Leah Edwards

A strategy and marketing consultant, Leah enjoys highlighting the efforts of, and providing information for, social entrepreneurs. In her consulting practice, she works with cause-related businesses and enlightened investors--to see people succeed at doing good for the planet and local communities while doing good for themselves.

Think of Your Exit, When You Start Your Green Business

Many entrepreneurs are starting green businesses now, but a number got their start a few years ago and are already thinking about moving on. Willem Maas started GreenHomeGuide.com back in 2004 and sold it this summer to the U.S. Green Building Council, developers of the LEED rating system.  I asked Willem to share his experience with Ecopreneurist readers, and the following is my interview with him. Leah: How did you think about your ultimate exit when you were starting GreenHomeGuide?…

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Vote for the Forbes.com “Boost Your Business” Winner

It’s time to vote for the Forbes.com “Boost Your Business” contest winner. One for recently formed small company (several of which are green startups) will win $100,000 and lots of great PR.  Five finalists have been whittled down from over 1,500 applicants, and it is time to pick the winner. It is a chance to test your business analysis skills. Which company do you think can generate the greatest return on that $100,000 investment?  At Forbes.com, you can read the finalists’…

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Marketplace Radio Show Wants to Hear from Green Businesses

Marketplace Radio wants to hear from green business owners about how they are doing in the down economy.  Looking at their Web survey form, it seems that they are looking for companies to feature in stories as much as they are in taking the pulse of green business at the moment. Perhaps it is an opportunity to get some publicity for your business. Regardless of whether you are able to get any free PR, by participating, you will also be…

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Can a Green Business Manufacture in China?

Ecopreneurist recently received a question from a reader about whether manufacturing an eco-friendly product in China is a good idea.  We thought his question would make a good topic for discussion and encourage other Ecopreneurist readers to give Chris your advice too by commenting below. Chris wrote, “I have designed some great eco-friendly items […that…] are not eco- or green-washed, but [are] designed from the start to be green and are made with fully sustainable and recycled materials… The problem…

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The Human Resources Advantage in Green Businesses

Last week I blogged about avoiding trouble with human resource issues, and this week I’m taking a more upbeat note. As a green business, you’ve got a hiring and motivational advantage, and you should retain those dedicated employees with as many benefits as you can without breaking the bank. Alignment around the Environmental Mission One of the most important operational issues in any business is alignment around a common goal. In some organizations the mission and the highest priorities are…

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Green Businesses, Mind Your Human Resources

As a consultant to a number of start up companies and as a friend to many more talented, educated, otherwise stellar founders of companies, I have observed a significantly high number of missteps around human resource issues. Whether the result is a costly lawsuit or just hurt feelings, HR mistakes are easy to make and enormously costly, if only due to hundreds of hours of lost productivity. I bring this up to Ecopreneurist readers because I feel it is particularly…

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Relevance: Green Businesses, Just Be Real (Book Review)

Book Review– At the beginning of “Relevance: Making Stuff That Matters,” Tim Manners states that “an epidemic of irrelevance has brought once-powerful brands to their knees”. Perhaps, I am a bit younger than Manners, but I do not see what he calls an “epidemic” being anything more than business as usual, but perhaps I just lack perspective. Some businesses have always been better than others, and once-good companies often lose their way. However, despite Manners’ [Armageddon-sounding] lead-in, I liked this…

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Social Media and Customer Service for Green Businesses

Last week I had the chance to hear Pete Blackshaw talk about his book “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends. Angry Customers Tell 3,000”. His message is particularly important for eco-entrepreneurs, so I’m summarizing some of his talk for you green business entrepreneurs. Green businesses are particularly well-suited for consumer advocacy. Customers who shop from your company due to a shared concern for the environment and/or a desire to avoid toxins are likely to tell their friends about the benefits of…

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More on Creative Financing for Green Businesses

I noticed that an old post (from January) has been getting a lot of views, so I thought I should revisit the topic of self-funding your green start up. One way to fund your business without raising money is to find alternate (possibly just, interim) revenue streams other than your primary desired business model. For example, if you want to be a green retailer, you might start out as a match-maker/dealer, connecting buyers and sellers for a fee or markup…

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