Creating an environmentally friendly business is important now more than ever, and it is an essential step in taking a leadership role in effecting positive change. Fortunately, not only are green initiatives great for the world we live in, but they can also be great for your profits by helping you identify ways to conserve resources and save money in the long-term. Here are four steps that you can take toward making your business more environmentally friendly.
Minimize Waste in the Office
Office supplies are generally bought in bulk and are designed to be disposable. As a result, we've gotten into a habit of being quick – a little too quick – to throw things away. In the United States, four million disposable pens are thrown away every single day. Thirty percent of print jobs are never retrieved from the printer, and a whopping 45 percent of printed paper will end up in the trash by the end of the day. In just one year, the average office worker will use 10,000 sheets of paper.
Focus on reducing your paper usage by printing double-sided documents and only making copies and prints when it's truly necessary. Additionally, provide office workers with recycling containers that are just for paper recycling in copy rooms and next to each desk to significantly cut down on how much paper hits the trashcan. You can also invest in refillable pens and monitor how many pens are taken from the supply closet or cabinet.
Review Procurement Practices
Taking a look at your procurement practices is another simple step you can take toward environmental sustainability. Seek out suppliers who consider sustainability in the goods and services they provide and who don't use substances that are toxic or harmful to the environment. You should also look for suppliers that don't use excessive packaging and who offer a service where they'll take back packaging for reuse.
Investigate Green Web Hosting Solutions
It takes a lot of energy to run all of the servers in the United States; in fact, the amount of energy that the nation's servers consume is equivalent to that of five nuclear power plants. By switching to a green web hosting option, you can cut down on your business's energy use. With green hosting, part of the energy comes from a renewable power source. Not only is this better for the environment, but it's more affordable for your business. The hosting company generates its own energy, lowering its own operating costs, and as a bonus, the cost savings get passed along to their clients.
Dispose of Old Furniture and Electronics Properly
After completing an office renovation or upgrading your computers, what happens with the old furniture and electronics? Landfills across the country are already overflowing. Furniture can take decades to break down; in fact, many of their parts won't break down at all. Electronics contain heavy metals like mercury and zinc that can leach into the soil, poisoning plant and animal life and eventually contaminating our waterways. Fortunately, furniture and electronics can both be easily recycled, helping to minimize your business's environmental footprint.
Your business can set a valuable example to our community, modeling sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. Follow these steps to enjoy cost savings while doing your part for the community.
Once the major financial hurdles have been addressed, handing a family business over to the next generation can be handled in a variety of ways to suit your personal needs and goals. Obtaining professional help for determining any tax or legal issues should be placed at the top of the agenda. We value our local businesses, and their commitment to our community. Our guidelines can help you identify what items need to be addressed to ensure a seamless transition when handing off the keys to the store to the next generation.
Many local businesses have been in the same family for years. Your children may well have worked in the store growing up, and as they have gotten older, attended business meetings and begun to learn the ropes. The ability to help them get started while you are still able to advise and help them as problems arise is a wonderful opportunity for everyone.
Tips for Successfully Handing off the Family Business Keys to the to the Next Generation
As the current owner, and possibly the person who started the store, you will need to determine how much, if any, monetary compensation is required. The business can be transferred in various ways, gifted, sold at full or partial value, or put into a family corporation or trust with a different person named as manager.
A business plan and a transition plan can help your successfully transfer the business. If you are relying on a set income from the store, it is important to identify the role you will play in ensuring you receive it, and to have a contingency plan if it is not able to meet the goals.
Protecting the business against inter-family disputes should be discussed with a lawyer prior to transfer. Divorce, death, and changes in income can lead to problems between family members.
Ensure the person who is taking over the keys to the family store has the knowledge they need to operate it. If this person has not been active in all aspects of the business, they will require training. You will want to begin this process at least six months to a year prior to transferring the business.
Discuss with all family members what each person's role, if any, will be in the business throughout the succession, and after, if you are keeping a portion of ownership.
Create a succession timeline and plan based on both of your needs. Some owners prefer a gradual turnover, while others do so all at once.
Accept that some things with the business will change. New products and technology are changing the way businesses operate and a fresh set of eyes may identify areas that are currently not performing as well as they should. Encourage your family to put their own personal stamp on the store.
We at the Chamber encourage all stores and family businesses to use our resources to increase their ability to be successful and continue to grow our community.
The Durango Chamber of Commerce
The Durango Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that promotes and supports the local business community through communication, advocacy, education, leadership and financial viability.