There are plenty of ways to green your small business, and plenty of reasons to do it. Sure, you'll be doing your part to save Planet Earth, but you'll also be saving your business money.
For example, going paperless saves money and space, and can make your operation more efficient. Scheduling an energy audit with your local energy provider can reduce power bills, and advertising your green efforts makes you more attractive to an affluent demographic. Greening your business makes financial sense. The next step is to determine how to spend what you can save.
What small business owner couldn't benefit from more marketing? Expand your current efforts, or investigate additional platforms to market through, such as direct mail, print advertising, and billboards. If you aren't already marketing your business online, make this a priority. You could begin by hiring someone to optimize your website for search engines, or launch a social media campaign. To keep your expenses in line, look for small business owners offering complimentary services and combine your ad campaigns.
As a small business owner, it's up to you to make sure things get done and that they get done right. But sometimes, out of necessity, you need to rely on others for certain tasks, like accounting, tax filing, and insurance planning.
Modernizing or installing new technology may involve an adjustment period, but it can help your business run more efficiently and expand operations. But since technological upgrades can require a substantial investment, it may pay to start small.
Examine your business processes and see where they can be improved. Then examine your options. As always, determine how long it will take projected revenues to pay for the cost of improvements to justify the expense.
Hire More Staff
If you've been going solo up until now, invest your green savings in staffing or to outsource specific projects and tasks. This can allow you time to focus on areas of your business you've been forced to neglect, and you may even find that the professionals you hire do a better job than you were previously doing on your own.
Outsourcing jobs is a great way to keep you focused on the business at hand. But acquiring a basic knowledge of common tasks will empower you to choose more qualified individuals to whom you can outsource, and it will also give you the knowledge to check on their work. You may also want to take classes to educate yourself on the latest advances in your field. Either way, online courses or your local community college offer a plethora of options.
5. Start Another Venture You can't have too much of a good thing, right? Wrong. But if you have another business you've been itching to launch, now may be the time, and your savings may be the launching pad. Another venture can be particularly advantageous if you find a way it can feed off of and into your current business.
Being a small business owner is often a balancing act between satisfying the needs of your business and your personal life. Perhaps instead of reinvesting money in your business, it's time to increase your profit. How hefty are your emergency fund and retirement accounts? Could they use a little padding? Or could you simply use a little extra for some rest and relaxation? Working hard is the cornerstone to small business success, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the fruits of your labor. Take a mini-vacation or treat yourself to something special. In fact, the best thing for your business could be giving a little extra to the one most responsible for keeping it in the black.
David Bakke is a small business owner and contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance, an online resource for saving money and building wealth.