Growing your small business is an arduous task – so tricky that many small businesses do not make it through their first three years.
When I first started my custom apparel company, RushOrderTees, I was unsure of how to operate a business, and often contemplated whether I knew how to make it successful.
I learned to combat this feeling of self-doubt by creating small goals for myself and working hard to crush those goals each week.
When people doubt themselves and begin to think they can’t accomplish something, they talk themselves out of their intentions before even attempting them.
This attitude can be summed up by one of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford:
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right!”
Once I got over the doubt that I could succeed, my business began to skyrocket.
Throughout this growth, I learned that one of the most important things to consider while building your business is your corporate social responsibility. This includes the impact your business has on society, the economy, and the environment. It’s essential not only for the general wellbeing of society but also for the positive impact it has on your company’s image (and in turn, bottom line).
In this article, I will focus on tips that I learned for growing my small business, while still upholding my responsibility to sustain the planet.
Why use sustainable business practices?
While the apparent reason to be eco-friendly in your business practices is to make less of a negative impact on the earth, it’s not the only reason.
Speaking from experience, these practices have given me many public relations opportunities that provided significant positive exposure for my business.
That being said, if you are using these practices solely to get high PR value, you are doing it for all of the wrong reasons.
If this is not enough for you, another benefit of using these sustainable practices is the general feeling of fulfillment you get from helping out the planet.
Just knowing you are doing your part to leave the planet better than you found it can be a great morale booster.
What sustainable business practices can your small business implement?
You don’t have to be a billion-dollar public company to start being eco-friendly around the workplace.
Here are five tips to get your small business started on being environmentally responsible:
1) Recycle your printer paper.
If your small business uses a printer, chances are you will produce a ton of paper waste. Recycling printer paper is a great way to declutter your office and has a considerable impact on the environment.
2) Discard your ink properly.
Printer ink is incredibly harmful to the environment, and should not be thrown away in the garbage. Some stores have drop-off boxes for these cartridges, but you can usually find disposal information for your cartridges on your printer company’s website.
3) Ditch the printer altogether and go digital!
If you don’t want to deal with tips one and two, you can avoid them altogether by making your communications, files, and other documents completely paperless. This may be hard for certain types of businesses, but if you can make the switch, I highly recommend it.
4) Start a carpool program in the office.
Fewer cars means fewer emissions, which are harmful to the environment. Start a schedule between your coworkers to determine who drives what day. You can even make a game out of it! If your coworkers are dispersed, at least attempt to get coworkers that live near each other to agree to carpool.
5) Host an Earth Day event.
On Earth Day, dedicate your time to helping your community become more sustainable. You can host a tree-planting party, a community cleanup, or any other event that helps the environment. If you don’t feel like getting that hands-on, start a fundraiser in the office and donate the money to a charitable organization dedicated to protecting the environment. Whatever you choose to do, helping the atmosphere is always the right choice. Plus, it could result in the added benefits we discussed earlier.
There are thousands of additional changes you could make to your small business to preserve the environment. However, the important takeaway here is to try to do your part to help consciously.
Protecting our planet is not only for our good but for the good of generations to come.
Author:Michael Nemeroff, Co-founder and CEO of RushOrderTees, a US-based company which employs 250 people and generates $22.9 million in revenue.