What does “evergreen” mean when it comes to business? The term comes from nature, from trees and plants that don’t change color in the fall. For young entrepreneurs, an evergreen business will stay relevant over a long period of time.
Think of it like this: back in the early 2000s, the Nintendo DS became a best-seller. But where is it now? On the other hand, toys like Slinkys and LEGOs are evergreen because they are always popular.
WHAT DO PEOPLE ALWAYS NEED?
To create an evergreen business, ask yourself what services or things people always need no matter the time of year, cultural trends, or global crises. Food. Shelter. Clean air and water. Safety. Communication.
What do people always want? Health. Happiness. Dignity. Respect. Child care.
Start there and see if you can come up with a business idea that directly addresses one of those needs.
EVERGREEN PRODUCTS SELL THEMSELVES
When you sell something that everyone needs, you barely have to convince anyone to buy it. Clean water, for example, is a universal need. This is why the bottled water industry is estimated to make over $300 billion by 2023. Can people drink tap water? Sure. Is that always safe or delicious? No. Thus: bottled water. The marketing for water comes from different brands trying to convince consumers that theirs is the best bottled water.
Young entrepreneurs looking to start an evergreen business need to market themselves as the unique and best option to fulfill a universal need.
EVERGREEN BUSINESS IDEAS FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
Everyone needs to eat. Everyone. Do you have a talent for making delicious treats? Are you an expert at putting together vegan meals? Whatever your specialty, you can market it to customers. Deliver fully cooked, ready-to-eat healthful meals to your neighbors. Sell gluten-free cupcakes at a farmer’s market. Let everyone know that the food you’re selling isn’t just delicious, but caters to their needs, such as gluten-free, vegan, non-dairy, or peanut-free.
–>Example: Annie’s sells a lot of the same products as other major companies, like Kraft and Nabisco. However, their hook is to sell healthier, organic versions of other processed food.
We’re willing to bet you know some kids. Cousins, neighbors, the younger siblings of your friends. And they all need a responsible young entrepreneur to watch them from time to time. Whether it’s after school help, date nights for parents, or an extra hand around the house on the weekends, at some point or other someone you know will have a little kid and will need help.
–>Example: Care.com has made a name for themselves by offering parents a quick and simple way to find a vetted, qualified babysitter that’s a good fit for their family’s needs.
Everyone needs to wear clothes. Even pets sometimes need clothes. (Up north, dogs need coats and/or booties to go outside in the winter.) Providing easy to care for, fashionable, and well-made clothes is an evergreen need. Young entrepreneurs who can’t sew can easily upcycle donated clothing in good condition.
>Example: The company Dress for Success not only upcycles suits in good condition, but they do so specifically for women who might not otherwise be able to dress appropriately for job interviews.
Just like everyone needs to eat, everyone needs clean water, too. Yet bottled water and water filtration systems can be expensive. You can be the young entrepreneur who helps disadvantaged communities access clean, fresh water in two ways: you can collect bottled water donations and deliver them to those in need, or you can create and sell (for super cheap) DIY water filters.
Good health is important to nearly everyone on the planet. We all want to avoid illness and live a long time. The problem is that unhealthy habits are cheap and easy.
Smart young entrepreneurs can offer an affordable solution to this problem. Grow organic produce to sell. Make your own herbal teas. Create an app for kids that makes a game out of eating vegetables or brushing their teeth. Host a meditation podcast.
>Example: With all the different tea brands out there, Yogi specializes in organic, medicinal teas for every mood or health need.
It’s kind of a joke by now that Baby Boomers are not great at using technology like Zoom, FaceTime, or even plain cell phones. This can lead to isolation, loneliness, even alienation from their own families.
Since Gen-Z is pioneering the new wave of social entrepreneurship, this is a fantastic opportunity for you. You can offer your services to help senior citizens learn how to use basic technology, from making calls on a smartphone to digitizing old photos.
>Example: The folks at GrandPad saw a real need to keep older Americans connected and able to use modern technology.
Here in America, it is our Constitutional right to pursue happiness. But for families who struggle to put food on the table, things such as toys and books for kids can feel frivolous. Toys and books should never be “frivolous” for any child.
As kids grow out of toys, young entrepreneurs can offer to pick them up and donate them to children in need. Or to children’s hospitals. Or women’s shelters. There are plenty of places that help kids be kids simply by giving them toys and books.
>Example: The Pickup Please program, run by the Vietnam Veterans of America, makes it super easy for families to donate gently used items in good condition.
From these examples, you may notice that evergreen business ideas also tend to fall into the category of social entrepreneurship. Starting an evergreen business yourself means you’ll not only be taking that important first step on your entrepreneurial journey, but doing a world of good.
Young entrepreneurs who attend high school in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we offer and how to apply.