This article was written by guest writer Janet Lovelace of workcanwait.net
Every business owner hopes to make a profit at some point, but those who incorporate sustainability into their business model hope to do so without harming the environment, society, or the communities in which they live. And to achieve this goal of reducing their environmental impact, aspiring business owners must keep several sustainable practices in mind when writing their business plans — and consider the pros and cons of building a sustainable company.
To learn more about starting a business with sustainability in mind, check out this guide from ecopeco.
Instead of focusing solely on profits, sustainably-minded businesses strive to meet their own needs while reducing their negative impact on society, the environment, and their communities. These businesses aim to tackle environmental or social issues such as water use, air emissions, working conditions, community health, biodiversity, inequality, and food, water, or plastic waste. Some examples of sustainable business practices include:
By incorporating any of these sustainable practices into their business strategies, companies can successfully make money in business while positively impacting the world as a whole. They’ll also impress and attract investors, employees, clients, and customers, improve the image of their brand, and reduce business energy costs.
While there are many environmental and socioeconomic advantages of incorporating sustainability into business, there are several disadvantages to be aware of when preparing for business ownership. Several of these disadvantages include:
Now that you’re familiar with the advantages of embracing sustainability, you may be wondering “how do I start a business while keeping these sustainable practices in mind?” Firstly, you’ll need to conduct market research, choose a business idea, run a sustainability audit, and write a plan that can be used to obtain the funding you need to get your business off the ground. Many first-time entrepreneurs admit to learning as they go, so don’t be afraid to take the plunge if you’re passionate about starting an eco-conscious business!
When preparing to launch a company, you’ll also need to name and structure your business — as several legal entities include corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and limited liability companies (LLCs). Thanks to their tax advantages, personal liability protection, management flexibility, and simple formation process, LLCs are a smart choice for many small businesses — and online formation services are available to walk you through the process. Just remember to review your local LLC regulations before getting started.
Finally, don’t forget to make marketing a top priority, this is crucial to finding customers and growing your presence. An engaging and sustainable website is key, and it’s important that it has all the necessary information your customer will want. Remember too that your logo says a lot, so take the time to create and customize the ideal logo for your business using a free logo design tool that offers plenty of options and templates. Of course, social media marketing is also important. So choose your preferred platforms, and then stay vigilant about regular updates. A platform like Social Pilot or Hootsuite can help make this easier.
Once you’ve launched your business, there are some additional steps you’ll need to take to market your products and services to your target audience. HubSpot shares several green tips and strategies for small business owners, such as incorporating sustainable practices into your business, going paperless, donating to charitable organizations in your community, and highlighting the benefits of going green on your business website and social media accounts.
When communicating your company’s sustainability efforts, it’s important to avoid greenwashing — as unintentionally making false or misleading claims could harm the credibility of your business. Obtaining a green business certification through Green America or Green Seal, however, will help to improve your sustainability skills and knowledge, protect your reputation, and authenticate your green efforts.
If you’re thinking of starting a business, building a socially responsible company could improve the image of your brand, attract investors, employees, and customers, and even reduce workplace heating and cooling expenses. It’s very possible to do well in business while doing great things for the planet, and integrating sustainability into your business is a lot easier than you’d think!
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