Green Business Ideas to Create a Competitive Advantage
Being a “green” business is not only good for the environment — it can also contribute to a company’s bottom line and create competitive advantage.
How? A look through “green-colored glasses” typically results in identifying new ways to decrease utility costs, minimize (or eliminate) waste and provide added value to customers. It can also provide new marketing angles, minimize negative environmental and social impacts and reduce risks.
In a recent Small Business Pulse Survey, we found that socially driven companies have a competitive advantage, in part because of the strong sense of purpose and community involvement such companies tend to have. Green businesses can fall into the same category, particularly when you get your employees and customers on board.
Green practices for business don’t have to cost a fortune — and not being green can be more expensive than one might imagine. So what steps do you take to embark on your green journey in a way that effectively utilizes your limited resources of time and money?
Perform a high-level assessment of your company’s environmental and social impacts, identifying key areas that provide opportunities for improvement.
Create an environmental sustainability plan (similar to your company’s strategic plan). Include a vision for the future, strategies for attaining that vision, measurable objectives and specific projects that will make the greatest impact.
Assess options to see where the company might achieve the highest returns on its investment. There’s nothing wrong with looking for low-hanging fruit! Early successes also improve buy-in within the company and generate savings that can be reinvested into ongoing efforts.
Regularly track and review your progress on objectives and projects (monthly is ideal), in order to share best practices, overcome roadblocks and promote accountability.
What business owners can do to work towards a green business
Business owners should not be intimidated about embarking on the path toward a more green business. Going green is just another way of looking at your business and can lead to increased revenues, higher profits, decreased risk and a more engaged workforce.
On The Bus can help you decide if going green is right for your business, and we may even be able to offer suggestions on how to get started. Find out if an On The Bus Membership is right for your business!