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Finding and Creating Sustainability Possibilities as a Small Business Owner

In many ways, sustainability has become just as important as profitability in recent years. As Monash University puts it, sustainability is the “fifth industrial revolution,” and businesses that fail to get on board are doomed. If you’re a new small business owner, you can’t afford to push it down on your to-do list. In the following article, we explain what you should know about going green, including how to integrate sustainability possibilities into your business.

What Sustainability Means

Sustainability, as defined by the Brundtland Commission report, is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In a business context, it’s doing business responsibly, with a focus on economic, social, and environmental viability. In essence, your business will be considered sustainable if your business operates with a neutral or positive economic, social, and environmental impact.  

How Sustainability Is Relevant to Your Business 

Your business is part of an ecosystem that is suffering from degradation. Natural disasters, the coronavirus pandemic, poverty, climate change, and pollution are some observable ill effects.  Non-sustainable businesses are having difficulty surviving. Sustainable businesses, on the other hand, are thriving and are increasingly becoming more profitable than non-sustainable ones. They work with innovative technologies and are clean, green, and future-ready. 

Sustainability is necessary to maintain yourself in the current business environment. Your stakeholders are concerned about sustainability, the planet needs it, and it’s good for your bottom line.

Set Up Your Company

If you’ve yet to actually start your eco-friendly business, there are a few steps you’ll need to take care of to lay its groundwork, the most important being forming a legal entity for it. While you have no shortage of options for how to structure your business in Texas, there are a couple worth pointing out.

Limited liability companies (LLCs) offer business owners protection of their personal assets. This means that if your company is ever sued in the future, you won’t have to worry about losing ownership of your home, vehicle, or other valuables to pay business debts. An LLC in Texas is also easy to set up (there isn’t a lot of paperwork involved when compared to corporations) and you’ll enjoy tax advantages.

Meanwhile, setting up an S corp in Texas may be advantageous if you’re a solo business owner, since you’ll save on self-employment taxes. You’ll also have the option of claiming deductions on your business’s financial losses come tax time. Whichever business structure you choose, recruiting the help of an online service ensures your paperwork is processed quickly and correctly.

Finding Sustainable Possibilities  

Once your business is set up the way you want it, audit your business processes and measure sustainability metrics (like energy use, resource use, waste) to determine how sustainable you are at present. Then, research sustainable alternatives (and companies) and make changes. Some examples: 

  • Energy use – use energy-efficient appliances or use clean sources of energy like solar panels 

  • Recycling – actively recycle the materials used in your supply chain 

  • Food – produce only the food you need in your cafeteria and use reusable cutlery 

  • Transport – encourage commutes by public transport, minimize gas-guzzling vehicles, and favor electric transport vehicles 

  • Eco-friendly partners – partner up with eco-friendly brands and make them part of your supply chain

Sustainability Won’t Happen Overnight 

Sustainability takes time and effort to achieve. Furthermore, there may be difficulties. You could, for example, find that restructuring a business process for sustainability would hurt your bottom line instead of help it. Your customers may be disinterested in the concept. Sustainability pays for itself (with time). If the ROI isn’t in your favor, you may be doing it wrong. Learn from the common mistakes that brands make for the best results. 

In any case, you will have to foot the bill for your desired sustainability outcomes. Some examples: 

  • Time invested in learning about sustainability 

  • Auditing your business processes for sustainability 

  • Spending time or money re-envisioning your business processes 

  • Purchasing eco-friendly alternatives 

  • Consultations with eco-experts 

Marketing Will Be Necessary 

A primary reason that sustainability doesn’t pay off for brands is they fail to advertise effectively. They either “greenwash” (blow their initiatives out of proportion) or fail to be transparent about sustainability. You can think of sustainability as launching a new product: without adequate fanfare, clarity, and engagement, it won’t resonate with your audience. Marketing your sustainability drive is an essential part of becoming sustainable. 

Social media in this day and age is a powerful way to communicate with your audience. It’s cost-effective, personalized, and transparent. Running an effective social media campaign could allow you to gain the most traction with your sustainability efforts. You may be best off hiring experts – like Facebook marketing agencies – for this purpose through online job platforms. You have the option of weighing experience, reviews, and costs before hiring.  

Just Take the Plunge 

Sustainability – or starting a business for that matter – doesn’t have to be difficult. Take constructive action, get organized with a business plan, evaluate market conditions, and jump right in. You will learn what you need to do along the way if you keep an open mind. Being an entrepreneur, like most things in life, is all about experience.   

Sustainability is, at its core, efficiency. When leveraged effectively, it will fatten up your coffers, usher in innovation, and put you a step ahead of your competitors. There will likely be some misfires initially, but don’t let that hold you back. With perseverance, you’ll set up a resilient business that will stand the test of time.   

The Greater East Montgomery Chamber is a great community for connecting with other local business owners. Join us today!

Image via Unsplash

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