Climate change: Can your small business turn trouble into opportunity?

hands-65342_640By Michelle van Schouwen

To be most successful, your small business must be opportunistic. It must also provide real value to its customers and stakeholders. At its best, your small business can be instrumental in making positive change.

The increasingly clear impacts of climate change, both present and future, may create important business opportunities for you.

For companies providing building services or products, many of these opportunities are already evident. Companies can create, sell or implement products and solutions to control or manage mold and mildew in areas with high temperatures and humidity, building exteriors and interiors designed to withstand severe weather, designs for resiliency and minimal disruption following serious storms, better ways to generate energy while reducing carbon footprint, systems to monitor both occupied and evacuated buildings and facilities in the worst conditions, and much more.

It’s not just about buildings, of course. Climate change impacts virtually every aspect of life. Hot-weather maladies and insects are coming to new regions, so protection and treatments are needed for Zika and other viruses. These can range from new repellents to apps to tell people where viruses are breaking out.

Allergy problems become more severe for some people as the changing climate can worsen symptoms. People need help preparing for serious storms and the resulting disruptions in many aspects of daily life. People will be seeking heating and cooling solutions that are more environmentally friendly, as well as affordable, and even local.

Companies will seek new ways to help customers conserve water as comfortably as possible. Inventive businesses will focus on new ways to “live local” and to create more sustainable regions and communities. The next generation should and will be educated about climate change and ways to slow it. And so much more.

Climate change has its doubters, but expect to see fewer of them each year as evidence and experience mount. If climate-change-value products serve important missions now, they will be attractive even to those who doubt that the climates of the world are inexorably shifting. Meantime, for companies that best seize the opportunities to improve lives and make a difference, the rewards will be significant. The time to start is now.

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Michelle van Schouwen is president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company based in Longmeadow, MA. The company is known for vSALaunch, its proprietary, modular and scalable system for B2B marketing launches, vSAConsult, its executive-level strategic planning capability, and for its expertise in integrated marketing for B2B. Many vSA clients already address climate change with innovative products and services, and vSA expects to launch many new products to help people and communities address our changing global climate.

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