Winning is just as important if you are the owner of a small business as it is for the manager of a sports team. Just as you can get ahead by incorporating a cutting-edge POS system into your business structure, you can rise above your competition in other ways. Two of the most notable are by adopting a policy of frugality and by going green. See how this combination can be a win-win for you as a retailer.
Why Go Green?
On the surface, it may seem that embracing a more environmentally friendly stature in your business will only lead to higher costs. However, becoming more eco-friendly can do wonders to boost your public image. Customers who might otherwise pass you by may respond to your progressive outlook and choose to spend their money on your products. In addition, people tend to enjoy working in an environment where positive changes and outlooks are at the forefront. Inspired and passionate workers can be some of your business’ best advertisers.
Change the Products You Buy
Did you know that eco-friendly office products are generally cheaper than their non-renewable counterparts? That includes items such as recycled printer paper, ink cartridges and even file folders. Furthermore, you can cut down on your power bill by installing a modern, energy-efficient heating and cooling system as well as eco-friendly lighting and computers. Keep the dispenser of your water cooler loaded with paper cups for the comfort of your guests and customers, but encourage employees to drink from their own re-usable mugs or water bottles. A penny here and a penny there will lead to small but significant savings over time.
Resize Your Fonts
If your business does a lot of communicating via hard copy, you can save money and go green in a very surprising way. Shrinking the size of the fonts you use for your literature can drastically cut down on the number of pages you print. That will not only save a few trees but will also let you get more use out of your printer’s cartridges or toner. While you’re at it, make it a point to print as little as possible. Make just a few copies, printing on both sides whenever practical, and circulate the copies or post one in a prominent place. Use email as much as you can for your communications. After all, that’s what people look at first anyway.
Investigate Your State’s Energy Benefits
Many states offer incentives for consumers and companies who opt to purchase energy-efficient appliances and other products. These can include anything from refrigerators to stoves and lighting. Rebates and tax credits are also available for individuals and businesses that install solar panels on their roofs. These panels can generate electricity that you can sell back to the power company. There’s nothing like getting a bill that reflects a credit instead of a balance. It’s even possible to purchase green power from your local utility company if solar panels are not an option for you.
Get on the Recycling Bandwagon
It’s easy, it helps the environment, and it’s just the right thing to do. If you haven’t instituted a recycling protocol in your business yet, now is the time. No, it won’t solve the world’s problems, but taking this one little step will give you, your employees and your customers a visible way to do your part in going green. Put a recycling center or bin in a prominent place in your back office. If you don’t have the room, place a bin near the printer and another in the staff or break room. Be sure that they are prominently marked so that everyone knows their purpose.
You might be scrupulous about turning office equipment and appliances off at the end of the day, but that isn’t enough. You actually need to pull their plugs out of the wall. If you don’t, devices such as your toaster oven, computer and printer may still be drawing power, as much as 15 or even 20 watts. Over time, this leads to a needless and very large and costly energy drain.
Work from Home
Today’s technological advances allow people to be just as productive at home as they are in the office while saving hours of drive time and reducing pollution and stress levels. As a business owner, you can collaborate virtually with employees whenever you like. If your business model allows it, giving your employees the option of telecommuting can be one of your best and most environmentally friendly moves.
Artificial light accounts for 44 percent of the electricity used in today’s office buildings. Cut down by taking advantage of natural light whenever you can. For the rest of the time, use CFL or LED lightbulbs. Keep use of air conditioning to a minimum with ceiling fans or by opening the windows.
Have a Merry E-Holiday
What do you think happens to all of those holiday cards you send out to your customers and friends? They eventually get thrown away, a fate which is decidedly not eco-friendly. Opt instead to send e-cards. You can personalize them and even add music and animation. Best of all, there’s no environmental damage.
When taken individually, any one of these tips doesn’t look like much. However, combine them into a comprehensive green policy, and you really can make a difference while simultaneously saving money for your business. That’s a win-win!