3 Simple Steps to a Sustainable Small Business

From Environmental Leader, Published on 2 May 2018

While being “socially conscious” is a bit of a buzzword these days in the entrepreneurial world, it truly is the ultimate win/win – it’s both a powerful way to boost your bottom line, increase team spirit, and encourage creativity, all while engaging in positive change, according to Leena Patidar, CEO of Coin Up.

But positively “transforming the world” while also making money is a tall order. It’s not simply a case of, “Build a socially conscious business and they will come,” or a one-size-fits-all strategy.

“There is more than one way to become successful,” says Patidar. The key, she says, is to remain true to your vision, know your strengths, and develop strategies that work for you. Here, Patidar offers the top three strategies that work for her as she maintains a business centered on the concept of simplifying social impact efforts, while creating major change.

1.    Set realistic expectations. The old motto may have been “go big or go home,” but when it comes to identifying the cause your business will support, it’s best to start small. Choose a realistic goal that you can reach without overexerting your budget and resources. Often, a local project within your immediate community is a great place to begin and the achievable success will encourage higher results as the team evolves.

2.    Create a conscious culture. Any successful impact effort requires focused teamwork. Develop recruiting and training processes, internal protocols, and communication patterns that support your impact goals. Then, stay true to your company’s values. Before you know it, applicants will choose to work with you because of your social focus.

3.    Find socially conscious allies. As the saying goes, “you are who you associate with,” both in life and in business. When looking to partner or collaborate with other businesses, consider whether their social objectives align with yours. Partnerships with like-minded organizations, that look for ways to give back and support their communities, can help widen your impact, inspire new and creative approaches, and keep you zeroed in on your goals.

Adding the element of sustainability to a business, however, is no longer enough to guarantee the business will stand out among its peers. Social consciousness is increasingly becoming a requirement for businesses large and small – but it can be a challenge for smaller business that have yet to reach the level of sophistication of larger organizations. Small businesses tend to spend the bulk of their time handling daily operational challenges that are necessary to keep the business afloat, points out Mohit Grover, sustainability leader, Deloitte Southeast Asia (via The Business Times). In order for these smaller companies to begin implementing sustainability initiatives, it may be smart to aim for the “low hanging fruit,” he says.

“For example, SMEs can start to monitor resource usage through a desktop exercise to understand the baseline,” Grover says. They can then analyze the findings and identify areas for improvement.

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