Make Your Business More Green

Sustainable practices can bolster your brand and build customer loyalty.

Looking for ways to make your small business more environmentally conscious this year?

It could be a smart move. You can feel good about helping the planet and your business also benefits in customer loyalty as buyers recognize and appreciate your efforts. Many marketing-savvy small businesses are projecting a positive image with customers by promoting their environmental efforts.

Now is a good time to “green” your business. The movement is expanding and there is more business-minded information available on the practical, profit-producing aspects of making a business more environmentally friendly. Access to environmentally-preferable products and services is also widening—especially for small business.

Most of what your business does, from buying office supplies to disposing of old electronic gear, can be accomplished with “green” products and services. For timely information, practical tools and sound advice on making a business more environmentally conscious, GreenBiz.com is an excellent resource.

GreenBiz, a service of the Washington, DC-based Green Business Network, offers a full range of hands-on help for small businesses that want to get more green, from how to finance greater manufacturing efficiency to alternative cleaning solvents and processes. The organization’s Web site is packed with helpful information and is geared toward helping businesses take an environmental stance that also helps the bottom line.

The GreenBiz site provides descriptions and links to nearly 100 helpful organizations and Web sites — many of them by state. There are also hundreds of books and reports geared to specific industries. Take time to explore the site for a wealth of news, tools and tips on going green. Select “Small Business” in the “Resource Wizard” pulldown menu for topics geared specifically to small business.

Another useful resource is the Small Business Environmental Home Page, www.smallbiz-enviroweb.org, which helps business owners tap into pollution-prevention assistance programs of all types nationwide. It also offers a list of links to State Environmental Agencies and small business programs.

The Buy Recycled Business Alliance is a group of companies and nonprofit organizations working to promote the market for recycled-content products. The “Buyers” section of the BRBA Web site lists companies that sell products made from recycled materials — everything from floor coverings and doors to paint, bulletin boards and plastic “lumber.” Buy Recycled Business Alliance – DNREC.

To learn more about operating issues facing your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you, or find a counselor online at www.score.org.