We're going through a step-by-step process for you to set up your green business. Today we're focusing on some more big-picture items.
Step 6) Fine-tune your mission statement.
Why are you doing what you do? Why will a customer choose you over all your competition? What is your niche offering that you do well, or the specific need for which your company has the best solution? When you identify your business in 7 seconds, you've nailed your mission statement.
For example: "My focus as a web developer is in creating websites that build community and foster a feeling of connectedness – we are committed to the success of women entrepreneurs, progressive organizations, membership groups, and fair trade, organic, holistic, sustainable, and green businesses. Our specialty is highly functional Drupal and custom Content Management System websites."
Step 7) Develop your keywords list.
I see this step as being essential to identifying your market. What top twelve words and phrases explain your company, your business philosophy, and your offerings?
This keyword list will drive your language when you talk, write, and blog about the company, and it will drive your focus when you reach out to potential and current customers.
For example, your keywords might include our favorites: green, sustainable, fair trade, organic, eco-friendly.
Step 8) Get customers.
No business exists without customers, clients, users, and people who contribute to your bottom line. I'm sure you've read how megastartups like YouTube continue to lose between $250 to $500 million dollars a year, which might be fine for a large corporation like Google to absorb as part of their market research, but this series assumes that you are actually in business to make money (if not, I invite you to stop reading and go browse around the other fantastic posts on TheGreenGirls.com!)
You find customers online and in person. If you are predominantly online, develop a website and a social networking presence. If you are predominantly local, develop business cards, a 30-second elevator pitch, and start meeting people in your community.
What does your customer need? What pain does your service help lessen? Does your customer want to be entertained? What solution does your product offer? Figure out what your customer needs and understand how you will deliver value through fulfilling those needs.
Step 9) Get a website developed.
Of course, as a website developer, this is my strong bias, but my belief is that with an effective, functional, content management system-based website, you get exceptional results.
Through my company, we've had enough experience with non-professional looking templates, websites that your cousin's brother's classmate created, and websites that are hard-coded so that you can't make an update to it. Believe me, whatever you start out with, you'll eventually need to upgrade, so you may as well do it right the first time:
a) Get a content management system (a custom CMS, Drupal, Joomla!, and WordPress are terms you'll hear more and more frequently).
b) Consider the main five pages you want to put online — Home, About, Products and Services, Mission/Vision/Values, Contact — as well as any additional pages.
c) Hire an effective web producer that you trust and who will still be around in a few years. Get a design and an installation done within your budget. Shop around for rate quotes and go with a team that feels right to you.
d) Content, content, content. It's much more important to fill your website with engaging and search-engine friendly page content about your business, about your industry, about trends and policies, about what you offer, and about you and your team. These are the items that personalize your company and make it easier to find when someone does a search on your keywords.
e) Analyze your data. How many people are visiting? What can you offer to get more people to come into your web pipeline? Consider creating a free resource and offering it to people who join your mailing list. Consider offering coupon codes to every 100 Twitter followers. Reach out: there are many ways to build your community of clients online.
Check in again next week for the next set of business tips!
Monica S. Flores of is committed to educating, empowering, and connecting women in business — she believes in the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. She is available for consulting on web development, green business practices, and women in business.
Want to help? Your purchase of these resources allows me to continue bringing you information, resources, and support for green business women. Social Networking for Women in Business, 136 pages of tips on managing your social media. Click to purchase the e-version for $7.99 (use code: greengirls1). Thirty Steps to Starting up Your Green Business, an easy-to-follow guide with 110 pages of details to launching and growing your green business. Click to purchase the e-version for $8.99 and download instantly. Thank you for your support.
Want to help? Your purchase of these resources allows me to continue bringing you information, resources, and support for green business women.
Social Networking for Women in Business, 136 pages of tips on managing your social media.
Click to purchase the e-version for $7.99 (use code: greengirls1).
Thirty Steps to Starting up Your Green Business, an easy-to-follow guide with 110 pages of details to launching and growing your green business.
Click to purchase the e-version for $8.99 and download instantly.
Thank you for your support.