Are you planning to launch a small business soon? Make sure you do it sustainably! Not only do sustainable businesses earn more, but they are more likely to survive and thrive long-term. For example, sustainable businesses are far less likely to be taken down by disasters like economic crises and pandemics. In this mini-guide, we cover everything new small business owners should know about sustainability, including finding sustainability possibilities.
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What is sustainability?
Sustainability, according to TechTarget, is doing business responsibly, in line with environmental, social, and financial demands and concerns. To clarify, your business can be considered sustainable when it doesn’t harm the environment, people, or economy. Unsustainable business practices aren’t maintainable, as the recent pandemic has revealed.
Making your business sustainable
As entrepreneurs can tell you, sustainability is about constantly reinventing your business. It’s an ongoing process – when the ecosystem changes, your business should change alongside.
●Find non-sustainable business processes: You can begin by taking stock of your existing (or planned) business processes. This includes how you source your materials, your operations, your transport, your sales and marketing, and your interactions with your clients. Every business process has an impact and sustainability metric – measure it.
●Replace with sustainable ones: Next, make changes to the business process to make it have a neutral or positive impact. This may involve finding different suppliers, favoring eco-friendly materials, and generally using as few resources (like energy) as possible. Straightforward ways to be sustainable are buying green energy, having a green office space, and going paperless.
Achieving sustainability won’t be free
As you can probably tell, sustainability could involve significant investment — but it’s not as expensive as some would have you believe. Restructuring business processes or implementing sustainable ones from scratch will add to your overheads and affect your net profit. Some possible costs include:
●Researching sustainability trends and best practices
●Rebuilding business processes
●Getting buy-in from stakeholders
●Souring eco-friendly materials
You may end up overshooting or undershooting your target
As sustainability is all about maintainability, the changes you make should be able to pay for themselves.
But you may not be able to implement sustainability perfectly, at least initially. Be prepared to overshoot or undershoot your target, which will come with related consequences. Some examples:
●You may find yourself unprofitable (for a time)
●Your implementation could run into roadblocks
●Buyers may not care about your “eco-friendliness”
●Your eco-branding efforts may misfire
●You may encounter resistance from employees or other stakeholders
Marketing can make or break your sustainability drive
Communicating your sustainability is critical to achieving sustainability. Not only does it help you achieve buy-in from your existing stakeholders, but it also allows you to find and connect with new people who care about the concept. Make sustainability a core part of your marketing campaign for the best results.
One option is to create YouTube videos marketing your business and touting how it’s sustainable. Try a YouTube banner template to customize your YouTube channel. Professionally designed templates can be edited to include your own text, images, and photos.
Just go for it
Being a new sustainable business owner will be a challenge – just jump right in. You will learn to swim when drowning is the only other option. Think like an entrepreneur does – prioritize possibilities and what could go right instead of what could go wrong. Don’t let doubts or fears hold you back. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should go in blind. Get organized, draft a business plan, and research market conditions to maximize your chances of success.
Sustainability is the need of the hour. You can’t afford to ignore it when you build your business. More customers and investors want it, not to mention market conditions themselves require you to be sustainable. Fortunately, sustainability is easy enough to implement and brings with it many rewards.