The ‘Itch’ to Be Green: 7 Easy Ways to Be Profitable and Responsible
The New Year is about new beginnings. That being said, there’s never been a better time to ‘up the ante’ on your success—emotionally, socially and financially—then by creating a kinder and more profitable business model!
Do you want to find new, innovative ways to waste less, and give to others, more?
Do you want to make the world a better place because of your business—not in spite of it?
2015 isn’t just about the success of your business, but about a happier ‘big picture’ for everyone. However, the question may still linger in your mind: can you be socially responsible, while still being profitable? We’ve created the ultimate ‘you can do it!’ list, so you can easily implement a business code that will make your company stronger, happier and more profitable. Read on to learn how to do it right, do it well and make those things you do, matter!
Your Social Responsibility
You already run your business with precision, dedication and confidence. You already offer a service that people in your community—perhaps even the world at large—need. The question is, how can you do what it is you do, while being the most responsible business owner you’ve ever been? The proof is in the puddin’… in this case, green puddin’! When you learn to take small, actionable steps towards saving, conserving and reusing, you will save the Earth’s resources as well as motivate the masses (your employees, customers and vendors) to do the same. Want to know how to get started? Keep reading.
Start With ‘Mini-Green’ Goals
To make the switch from overconsumption to minimalism in the office, isn’t always easy. But no matter how much printer paper you waste a week, the ‘itch’ is there—a calling to be your best, and to do your best every day on the job.
Contribute in a way that matters by taking small ‘green’ calls of action!
When you start off small (such as limiting how often your secretary prints off documents for the accounting team or motivate your employees to carpool instead of individually driving to work), you can easily decrease the amount of waste you use and pollutants you contaminate the air with.
Replace huge jugs of plastic filtered water at the water cooler by installing a purified water station in your communal kitchen sink, instead. Install dimmer switches in each office (don’t forget about the conference room!) which use less light. As a ‘greener’ alternative, hire a reputable company to install build-in sensor lighting. Light sensors are a great way to save your company money, and preserve the resources of your planet.
Become an Innovative, Solution-Focused Business Owner
Does each project you take on seem to be similar to the last? The key to being socially responsible while still being profitable is by ‘drawing outside the lines.’ Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? The ‘trick’ is in the thought process—and it’s where everything (from a new idea for a product to a new way of improving cash flow) flourishes.
Try this profitability trick: do more good by increasing your impact in the community. Do you want to team up with marketers who can really drive home your message for a morally responsible business? What can you offer them in return? Power is in the masses, and it can allow you to fast track your own green and profitability goals much quicker than you can do alone. Continue to focus on what you’re good at (after all, that’s where your passion lies) and partner up with another business that can add value to your vision. When you merge your organization with another, you’ll become (and remain) unstoppable.
Striking the Emotional Cord (With Your Employees and Customers, Alike)
Humans are emotional beings. We develop a connection based on commonality, and social interaction. That being the case, your work environment is the perfect place to treat the planet as kindly as you possible can, because it kills two birds with one stone: it allows you to conserve resources, while bringing the masses together.
Let’s face it: you’ve got vision. You’re a leader. An innovator. A perfectionist at your craft, even. Here’s the good news: the more present and aware of the business you do (holding yourself responsible and accountable for every task, project or goal at hand), the more your employees will commit to your vision. That’s because the more good you do, the better you feel about the work you do—and who doesn’t want to feel good? Acts of kindness, integrity and compassion are attractive—everyone wants to be part of the process. Everyone wants ‘in.’
Let’s call it the 100/100 rule.
The 100/100 rule goes like this: when you put in 100 percent in your work—whether that ‘work’ is leading a brainstorming session or taking out the trash—your employees will do their work with 100 percent (or more.) Just like a chameleon who changes color based on their surroundings, a business owner who leads by example will create a work environment of ‘chameleons’—a team of hard working, moral compassing individuals who put pride, honor and passion in the vision you hold for your company and yourself. In other words, they’ll see you putting in 100 percent, and do the same.
Implementing ‘green’ changes to your company is good for the planet. But, it also sets forth in motion a good deed for all who are led by your innovative way of thinking, being and doing business.
Only Work With Vendors That Commit to Your Vision
Becoming a socially responsible business owner takes effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, but instead develops over time, with baby steps taken along the way. The number one priority on your list today? Learn about the ethical practices of your paper supplier.
Think that your recycled paper manufacturer is doing a good thing for the environment? While they may supply your paper with a recycled product (which does the planet a favor), they may also be supplying something else—unfair and unethical work environments for their employees.
Get informed by starting small. Learn who you are dealing with, inside and out. When you become educated about your suppliers, you can always make the most informed, and most profitable decisions for your short term and long term goals.
Choose Compassion Over Conflict Every Day of the Week (and Drive Your Sales Home!)
Developing a green business model doesn’t end with reusing and recycling. It’s not just about preserving the environment, and conserving water, trees, and air quality. Equally important, is giving back to the people who inhabit it.
By nature, people are good, kind and above all else, compassionate. For example, when a child is born, it gravitates towards the mother—essentially, a stranger it does not know but needs for survival. The mother gives herself to that child with love, affection and nourishment without question. As a result, both parties thrive and are emotionally fulfilled.
When your employees compassionately work together to reach a deadline, to impress a client, or to simply improve a policy or procedure, everybody wins.
When you employees work together for the greater good, a sense of accomplishment (not conflict) takes center stage. Every person involved feels pride and passion for their role in the outcome. Working together with compassion brings your employees –and your profits—to an all-time high.
Think about how you do business on a daily basis. Do you treat your customers as you would want to be treated? Do you go above and beyond to make them feel valued, heard and understood?
At the end of the day, would you want to do business with you?
One of the best (and effortlessly easy) ways to create and maintain a business that is responsible while still being profitable is by starting with your staff. They are the ears and eyes of your business. They are the ones who manage your daily operations, and take care of the small details, while you delegate and manage the ‘heavy hitters.’
Offer an incentive program for employees that put in 110 percent. Take the time to show interest and appreciation for all that they do with an email, an announcement in front of their colleagues, or a small gift that shows your gratitude—and makes them feel valued.
Strike a chord with your current and future clients by showing them you lead and nurture a business of kind and compassionate ethics and values. You’re not just about caring for the planet, after all. Your real business—the value that you place first and foremost, and what drives everything else you do—is the business of people.
Motivate Your Employees to Give Back
When is the last time you felt exceptional—totally unique, rare and apart from the norm—because of the work you produced? Has it been a while (weeks or months?) since you have felt your team of managers, assistants and marketing magicians have come together on a unified front?
Lead your employees to more happiness on the job and higher profits (for everyone to benefit from) by implementing an ‘outreach policy.’
Motivate your employees to give back to others by selecting a different charity once a month (or once every few months) to donate to. This donation can come in the form of a monetary sum achieved by fundraising efforts, or by an ‘after hour’ group activity such as volunteering at your local food shelter or running errands for the elderly.
An easy and fun way to get everyone on board is by playing ‘detective.’ What kinds of hobbies does your staff enjoy doing when they aren’t at work? Does your blogger love to cook? Is your accountant a marathon runner? Does your secretary already volunteer as a tutor for inner city elementary school kids?
Seek out the activities that your employees already take an interest in, and raise the stakes: For every 10 hours of volunteering time they put in, you’ll give them an early Friday afternoon dismissal from work. Here’s the silver lining for that deal: they’ll feel so good about giving back, their reward won’t be what drives them to volunteer—but the fulfillment of helping someone in need and developing a connection with another. The result? Higher satisfaction in all areas of their life, including the workplace!
Creating value for your company leads to profits—you gain interest from customers far and wide when you strike the ‘compassion chord.’ Think about it like this: would you be more persuaded to buy a product or invest in a service from someone who was ‘in it to win the sale because he could,’ or someone who was ‘in it’ because they cared?
Apply the ‘Family Factor’
Isn’t family one of the most important things in life?
If you already treat your staff like an extension of your family, you’re on the right track. Humans are social, emotional creatures that need to belong and feel value through shared experience. Why not do the same for your customers? Make each devoted customer feel like your family away from home by getting them involved in your new business model. Share your passion for ‘going green’, and ask for their feedback. Is that something they are passionate about, too? How does they give back to the community? Is there a cause you and your client can join forces on?
Apply the ‘family factor’ to your long standing clients: the closer of a connection you establish, the more meaning each party will get from the relationship (and the more your relationship will flourish!)
Does your client love to cook? Organize a fundraiser that allows you to showcase your ‘green side.’ Make this fundraiser an annual one—a friendly cook off—you vs. your client. Spread the word in the community, and raise money by offering ‘free food for a donation.’ The best cook gets to donate that money to the charity of his choice. When you treat your customers like family, everyone wins. Awareness spreads, client relationships soar, and profits rise.
Nothing feels better than cultivating employees that are passionate about your business, and the implementation of a kinder, more socially responsible way to work. You can be profitable while still being responsible—all it takes are mini-steps along the way, and actionable steps that stay in line with your vision. When you create a community for change in the workplace, your business will grow, profits will rise, and your relationships with flourish!