How to Start Becoming a "Green" CEO
The renewable energy market is a rapidly growing space as environmentally conscious consumerism and lower cost is driving increasing demand. For both individuals and organisations, attempting to “green” the way they do things creates the need for new systems, tools and methodologies, which in turn creates numerous business opportunities for the future.
Green is Growing
According to Deloitte Resources 2018 study, 53 percent of residential survey respondents, stated, “It is extremely or very important to them that part of their electricity supply comes from renewable sources,” and 48 percent of business respondents reported that “they are working to procure more electricity from renewable sources.”
That means, not only is there already a hot market for green energy solutions, but that it’s going to grow exponentially.
Allied Market Research valued the global renewables market at US$928 billion and, according to Market Research Future data, the renewable energy market is forecasted to see 8.9 percent CAGR from 2019 to 2023.
So, if you’re looking to get in on a piece of that pie, now is a great time to start.
How to Get Started
You can go about becoming a clean energy entrepreneur in several ways; you don’t have to build your own wind farm or manufacture solar panels. The process of generating and harnessing renewable energy has many steps and there are many ways aspiring entrepreneurs can get involved. There are tools and technologies for harvesting and generating green energy; there are storage solutions and distribution; and even support and business infrastructure needs like administration, sales, marketing, and transportation.
The best place to start is with your existing experience and skillsets. For instance, if you have a background in sales, you can apply your experience to creating a sales organisation devoted to selling solar energy. If you’re a technologist or programmer, you could develop a marketplace app for clean energy producers to transact. The options are endless.
From there, building a green business involves a lot of the same lessons that apply to any entrepreneur or CEO. Here are a few insights in this industry and others:
- Stay Focused on the Big Picture – Clean energy is not just a great business opportunity; it’s a vital piece of global conservation. It’s also an area where you may want to try to solve as many problems as possible. In this space you are constantly made aware of environmental challenges and it can be tempting to try to create solutions for everything. But it’s best to stay focused on a single issue or market demand, instead of trying to spread yourself too thin.
- Delegate – Delegating is a necessary skill for any business leader, though it can be challenging for some people to let go. As you’re building a business, you will want to have oversight into everything, but you’ll be a more effective and efficient leader if you hand over some of that control.
This is particularly true in the world of green business; it’s an emerging field that is trying to keep up with an exponentially worsening problem. There will always be things you don’t know that other people are experts in – from science to finance to technology. Understanding that you don’t have all the answers, and allowing the experts to inform your decisions, will keep your business competitive in an increasingly crowded field.
Not to mention, letting your team have some autonomy will help spur the kind of creativity and innovation the green industry needs. Allowing them the space to make mistakes and take risks leads to exciting new ideas, which will be good for your business and potentially the world.
- Stay Consistent – Green business is constantly shifting as a result of factors like climate science, regulatory changes and emerging technologies. So, while you must stay nimble enough to be responsive to these shifts, it’s also important to stay as consistent as possible when it comes to the operations of your business.
Establishing processes and protocols and sticking with them, and letting people set expectations for what you will be doing and what their deliverables are helps everyone feel confident and builds a foundation that allows for adaptability. The structure matters, to you and to your team.
- Persistence – Every industry shifts fast and experiences downturns, and the green business is no different. Persistence and never giving up, is an essential quality for a green CEO. The obstacles you’ll encounter in this space are significant, as there is constant pushback on new energy sources from many corners of the economy and government, and consumer support can be fickle. There will always be technological challenges and any kind of environmental conservation efforts can seem like a Sisyphean task. But, if you believe in what you do and why you do it, you must stay on course.
As a green CEO, your journey never really reaches an endpoint; you must constantly strive to do more because it doesn’t just matter to your business and your bottom line, but to everyone on the planet.