This is the final post related to Strategies of Abundance for green business ecopreneurs. The first two addressed how banks have a stranglehold on our lives (Part 1). Part 2 addresses the KISS principle (keep it small stupid), relocalization movement, and thriving on natural capital.
Following are a few more strategies we’ve employed, like many other ecopreneurs.
Strategy # 5: Enough Is Enough
A key facet for many small business ecopreneurs is the recognition of living within our ecological and financial means. By exiting the rat race and crafting our own business at a level we can manage, we can commit ourselves to our Earth Mission. A key step, however, is to let go of the idea that we must own a new car or new stereo, go on lavish vacations or in myriad ways keep up with the fictional Joneses. Many Europeans have known this for years.
Strategy # 6: Be Creative and Innovative
“Of three precious resources in life — time, money and creativity — the only unlimited one is your creativity,” writes Ernie Zelinski in The Joy of Not Working. “Make creativity your number one resource, and time and money won’t be as scarce.” Ecopreneurs sometimes thrive in a service economy where there are not products or in a durable economy where there is no waste. After all, who really wants to “own” carpet. I, for one, will be the first in line for an affordable service contract for a computer (famous for their obsolescence in less than three years).
Strategy # 7: Know your Credit Worthiness
Know your personal FICO credit score, typically between 300 and 850. This credit score determined by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) largely determines how much money your credit card company will extend as credit, the interest rate at which you can lock in your mortgage, what rate you receive for home and vehicle insurance and other variables that can increase or decrease your expenses.
The FICO score is based on statistical analysis of your credit history, kept by three very large corporations, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Make sure this score is calculated on accurate information by requesting a free credit report, based on the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, from these three companies through annualcreditreport.com. Call 877-322-8228 or mail a standardized form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Build good credit by never missing a mortgage or credit card payment and paying off your credit card balance every month.
Strategy # 8: Green Fitness through Efficiency, Eco-effectiveness and Frugality
“The greatest security is not in having the most, but in needing the least,” writes Charles Long in How to Survive Without a Salary. Efficiency, eco-effectiveness and frugality are like muscles needing constant training to be strong and fit. Creativity fosters green frugality. This muscle needs to be strong since it’s continually tested by outside forces, including mainstream media (Buy this!) and even members of your family who fail to recognize the significance of today’s pressing and interconnected issues.
Many Americans have succumbed to attention deficit disorder every time we complain about rising energy prices, broken families and poor health. There is, however, a growing sense of mindfulness or consciousness toward managing our businesses, matched by the growing awareness among “conserving customers” that no matter what they buy, they impact the world. Those businesses that pay attention to what’s happening around us are reaping financial and ecological benefits, while other businesses are forced to shutter their doors.
Many ecopreneurs, largely due to their human-scaled enterprises, are keen observers, innovative problem-solvers and holistic and systematic in their approach to operating their business.They’re also wise with their personal finances, giving them the freedom, flexibility and financial resources to make their dreams come true.
Of course, the best strategy of all is running your own green business and taking advantage of all the benefits of doing so, including possibly reducing your tax burden, regaining control over your life, and harnessing the power of free enterprise to transform the world into your positive vision of what it should be.
Financial aspects of business, while essential to master, are not the focus for most ecopreneurs, many of whom determine that lifestyle, ecological or social issues override the profit motive that dominates other businesses. Ironically, the marketplace is beginning to recognize green businesses that operate more efficiently, adapt more quickly to change, approach customers and vendors more cooperatively and fairly end up earning a greater return for both the environment and investment made.
What strategies have you adopted that have worked well to make your green business more effective, profitable or, perhaps, generated a greater ROE, Return on the Environment?