Looking to start a business on a budget? Right from the start, you can save money by using less energy, paper, supplies, and maybe the actual office itself.
BONUS: you’ll shrink your carbon footprint, too.
To help you get on the right track, I’ve identified 5 smart ways to cut business costs by shrinking your carbon footprint.
- Go Paperless
- Automate Energy Use
- Skip Unnecessary Trips
- Share Office Space
1. Go Paperless
Paper makes up about 35 per cent of our waste even though it’s an easy material to recycle or not use at all. That could mean you’re spending a hefty chunk of change on reams of paper you’ll just end of throwing away. Instead…
• Create a digital business card that you can easily email to people you meet. If you must print a card, choose one of those half-sized designs.
• Use electronic software programs to print fewer documents, share documents and files online, produce rough drafts, and publish e-versions of final drafts.
• When you do need to print, print on both sides and again, use available software to eliminate unnecessary blank pages.
• Reuse paper printed on one side into note pads, stuffing for shipping containers, and scratch paper for kids’ art projects.
• Recycle waste paper through local recycling programs.
2. Automate Energy Use
* Use a programmable thermostat – If you have set up shop in a building or office where you have to pay for heating and cooling, make sure you have the option to change the temperature of the thermostat.
* Put office lights on sensors or timers to make sure the lights go off when no one is working.
* Program computers to shift to sleep mode when they’re not being used, though it’s better if you can get them turned off completely when they’re not needed.
* Reduce overhead. Many businesses now keep their office footprint small and their overhead costs low by allowing employees to telecommute. Some entire businesses operate this way.
* Share desks. Perhaps employee A uses the desk when she is in the office Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and employee B uses the same desk when he is in the office Tuesday-Thursday.
4. Skip Unnecessary Trips
If your business requires you and your employees to travel to conferences, meetings and sales calls, consider whether the cost and carbon footprint of transportation, hotel, meals and other related expenses are worth the price.
* Can you cut them down to zero by attending the event virtually, conducting the meeting on Skype or a Google Hangout, or holding a webinar?
5. Share Office Space
Renting office space can eat into costs. Plus, it may not be a good use of precious resources if you end up having to pay for office space you don’t use. If you can’t operate virtually, a good and eco-friendly solution is to bunk with another, like-minded company.
* Share administrative services, the cost of maintaining conference room facilities, and other related expenses while maintaining a separate identify.
Of course, it also makes sense to compare prices of any products you do buy. Our sponsor for this post, Cost Compare, will soon enable its customers to compare prices on a wide variety of supplies, including coffee makers, CRM services, mailing lists, and even graphic designers. You can learn more about them right here.
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