3 Top Tips To Start Building A More Sustainable Business

Getting Fit In Beijing

New Years Day Beijing, Photo By Sam

The start of a new year is a time when people challenge themselves to break bad habits, loose weight, get fit, have a healthier body and mind. So, why not apply the same principles to your work and take steps to build a healthier business? Think of it as a workout for your business!

Here’s our 3 Top Tips to help you start Building a Smarter Business in 2013.

Take A Different Path

The desire to start a new fitness regime and change the habits of last year is something most of us have experienced, as is that familiar noise in our head that can stop us making progress. ‘I don’t have time, it’s not making a difference quick enough, it feels too difficult’ are common feelings and the type of noise that can quickly halt progress, leave us feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and not taking action.

This same feeling is described by many business owners when asked why they aren’t taking action and making ethical choices, despite a strong desire to adapt and change. There’s too much information on the internet, it’s all a bit confusing, they’re not really sure what they’re doing, or it’s difficult to know what’s right for them. It all feels too big, difficult and time consuming, so it’s easier to take no action and carry on as before with ‘business as usual’.

The good news is, making ethical choices isn’t about reaching the summit of Mount Everest, it’s simply about taking a different path in the national park. About not following the same old route and seeing what other opportunities are around the corner.

So in the spirit of helping you build a healthier business, here’s my 3 Top Tips on shutting out all the noise, choosing a different path and making a positive difference for you and your business in 2013.

Don’t Try To Do Everything At Once

Keep It Simple

Photo By Sam

First of all, a common misconception by business owners is that being an ethical business is about doing all or nothing. This is simply not true!

Only yesterday I was talking with a dynamic entrepreneurial woman who runs a fashion design business. She was telling me that she hasn’t done anything because it just feels too big and doesn’t know where to start. So, despite a desire to feel like she is having more of a positive impact on the world, she hasn’t done anything.

The thing is, if you stop thinking of being ethical as an all or nothing, or an additional thing you have to do as part of running your business, it becomes easier. It’s not about a tick or a cross, or a journey that ends. Think if it as a way of doing business, as something that’s reflective of your values and beliefs, that’s an integral part of your business operations and decision making, and just what you do.

By keeping it simple and thinking more in bitesize chunks that you’re passionate about, changes can feel more inspiring, manageable, and not overwhelming.

Start With Small Changes

Cycling To Work

Photo By Sam

Start with simple and easy actions, that won’t cost lots of time and money, or are free. Actions you can do now, this month. This way it will build your confidence about what you are doing, give you more enthusiasm moving forward, and won’t cost you in time or money! You could:

  • Reduce the amount of paper you use by only printing important documents, reusing paper for notes and getting any waste paper recycled. This will immediately save you money on paper and printing ink, and means less waste.
  • Aim to cut waste by thinking about what happens to, say the offcuts of fabric you use.  Could they be used to make something else? Be donated to another local business that could use it? This small change which won’t cost anything, will cut down on waste, and could support other projects or businesses in the local community.
  • Do something a bit more fun. What about ditching the car and walking part or all the way to work twice a week? This saves you money, reduces pollution, and is a chance to fit in a bit of exercise and make your 2013 fitness regime that little bit easier!

The point is making ethical choices can be simple and save you both time and money! Find out more time and money saving solutions in our 10 Top Tips For A Greener Business.

Enhance Your Customer Experience

Cooking School Beijing

Photo By Sam

Think about how you can adapt your business to offer customers a better experience, after all they are the reason you have a business. What would they value? What would they go home and tell their friends about?

  • Would you’re customers rather have a plastic, wet, cheap looking bottle of water, or fresh, cold water from a stylish looking glass, or refillable water bottle they get to take home – also a marketing opportunity for you!
  • Do you think your customers would prefer the jam they ate at breakfast which was homemade by the lady next door from the mango’s grown in her garden, or from a jar of imported, ‘same as the rest’, or one of those little plastic individual portions? Everyone loves food, show them you care and put some love into the food you serve.
  • Are your customers holiday memories of a day on a whirlwind tour with 20 other people to the busy tourist hotspots where there was just enough time to take photo’s to show friends at home. Or are they of the unique places they went to with their personal local guide where there were no other tourists and they got to sample local food and see how local textiles were made?

Your customers are your biggest marketing tool, and increasingly they are looking for more environmentally and socially responsible ways to spend their disposable income. So give them an experience to talk about and share with friends.

I will be talking more about how ethical choices can benefit your customer experience in the next few months.

And Finally…..

So in short, treat making ethical choices as an integral part of your business operations that enhances your customer experience. Keep it simple, make small changes in bitesize chunks, and choose what makes sense time and money wise to you. This way being a smarter, more responsible business can be fun rather than a green giant!

If you’d like a little more inspiration and encouragement to make smart choices in 2013 you can join our new FREE initiative Get Savvy 2013. Here, we’ll be inviting you to join us and make one change, take one action a month to make a positive difference in 2013. The point being that 12 small actions over 1 year add up to a much bigger difference! I’ll be posting more details on how you can join next week.

Look forward to seeing you there,



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