By Bill Roth
As the Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com the number one question I am asked is, “How do you make money going green?” Today’s business answer is that adopting sustainability practices is a high-results path for cutting costs. The “Green Team” is sustainability’s first killer app. And certifications like Energy Star and LEEDs are similar to how we used to talk about a PC’s RAM and processor times.
But for sustainability to grow into The Green Economic Revolution business needs to develop green-revenue killer apps that achieve the triple bottom line of job restoration, profitability and wellness (health for us and our environment). As recently as this spring at a major conference I heard speakers with inspiring clichés like “green is the new black” and the future of green is “cost less, mean more.” Here is the great news, my green-entrepreneur network has figured out the “secret sauce” for achieving these clichés.
Examples include a fast food restaurant that serves a wonderfully tasty but healthy sandwich and apple “fries” with a honey-yogurt dip for the same $6 one might spend at McDonald’s. And this healthy fast food restaurant is achieving year-over-year sales growth while three of their local competitors closed their doors due to the recession. Another example is an office supply company growing its market share into other states by winning blind price bids while also selling six times the industry percentage of recycled paper. And one of my favorites is a hotel that has a tremendous repeat customer business (the Holy Grail of revenues!) because its guests claim a better night’s sleep than in their homes. The hotel attributes this to its toxin-free environment.
The “secret sauce” common to all of the green-revenue successes within my network are:
Aligning value with values. This is the Crossing the Pricing Chasm strategy for achieving competitiveness against 20th century legacy business systems that are increasingly costing more, delivering less.
Prove it, Conclusively! All of the successful green businesses in my network have a marketing plan that “overwhelms” the customer with evidence that their product and company are the “real deal.”
Know it, Embrace it. This mantra of Web 2.0 is how customers are figuring out who to buy from and what to buy. Selling green is a process that enables the customer’s path of learning, experimenting and then buying.
One lament I hear over and over from start-up green businesses is that their customers won’t pay more for going green. Here’s what I tell these entrepreneurs: According to J.D. Powers and Associates, 75 percent of Prius buyers bought their car for economic, not environmental, reasons.
The next killer app for sustainability is price competitiveness. As a professional economist I inserted green price parity into my economic analysis and generated a stunning forecast of a $10 TRILLION global revenue sustainable economy by approximately 2017. I am seeing this green price competitiveness now emerging in all areas of our economy from sheet rock to solar to fast foods. Achieving the price-competitive killer app in sustainability is the key ingredient of The Secret Green Sauce™ that will provide us with restored employment, business profitability and a sustainable environment.
Bill Roth founded Earth 2017 as an enabling “how to” resource for businesses seeking to adopt sustainability as a growth strategy. The Secret Green Sauce™ is his just released book that profiles the best practices being used by actual companies to grow green revenues. Bill is offering a FREE 1st chapter at www.earth2017.com.