Free Webinar: The Secrets to Starting a Great, Green Business

November 3rd, 2009

Two experts give you the inside story of the green businesses to start today and how to do it. 


Green is not a fad and it’s more than the right thing to do.  Green businesses are some of the biggest and best business opportunities around today, with opportunities for practically anyone. 


In a free one hour webinar on November 11 at 4:00 PM, Glenn Croston and Jim Simcoe lay out the secrets to starting your own green business, including:

  • The 10 trends driving green business growth
  • The biggest opportunities today
  • Finding the opportunity that’s right for you
  • The 7 assumptions about green that can hold you back
  • How to market your business on a budget
  • Eight low cost green steps to take today
  • How green boosts profits
  • The 7 keys every investor needs to hear


Who should listen in?  Sign-up if you’re:

  • Looking for the next big thing
  • Uncertain about the economy
  • Seeking to boost profits for my existing business
  • Looking for a new direction with greater meaning


As the founder of EcoLife Consulting, Jim Simcoe works with green entrepreneurs to provide practical guidance based on real-life experience.  He knows what works because he’s been there and done it himself. 


Glenn Croston is the founder of Starting Up Green (, and the author of “75 Green Businesses” and “Starting Green”, spelling out the hottest green businesses to start today, how to start them, and how to make them successful.  He’s also the creator of the Green Biz Blast, helping businesses connect, and the Ecopreneur’s Startup Kit. 

How to Start Your Own Green Business- “Starting Green”

October 30th, 2009

When it comes to the environment it often seems like we only hear about the problems we face.  And there are problems, to be sure, big ones, but these problems also present us with opportunities to provide solutions.  My books, blogs and site are all designed to show the way forward for businesses to deliver these solutions, including my recently released book “Starting Green: An Ecopreneur’s Toolkit to Start a Green Business – From Business Plan to Profits”. 


My book “75 Green Businesses” took all of these environmental problems and turned them around to show the many opportunities they hold.  Looking at how we produce energy, build homes, produce food, provide services, use water, and take care of waste, “75 Green Businesses” highlights the many opportunities for greener, cleaner, businesses can provide solutions and build strong businesses as well.


One of the comments people often have about “75 Green Businesses” is that they want more detailed instructions to move from vision to profitable business.  That’s where “Starting Green” comes in, picking up where “75 Green Businesses” left off.  “Starting Green” is the how-to guide to make these businesses a reality, providing insight into the green angle on business fundamentals like planning, marketing, and raising capital, and talking in more depth about the hottest green business opportunities today, including solar, energy efficiency, franchises, direct sales, and retail. 


I got the chance to talk to a great number of outstanding green leaders while working on the book, for which I am extremely grateful.  These are people who are unique not only in their commitment to building a better world, but in their demonstration over and over again that green businesses really can be both successful and profitable.  In talking with green leaders like Gary Hirshberg, CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, and Hunter Lovins, co-author of Natural Capitalism, I was reminded how they have paved the way for so many others.  An increasing number of businesses in a wide range of industries are following the green business path every day.  And if they can do it, so can you.


Here’s the Table of Contents of “Starting Green”, to give you a taste.  You can also use the “Look Inside” function on Amazon to browse through, or Google books, to see more of what it has to offer:


Preface:       How to Join the Great Green Upswing                                      


Chapter 1:    Welcome to the Green Revolution

Chapter 2:     RISE to the Opportunity

Chapter 3:     From Green Dreams to Open Doors

Chapter 4:     Finding Money to Start and Grow Your Business

Chapter 5:     How to Green Your Business Operations and Facilities

Chapter 6:     Green Marketing and Communications

Chapter 7:     The Role of Government - Carrots and Sticks

Chapter 8:     How to Start a Green Franchise

Chapter 9:     How to Start an Energy Efficiency Business     

Chapter 10:   How to Start a Green Retail Business

Chapter 11:   How to Start a Renewable Energy Business

Chapter 12:   How to Start a Direct Sales Business: Small, Green, and Beautiful

Conclusion:    The Conserver Economy and Beyond



Here’s what some of the green leaders have to say about “Starting Green”:


“Glenn Croston’s Starting Green is the indispensable guide for the entrepreneur of the 21st Century. Croston’s extensive research and incredible examples will illuminate the incredible opportunities within Green Business. Even as a green business owner for the past two decades, I drew countless ideas and inspiration from this book.”

-Eric Corey Freed, principal of organicARCHITECT, author of Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies


“We face great challenges today in our economy and environment, but the shift toward sustainability offers even greater opportunities. Starting Green gives you the tools to join this revolution with a business of your own. The business case for sustainability is clear; what we need now is action. This book will help you pave the way forward and thrive.”

-Hunter Lovins, Co-author of Natural Capitalism, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions


“The emerging green economy offers a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators, building everything from green-minded service providers to breakthrough products and technologies. Glenn Croston has created a valuable roadmap that can help find the profitable opportunity that’s right for you.”

-Joel Makower, executive editor of, and author of Strategies for the Green Economy


I hope you’ll give it a look, and join in with the growing number of people changing how they do business to help build a more sustainable economy, profitable businesses, and a healthy world for us all to share. 

Talk to you soon.

Deconstruction Training Leads to Green Collar Jobs and Enhances Green Building

August 27th, 2009

This post is courtesy of Ted Reiff, President of The ReUse People of America


The ReUse People of America (TRP), a nonprofit 501(c)3, has launched two deconstruction training programs, both designed to teach the art and science of deconstruction and building-materials salvage. Both trainings are conducted by The ReUse Institute (TRI), the training, project-management and consulting arm of TRP.


Green-collar Jobs Program

The first program is designed to meet the growing demand for green-collar jobs. It is designed for unemployed and underemployed workers. To date, two target populations have been served by this program: youths between the ages of 17 and 24 and ex-offenders seeking societal and workforce re-entry skills. Typically both of these groups have minimal knowledge of the opportunities available in the construction industry.


Students learn:

·         The philosophy and objectives of building-materials reuse

·         Categories of materials suitable for reuse

·         Jobsite safety guidelines and work rules

·         Proper use of the tools required in construction/deconstruction

·         Methodologies for removing building components while preserving their value

·         Shipping and handling guidelines and techniques

·         Crew-chief skills (extra session for students exhibiting leadership potential)


Contractor Program

The second program is for building, remodeling and demolition contractors wanting to adopt green-building practices in order to answer increasing consumer demand, reduce landfill fees, and take advantage of the burgeoning market for salvaged building materials. Contractor training covers all categories of salvageable materials, special deconstruction-industry tools, removal methodologies, shipping and handling guidelines, and successful bidding tips and procedures.


TRI is offering the contractor training on October 22-23 in Los Angeles. To register complete the PDF registration form here.


Success Stories

  A youth-employment agency in California whose students received green-collar training earns funds for additional agency programs by deploying trained deconstruction crews to take down local buildings. Participating youth have acquired valuable entry-level construction skills.

  Dozens of TRI-trained contractors throughout the U.S. now employ hundreds of trained deconstruction workers and are keeping thousands of tons of reusable materials out of landfills.

  Twenty trained contractors in a small Midwest city are mobilizing to deconstruct dozens of buildings for flood-control purposes.


TRP is eager to partner with cities and local organizations that wish to train constituents for jobs in the green-building industry and will assist graduating students to find full-time employment. For more information visit or call Ted Reiff at 510.383.1983, ext. 102.

Energy Efficiency and Consultant Training with Jim Simcoe and Ecolife Consulting

July 23rd, 2009

I met someone here in San Diego I’d like to introduce you to - Jim Simcoe, the founder of Eco-Life Consulting.  Jim is advancing the green business cause in a few ways, including helping property owners to green their sites, helping to create green benefits packages, and training people to work as eco-consultants.  I had coffee and chatted with Jim, getting to know each other - I think Jim has a lot to offer.


“I came into this business when I owned a real estate company and saw the tremendous amounts of waste on new building construction sites,” says Simcoe.  “After doing research I found that the business I was in (real estate/development) was a major contributor to the environmental crises.  As a lifetime lover of nature I began my endeavors into green building and green remodeling.”  Like myself, having kids give Simcoe an even greater motivation for incorporating sustainability in his work, providing for a brighter world for their future while finding ways to make these changes financially attractive for businesses to implement. 


Today Jim consults for businesses in several areas, delivering value as well as reducing their environmental impact:


Sustainability strategy development and Implementation:  Establishing a vision is the first step in designing a sustainability strategy, followed by implementation of changes in daily business practices.   Jim has experience delivering value with consulting for cost effective efficiency moves for commercial properties, schools, and homes, reducing wasted money and resources. 


Creating a ‘Green’ Employee Benefits Package:  Money is not the only factor in the work satisfaction of employees.  Developing a green benefits package can attract and retain top talent, keep employees motivated, and increase productivity when employees see that the company’s beliefs are aligned with their own.


Sustainability training and education:  No matter how great your sustainability goals and plan are, they’re not likely to work if your employees don’t understand or don’t agree with them.  Education and training ensure that your employees understand your sustainable initiatives and are committed to them.   Jim also provides an Eco Consultant training program you can buy, with a set of 6 DVDs covering a full range of sustainability topics to learn the ropes and hit the ground running with your own business. 


Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference”, providing green opportunities for people from any background.  He is also the author of “Greening Your Business on a Budget” and “Starting Green: An Ecopreneur’s Guide to Starting a Green Business from Planning to Profits”.  As the founder of Starting Up Green ( and an expert blogger for Fast Company, Croston is showing others how to thrive in the green economy. 



The Green BizBlast – Connecting Businesses Seeking and Selling Green

June 20th, 2009


If you’re like most people in business you’re always looking for the next connection to move your business forward.  Either you’re trying to connect with those who need what you sell or you’re connecting with those who provide a resource or information you need.  The green entrepreneurs I speak with every day come from many backgrounds in many industries, but they all have this much in common. 


Given enough time, connections and relationships grow on their own over the years, like branches on a tree.  Unfortunately though waiting for connections to develop at their own pace can take more time than we might have, so we need to accelerate the process.  We need some connection fertilizer.


I created Starting Up Green ( to help green entrepreneurs connect, and now I’m taking it to the next level with the Green BizBlast, connecting green businesses that are selling and seeking green.     


The Blast is delivered by email to my subscribers at Starting Up Green, and includes pitches from a wide variety of businesses selling product or services that will help you build a profitable and eco-friendly venture.  By including your pitch for a small fee (only $10 as of this writing) you get your message delivered directly to some of the greenest and most entrepreneurial eyeballs around, including those green entrepreneurs, opportunity-seekers, and businesses that need what you sell but somehow haven’t connected with you yet.  Now is the time and here’s the place.  Whatever you want people to know about, or whatever you are looking for, contact me at, to get it in the Blast, including:


-  Your Name

-  The name of your business

-  Whether you are interested in a pitch, sponsorship, or submitting a query

-  A paragraph or so about your business or query.  If you need help writing something up, we can help with this sometimes too.


Sponsorship opportunities are also available, providing top billing and a free annual listing on Starting Up Green, and you can submit a query to be included in the Blast for free, asking for help finding a product, service, or information.


The first BizBlast featured Kit Cassingham, getting out the word about her services as an expert on environmentally friendly hotels.  Dave Michaels at Ecoprint let a broader group of green businesses know how his green printing services can deliver high quality printed materials that help your brand and reduce your environmental impact.  Jim Simcoe of Ecolife Consulting let people know about his consulting business and his free webinar coming up next week on developing a green business strategy. 


What’s your story?  Here’s the place to tell it. 


In a sea of information on the internet, it’s not just the number of connections we make, but making the right connections with people seeking exactly what you have to offer.   People want to know about you – they are hungry for the right connection. Don’t be cruel – let’s give it to them. 


And don’t forget to sign up for the Starting Green newsletter on the home page so you can start receiving the Blast as well.  Catch you in the next Blast.

How to Find the Green Business Opportunity that Works for You: The RISE Report

May 16th, 2009


People often ask me “What green business can I start?”  It’s a simple question, but unfortunately the answer is not always as simple, particularly when we’ve just met and I don’t know someone’s background.  Opportunities in many industries are waiting for entrepreneurs to build businesses providing green solutions, but which one will work for you? 



There are limitless possibilities.  Some people look at my book “75 Green Businesses” and ask, “Why just 75?”  The 75 in the book are a starting point – the truth is that the opportunities for green businesses are too numerous too count. 



While green business opportunities are numerous and diverse, they are not one size fits all.  You need to find the one that will work for you, looking inward and looking around you.  We each possess unique skills, experiences, knowledge, and interests that we bring to bear on challenges we face like starting a business.  We also have external resources like our money and time that we can commit that will impact the decisions we make and the paths we take.



I think the trick is finding the right match between an opportunity and your own unique resources.  To do this I recommend doing a RISE evaluation, a Resource Inventory Self Evaluation, which looks at the following:



  • What professional experience do you have?
  • What internal resources do you have to offer (skills, knowledge, talents, and personality)?
  • What external resources do you have to work with (time, money, equipment, office space, car)?
  • Where are you geographically and what kind of opportunities are there in your region?
  • What excites you?



For each of these questions, write down the answers.  Try to view things with a fresh perspective.  When you have the answers in hand, the path to the right business opportunity should be much clearer.



Your professional experience is an important starting point, getting out your resume to go over it.  If you haven’t looked at your resume recently, then it’s time.  Where have you worked, and what did you do there?  Even if you are looking for a change, your experience is a valuable resource that should not be neglected and can be a perfect starting point.  Are you a landscaper?  You could easily build on your landscaping experience to create a green landscape maintenance business, for example.  Are you an electrician?  There is a clear path to working in the renewable energy industry.  Practically every business has a green version that has already happened or is waiting to happen.



Your internal resources are also important, including the combined skills, knowledge, talents, and other traits that you carry within.  You might not think often about these, but they can shape a great deal of how you respond to the world.  Some of these will come from your professional experience, but this component of your inventory can come from anywhere.  Your hobbies and your home life can provide skills and experiences that you may not always consider but can be quite valuable when viewed with a fresh perspective.  Are you mechanically skilled?  Perhaps repairing things is the way to go as part of the growing conserver economy, saving resources and money by giving appliances a second life.



External resources are a solid factor shaping the choices you make.  We are all familiar with the role that money on the opportunities you will pursue.  Some opportunities like putting together a blog site can be bootstrapped for very little money, while other opportunities such as developing a new solar technology require millions of dollars to pursue.  Time is another important factor.  Even if you are busy, the trick is not too say you are too busy to get started with a business, but to find a way to at least carve out a small amount of time to take the first few steps forward. 



Next, where do you live?  Green opportunities are everywhere, but it is not necessarily the same opportunities that are ready to take off in different places across the US and around the world.  Is water the big issue where you live?  Does your community provide unique incentives or resources that might help you out?  Is there a listing of green businesses such as Greenopia for your community?  Take a look to see what others are doing, and get out and talk to people at an EcoTuesday or Green Drinks event. 



Finally, think about what you love.  If you are going to pour yourself into creating your business, its best if it’s something that you care deeply about.  Pursuing an opportunity that is profitable is important, but lacking passion your business can become drudgery.



With the RISE evaluation in hand, you can return to the “75 Green Businesses” book or opportunities you see in the world with a fresh perspective, ready to connect yourself and create your own unique path forward. 


Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses”, providing green opportunities for people from any background.  He is also the author of “Greening Your Business on a Budget”, the founder of Starting Up Green (, and the green business expert blogger for Fast Company.  To find the opportunity that works for you, you can contact Croston to get started on your own RISE evaluation today.

Opportunities to be Lean and Green: The Shift from Consumer to Conserver Economy

May 13th, 2009

The economy is looking less bleak of late in some ways, but we’re not out of the woods yet, and we might not be leaving them any time soon.  The crisis is shifting the ground beneath our feet, dramatically changing spending patterns.  People are saving their money.  While this may sound like a good thing, it’s creating great hardship for businesses that have come to rely on the old patterns of spending in the consumer economy.  This change reflects an underlying shift away from the consumer economy we have known to an emerging Conserver Economy in which people and businesses save more, waste less, and think of the long term.



These new spending patterns reflect changes in how people are living, and these changes are likely to be with us for a while.  The NY Times article of May 10 2009 “Shift to Saving May Be Downturn’s Lasting Impact” described this shift in greater detail.  The forces that enabled and egged on consumers to save less and spend more – easy credit and skyrocketing asset values – could be permanently altered by the financial crisis that spun the economy into recession.”



“Sustained increases in household saving would cause a difficult period of restructuring for the American economy, which has become increasingly driven by consumer spending,” the article goes on to say. 



While the change in spending is drying up old opportunities, the seismic shift is also creating new opportunities.  With less spending also comes more attention on getting more out of what we do spend, making our resources go farther.  People are figuring out creative new ways to live well while getting more out of less, and this change will be with us for a long time to come.  Businesses that see where the Conserver Economy is headed can adapt to this new reality and get out in front.



I previously outlined six trends for businesses to join the conserver economy including:



  • Sharing – Getting more out of goods we buy by sharing them among groups, like ridesharing (PickUpPal).
  • Renting – Getting more value out of money by only leasing what we need, like buying power from solar panels rather than buying the panels (SolarCity).
  • Repairing – Fixing old appliances, watches, and clothes, giving them a new life rather than throwing them away.
  • Reusing – Salvaging building material, selling used cars, thrift shops, and Terracycle.
  • Rebuilding – Retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, saving energy, saving money, and fighting climate change (Sustainable Spaces).
  • Rethinking – Hummers and McMansions are out as people rethink what they really need to live well.


These trends also happen in large part to be green.  The leaner businesses and consumers get, squeezing more out of their money and resources, the greener they get overall.  The environment may not be the main reason some people are making changes like using energy more efficiently, but the impact is green all the same.  I described some of these opportunities in “75 Green Businesses” last summer before the Conserver Economy had really started to emerge. 



Rather than hamper the growth of the green economy, the emergence of the conserver economy reinforces the influence of the environment and the importance of making sound economic and environmental decisions for the long run.  Helping the environment and doing the right thing for the long term health of the economy are once again in alignment, and probably more so than ever.



We aren’t out of the woods yet, but these woods might not be so bad after all if we can keep our heads and chart a new path to success where lean meets green.



Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses” and “Greening Your Business on a Budget” and the founder of Starting Up Green.

What do Star Trek and Green Businesses Have in Common?

May 12th, 2009

I haven’t seen the new Star Trek movie yet, but while listening to talk about the movie I realized that the movie is like the green business world in at least one important respect. 


Is it because they are both action packed?  Maybe.


But more importantly success for both the movie and for green businesses requires breaking out of their niche to reach the broader mainstream market.  And the way to do this is by constructing a great product that just happens to be Star Trek, or green, on top of this.


The worlds of Trekkies and green consumers can both be insular.  Like attracts like.  Trekkies memorize and recite dialog to each other and think nothing of going out in public wearing Spock ears.  They would be first in line for the movie, no matter what. 


The makers of the movie realized though that they could not restrict their audience to the diehard Trekkies.  For the movie to do well, it had to appeal to a broad audience, including those who don’t have a clue who Sulu and Uhura are.  It had to be a great movie first, and a Star Trek movie second.  It had to be a movie that even non-Klingon speakers will want to see.  The movie has managed to do this without losing the original fan base, the Trekkies who have been loyal followers for all of these years. 


The same is true for the greenies.  Deep greenies tend to aggregate together, all of them speaking the language of sustainability with each other.  They talk about Paul Hawken, Hunter Lovins, and Van Jones.  They are the 5% of the population who value green above all else, even if it costs more. 


For most people though, green is only one part of the product puzzle.  They buy products because they work well, or have the right price, or were well marketed to make them feel cool.  To reach the mainstream, green businesses have to sell products that are first of all great products, and green on top of everything else.  In many cases the green economy is just starting to break into the mainstream, with huge opportunities for future growth ahead still.


So, maybe there is something for green businesses to learn from the success of Star Trek. 


Live long and prosper.

Greening Your Business on a Budget

May 4th, 2009

Greening Your Business on a Budget

Greening Your Business on a Budget

Many people believe that making their business more environmentally sustainable is too expensive or difficult, and would hurt their bottom line.  One of the important lessons that green business leaders have found though is that going green can actually save money, and a lot of it.  Businesses waste $ billions on energy, water and other resources.  Some of the largest corporations like Wal-Mart, DuPont, and 3M have found that wasting less makes their business more competitive, and if it has worked for them it can work for your business too.  I spell out the bottom-line savvy green steps that businesses can take in the e-book “Greening Your Business on a Budget”, which has just been released with Entrepreneur Press.

In the course of working on “75 Green Businesses” and my next book “Starting Up Green” (to be released in Fall 2009), I’ve talked to a great variety of people providing services that help the bottom line by going green.  Many of these steps save money through actions like improving energy efficiency, traveling less, and wasting less water.  Other steps like going carbon neutral can increase visibility and build brand value by demonstrating your commitment to helping the environment as part of doing business.  Often going green can even increase productivity, unlocking the energy of employees, partners, and customers who connect with your green mission and want to get involved.


In “Greening Your Business on a Budget”, I focus on the actions that businesses in many industries, and of any size, can take to help the environment and their business at the same time.  The chapters in this e-book include:


        Chapter 1: A Quick Look at Your Business’s Goals

        Chapter 2: Quick Methods to Green Your Facilities

        Chapter 3: A Quick Look at Greening Your Office

        Chapter 4: Quick Steps to Greening Your Transportation

        Chapter 5: Quick Moves for Greener Human Resources

        Chapter 6: Quick Pointers for Green Computing

        Chapter 7: A Quick List of Potential Green Partners

        Chapter 8: A Quick Guide to Greener Marketing

        A Quick Conclusion

        The Quick Green Checklist


All of the steps described are analyzed according to their impact on business fundamentals, and a checklist for your own green self-audit is included.  While the list of steps in this e-book is long, it’s still just a start.  We have a long way to go, and this book is only one small part of the story.  Not every action makes sense for every business, but by looking through resources like this and translating words into action, you can make an important difference for your business and the world.


Green B2B Listings on Starting Up Green

April 24th, 2009

One of the best parts about writing “75 Green Businesses” and working on the Starting Up Green site ( is the great group of green entrepreneurs I get to talk to.  Some are starting and building their business and can use some help working through the challenges they encounter along the way.  Others provide goods and services other businesses need, just what green entrepreneurs are looking for to realize their vision of making money and making a difference. 


I’m building Starting Up Green as the meeting place for these two groups, where green businesses providing services and those who need them can find each other and connect, helping each other out. 


What kind of services do people need and where can they find them? 


  1. Opportunities – One place to look is my book “75 Green Businesses”, and another is the great book by Scott Cooney, “Build a Green Small Business”.
  2. Green Operations – Make your website carbon neutral with, or make your whole business carbon neutral with Terrapass.
  3. Marketing and Public Relations – See the recent posting “Promises, Promises - Hiring the Right PR Firm” by David Mleczko, Co-founder of SignatureGreen Public Relations and Marketing
  4. Financing – For loans less than $25,000,  peer to peer lending with Lending Club
  5. Banking – Green banking with ShoreBank Pacific, or New Resources Bank
  6. Legal – As the first certified green law firm Wendel, Rosen, Black, & Dean can provide unique assistance to other green businesses.
  7. Insurance – Green Business Insurance specializes in meeting the insurance needs of green businesses, recognizing the unique advantages
  8. Recruiting – As a business grows, it often needs to recruit new talent to reach the next level.  Dawn Dzurilla of Gaia Human Capital Consulting makes it happen.  


You can always Google and work your network to find all of these pieces and sort through them, but having everything in one place makes it easier.  If you have a service, get in touch with me to get listed on the Starting Up Green site.  If you are looking for a service, check out Starting Up Green or get in touch with me by email – many people and businesses I’ve talked to are not listed on the site yet. 


Most of all, keep on greening.




Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference“, the founder of Starting Up Green (, the expert blogger on green business for Fast Company, and the author of “Starting Up Green” coming out this fall, a how to guide to green business success.