Updated: Jun 14
Sustainable business practices are not only good for the environment and society, but they can also be strategic business-building tools. If you’re still in the pre-launch stages of your operation, it’s wise to keep sustainability a focal point of your business plan and your marketing agenda.
According to SCORE, a business plan is a necessity in and of itself, especially if you’re looking to apply for funding. The planning process also prompts you to flush out key operational functions, which is a good place to explore the pros and cons of various sustainable practices. For example, do you need a physical location, or can you work remotely, and as a byproduct, reduce carbon emissions and save money on space rental? If you’re buying new equipment and looking at energy-efficient models, will the slightly elevated cost be manageable, considering it’s likely to pay dividends over the long run? Learning about best sustainability practices in your industry can help you make informed decisions.
Form a Corporation
Forming a New York corporation is a smart move for a start-up. It’s an essential move if you’re looking to scale quickly by hiring employees and bringing on outside investors. Shares of a corporation are easier to transfer than a limited liability company, or LLC membership interests, and investors tend to prefer the well-established and predictable structure of a corporation. While you can hire an expensive attorney to form the corporation for you, or potentially even do the necessary legwork yourself, your best bet is to utilize a formation company to handle the details. Regulations around incorporation vary from state to state, so be sure to learn your regs in advance.
Weigh Sustainability Practices
While most people would agree that living and operating in more sustainable ways benefits the planet and society, according to PBS, many still shy away from sustainable approaches because of real or perceived beliefs about costs and ease of use. For example, some sustainable business practices will cost more in the beginning, like investing in specialized equipment or implementing environmentally friendly production or distribution processes. Some costs can be recouped down the road, while others aren’t, so conduct your due diligence and develop a slate of actions that work best for your unique business and budget.
Simple Approaches to Implement
Even if you aren’t prepared to build green facilities from the ground up and invest in a fleet of electric vehicles on day one, there are ways you can integrate sustainability into your business practices as a foundation from which to grow. For example, recycle and use reusable materials wherever possible, and encourage staffers and customers to do the same. Buy locally, where possible, to reduce the carbon footprint associated with large-scale supply chain operations. Allow for compressed workweeks or telecommute options to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. When you have to buy or replace equipment, look for the most environmentally sound options within your price range.
Communicate Your Efforts
By sharing your sustainability practices with the public, you’re likely to establish yourself as a good corporate steward and even attract new business. Will some prospects be turned off if you have to boost prices a bit? Possibly. However, a recent McKinsey report indicates in the long run, sustainably operated businesses fare far better from a financial standpoint than their less engaged competitors. You are also likely to attract even more customers who are doing business with you specifically because of your stance. Being a leader in this critical area does take a dedication of time, effort, a willingness to learn and to train, but the long-term positive impact can make it all worthwhile.
Launching a business operation built on solid sustainability practices can help you establish your footing as a good corporate steward, and help you be competitive among other small businesses. Embrace this commitment by sharing what you do via social media channels, on your website, and in your branding materials. Encourage your employees to do the same and make eco-friendly operations part of your corporate culture.
This article, and others like it, can be found on the Clutch Made website. In addition to manufacturing its own line of high-quality products, Clutch Made also provides manufacturing services for companies interested in sourcing and producing in the U.S. Visit the site to learn more or reach out by phone or email for more information.
Article written by guest writer Amy Collett.
Amy Collett is creator of Biz Well, a website that helps professionals and entrepreneurs build and strengthen their personal brand.