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Can You Grow a Business Sustainably?

– Contributed content –

Shipping containers

Rethink your supply chain (Chanaka, Pexels.com)

15 Dec. 2018. The answer is a resounding yes. But many businesses care more about profit margins than sustainable growth. However, aside from simply caring about the future of the planet, you should aim to grow sustainably if you want to improve your profit margins and your reputation. The following suggestions might give you some guidance.

Rethink wasteful business operations

Obviously, this point will be at the core of all the suggestions made throughout this article. For starters, however, you need to take a look at your core business operations and costs. Think about the way in which you run your business. How are you wasteful? What improvements could you make? And don’t conflate “reducing costs” with “cutting back”. You don’t have to close down departments to save money. You could reduce wastefulness in ways that actually optimize your company’s operations. For instance, why use paper at all in the modern age? Start digitizing your information. You’ll save a lot of money on a monthly basis, and you’ll save a lot of trees too.

You might also want to encourage remote working. This will save your business money; you won’t have to pay for additional office space, heating, and so on. You’re not just helping the environment in terms of cutting down your energy usage, of course. If fewer people travel to the office then that means fewer cars are on the road every morning and every evening. Start rethinking your wasteful business operations. Your business will save money, increase its profit margins, and have more money available for investment. That’s how you’ll grow sustainably.

Reduce and reuse before you recycle or replace

You’ve probably heard people say that sustainability is all about “reducing, reusing, and recycling”, but the first two of those three are the most important. For instance, recycling paper is smart. However, as mentioned in the previous point, you could save a lot of money by avoiding the use of paper at all. Your primary goal should be to reduce wastefulness. Reduce and reuse before you recycle or replace things in your business. Of course, that might be easier in theory than practice. You might be a little more eager to replace resources that are important to the quality control of your products and services.

In your warehouse, for example, you probably rely on certain tools and machinery to perform at a high standard so as to ensure that your business delivers goods at a high standard too. But you don’t always have to replace tools when they wear out. You could look into ball screw repair for precision assembly equipment that you use on your factory line. Many ball screws can be refurbished to a new condition, and it’ll be much cheaper than buying brand new ball screws.

That’s just one example of saving money yet retaining quality control by reusing a piece of equipment rather than replacing it. You can reduce waste in your business without compromising on the quality of your services, as explained in the initial point.

Promote your eco-friendly brand well

You shouldn’t create an environmentally friendly business for the sake of impressing potential clients. That being said, it’s a great way to appeal to the target market. Modern-day consumers care very much about the way in which their products and services are manufactured and delivered. So, promoting an eco-friendly brand is a great way to grow your business. It’ll give you an edge on the competition. Make sure your target market knows that your company values the future of the earth. As an example, some brands mention in their adverts that they plant 2 trees for every 1 tree they cut down.

Keep rethinking the supply chain

As your business continuously grows, its supply chain will continuously develop too. You need to keep rethinking this process to ensure that it’s sustainable. You need to think about the end goal, first of all. If you’re selling toys then the end goal is a toy being unwrapped by a gleeful child (or an adult who’s a child at heart).

But think backwards. What is the journey for that toy from its creation in a factory to its new home in a family’s house? As a small business, toys might be handmade, hand-packaged, and posted to addresses. But as that toy business grows, the toys will become mass-produced and the supply chain will have to change.

If you want to grow your business sustainably then you need to make sure that you deliver your products in an environmentally-friendly manner. There can be damaging and wasteful elements to the process than you might imagine. For example, you might be surprised to hear that the meat and dairy industry does more damage to the environment than the world’s transport combined. But when you look at a piece of steak on your plate and the car on your driveway, you might find that hard to believe. That’s because it’s all about the supply chain.

You need to find green ways to deliver your goods to customers, even if it might not be the easiest route. As mentioned in the previous point, an eco-friendly brand can go a long way to help your business grow. You might spend a little bit more money packaging your products in paper bags rather than plastic wrapping, for example, but you’ll make up for that overhead cost by increasing your client base.

Consumers really care about sustainability in the modern age. Even if you’re selling the same products as your competitors, you might be able to grow your client base more quickly if customers know that they’re doing less damage to the planet by purchasing from your business instead.

Opt for digital promotion over physical promotion

A strong website is a vital marketing tool in the modern age, but your business shouldn’t just opt for online forms of advertising because they’re modern and trendy; such forms of marketing are also much more sustainable. Referring back something mentioned in the initial point, why waste money on paper and other physical resources when you can do things digitally?

You’re more likely to make an impact with a website that ranks well on search engines than posters, flyers, business cards, and billboards. Traditional advertising can gain some traction, but your business can grow much sustainably and successfully through digital promotion. The majority of consumers shop for goods and services on the internet in the modern age.

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