Kermit Was Wrong: It Is Easy Being Green

Kermit lived in a pre-internet age. Welcome to the future of business where profits and the planet can co-exist.

Your business is busy and profitable. By all counts, you’re a success. But there’s an another standard to measure your business by: how green are your services?

Don’t reject “being green” as a gimmick or sales move. Beyond the fact that it is great marketing, turning to more earth-friendly practices can save your business money in the long run, attract more thoughtful employees, and yes – let you charge more for your services.

Trash Your Filing Cabinet

Actually, recycle it.

The easiest and most impactful place to start is right at your desk. You’re likely using a combination of online and paper tools to take care of admin-work. If we were to tally up the amount of money you are spending on paper, plus the cloud software you rely on to track invoices, keep customer notes and schedule your staff, we’d probably see a pretty significant expense… that is pretty unnecessary. Using online tools isn’t just more organized than relying on an old-school filing system, it’s significantly cheaper. Because you’re not just paying for paper, are you? You’re buying filing cabinets. Printer ink. Space to store all that stuff. A shredder. It’s never just a box of paper.

Relax, Kermit

And here’s the thing: once you start looking at the habits of your office–ones that you installed as you grew, and that worked really well for you in your first few years of business–you will probably realize just how many ways you are burning cash. Reconciling invoices in the mail isn’t just slower, it’s less convenient for your customer, and less simple for your employee. Switching from traditional manual processes to automated ones do demand an investment of time and patience up front, but they create a process that is truly consistent. A bonus? Your company just got a little more green.

Once you’ve started to think about how you can save cash by changing office practices, you’ll start to see opportunities everywhere. LED lights instead of your run-of-the-mill Home Depot stand-bys will cut down on energy costs. Buying furniture and industrial equipment isn’t just less expensive, it sends a message that your company is committed to the health of the planet–not just your year-end financial report. Smart-products, such as the Nest thermostat, can help regulate your heat and air-conditioning costs by learning the habits of the people who work in your office. The heat turns off at the end of the day, but automatically heats up before your first employee shows up in the morning.

Little adjustments can literally cut your energy bills in half. To your business today, that might be $40 here and there. But as you continue to grow, your energy-saving practices will evolve as a part of your company’s culture. Dupont saved over $3 billion over twenty years by taking up green practices in their office and their operations. That’s something that your workforce can feel proud of, and that sets you apart from your competition.

Build Sustainability Into Your Brand

You’re more than just a service: you’re a responsible choice.

Going green isn’t just trendy, it’s responsible. And that combination is great for making your business stand out. Offering sustainable services, or updating your office to be more earth-friendly tells customers that you are building a company that is about more than just the service you offer: you’re a company with a conscience. As the world changes, that is more and more important to consumers, and can set you apart from competitors that can only undercut you on the price of your services.

In order to benefit from your green changes, you need to share your efforts. Depending on your budget, you can get the word out to your customers by:

  • Updating the copy on your website
  • Adding special “green” services, and perhaps offering them at a premium cost
  • Drumming up some attention by giving an interview, or even sending a press release to your local paper is a great way to get your business in front of new clients–especially if you’re offering a unique service

Once you’ve established your commitment to environmental practices, you might consider adding eco-requirements into your contracts for your suppliers. Such stipulations serves to ensure that your practices stay green, and they also help to spread environmentally friendly practices across your industry. Movegreen has seen the positive effects of pairing green initiatives into their service: with 30% year over year growth, they’ve realized that their planet-friendly work doesn’t just attract customers–it attracts great workers. Your company has the power to influence change in your industry.

Good Employees are Keen on Green

A business is only as good as it’s employees–so how can you hire great ones?

Getting great employees is notoriously difficult. What advantages does your company have? If your company is known for being green, it can attract forward-thinking, thoughtful new hires. Programs like a field service software can eliminate the need for paper-invoices, which makes for a much simpler and more streamlined approach when dealing with customers in the field. And one innovation can breed another: maybe that software integrates with your accounting program. Maybe you require less staff to sift through and organize because your systems are so streamlined. Maybe your accountant can work from home a few days a week, further lowering your environmental impact. Plus… what a hiring incentive. A quality like being environmentally conscious helps to mark your business as smart, modern, and efficient–traits any great employee wants to align themselves with.

TrendReports’ Eco Trend report found that people working in greener companies tended to report greater levels of personal happiness regardless of whether greenness was central to the business. It might be all the extra oxygen, sure. But knowing your company is smart enough to save money, make money, and look after the planet? That’s got to make anybody feel happier about going to work.

Everything we’ve mentioned so far does require an investment. So how soon can you expect to see a return on that investment?

Immediately. Offices that employee green initiatives see their employees being up to 30% more productive than a regular shop. Employees don’t just take sick days because of the flu: an office space that works better for the employees that spend time there means less stress for your workforce. That’s good for them AND for you. So take your paper shredder to the recycling depot after work today. It’s costing you too much.