In order to successfully launch a new “green” product or company, the following eight steps might be helpful:
1. Pick from the Top Ten Environmental Issues for one(s) you are most passionate about.
2. Build your product/service around that issue. If you do not see a relationship between what you know how to do and that issue, create one. For example, you’re a chiropractor and you are passionate about air pollution, find creative ways to reduce customer travel to your office, use low energy consuming equipment in the office, start or contribute to a fund for pollution control, or have your office offer discounts to those who bike to your office.
3. Define your target customer. Who would be most interested in your new product/service or company? What are their demographics and psychographics (interests).
4. Study your competition. What are they doing towards your chosen issue? How are you better or different? In order to avoid “greenwashing” (promoting being “green” without really being “green”), you must be authentic and accurate.
5. Establish your credibility. To add to the legitimacy, show your experts on staff, credentials (licenses, degrees, etc.), testimonials from credible sources/clients, case studies of those who have used your product/service (or ones similar), and/or scientific resources backing up your research/claims.
6. Determine start up costs. Do you need to finance the project? There are many government-backed financing programs starting now with the “green jobs” initiative being pushed heavily in Washington. An expert on this is Franklin Madison at Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation here (ITAC) in NYC. Frank and ITAC have a 10 year history of working with and providing access to funding for green businesses (particularly technology-based businesses.)
7. Hit the market. Make sure you present your product/service in a way your target customers are going to get it. Speak their language when explaining how it benefits both them and the planet. Use stories and examples. Masters at explaining their products are The Body Shop and Patagonia.
8. Have a blast. Make sure it is what you are passionate about. You will get knocked around a lot and when you do, what will get you back up is your passion for making it happen.
This was excerpted from an article that originally appeared on www.evancarmichael.com. It was written by Stefan Doering, owner at BEST Coaches, Inc. and an instructor at Columbia University.