Can Startups Save Both their Money and the Environment?
Posted by Rachel Hyun Kim on April 18, 2012 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]
When starting a business, money is often a constant concern for entrepreneurs. Unless they have secure a significant amount of funding or won the lottery, keeping cash flow positive can have individuals saving wherever they can. And with employees to hire, bills to pay, and deadlines to maintain, sustainability may be the last thing on the entrepreneur’s mind. However, saving both the environment and your wallet does not have to be mutually exclusive. Maintaining a green business from the start can not only reduce your carbon footprint, it can also help save money in the long run.
5 Ways to Save Money Sustainably
Saving money and the environment can seem like a tricky paradox. However, there are a number of ways through which the entrepreneur can help both:
1. Revamp the Office
If your business operates from an office, changing several business practices can help save costs throughout the space. Make sure that appliances such as printers are turned off when not used, and switch off lights when out of the room. In addition, buying used goods and materials can help businesses take a frugal approach. Another way to help save the environment is to teach sustainable methods to your employees. With programs and incentives, entrepreneurs can motivate their employees to save the environment as well, leading to overall positive benefits for the business.
A dedicated office space can take up a major portion of the startup’s budget, with rent, utilities, and other costs. In order to save money, many startups decide to work at coffee shops or even from home. However, one affordable option is to look for a coworking space, which offers offices and workspace at a relatively low price. In addition, certain co-working spaces have renovated their offices and appliances with sustainability in mind, making these spaces a viable option for the frugal entrepreneur.
3. Reduce Paper Use
The use of paper can put quite a strain on the business, ranging from the costs of ink cartridges, copier maintenance, and postage. However, online communications are a great way to exponentially reduce these costs. Instead of mailing internal and external whitepapers, project documents and memos, focus on email and PDF attachments. As more businesses are turning online, the use of online communication is only going to get bigger. By going paperless, entrepreneurs can greatly reduce their costs while staying sustainable.
4. Focus on Local
One of the key tenants of sustainable living is to support independent, locally owned businesses. Entrepreneurs can take this principle and apply it to their businesses in a whole new way. Depending on your industry and business, try to pursue local customers and clients in the community. Not only will this help you save travel and communication-related costs, it will also deepen your relationship with the local community.
A business often has employees traveling from various places; some close by, some far away. However, certain positions do not require employees to be physically present at the office, and can be easily done off-site. Telecommuting is a great way to save gas, electricity and time by allowing employees to work from home. Not only do employees save money from commuting, you can also save various office maintenance-related costs.
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