There are a lot of resources out there that characterize what makes a successful entrepreneur. We’ve surveyed many throughout the years and talked to well over a thousand green business owners. One of the most powerful lessons is to think like a natural system. Or like a fish. Whatever’s easiest to channel for you.

We’ve seen many examples showing that Biomimicry is a powerful learning tool. Success habit number 1 is a lesson from nature.


Success factor # 1 is to build systems.

The trout and the spider instinctively know that if they set themselves up with a system of obtaining food, they can maximize the efficiency of their capture.

Trout hang out in parts of a stream where the water doesn’t flow rapidly. As a result, their energy loss is minimal, and food comes to them. Same goes for spider webs.

Your business can set up systems in this way, like the one pictured above. In this case, the system is for communications operations. The schedule allows the entrepreneur to not waste their energy thinking about when they are supposed to be sending a newsletter, when they’re supposed to be tweeting, when they’re supposed to be posting an announcement on their LinkedIn page. It’s all there in one place, where a quick daily check tells the person exactly what they need to do.

Then…they can spend their time focusing on other, more important tasks that actually require their mental focus. Like eating. And not getting eaten.


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About The Author

Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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