Going green isn't just the responsibility of big industry; small business makes up half of the nation's private workforce and likewise consume half of its energy sources. Yet many businesses are deferring any plans to-go gree' because they see it as a costly investment.
This'Ultimate Guide to Green Small Busines' strives to prove that even baby steps can make a difference' from encouraging telework policies to greening your home-based business' going green is't an expensive pipe dream, and can even save you money.
Here are some ideas, insights, and resources that can help your business play its part in greening America.
Develop a Plan That Works for Your Business
Green hype is everywhere, which is why i's important to understand the fundamentals of what being green means and then use very specific tactics and long-term strategies that work within the context of your business. This article'Greening Your Small Business: Go Beyond the Hype with a Plan that Works for You includes simple tips for building a green business strategy based on the concepts of reduce, recyle and reuse.
Home businesses can get in on the act too. Get tips in this article: Greening Your Home-Based Business - Saving $, Saving the Environment, and Building your Brand.
If you operate a franchise, or are thinking of becoming a green franchise owner, get more insight from franchise specialist Joel Libava in his guide - The Green Franchise Business Scene.
Save Money with Green Commuting and Green Fleets
Commuting is a hassle at the best of times, but taking advantage of teleworking options can help improve employee work life, their productivity and their carbon footprint. Even better for business owners, the federal government offers a variety of financial incentives to employers and employees to pursue green commuting options. Read Green Commuting Options - From Teleworking Programs to Transit and Ride Share Tax Incentives.
Another area that has a huge impact on the environment and your business bottom line is your business fleet. It needn't be so, because just a few simple measures - planning an efficient route or picking the right vehicle for the job - can help you save money and reduce carbon emissions. Read more in Greening Your Business Fleet - A 5 Step Approach that Can Save you Money.
Financing for Your Green Business Strategy
Green business has been on the political agenda for some time, and much of this has flowed over into action in the form of environmental grants, loans and tax incentives. Read more about these and other financing options in: Financing the Greening of Your Small Business.
Government Resources and Programs that Can Help
Business.gov's Green Business Guide includes a whole host of resources and initiatives that help small businesses expand their businesses while saving energy cost.
This particular guide - Ten Steps to adopt environmentally-friendly business practices - provides some important information on implementing an environmental strategy for your business and even becoming green-certified. If green product development is part of your strategy.
One particular government/industry initiative - the Climate Leaders Small Business Network - is operated by the EPA and provides assistance to small businesses to help them measure their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and set goals to reduce them, while reducing operational costs and gaining a competitive advantage. The goal is not to spend green but to save green. Read more about the initiative and how other small businesses have benefited in this article: Become an Environmental Leader - EPA Helps Small Business Reduce their Carbon Footprint.
Tying your marketing efforts to your green business practices and products is a great way to demonstrate the social responsibility of your business. A large percentage of consumers are also willing to spend more on green products and services, if you can tie your green initiatives to the direct value they bring to your customers.
Be careful about the claims you make. Advertising and eco-labeling laws regulate this area. You can read more about these in Business.gov's Green Marketing Guide.
Learn from Others
To put all this together, here's an example of a business that not only produces a green, sustainable product - a re-useable lunch bag - but also practices being green across its entire operations. Read When it Comes to Green Business - Entrepreneurs are the Mother of all Invention to learn more.