In the wake of An Inconvenient Truth, the eyes of the
business world have opened wide to the consumer demand for doing greener
business. As a business advisor, I have noticed this trend and the
companies that are embracing it. My clients are always looking for ways
to set apart their business in order to increase their company's bottom
line. For many companies using environmentalism can be a very effective
way of differentiating their business from their competitors.
One example of a company that uses its green thumb to stand apart from the crowd is Greenkarat.com. They sell rings that are made of recycled gold and platinum taken from old jewelry and other items. The company emerged with the goal of starting a trend to limit industrial methods of extracting jewelry's precious metals and gems from the earth that damage the land and endanger ecosystems. Their market knowledge told them that there would always be a demand for jewelry yet they saw an opportunity to do things differently. Their mission is to "...provide an ecologically and socially responsible jewelry alternative to those who seek change." Greenkarat rings have been featured in top magazines like InStyle Weddings and are enjoying much international success. While your company may not be able to be as green as Greenkarat, it is wise to observe how the trend of environmental awareness and concern will affect the behaviors of your customer base and, in turn, do what you can to use this trend to your business' advantage while also taking part in helping this noble cause.
There are many ways you can go green. One thing all companies can do is recycle their garbage. Other potential recyclables include computer hardware and office equipment. Companies can also join one or more green organizations. There are local conservancies and other local and national organizations that can easily be found through the internet. Companies with more money to invest in the cause can use solar panels to reduce their energy needs. Companies can also find ways of becoming a paperless or less-paper-using office.
Becoming a green business just makes good business sense, because many organizations and individuals are willing to pay more or go out of their way to support green companies. If your customer base shares the value of environmentalism, or a segment of your market does, this could be a way to drive new sales and cultivate loyalty within your customer base. The increase in operational costs (if there is one) of doing business the green way, should be offset by the increased margins you will be able to command by increasing your value proposition to the market. You will not only provide your customer with a valuable product or service you will also provide value to the world in which you operate. There is a measurable economic value associated with being a green business, and that value is now being recognized and paid for by the marketplace.
In order to capitalize on the environmental actions your company chooses to take, make sure to promote your efforts by including a section or page on your website that discusses your intentions and explains the measures you're taking to join this movement. If your business has a storefront, you can put a sign up in a visible area explaining what you're doing for the environment. We suggest that you don't print pamphlets since the paper usage runs contrary to the classic green cause of saving trees.
Of all the business trends in the market today, the recognition of the value of being environmentally conscious and eco-friendly is one that I am most excited about. As a business owner you have the power to not only add value to customers but also to make the world a better place. What better way to differentiate your business than by joining the fight against waste and pollution and actively working to preserve our natural resources? For more help with differentiating your company to create increased loyalty and profitability, visit www.flourishingbusiness.com.
Elizabeth W. Gordon, founder and President of The Flourishing Business, LLC, is a visionary leader who has a passion for helping others achieve their entrepreneurial dreams and enjoy more of the best in life.
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