10 Tips For Keeping Your Green Business Afloat in 2009

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Hillary Bromberg offers, at Sustainable Life Media, an article titled: Ten Insights for Sustainable Brands in an Uncertain Economy. Since her advice is pretty good, I was tempted to just pass it along.

But, then I thought I might add a few insights of my own.

A few of her recommendations struck me as really right on target, and seem worth expanding on as they speak to a need that every entrepreneurial company needs to consider sooner or later to continue to grow.

That is, what to do once the explosive growth generated by your hot idea starts to wane. This can be because others jump into the field and it starts to get crowded or because of a slowdown in the economy or because consumers experience fatigue as the hot idea seems to be just about everywhere. Of course, now we are experiencing all three!

As I’ve written about before, now is the time to get back to basic marketing principles. I speak from experience, incidentally.

Fifteen years ago I was working at a very hot start-up that grew into a fast growing mid sized company then imploded due to, primarily, entrepreneurial arrogance in the face of increased competition and a sour economy. Rather than step back and consider a new way of doing business, they continued with the same old marketing programs that worked for them to date – bad idea!

As companies grow and markets mature, new strategies are required. Any marketing student who ever learned about product lifecyles knows that. What’s tough is convincing upper level management, particularly entrepreneurs who consider a product their baby…who will always stay a baby, of that fact.

So, here are just a few tips from me, on keeping your sustainable business growing over the next few years.

1. Step back and re-evaluate your target market. With budgets tighter, your current consumer just might not be able to afford your product anymore.

2. Take a hard look at your competition. Who is selling similar products might now? Keep on top of their marketing efforts.

3. What products might consumers be buying now instead of your product? How can you lure them back?

4. Re-evaluate your positioning. Just being green may not be enough right now – consider quality and/or cost savings a possible positioning.

5. Be creative in your marketing programs- during a recession, well thought out promotions can keep consumers happy and loyal.

6. Find ways to connect with your consumers online. I am a big proponent of social media. I use my Twitter account to not only connect with clients but to provide them with valuable advice.

7. Start a blog on your site and accept opportunities to guest blog on other sites in your industry.

8. Look for every cost-saving opportunity to reduce your price.

9. Cut your packaging. Seriously consider ways to reduce packaging. This is both a cost savings and very green.

10. Spend money. No, I’m not suggesting you pour hard earned dollars into expensive marketing programs, but I do recommend spending the money needed to realign your business for these tougher times. Find and keep good employees or consultants that know what they are doing – that know how to develop marketing programs for tough times, rationalize your line and cut where needed. Spend money on market research and far reaching programs that keep your name out there with consumers (see social media comment above.)

The worst thing you can do right now is…keep doing what you’ve been doing. Green businesses that realize that it’s a new day will survive to see the next one.

Photo Credit: Gracewong at Flickr Under Creative Commons License