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Starting a Green Business

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The explosion of organic and eco-friendly products on retail store shelves is more than just a passing fad. It's big business. This means big opportunities for environmentally minded entrepreneurs.

According to the The Organic Trade Association's Manufacturer Survey, the organic industry grew by 21% to reach $17.7 billion in consumer sales in 2006. Over the last decade organic sales have increase by an average of 20%, and this rate is expected to remain steady over the next 20 years.

Successful green businesses not only benefit the environment, but also use green business practices as means to market their products. If you are thinking of starting a green business, consider the following tips:

Find Your Niche. As the natural, organic lifestyle continues to catch on with consumers, there are many growth possibilities. Products such as food, cosmetics and cleaning supplies are growing areas within the organic trade, however, to be successful, you should look for opportunities that match your interests.

Get Certified. To differentiate your product or service as environmentally sound, consider obtaining certification from an independent, third-party. Being certified means that you can include their "ecolabel" on your product's label and other marketing materials. Ecolabeling is important for attracting "green" customers.

Practice What You Preach. The most successful green businesses don't just sell the green lifestyle. They live it. Selling green means being green, and this helps build your brand and image as a socially responsible.

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