Go Green to Make and Save Money For Your Small Business

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While blogger Dave Choate is on vacation, we’ll be digging up some gems from PointBlank’s past. Enjoy!

Big businesses such as Google, Walmart, and HP are clearly in a competitive race to grow their business green. Does this mean that small business should take a backseat in going green? Absolutely not! In many ways small businesses are better positioned to take advantage of the widespread movement to more environmentally friendly businesses in two important ways – to make money and to save money.

Make Money

Small businesses have the kind of nimble characteristics that can help them jump all over this new and rapidly growing component of the economy that touches virtually all industries. For many industries there is an opportunity to increase revenues as a result of the green movement.

Maybe it’s a very direct opportunity like manufacturing a more environmentally version of your product that your customers would buy more of. Or, get creative and figure out ways that your business could realize indirect benefits.  As you read the next section on saving money, think about how your business could position its products or services to leverage the momentum of businesses and consumers going green.

Save Money

Greening your small business will not only benefit the environment, but can also save your small business money.

“Going Green” may seem like an extraordinary task but is actually incredibly simple. Each of the following tips provides easy money saving ways to save your business money (and maybe make some also if you get creative!)

  1. Turn off Equipment at night. Turning off computers, lights and other equipment at night can reduce your small businesses energy use up to 50%. Your small business would be saving energy while saving money. Ford Motor Company estimates they will save $1.2 million just by shutting down computers that aren’t being used!
  2. Install Solar Energy Heating/Cooling Systems to reduce energy bill costs. Utilize a green business locator such as Green America’s National Green Pages to search for local green businesses. Small businesses also have more control over the types of energy sources they utilize and solar water heating is an easy beginning step.
  3. Get a Free Energy Audit which is offered by many energy alternative providers. One quick visit will get you the most energy and cost saving products tailored for your small business before you buy!
  4. Eliminate Coffee Cup Waste from the break room. The morning caffeine fix is a terrific habit to pair with a green practice. Encourage your small business employees to bring personal coffee mugs or eco friendly stainless steel coffee containers. Eliminating buying coffee cups provides your small business with extra funds, and helps reduce global landfill growth. Direct Capital has been doing this for several months with great success.
  5. Promote Green Transportation such as bicycles (Bike to Work Week is in May) and scooters. Alternative transportation to work can not only save money, but benefit the environment from reduced automobile gas emission.  Direct Capital will have a contingent riding their bikes to work during Bike to Work Week!
  6. Switch to Greener Office Cleaning Products. Green cleaning products promote company health, reduce office airborne allergies, and save your small business money as they are often inexpensive. Switch to natural based cleaning products such as white vinegar and baking soda for windows, floors, and desktops.
  7. Buy Green for your small business! Switch from regular to Energy Star light bulbs and compostable trash bags. Consider installing inexpensive bathroom air hand dryers to eliminate paper towel cost. Even buy green building supplies for your small business construction projects.
  8. Save Paper by double siding printed documents, encouraging email communication, and buying paper that is 100% compostable or recyclable. Office supply stores sell such paper products, and offer discounts to businesses!
  9. Let your employees telecommute once a week, (or more!) when practical. Consider using an online meeting tool such as Microsoft Office Live Meeting or GoToMeeting to schedule an online meeting space for your small business. Communicate with employees and save on transportation energy costs. Your small business’s carbon footprint will be reduced and you will save money at the same time!
  10. Apply a Green Marketing Plan. Utilize a computer based marketing system for your small business. For example, e-mail is not only an effective marketing tool; it is also friendly to the environment. Still sending out that paper newsletter? Consider switching to e-mail delivery and/or posting on your website. Online marketing saves money and increases campaign efficiency for your small business.
  11. Practice the Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle whenever possible! Recycle office trash, provide recycling bins for business employee, and even consider composting.

What are your other favorite Green Business practices?

Photo credit to Alfi001 at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1347945

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