The Eco-Business Spotlight is Nadi Marketing’s monthly series highlighting businesses that are leading the way with sustainable practices and making a lasting impact.

Today we are introducing you to Swell Advisors, who we found on Instagram! Co-founders Sandra Merrill & Chris Zimmermann are professional bookkeepers with a passion for social impact organizations, B Corps, nonprofits, and brands that champion the environment. Swell Advisors is also a 1% For The Planet member, which means they contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes. We are lucky to have Sandra share their story with us, and provide tips on how to set up a new eco-business for financial success.

What is your business?

Swell Advisors is a boutique bookkeeping & financial services company that specializes in small businesses that champion the environment.  We started Swell Advisors because we want to support the growing sector of eco businesses & help purpose-driven entrepreneurs succeed.  The reality is that many small businesses fail because they don’t have a good understanding of their finances, cashflow, & how to grow sustainably.  We want to change this and make sure that environmentally focused businesses flourish.

Co-founders of Swell Advisors, Sandra Merrill & Chris Zimmermann

What inspired you to start an eco-business?

My partner Chris and I have a deep love for nature.  We’re surfers and skiers and believe that more people need to be working towards environmental solutions to combat global warming, the issue of garbage & plastic pollution, and generally speaking the current short-sighted approach to consumption.  We’re committed to living in alignment with nature and want to contribute & advocate for the shifts we know are crucial to a healthy future for the planet.

In 2017, after running businesses for a decade in NY, my partner Chris and I shifted gears to spend 1.5 years abroad.  During this time, we focused on working with entrepreneurs internationally who were running eco-focused ventures.  This period was such a positive experience and opened our eyes to the challenges of operating from a triple bottom line perspective.  When we started Swell Advisors, we knew we wanted to empower more people to use their businesses for good.

Co-founders of Well Advisor, Sandra Merrill sitting with a laptop

Any advice to those looking to start their own eco-business?

Since we work in the financial realm, we’ll make this advice about how to set-up a new eco-business for financial success.

1. Protect your personal assets by registering your business as a separate entity.

A big component of making sure your business serves you is ensuring that you’re personally protected should something unexpected happen in your business.  There are a number of different business structures (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp), but for now, it’s most important that you know you want to create a separate entity for your business so you have protection.

2. You need a separate checking and savings account for your business.

Make it easy to run your numbers, by keeping personal & business separate.  You will thank yourself for doing this come tax time too!

3. Sign up for accounting software & regularly look at your business finances.

We recommend accounting software for all of our clients and promise you’ll save time through automation and money by making the most of tax deductions, if you go this route.  Our favorite software is Quickbooks Online because it’s cloud-based, scalable, and user-friendly.

4. Set-up virtual systems to cut down on paper & filing.

Keep your receipts virtually and be proactive to set-up cloud-based systems to keep your paper use down!

Swell Advisors logo

Contact the Swell Advisors

If you are an eco-business and would like to be featured, please fill out our Eco-Business Spotlight Form or contact us