Seek Out Solid Business Processes
Although it’s easy to get enthusiastic about the green side of the opportunity, it is always important to evaluate a potential business opportunity based on its core processes. Take the time to talk to the owner about the built-in processes that the corporation has established. Your customers will be attracted by the idea of working with an efficient, green company, but without the proper processes in place, sustainability is difficult.
Match the Lifestyle to Your Goals
Green energy franchises come in many flavors, ranging from restaurants and retail operations, to auditing and consulting businesses. When evaluating any of these business opportunities, be sure that the business matches your long-term lifestyle goals. As with any career move (especially in the entrepreneurial space), the up-front demands on your time are going to be severe. If fast-paced and long-hours are your cup of tea, the traditional models are a great fit. If you’re the type of person that likes to have complete control of your time, work from anywhere, and vacation when you want to, take the time to evaluate a consulting or audition model.
Whether you’re opening a retail outlet or providing consulting services, be confident that you’re inspired by the product offering. Many green energy auditing services offer returns for their customers that extend into the thousands or millions of dollars. If the thought of helping a business become more green, and save money to grow and expand their operations excites you, you’re probably onto something!
Ask About Training
Many of the entrepreneurs that we see starting new green businesses are undergoing a career change. Having the proper support system is essential in these situations, because you need to get up and running quickly (after all, you’ve made the investment, it’s time to chase the ROI!). Ensure there is a structured start-up and ongoing training system in place where you can learn the industry. Many green franchises and business opportunity offer online web-based training. These system work great because you can learn at your own pace, and also ask questions when necessary (in interactive webinars).
Evaluate Ongoing Sales & Marketing Support
In addition to training, two key areas to look at are sales and marketing support. Be sure that you’ll have access to sales and marketing materials up-front, and that there is a program in place to offer ongoing support (lead generation, sales-closing-assistance, etc). These will be especially important to you when you’re just getting started, and are learning how interactions with potential clients go.
Carefully considering the points that I’ve listed here will pay off in the long run. Be sure that you have an open-forum with the owner of the business model, and that your questions are answered thoroughly while you’re in the investigation phases. With the market growing more and more every day, this is the perfect time to get involved in a green franchise. Go do your homework and start having the necessary conversations to evaluate your next business!