "green" problem and a solution to this challenge.

Inexpensive Products Some of the best green business ideas come from determining the best way to recycle and/or re-use products. Used goods can potentially be obtained at a fraction of the cost of their newer counterparts helping to keep your inventory costs low.

Opportunity to Educate -- now is a terrific time to educate your customers on the value and advantages of using greener products.  Remember you'll need to incorporate the financial reasons -- consumers still buy considering the financial impacts.

Green Is Seeing an Increase in Demand -- according to the Big Green Opportunity Report for Small Business in the U.S., 75% of survey respondents saw an increase in sales of their green products during the down economy from 2008-2011.   And during the same period, 49% of the survey resondents indicate customers didn't just want to buy green product/services, they preferred green businesses because of their environmentally beneificial practices.  

Minimal Cost You can keep your overhead down and in many cases don’t even need to take ownership of the goods (in the case of consignment or brokering).

Minimal Business Risk with less start-up costs, the financial risk is reduced  for you.

Green Business Challenges

Cyclical vs. Long-Term –unfortunately many of the products/services may still be considered a “fad”. While green business ideas make sense in the long-term, make sure to have a good working plan to the short- to mid-term allowing for flux and market changes (e.g. lowering energy prices?)

There may be green business opportunities today, but what happens if the market(s) change? For example, our town had several moped dealers when gasoline prices were high, but they've all disappeared after the gasoline prices declined.

Flexibility – be aware of potential market volatility when considering green business opportunitiies. Consumers can have a short attention span for certain products and may become disinterested in alternatives (e.g. as the price for new products decreases) or cheaper non-ecofriendly products.

Have a plan for changing markets, keep your options open, and be willing to alter your business plan as your customers adjust their preferences. 

Good Sense of Value – when purchasing your inventory develop a good sense of value and determine how much your customers might be willing to pay (especially on second-hand items).

A good green business opportunity will also require educating your clients on the reasons why your product makes sense both in the short-term and the longer term from both an ecological and financial perspective.  Most times when consumers are educated they will make better choices.

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