October 29, 2011

How To Start A Green Business on A Small Budget (Guest Post)

By Hasic M

To start a green business with a small budget is the goal of many entrepreneurs today. Fortunately, you need look no further than the internet to launch a business that focuses on saving energy or saving the environment. Green is “in” today and that will not change in the foreseeable future. Now is the time to start a green business!

The mistake to avoid when planning to start a new business is thinking too big. You don’t need to build a wind turbine or fill your roof or yard with solar panels. It’s not necessary to be an environmental expert before you start a green business. A small budget is a challenge but not a deal breaker.

Finding Business Ideas

To find business ideas, look at problems in the environment and potential solutions that can reduce or solve that problem. Trash disposal is a huge crisis in this country. We produce more garbage per person than any other society on the planet.

Fifty years ago your doctor would fill your prescription in his office from large bottles of pills. He would count the pills into a paper envelope and you’d be on your way.

Today that same prescription uses multiple piece of paper to fill and the pills are in a plastic bottle with a special cap and placed in a paper bag and then in a plastic bag when you go through the checkout. Every item we buy is packaged in paper or plastic or both.

We discard glass and plastic bottles by the ton daily and those disposable grocery bags can sit in a landfill for generations before they deteriorate. Many people successfully start a green business with a small budget by focusing on just one of the garbage issues. Glass bottles turned into countertops, plastic grocery bags used to make recycled grocery bags to be used long term, or metal art sculptures welded from broken equipment – all are ideas that work well.

If you are an artist, using items other people throw out to create art can be a profitable undertaking. Home crafters have devised ingenious ways to create useful products by re-imagining the use of trash thrown away by others. This is budget friendly as the supplies you need are free and you add only your own knowledge and time.

You can launch your own “green store” online for less than $20. By offering products manufactured by other companies you earn a commission for each sale. You can be even more specific and create an online store that caters to a particular market segment.

Campers are interested in buying items that make their footprint on the environment smaller. From solar flashlights to environmental waste disposal systems, there are many great products to be sold.

The popularity of green products has also been featured by companies that provide consumer products sold through home shows. You can become a distributor for a very small cost.

This is a green business with a small budget that is perfect for someone who needs extra part-time income. You can schedule home shows with friends and family and the new eco-friendly products you will present will draw a much bigger crowd – and more sales – than selling cosmetics or plastic kitchenware.

If you prefer to start a green business with a small budget that focuses on providing a service rather than on selling products, consider becoming an environmental consultant.

There is an increasing focus on home audits that advise homeowners where energy is being wasted and how they can reduce power bills. Of course, this always increases green living in any home where less energy is used and waste is reduced.

As a consultant, you would point out problem areas and calculate the return on investment of buying energy efficient appliances and home systems to replace older units. There are new programs now that can train you to become a qualified energy consultant. Those programs themselves are examples of a green business started with a small budget.

If gardening and landscaping are your interests, a green business devoted to use of environmentally friendly tools and lawn and garden treatments is a perfect fit. Find manufacturers that produce organic pest control formulas and combine that with ergonomic hand tools and green growing tips.

Add to your green business by selling plants meant for specific purposes in the garden. Plants to repel pests or to enrich the soil are popular as are bins and drums used to make compost. If a long list of items seems too complex to begin with you can start a business with only one product such as barrels and associated equipment to collect rain water for use in watering flower beds and gardens.

No Need To Think Big 

Think small. When you ask about starting a new business you are usually told to think big but it’s not necessary today. One specific need people have and one good quality product line that can fill that need is enough to create a profitable green business. There is credibility today when you can honestly advertise your products or services as environmentally friendly, cost effective and improve green lifestyles.

Focus on a particular market. You can choose from your personal areas of interest or from trending topics. There is a growing market for survivalist equipment. Dire predictions of vague traumatic events expected in the next few years have little in the way of supporting facts but have created a hoarding mentality.

Survival equipment is a big seller and this is a perfect opportunity to start a green business with a small budget. Equipment for cooking and living without a power grid is in demand. Some bloggers choose to capitalize on the fear but there is good profit in supplying items being purchased by this survivalist market.

Summary

You might be surprised at how easy it can be to start a green business with a small budget. All you need is a good idea, a domain and a website. Be aware of what your friends are discussing and the top stories in the news and before long you will have more ideas for a green business than you can handle.

You may offer a service, create your own art or craft products from recycled materials or sell energy efficient green products. Start with one good idea and build from there. As profits grow you can add more services, more products and expand into different green consumer markets. Its how great businesses have been started for generations. The internet makes it easy and budget friendly.

Courtesy Hasic M is writing for the Alternative Energy Sources Geek where you will learn more about different types of alternative and renewable energy sources.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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