When Your Small Business Is Growing: 5 Ways to Get Big While Going Green
Growing a small business is one of the most challenging and rewarding tasks a person can aspire to and accomplish. From hiring your first real, full-time employee to realizing the space you’ve been using over your garage is no longer sufficient for the people and gear you need, a small business’s growth is big news.
Of course, that big news isn’t all good news. Growth is almost always accompanied by growing pains, and those growing pains often take the form of problems that need solving. When you’re an environmentalist, you also want to solve those problems in an ecologically sound way. Well, don’t worry. All your growth-related problems are solvable, and most of them are solvable using sustainable approaches and practices that will reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Here are five honest-to-goodness ways you can grow your business while staying eco-minded at the same time.
1. Fabric Buildings for Space
When you need more space for your growing business, and you want that space to be green, custom fabric buildings are a perfect solution, though they are currently a solution mostly for companies in industrial fields at the moment. Flexible, versatile, and as temporary — or permanent — as you want them to be, today’s fabric buildings offer extra space that’s also kinder to the environment.
How kind? Very. Much of the steel used to form the structure is made from recycled material. A fabric roof is able to reflect the sun and keep heat at bay so that fabric roofs stay cooler in the summer months than traditional roofs do — as much as 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, and that temperature difference translates into major energy — and cost — savings. Also, if you choose translucent fabric, you get the added benefit of natural light during the daytime, which, if you keep “office hours,” will reduce energy use even more.
2. Choose Energy Wisely
Speaking of energy, when your business is ready to grow, seek out sustainable energy choices. Whether you install solar panels or invest in a wind turbine to power your business, if you have the means or credit to invest upfront in sustainable energy, you’ll benefit in many ways. Not only will your carbon footprint be greatly lessened than if you were using fossil fuel sources for your energy, but you’ll also save a lot of money over the long-haul, be eligible for certain tax reductions, and you’ll get to avoid the budgeting uncertainty that can accompany future rate hikes levied out by your local utility company.
Another way you can get greener is to incentivize your employees to start incorporating more ecologically minded practices into their lives. From giving bonuses to employees who bike, carpool, or walk to work to subsidizing monthly public transportation costs, you can do a lot to encourage more planet-friendly behavior among your workforce.
Likewise, make recycling, reducing, and reusing easy. Locate recycling stations wherever you have trash cans. Educate your workforce about reducing waste. For anyone keeping an eye on a budget, give out bonuses for materials that get reused. Set up a composting bin in the company kitchen for any leftover food scraps that would have otherwise made their way unnecessarily into a landfill. In every way you can, make it easy for the people in your employ to do right by the planet.
4. Invest in Renewable Energy
You may not be generating enough cash or have a long enough line of credit to choose sustainable energy, but that doesn’t mean your hands are tied when it comes to supporting renewable energy sources. Many utility companies offer a slightly higher rate for customers who want to invest in sustainable energy. If your local utility company doesn’t offer this option, you can also purchase renewable energy certificates — an investment that furthers opportunities for sustainable energy, ensuring it becomes a reality for you and your company sooner rather than later.
5. Use Sustainable Vendors
Another great way to ensure you stay green even as your business grows is to choose to work with vendors that are themselves committed to sustainable practices. Keeping an eye on your bottom line isn’t the only essential piece of being in business any longer. Climate change also necessitates keeping an eye on your own and your partners’ business practices. Work with other companies who care about the future, and you’ll help ensure you and your children and their children have one.
So grow your small business, and embrace being green. From fabric buildings to incentivizing your employees, your small business can go through a growth spurt without asking too much of the planet.
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