Running a small company is a lot like spinning plates. You need to be responsible for ensuring monthly salaries are paid, creating opportunities for growth, keeping customers satisfied and ensuring your teams are happy too. Do you really have time to worry about the environment? Has the issue of sustainability taken rather a back seat?

Many small businesses face similar problems. You may care about the environment but don’t have the time to implement aggressive changes. Isn’t recycling printer cartridges enough, you ask? However, small changes in working practices may not only make your business a lot greener, but will make better business sense, too.

Work stations not service stations

If you sell a product or service you may not be able to sell online or through a glossy brochure. You may, instead, make many thousands of personal sales visits every year. It’s worth exploring how many of these initial visits actually develop into sales. If the proportion is relatively low, it could be time to consider changing your practices.

By carrying out your initial, speculative meetings using on-line video technology, you will not only save many hours of traveling time, but you’ll be reducing costs and increasing your efficiency. A sound investment!

Cash not cars

Your company car scheme may have outlived its use and may no longer have any real benefits for your people. Changes in tax laws and congestion charges for some mean that people have been forced, over the last few years, to rethink their commuting arrangements.

It may be time for your business to make the transition from offering company cars to providing, instead, a car allowance. This gives employees a much greater degree of flexibility in their commuting. More people than ever plan ahead and use public transport, particularly in major cities. Furthermore, working from home is developing into a familiar standard for many small businesses.

Offering a cash scheme in place of supplying vehicles certainly reduces the time and energy spent in managing a company car scheme.

Online not on shelves

If your business stills stores boxes of paper labelled ‘archives’, then it’s time to move into the 21st century. Online file sharing and storage is an affordable, smart choice. Not only is it easier to share, retrieve and manage your documents, it also saves on expensive printing and storage costs. So, it’s easier, better, cheaper.

Another very straightforward step to becoming greener is to consider carefully your own suppliers. Where do you buy resources? Who provides you with technology or cleans your offices? There’s so much competition for business, that you could easily opt for a company which has environmentally friendly working practices.

Think also about staff re-training. If your employees are in the habit of turning off their technology both overnight and at weekends, then energy and costs will immediately be reduced.

In the words of J. P. Morgan, “a man generally has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good, and a real one.” Taking a few simple steps will not only cement your status as a business supporting sustainability, but will also make your business more cost-effective, able to work more quickly and work smarter. What’s more, going green may be one of the best things you’ve done to keep your small business in the black!