You hear a lot of talk these days about “going green”. You hear comments like “save the environment”, “cut out the excess waste”, etc. And all of those are important concerns that we all should take seriously.
However, many business owners today think that “going green” will put a huge dent in their wallets. However, there are several ways you can incorporate eco-friendly policies in your business on a daily basis for little cost. Often times, the littlest things are overlooked. And when done correctly, you can actually save your business a lot of money while also helping the environment at the same time.
So let’s look at four ways you can reduce costs in your business by “going green”.
Savings Tip 1: Go Paperless (Or Almost Paperless)
A majority of businesses still think that leaving a paper trail is more permanent than leaving an electronic one. We use paper out of habit. For some, it would be a headache to switch from a paper-based work environment to an electronic one, while for others it is considered a technology investment.
However, going paperless doesn’t keep you from printing out a document that you need to read in hard copy. Going paperless simply means that you should use paper wisely and sparingly, and, if you can find other effective alternatives then you should do so.
For example, instead of printing out an email and sticking it in your paper file, save it in an electronic version and store it on your computer instead. If you can send customer invoices to them electronically instead of printing them out and sending them through the postal service, then do so. This will not only save you in printing costs, but postage as well.
When you can’t avoid printing a document, then print or copy it on both sides of a sheet of paper. Or if you are like me, if you print something in error, I often times will use the backside of the misprinted document as scrap paper instead of using post-it notes. This will help to reduce costs.
Savings Tip 2: Conserve Energy By Powering Off Devices
Another way to save money in your business by “going green” is by conserving energy.
When you leave the office for the day, turn off any device that may be consuming energy, including your computer and computer monitors. Although your printers, fax machines, copiers and other office machines may be programmed on standby mode to use less energy, these devices are still continuing to draw down power. So remember to turn these off as well.
To save time, consider plugging all of your devices into one power strip, and turn that strip off at the wall. Remove any chargers you may have plugged in to an electrical outlet as well. Chargers will still draw a small amount of energy, even if there’s nothing attached to them.
During the day, set your computer to go to sleep automatically during short, idle breaks instead of using screen savers. Screen savers use energy, and do not save energy. When you are not using your computer at all, turn it off completely to save energy.
When you leave for the day, make sure that you turn off all the lights. You may want to install energy efficient lights throughout your business that use less energy but give you the same lighting. This will also reduce your operational costs.
Savings Tip 3: Stop Buying “Bottled Water” For Your Office
The next savings tip may not be that obvious but can be easily implemented. It relates to the water that you drink in your office on a daily basis.
Believe it or not, one way you can save money in your business is to quit drinking bottled water. Despite the best intentions, most plastic water bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills. It’s terrible for the environment, but it’s also terrible for your bottom line.
Bottled water is expensive, especially if you are consuming a lot of it on a daily basis. To reduce costs, switch to a filtered water system. You may even want to switch to one that will help you to improve your overall health. This is what Denise and I did over a year or so ago. We installed in our office a Kangen alkaline water-based system made by Enagic that our personal health coach, Jason Moore, recommended.
Most people don’t know that the typical foods we eat in our fast food and restaurant lifestyles are full of highly acidic foods like processed sugar, meats, dairy, coffee, alcohol, etc. Extended acid imbalances of any kind can overwhelm our bodies, and lead to health complications.
Believe it or not, the human body has a lot in common with a fish tank. The fluids in our bodies also need to have the pH level (acid – alkaline measurement) in balance. In fact, when the pH of the body gets out of balance (too acidic), we may experience low energy, fatigue, excess weight, poor digestion, aches and pains, and even more serious disorders. It is critically important that these acids be balanced out and neutralized by alkaline foods and/or alkaline water.
By adding more alkalinity to your body, you will improve your overall health, you may even see your health problems disappear or become substantially reduced. Denise and I have both seen this first hand with our own personal experiences.
For us, it’s a “win-win”…even after recouping our initial investment to purchase the water filtration system. We have not only improved our health, but have reduced an ongoing operational cost. We no longer buy “bottled water” for our office, and now just drink water from this machine.
Savings Tip 4: Buy Energy Efficient Products and Recycle Office Equipment and Office Supplies
You can also save money in your business by using energy-saving computers, monitors and printers and by recycling office supplies.
When it comes time to replace your outdated computers, monitors and printers with new technology, make it a policy to invest in energy-saving equipment instead. Look for equipment that has the federal government’s “Energy Star” label on it.
The “Energy Star” label will let you know that the product is an energy efficient product. “Energy Star” computers, printers and other business machines automatically power down when not in use to reduce energy costs.
Often times, there are tax deductions available for businesses that recycle their old office equipment. So, keep this in mind when you are looking to purchase new office equipment. Just make sure that your old office equipment is disposed of properly.
You can also reduce operational costs in your business by recycling your empty ink and toner cartridges. Almost all of the national brand office supply stores have recycling programs.
For example, Staples has a rewards program where you get money back on certain eligible cartridges that you bring back in the store or send back to them to be recycled. Some of the office supply stores will even send you pre-paid ink jet and toner cartridge recycling boxes for free for you to mail back to them. Look for these money-savings programs to help you reduce operational costs.
So, there you have it, four tips you can use to reduce costs in your business by “going green”.
And if you want to take full advantage of this trend and increase your profits, you should consider pursuing the U.S. federal government as a client.
Did you know that the federal government spends billions of dollars every single year buying everything you can possibly imagine, including toilet paper, office supplies, and computers? And yes, this also includes green products.
If your business is not currently pursuing the U.S. government as a client, then you may be missing out on a huge opportunity.
And with today’s world of technology, the U.S. government now uses a reverse auction that make it easy for small businesses to respond online to compete and win contracts that are less than $25,000.
Denise and I created a step-by-step report that shows you how to start selling to the US government within just a few days. Click here for more details.
*Originally published as Issue # 149- December 21, 2012