When you're starting out your green business, it's easy to lose track of the big picture, which is that you are responsible for the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits.
You are doing what you're doing, creating and offeirng your products and services, and working so hard so that your business can provide excellent value for your customers and team, as well as make a difference in terms of environmental sustainability, and make the business worth your while (= positive cash flow).
My focus in this post is on value.
The value of your company increases when your customer, who is paying for your green offering, finds more and more value by choosing your option above any other option.
You can choose to offer value by providing more for a smaller price, by being more efficient in how you deliver services, or by offering a premium experience.
For example, in the case of my business, which is web design and development for green businesses and progressive organizations, we use a system called Drupal, which allows us to create high functionality and effectiveness for our clients, for a terrific price. In olden days (pre-2004), custom website development would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, now, with the reliability and robustness of open-source tools, companies like mine can offer interactive and secure options like mapping, collecting dues or donations online, five-star ratings, private social networks, informational resources, messaging, mobile versions, and easy-to-update pages, images, and user login/password management – for a fraction of the expected cost.
What can you do in your own business to create value for others?
- For example, if you run an online business, can you provide products at a more competitive price then brick-and-mortar establishments?
- If you're a brick-and-mortar business, can you provide a lovely, engaging, and inspiring experience for the customers who come into your doors?
- If you're an existing business, are there other channels or opportunities that you can jump on to create a better experience for your customer?
- What can you do to ease your client's pressure points, or to help them become more successful, or to give them a wonderful experience?
My challenge for your business is this: for 2011, identify three ways to provide more value for your customer base, and choose a green, sustainable, or organic option to make those ideas happen.
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Thank you for your support.
Monica S. Flores of is committed to educating, empowering, and connecting women in business. Her company offers full-service website design and development to green organizations, progressive companies, and women entrepreneurs. Find her on Twitter as @monicadear.
(photo credit: DRB62)