Whether you own an established company or you are starting your new business venture, there is always going to be a need to make sure your business is more sustainable. With environmental issues being at the top of the priority list, and many countries around the world implementing legislation that businesses must adhere to, there has never been a more important time to review your business practices and make improvements. Not only will it help the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, but it will also save you money, ensure you are compliant with current and new legislation, and help you become more attractive to customers.
If you’re not sure what changes you should make, here are some top tips to help you get started.
#1 Educate yourself
Without fully understanding why you are making the changes, the current problems or the impact that your business is making, you won’t be able to make beneficial changes. You can start by:
- reviewing your processes
- looking at the current legislation in your country and the countries that you do business in
- what the most pressing environmental issues are
- the impact your business is having on the environment
This will provide you with a good standpoint to start making changes, rather than making assumptions. With this knowledge, you can make a plan and take action that will reduce costly delays, risks and mistakes.
#2 List the changes and improvements that can be made
Making sustainable changes is not something that you can do overnight or a process that can be rushed. It will take a lot of time to complete properly. Therefore, you should take the process in your own time. A good place to start is to list the changes and improvements that can be made, based on the new information that you have learned about the environment, legislation and your current business processes. You should get your employees involved as everyone will have different perspectives and they will be able to provide a lot of value and insight. If you have the budget, you can also get a consultant involved who is trained in helping businesses make sustainable changes.
Depending on what business you are in, there are going to be some things you cannot change about the services you provide. For example, if you run an architect, design or construction business, there is going to be a need for work to be produced on paper and use a variety of materials. However, you can make sure you make changes in other places in your business, for example, invest in high-quality equipment such as vinyl printers and maintain them properly, reduce the waste of paper and ink by only printing what is necessary and move other processes to a paperless method, such as invoicing.
#3 Set goals and make a plan
Take the list of ideas that you want to make, set goals and make a plan. Using the SMART method (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound) write down the goals and work backwards to create milestones and actions that you can take. Assign them to people in your business, with a deadline, to ensure they get done. You should create a tracker to monitor the progress of the tasks, and the positive impact they are having.
Creating a more sustainable business will take time, but are paramount to create a better business and help the environment.