4 building blocks of nature-inspired business success

Mar 11, 2021 | Sustainable business, What you can do today


4 building blocks of a nature-inspired, successful business

In nature-inspired entrepreneurship we draw an analogy between nature and a human organisation. More importantly, we learn valuable lessons from it. In this article we will elaborate on 4 building blocks of nature-inspired business success. These are based on the ‘Business lessons of nature’ article series. Here we elaborate on how to use them for your business. 


1. Efficiency

To determine your business efficiency is essential for building a successful business. Efficiency is all about how much energy is put in, how much value is created, and how much waste is reduced. Besides creating more environmental and social value, higher efficiency also adds to a business’ economic value. This can be achieved by mapping environmental impacts through a carbon footprint analysis, life cycle assessment (LCA) or by simply writing out where which inputs and outputs take place. The goal is to identify processes where inputs (e.g. energy) can be minimised or waste (e.g. garbage or emissions) can be reduced. Identifying where efficient improvements can be made will give you the ability to develop into a more environment-friendly and more profitable business.


2. Diversity

Diversity is a factor you want to pursue when building a successful business. Regarding diversity in the workplace, collaborating with people from different backgrounds is not always the most convenient. Within a diverse group, perspectives get challenged, people may have to explain themselves more, others will have to learn new things. However, this is exactly what sparks creativity and enables effective problem-solving. Besides, people with different backgrounds and personalities are suited for different roles. By bringing together people that complement each other, you will create a successfully functioning organisation.

Fortunately, there is a way to make working with diverse people easier while maintaining the benefits that come with it. Identifying the different personality types within a team has proven to benefit leadership, communication, productivity and team building within the workplace. Recognising the different personalities within a team can also help to recruit appropriate new team members in the future.


3. Resilience

Every business has to go through setbacks in order to grow. Successful businesses use each of these setbacks to increase their resilience for the future. Resilience means being prepared for the unexpected and having the ability to recover and learn from altered circumstances. Resilient businesses have the ability to quickly adapt to disruptions and maintain continuous business operations while learning for the future.

Unexpected circumstances or failures are unavoidable in the business world. Therefore, it is not about what goes wrong, but about how you learn from it. Small setbacks can open your eyes to ways to be prepared for potential bigger setbacks in the future.

Increased resilience can be achieved by elaborately – but positively – reflecting on things that did not go well. Do not highlight what went wrong, but focus on what can be done better in the future. Do this while not blaming anyone or anything. Try to create a culture in which a mistake is not seen as something bad, but as something that is inherent to growth.


4. Sustainability

Sustainability is an important business objective for any business that aims to be successful in today’s world. Increasing regulations and changing consumer demands are forcing businesses to operate in a more sustainable way. By staying ahead of these trends, you can use sustainability as a competitive advantage against competitors that stay behind. But more importantly, you can make a contribution to building a sustainable world together in which the needs of the present are met without compromising the needs of future generations.

You can pursue sustainability by finding a balance between the three principles: environmental value, social value and economic value. Read our other article on what a sustainable business is or our article on how to use sustainability as a competitive advantage.



The Green Startup Canvas Printable (free download)


Read ‘The 4 building blocks of a green, nature-inspired, succesful business’ for more info on the 4 canvas parts. In this article you will find why these factors are essential and how to pursue them. The canvas adds to this by providing you with concrete actions you can take today.

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