Going circular — so what advice would you give?

As the circular economy grows in momentum, or certainly the volume of content written about it does, I’m calling for those of you impatient for change like I am to share your thoughts on what advice you would give a circular start-up business.

I follow new business developments, read articles, attend events and look for progress towards a circular economy with great optimism. I am an advocate of the changes needed in how we deliver our goods and services to move to a more circular approach. As a result of my work in this area I have been interviewed by students, industry bodies and more recently by corporate funding initiatives trying to assess the potential financial requirements of those seeking to start, grow or convert to a circular business model. 
At the end of a recent interview, I continued to reflect on a final question long after the interview was complete. “What advice would you give someone setting up a new circular economy business?” It is certainly an open ended question and I suspect the answer each person interviewed came up with depended on their paradigm, as mine did coming from a marketing perspective.

I share this out of frustration and impatience for change.

Whilst I believe strongly in the environmental and social case for circular models, businesses have to primarily meet client needs if they are to also pass the test of time and deliver the benefits they set out to make. Hence my answer to this question was: “remember that you are just a business and as such the basic business requirements when bringing a service or product to market still apply”. Being circular in itself is not enough especially if scale is required to deliver profitability and the desired change.

I get frustrated when I meet a well-meaning entrepreneur that can’t really answer “why would someone buy from you and not X” or when I read about a new service that sounds like it has been designed for the ease of the person delivering it not the person buying it.

I want to help accelerate the change and think I have a great network of contacts with a wide range of skills and experience that can help drive this. I am going to spend some time putting together a much fuller response to the question “what advice would you give to a circular start up business?” I am hoping that some of you will join me and share the advice you would give. In the spirit of the sharing economy we can then help guide future circular entrepreneurs to build a better business.

So I am calling on all of my contacts here and now, especially those like me impatient for change, if you would like to contribute to a more detailed piece of advice that we can share then please get in touch. Hopefully if we all learn from each other we can help the circular momentum lead into more actual viable business outcomes. ann@honeymaker.co.uk

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