This week’s delightful guest blogger is Linsi Brownson of Inspired Design Daily.
Several months ago my husband and I decided to open a store. Between the two of us we have years of design, construction, and professional buying experience (and we like to think we also have pretty good taste) and it’s been a dream of ours to make that into a business. So here we are, in the midst of making that happen, and we couldn’t be more excited. But it’s not as simple as that. You see, both of us have that pesky need to feel good about what we are doing. Yes, that’s right. We like to go to sleep with a clean conscience. So in creating a business based on consumerism, we had a couple hurdles to jump. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a heck of a lot easier nowadays. Numerous organizations, driven by people like us (even better than us, I would say) have created a mass exodus of consumers and companies who care. When you go online these days, a simple google search will produce results for a ‘green’ version of almost anything you can think of. This too has its drawbacks, but you get what I’m saying.
So our goal as people and as a company is to add good to the world wherever we can. As people that idea is a little bit more clear, but what does that mean for a company? Glad you asked. Here are some basic principles for building a ‘green’ business.
1. Think of the butterfly effect: everything you do impacts the world in some way. Don’t let that scare you, there is no perfect answer and you are not a bad person if you make a ‘wrong’ decision. But let that thought be a guiding factor in decision making. What impact could your decision have, positive or negative, on the world and its inhabitants? What steps could you take to make that impact more positive than negative?
2. Look for simple solutions to cut costs. Reduce your overhead with energy and water efficient equipment. Cut back on material costs in the office by re-using and re-purposing items. One of my favorite things is making notepads out of scrap computer paper. I collect paper that has been printed on only one side, cut it into quarters and assemble it as a notepad. I’m a list maker and can’t get rid of my need for paper, so this is a great solution for me. If you’d like to see how I make them click here.
3. Do the obvious: waste less. Turn off lights and equipment when you leave. Cut back on single use items. Don’t buy things you don’t need. But you’ve heard all that before…
4. Support the cause. Purchase what you need, whenever possible, from companies that focus their efforts on sustainability. Get involved in organizations where you learn new things and can keep up with a constantly shifting awareness. This is a great opportunity to network and build your business as well as create community – a founding principle of sustainable business.
5. Take opportunities to educate: your networking group, your employees, your customers. When you started learning about this stuff it was fascinating right? Well, other people think so too. By educating, you not only broaden the impact but you also earn credibility, and that is essential to the new-age of consumers. Just be sure that you don’t become preachy. Work from a place of passion and excitement, not judgment or greed.
There are many other things that can be done to help you create or grow a sustainable business. If you want more information, check out the Sustainable Business Leadership Council. This organization is a great resource for helping companies go or grow green.