In this day and age, we are all – business owners or not – looking for ways to improve our cash flow and save what we can.
Oftentimes this means looking at ways we can cut back – for instance, eliminating tasks or jobs that are not functionally needed in the business or cutting back on nonessential spending.
In today’s world, though, there is another say to save some green that is often overlooked – going green.
People sometimes believe turning their company green will actually cost more money. There is a thought out there that green products are more expensive, and that going from a non-green to a green lifestyle will not save costs but increase them.
The truth, though, is turning a business more green can actually save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year. The key? Have the right mindset and understand you cannot do it all at once – but that each thing you do, in the end, will help.
Kim Carlson, author of Green Your Work: Boost Your Bottom Line While Reducing Your Eco-Footprint, says one reason people resist going green is the idea that they have to do it all – at one time. This, she says, is simply untrue – and can be impossible.
“It doesn’t have to be a ‘save the planet;’ kind of thing,” says Carlson. “I think that was the old way of ten years ago thinking – that if you were going to do anything green it had to be altruistic and pure reasons.”
Now, though, she hopes that people can understand going green in a business can be done one step at a time, and not with the mentality of saving the planet – since this may seem impossible and stop people from actually considering ways to go green – but in a way that will save at least some portion of the planet while cutting expenses on the owner’s side at the same time.
Start small, says Carlson.
Can you go paperless, or at least close to paperless? If you think the answer is no, think again: Carlson went paperless with her property management company. In doing so she reduced the need for 90% of filing cabinets, which reduced her space need by 20%, saving her company both room and energy costs.
“Space is not only expensive from a rental cost but you also have to heat it, cool it, put cubicles up . . . so less is more.”
In five years, going paperless also cut down her employee turnover rate from a whopping 50-60% to 10-15%. People are now more able to work from home due to the technology used to replace the paper trails. This in turn has reduced training and other costs associated with hiring and retaining employees.
“It multiplies. You start out with saying you will save paper . . . maybe that maybe was the initial drive but then things happened downstream that we didn’t realize were going to happen, so the real cost savings has been many times what we had ever anticipated.”
She adds that it is all about, “Stacking little behaviors on top of one another.”
Today, take a look around your office. Where is it you see you are spending the most money and/or burning the most resources?
Do your employees print everything in sight?