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The idea of making your business more “green” may seem rather intimidating and to some unnecessary. However, making the move toward a more sustainable business culture does more than merely reduce your company’s carbon footprint – it can actually help your business grow. That being said, making any sort of move towards sustainability is better than not making any, after all, what do you have to lose?
Small steps that you can take toward making your business more “green” are easy on the environment and on the company budget, as most sustainability shifts will ultimately save you money. For this reason, though it might be hard to see how utilising the sustainability factor in your business benefits the planet, it might not be so difficult to see how it could affect your businesses bottom line.
Below are seven things that you can do to utilise the sustainability factor in your business structure in order to help your business grow.
Go Digital with Your Documents
Taking your documents to a digital level will benefit your business in more ways than just one. First off, there are the obvious savings on paper and printer ink. Second, digitally sending and receiving documents means that you get a faster turnaround time on contractual agreements by using electronic signatures. There are many programs that you can use to allow your clients to electronically sign documents such as:
- Adobe Acrobat Professional
Not only that, but going digital with your documents saves you time. And you know what they say about time: “time is money.”
Energy Saving Appliances
Using energy saving appliances throughout your office will prove to save you hundreds on utility costs. Not only that, but they use less energy and we are trying to be greener here, right? Though new LED and CFL bulbs have a higher price tag than standard on the forefront, they use much less energy and they will last much longer. Over time, it is said that a CFL or LED bulb will save the user US$200 over the life of the bulb – that is per bulb! So think of how much you could save overtime to put into more important funding, say for marketing for instance.
Replacing old and outdated with new Energy Star appliances will save both energy and money. That is, saving you money on your utility bill as well as with a tax deduction come April.
Cloud-Based Phone Systems
Using cloud phone systems specially designed for businesses is an excellent way to save your company money. Replacing long-wired communication devices with this modern alternative will ultimately save your company loads of money. These cloud-based phone systems with video conferencing capabilities will allow you to keep your distant staff motivated and updated on business changes. Travel expenses will be significantly reduced, as well as utility costs, and likely employee turnover costs as you are able to communicate with all staff at any given time.
Build Your Office Green from the Bottom Up
Going green from the floor up is a great way to utilise the sustainability factor in your office, on all levels. Think flooring, curtains, desks, chairs, and even curtain rods made from renewable resources (i.e. bamboo). Use materials on your flooring, furniture and even curtains that are made sustainably. These products will often cost less out of pocket than alternatives, once again saving you money that can be used to make more.
When looking for useful furniture or other items (shelves, file cabinets, etc.) take a look at www.freecycle.org. This website will put a whole new meaning to the phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” because indeed it is! Save money and feel good knowing that you are “recycling.” You could consider having an office “barter party” to encourage the “recycling” of items that are still of perfectly good use. If you find yourself in a place to redecorate donate your old items or list them on Freecycle too and help out another fellow business owner.
Of course, institute the standard recycling of bottles, cans, paper and such within your office, but also take the time to encourage electronic recycling. Recycling old electronics by donating them to needy charities will offer you yet another tax deduction that will not only save you money, but also give your company something to be proud of. And let’s face it, consumers are naturally more drawn to companies that care about their community and the environment. Just saying.
Strategically place dustbins throughout the office where they will be put to good use. For instance, in the breakroom, where mail might be opened. Junk mail might possibly be one of the most wasteful things known to man, the least you can do is make sure that it gets recycled. Also, near copiers, paper shredders and printers would be a good place for a recycle bin.
By utilising the 7 simple steps above, you can not only trim thousands of dollars off your company’s bills, but you can also make your business appear more attractive to eco-conscious consumers. Regardless of which of these steps you choose (hopefully all) be sure to take the time to inform customers of what your company is doing for the environment. Consider creating a “green-section” of your website, as well as an environmental mission statement to make your business stand out.
Do you have some proven effective tips to share about how to utilise sustainability to benefit your business in terms of growth? If so, then please share. We would love to hear from you!
Image by Moyan Brenn via Flikr.