by Guest Author on January 16, 2013
Green businesses are the way to go for a variety of reasons. If you’re considering starting an eco-friendly business, or are a small business owner or entrepreneur who wants to go green, check out four benefits to green business and how you can make it happen.
Relating to consumers and public- More and more people are going green in their everyday lives. From recycling to growing their own fruits and veggies, the eco-friendly lifestyle is becoming more mainstream, and consumers recognize brands and businesses that feel the same way. When you manage an eco-friendly business, you can promote yourself as such, offering organic or green products, using less packaging and providing other green benefits to your customers.
Tip: Create a sign for your business door or register that says you are a green business You can even become certified as a green business through the Green Business Bureau. Participate in local cleanup projects or recycling projects in your area, which can provide face-time with your community and provide positive press for your business. Make sure you stay up to date on federal green marketing regulations imposed by the FTC.
Small business “Green Grants”- The government wants small businesses to go green, and offer a variety of programs to help small business owners manage and enhance their eco-friendly businesses. For instance, green business owners and entrepreneurs can search green.sba.gov, an effort between the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Navy, to help them more easily find grants, contracts, and R&D opportunities in green industries. The Small Business Administration also offers loan programs to finance building renovations that encourage energy efficiency.
Tip: Take advantage of the Entrepreneurial Mentor Corps (EMC), a program launched in 2011 to help start-ups on a path toward business growth, avoiding pitfalls of business management and find incentives for eco-friendly businesses.
Healthier employees- Whether you have two employees, two hundred or two thousand, going green can keep the people who help you run your business healthier. Companies who use eco-friendly cleaning products and serve organic food to their employees experience fewer employee sick days and less money paid in medical benefits.
Tip: Invest in eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own to keep harmful chemicals and unnecessary fragrances from making your employees sick. Keep an employee fridge or break room fridge stocked with organic fruits and veggies, and splurge on a juicer so they can have freshly squeezed juice during breaks. Buy a filtered water pitcher and give your employees refillable tumblers instead of bottled water.
Cost savings- There are many great reasons to go green and for running and managing an eco-friendly business, but one of the biggest is the cost savings involved. Unless you have unlimited funds, you will most likely be strapped for cash at times as a small business owner, and simple green tasks can make a big difference for your bottom line. Considering lighting takes up 11% of your energy budget, appliances 17% and water heating 12%, it makes sense to tackle these elements and more to save your small business money and help the environment at the same time.
Tip: If your small business is located in an office, keep the heat lower and the air conditioning higher to save money on HVAC costs. Your employees (or you!) will get used to the temperature or bring a sweater. Lowering the temperature in a retail store might not be as easy, as uncomfortable temperatures may turn customers away. In this case, think about replacing regular lighting with energy efficient light bulbs, which can reduce energy use by 50 to 75%. Don’t leave our appliances on standby; instead, use a powerstrip to turn off all appliances when they aren’t in use, saving your bill from being sucked dry by “vampire power.”
About the Author: Mike Zook has been writing about environmental entrepreneurship for nearly a decade. His passion include alternative energy, eco-friendly construction and spill containment systems.