Startup is a buzz word these days, and investors are very serious about investing big money on sustainable ideas that bring profits in the long run. According to an article on Forbes 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first year of their business.
This is pretty clear that you can’t just run to investors and VCs with every idea that didn’t let you sleep the whole night. However, if your idea is really unique and solving a problem for people, don’t wait!
VCs are investing heavily in multiple niches that include tech, finance, green business models and more. The reason why these industries outrank others are because they are the future, and if you have the idea that can really make the environment and earth a better place, trust me you will not just win the VC funding, but you’ll win their hearts.
I have a green business idea . . . what now?
This is great, but obviously, this is not the only thing required. You have to go step by step. I’ll define those steps in detail so that you avoid mistakes and do well in the longer run.
1. Generate an Operative Business Plan
Having a business plan that includes vision, mission, marketing plans, financial projections and other important details is a must for every business, but for a green business, it is more than necessary. This is mainly because businesses based on environment-friendliness usually need a bigger budget and more time to produce profitable results.
Having an effective business plan not only helps in the start of the business, but it also helps in the long run. Your business plan should have answers to every query that someone might naturally have about your future in the green business or about your competitors. What business structure will you have? How will your products be dispatched to your customers? What resources you will need? How will your work remain sustainable and ecologically practicable? These are the possible areas that need extra care and qualified planning.
As it’s your idea, you’ll want to write a business plan yourself and use that plan as your business bible. but as a startup you are probably wearing many hats. You may want to find a business plan writer who can work with you and craft a detailed business plan for your startup. Consider it as an investment that will allow you to focus on other important areas.
2. Plan and Start Fund Raising
If you really believe in your idea and you have funds to execute this idea, you have no barrier; just invest your money and start off because good idea and a proper planning will give you greater returns in the longer run.
Incase funding is something you need in order to execute your plan, you have multiple options available which includes VC funding, Crowdfunding, Private Investment or a Bank Loan. Each option has pros and cons, but if you ask me, the best idea is to go with either VC funding or crowdfunding as this will get you a good amount of cash and prove yourself right in the longer run.
For VC finding, there are lots of venture capitalists available in the market that will be willing to listen to your idea and if you can sell your idea well, you will get the funding. The other idea is crowdfunding. Create a store and pitch it on website like Kickstarter and promote your campaign as much as you can. The more people will see, the more people will fund your idea and once the required amount will be with Kickstarter, they will transfer the amount to you and you can move on with the idea execution.
Fund raising sounds difficult, but if your idea is attractive, you will see people invest in it.
3. Develop an Awareness Campaign
It’s true that green businesses have to see more tough time before they see the benefits, which is why their marketing plan should reflect that need. An awareness campaign is required so that you can see some buzz within the market and allow people to digest your idea.
If you have a product, try to give it to industry thought leaders for free and get a review from them. This will help you once you launch the product to general people. In case of service, try using the principle of authority in order to penetrate the market and cover your investment as soon as possible.
Awareness campaigns can include online or offline seminars, speaking at conferences, an awareness walk, writing in to related magazines, TV and radio interviews and more. The more buzz you can create the better!
Remember: This is the awareness campaign so your focus should be on a targeted problem and its possible solution instead of bragging about your business.
4. Start Marketing (the environment-friendly way!)
Be realistic in recognizing that you have limitations. Every idea you put on the table should support your environment-friendly brand, or else the marketing campaign will hurt your business instead of helping it.
For instance, If you plan a GREEN conference as part of your marketing campaign, this definitely will help your business grow and give you good PR. If you invested the same on a concert to promote your product, it may backfire and increase the possibility of negative press.
Marketing is tough, but if done carefully, chances of positive press and organic publicity will be huge. At the end of the day, it can cover your initial investment and put you in profits.
5. Stay Green
The business game your are playing is serious. It’s not going to just last for a few years; you’re in it for the life time of the businesses, and this is why sticking to your initial idea is very important. Otherwise your audience will feel deceived and they will leave you. Your business will hurt in terms of branding as well as finances.
Always keep a sustainability plan by your side in order to demonstrate your operation. Plan for things like renewable energy options for utilities and power, alternatives fuel choices, local energy houses and power conservation efforts. As green companies grow, they partner up with different organization and non-green businesses. For that, one must have an advisory council that focuses on sustainability as a company’s core object.
Always keep in touch with people who are active members of green business campaigns. Meeting with interested individuals will boost consumer engagement as well as open new doors for fund raising.
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