Thinking about opening an energy and environment business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
The Energy & Environment Consulting Industry
Energy and environmental consulting has grown from a fledgling niche a few decades ago to a major industry, due in a large part to greater public awareness, regulatory compliance issues and the need for cleaner, more efficient energy solutions.
On the whole, energy and environmental consulting firms cover a vast range of sub-fields and specializations. Emissions management, waste management, waste to energy, green tech implementations and other specialties populate the industry.
As an energy and environmental consulting entrepreneur, you'll need to identify a specialization that fits with your skills and resources. Keep in mind that you will be expected to provide a full spectrum of services (assessment, planning, auditing, compliance monitoring, etc.) for whatever specialization(s) you choose.
If you're unsure how your skills fit into today's consulting marketplace, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the industry through the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) and other trade organization.
Key Ingredients for an Energy & Environment Consulting Launch
No two energy and environmental consulting firms are exactly alike. Yet the best energy and environment startups tend to share a handful of common characteristics or key ingredients for success.
- Industry-Specific Expertise. There is simply no substitute for industry-specific expertise in energy and environmental consulting. Unlike other types of small business startups, it's extremely difficult for someone outside the field to launch a successful energy/environmental consulting firm. If you lack personal expertise in one of your firm's specialties, you'll need to include the hiring of top professionals in your startup budget.
- Robust Sales Strategies. Profitable energy and environmental consulting firms develop aggressive sales strategies designed to land big clients right out of the gate. If you startup is equipped with the personnel you need to compete, you can leverage a combination of expertise, pricing and other variables to capture clients from entrenched industry competitors.
- Focused Leadership. In the energy and environmental consulting field, skilled consultants often transition to consulting firm startup owners. But making the leap from a consultant to a business owner isn't as easy as it sounds. To be effective in your new role, you'll need to provide focused leadership to your business, including the incorporation of strategic management functions into your day-to-day activities.
How to Create a Winning Energy & Environment Company Business Plan
If you've done your homework, you already know that writing a business plan is the most critical thing you can do for your company.
Although it might seem like an unnecessary formality, your energy and environment company's business plan is a document that will shape your goals and strategies on a go-forward basis.
Furthermore, a good business plan will help you avoid key startup mistakes. Lacking a solid business plan, many startups find themselves rudderless and incapable of executing consistent decision making processes, while committed business planners rely on their plans to guide all of their decision making and short-term planning efforts.
Check Out Competitors
Prior to launching an energy and environment business within your community, it's essential to see how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Use the link below to find competitors in your area. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of energy and environment businesses that are close by.
Is the established competition doing a good job? It's important to understand their strengths and weaknesses and think through how you'll stake up against those established businesses.
Learn from Others Who Are Already In This Space
If you are seriously contemplating launching an energy and environment business, the next step is to learn from folks who are already in business. It's very unlikely that the local competition will talk to you. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
Thankfully, an owner of a an energy and environment business in another town can be a great learning resource for you, as long as they don't view you as a competitive threat. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
Where can you find an energy and environment business entrepreneur in another city who you can speak with?
We can help. Follow the link below, try a few city/state combos or zipcodes, and then start calling!
Acquisitions vs. Startups
Unfortunately, many inexperienced energy and environment business entrepreneurs approach ownership with the mistaken idea that a startup is their only option when they could also pursue a business acquisition.
Unless you have compelling reasons to launch a new business, buying an existing energy and environment business may be the better choice.
An acquired energy and environment business is a known quantity; a startup is less certain because its forecasts depend on estimated outcomes. If you're diligent about finding the right acquisition prospect, you may be able to leverage a business buying strategy to rapidly propel yourself into a position of industry leadership.
The odds of achieving your primary goal of doing well in business immediately improve if you purchase a franchise in lieu of doing everything yourself.
Before opening an energy and environment business, you should assess whether buying a franchise could help you avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you currently own an energy and environment business, try these useful resources:
If you came here to learn about selling to energy and environment businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.