Posts Tagged ‘75 Green Businesses’

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

Friday, 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.

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

Saturday, 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.