A recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that green (renewable) energy sources will account for some 60% of growth in the energy sector and attain to a market share of over $5 trillion by 2030. And in 2014, global investment in green energy jumped by 17%, much of the growth fueled by hydro power, but solar and wind contributing substantially as well.
While all of this "green activity" is great for the environment, for eco-conscious consumers, and for owners of green businesses, it is also a boom from a business brokerage perspective. Why? Because the business brokerage industry thrives whenever large numbers of businesses are being created and sold to new owners — that happens with the highest frequency whenever an industry is surging and expanding (like the green industry is now).
About the Modern-day Green Industry
In order to broker green businesses, you have to have a clear understanding of how the green industry is built. This will aid you in giving sound advice to business owners and in properly valuating the businesses you help buy/sell.
First, reducing environmental impact is not enough to make a green business succeed. It's true that achieving "green" status will tap into a customer base very concerned about environmental issues, but green businesses still need something more to offer. That something might be greater efficiency diversification of energy sources, or reuse/recycling of an otherwise wasted product.
Some specific approaches within the green industry that are showing the most promise today include:
- Sustainable energy: This is the most lucrative of all green industries, and it includes both tapping into "free" sources like wind and solar, and manufacturing new energy products like bio-fuels. By providing a non-depleting energy source, these businesses offer energy-users long-term stability.
- "Cradle to cradle" design: This approach can be undertaken by almost any business-type, as it involves simply designing products in a way that makes them reusable and/or recyclable. It ends the "cradle to grave cycle" that makes our landfills overflow.
- "Green chemistry:" This refers to the improvement of manufacturing techniques involving chemical additives/reactions. The goal is to eliminate/reduce hazardous byproducts that could be as dangerous to people as to the environment.
How to Become a Business Broker
While training at an independent business broker school and then attempting a from-scratch start-up business is possible, the fact is that far more start-ups fail than do franchises.
Investing in a business brokerage franchise that deals in green industry businesses gives you the advantage of a well known brand name that many potential clients already trust. It also provides you with the training and support network you need to excel in a competitive field. Help with financing and streamlined systems for opening new locations also help to make franchises a "turnkey investment" with relatively quick start-up time.
Steps to opening a green business brokerage franchise include:
- Carefully selecting a franchise with which you share a basic vision and with whom you feel comfortable working long-term.
- Seeing if you meet the franchise's basic qualifications and then submitting your application.
- Meeting with franchise representatives or conducting phone/online interviews to gain final approval.
- Doing due diligence on the franchise contract and FDD (franchise disclosure document) before formally signing on.
- Go through the franchise's business brokerage training program and learn from existing franchisees as first-hand.
- Securing the financing, selecting the site, and organizing for your grand opening day.
It helps if you have a business background so you can better understand the mindset of clients, and any experience in accounting/financing is also beneficial. However, if you have proven managerial skills, access to sufficient capital, and a willingness to persevere through the training, most franchises will accept you.
Opportunity in the Green Industry
The green industry is a great opportunity for business brokers, and getting into the business brokerage space is most easily accomplished by taking out a franchise highly respected in the industry and that provides you with adequate support.