Considering small business sustainability as a core value for your company? Here are eight strategic steps every entrepreneur can easily manage and be successful into the future…
Eight Strategic Steps To Small Business Sustainability That Every Entrepreneur Can Easily Manage
If you run a small business, chances are you’ve at least pondered sustainability. As more and more consumers and executive alike are becoming environmentally aware, it makes sense for entrepreneurs to be concerned with their small business sustainability as well.
There are some hurdles for small businesses to get over if they want to become sustainable. In the long run, it is likely that green efforts and a focus on the environment will help overall profitability and community image.
If you are considering implementing more sustainable business practices going forward, the tips outlined below on how to achieve small business sustainability are listed especially for you.
Try To Go Paperless – At Least Partially
We know that there are still plenty of industries that require the use of hard paperwork, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t at least reduce your paper output. Encourage employees not to print out emails or documents that can be shared electronically. Most important messages can be sent online, and you don’t need to scatter post-it notes all over the office in order to be reminded of something.
Instead of keeping ledgers and physical records of your orders and warehouse transactions, use an online inventory program. Save the printing for legal documents that require being printed. Other than that, try to minimize the amount of paper that your team must use.
Not only is this better for the environment, it often leads to more efficiency and less clutter in the office. You’ll notice that you save time when you share documents electronically rather than through traditional methods. Co-workers can more easily edit and collaborate on paperless documents, and you’ll get the added bonus of not having to struggle to read sloppy handwriting!
Create A Long-Term Small Business Sustainability Plan
When it comes to sustainability programs for businesses, you can’t just aim for a year or two of environmental impact. You must consider the effect that you can have over the next 10, 20, or even 50 years. Similar to how you need to have long-term plans for business expansion, you should do the same for sustainability.
Evaluate how you are currently contributing to the environment around you and come up with ideas of how that can change years down the line. create models that show small business sustainability initiatives that will have positive effects on pollution and emissions in the coming years and decades.
When you look at these long-term effects, you may be able to tie them in with the profitability of your business. Reducing emissions and having fewer disposable items may improve your bottom line, even if it takes a few years to get there. When employees and consumers can see a tangible, influential impact that your business makes on the world, you stand to gain as you plan for a sustainable business.
Ask For Advice
It is not easy to create a sustainable business, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of people willing to help. Reach out to your mentors and even other companies within your industry to see what they are doing to improve their standing in the world. There is no shame in admitting that you don’t have all the answers, and you’ll be doing the environment a favor when you ask for help in improving the atmosphere around you.
Asking for advice may even open your eyes to things that you might have been doing wrong. Sometimes certain green initiatives actually end up being more wasteful than their previous programs, and experts can help you to recognize this in your plan. Seek advice from environmental experts and even volunteers who may have some important knowledge to impart on you.
Make It A Team Effort
In order to most effectively carry out your sustainable initiatives, you will want to involve your entire team. If even a few people are lacking enthusiasm for sustainability, it will be difficult to effectively carry out your plans.
It is important your entire team understands your commitment and importance of small business sustainability as part of your company’s values. Encourage all to follow along with the process. This should be done in a way that is optimistic, friendly, yet non-coercive.
Solicit input from your team members and let them know that you value their opinions. They may be the most important part of creating a friendly, sustainable business operation over the next few years.
It will be helpful for you to show you are willing to let them take the reins on certain issues, and that everyone is equally valuable when it comes to reaching company goals. Your team is vital for the success of your business within your industry, and they are just as important in meeting your internal goals and milestones.
Develop Strategic Partnerships
As we mentioned, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to other companies within your industry for collaboration. Much like how countries have developed treaties to help the environment, you can work with other businesses to devise long-term plans for collective sustainability.
Find other business leaders, executives, and even community organizations that are committed to green business practices. Your partners may have sustainable small business practices examples already in place that your company could adopt. Together harbor strong, working relationships that are dedicated to protecting the environment.
Just because a brand is a competitor doesn’t mean you can’t work together on certain issues. You may be in the business to make money, but our planet’s health is essential for all existence. When organizations collaborate to see the bigger picture, ultimately all will be in a better position to be more successful.
Focus On Education
Every year, we learn more about environmental protections and threats that we need to take seriously. Don’t just make a commitment to small business sustainability. Dedicate yourself to staying ahead of the curve when it comes to information and education on environmental issues.
Subscribe to publications that offer the latest scientific data and that give legitimate answers to a variety of problems. Keep your employees aware of the issues that consistently affect your company. Make teaching your employees about sustainability a priority with re-training courses to keep them updated.
As technology and our access to information continues to improve, many things are subject to change. We may discover certain initiatives weren’t once as effective as we once thought they were, requiring us to alter our plans and change our minds on certain subjects.
Don’t be stubborn when it comes to sustainability – It’s not worth being left behind. Instead, make sure that your company is open to and even embracing of change and new ideas.
Going forward, it may be difficult to find out we weren’t always correct. But this growth is paramount to our ability to learn and adapt. Remember that it is better to find out you were wrong earlier rather than later, and that the sooner you accept change, the sooner you will be on your way to small business sustainability.
One of the hardest things about creating a small business sustainability plan is staying committed to the cause. It can be easy to get caught up with profits and industry reports, allowing your long-term plan to slide.
Remember that sustainability will be a major advantage in the long run, and that you must not lose your vision for the future. Yes, you still have to keep your focus on business and profits, but you don’t necessarily have to give up on your sustainability goals to do so.
Conclusions On Small Business Sustainability
In the end, you will be more profitable, more respected, and overall more successful if you maintain a strong sustainability program. Your employees will feel like they are part of something more important than just another business in the marketplace.
There is something to be said for making the world a better place, and the companies that focus on that are bound to succeed in the long run. Stay committed to your goals and collaborate where you can so your sustainable small business is successful into the future.