In the past few years a lot of buzz has been generated about green technology and the need to remain conservative about the use of natural resources. While this isn’t about using Hemp for bags; I do touch on the real-world ways to make your business think green and consume fewer resources — and the best part is, you’ll save money and keep costs down.
It’s been more brutal in the past couple years to save money in the recession than ever before. It has come down to the bare essentials of keeping the lights on, paying bills and keeping customers happy. At the same time, many nature and energy conversation groups use this time to push their message to be ‘green.’What does being green really mean and how can you do it?
A recent post on Small Business Trends highlights 20 Tips to Save Time and Money in Your Small Business and At Home, which is great to check out if you’re looking to save a few bucks here and there and go out and spend on stuff like OMG. In light of that post, on which I also commented on, I wanted to share a few tips and strategies that small businesses can implement right now in order to be green, save some cash and grow their business at the same time.
I believe the whole debacle of going green (or not) is simply about resource consumption. Minimize your resource consumption and everyone’s happy, right? Well, I feel the whole green thing need to educate about becoming more efficient. If it was merely about resource consumption, we could all just work less, commute less, and print less. Not a viable option in today’s litigious society nor the economy. No, it isn’t about purchasing carbon credits, either. (Fundamentally, I don’t see how a business could ‘buy’ their way to green.)
To go green, you gotta think efficiency. That is, carefully consider how and why you do certain things in a business. Do you hire a person to do just a few tasks or are you hiring that person to become a key figure in your business. The way I look at it, if you trust them enough to run things when you’re not there, they are a key figure in your business.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to become efficient:
- Why do I need to do this
- Could I do this faster, quicker and maintain the same results?
- Could I save this task to a later date?
These questions are legitimate questions I want every person to ask themselves when taking on new work; it’s not about cost-cutting, it’s about not wasting valuable resources such as time and cash flow.
A few suggested examples on how to systematically use less resources, while delivering the same value:
- Don’t use paper invoices for everyone. While some people you do business with need it, save the paper for those who request it.
- Use e-mail wisely. Send messages to only those who need to read it. Only use Reply-All if you absolutely need to. No, saying “LOL” in a reply all is not a need.
- Switch to CFL or energy-efficient lighting. It’s the same light that comes out of Halogen, Sodium or Tungsten bulbs. Why pay more for it? (Desk lamps, I know do offer value, but switch those off when not using them.)
- Don’t keep the lights on. If you’re closed, you can safely turn the lights off and save. If you do this consistently, you will notice a drop in the electric bill.
- Don’t leave PCs on when not in use. Even a critic of the hibernate/sleep mode on Windows, I can say that keeping your machine on is a waste. A decent machine will pull down about 115W of power when turned on. Would you leave a 115W light bulb running all the time? I suggest checking out Edison, a free energy monitoring app for your workstations.
- Opt for paper-less billing. You can save on the amount of useless paper bills that you plan to pay for anyway but using your creditors’ paper-less billing options. This will cut down on the time you need to sit down and open and pay bills and just get it done online, and quite often, automatically.
- Is there an App for That? Most menial, boring or otherwise resource consuming tasks are now replaced by killer applications. If you have a smartphone, consider looking at the the available applications to help you accomplish tasks digitally. I may be biased, I say the iPhone is a great smartphone for business, eliminating the need for many resource consuming tasks. (Also, AT&T offers paperless billing, too.)
If you implement even a few of these tips and strategies, you’ll be able to be going green without doing much — literally. The goal here is to consume less, and accomplish just as much. This is what the real world needs and your finances will thank you for it.
Have you gone green, and if so, how?
[Photo by fabrisalvetti on Flickr]