11.16.2007

SELLING SOLUTIONS, NOT PRODUCTS

A great, great insight in this month's Fast Company about how "sustainability" can be a killer business strategy and not just for the tree-huggers: Hire This Guy. When you consider your business to be selling products, your goal is to sell as much stuff as possible, and you simply don't need to care about the environmental implications associated with all that stuff - how much power they require, whether the materials get reused or recycled, and what not. Now, you might decide to care, out of the kindness of your heart; but there's nothing to be gained from a business standpoint.

But if you consider instead that your business is about selling solutions, then the environmental bottom line begins to line up more closely with the financial one. For now you want energy-efficient, resource-constrained products, because your profit grows when you can widen the gap between doing good for your customer and spending as little as possible on your side to deliver it. Would that more articles like this were written and then read, so that buzzwords like "sustainability" and "triple bottom line" could go from being solely the province of tree-huggers to becoming a trendy brand differentiator and then again to becoming a wickedly effective business innovation that saves the world and makes a killing.
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