Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wed. on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with @Greenhance Jennifer Kaplan, Author of Greening Your Small Business and Founder of Greenhance, LLC. A business consulting firm dedicated to developing marketing strategies for small businesses who are going green. She’s an Adjunct Faculty in Marketing at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Jennifer brings her firsthand knowledge of going green to business owners everywhere. Jennifer is a regular contributor to Ecopreneurist.com. For more information visit http://www.greenhance.com
Smallbizlady: All I hear about is going green. Why so much talk about green?
There is a revolution going on in the American marketplace: Businesses everywhere are changing the way they operate by incorporating green practices, products and objectives into their business models.
Smallbizlady: What Does Going Green Mean?
It’s the implementation of a broad range of policies and procedures focused on conserving and improving the natural environment, both for its own sake as well as to improve business strength and sustainability.
Smallbizlady: Where do small businesses fit in to the green movement?
Small businesses have an indirect impact on climate; the electricity, heating, cooling and transportation and other services used all translate into CO2 output with global warming impact. A small action multiplied by 27 million has a significant impact-that’s the law of large numbers.
Smallbizlady: Where do we begin as small businesses to get our companies going green?
Greening your business can be as simple as following your interests. Going green may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you start slow and take it one step at a time, you can keep the process manageable and still build a valuable green program that yields tremendous benefits.
Smallbizlady: Isn’t it expensive and difficult to go green?
You don’t have to be 100% green. In fact no business is. Pick and choose what works for your business. Not every green practice will fit everyone’s needs or budget.
Smallbizlady: If you had to pick the three most common things a business can do to go green what would they be?
As an overarching idea, reducing the amount of resources used is the most effective way to quickly and inexpensively green a business. Often this means reducing the amount of paper, energy (electricity) and business travel.
Smallbizlady: You talk about eight steps to going green, what’s the first step?
The first step involves making a commitment. This means creating a green management team. Depending on the size of your organization, it may be one person-you.
Smallbizlady: What is step #2?
Step number two is to define your overarching goals and set some specific, measurable objectives that will help you realize those goals. Defining your goals early in the process is the first step in determining what you want from your green program.
Smallbizlady: What is step #3?
Assess your greenness by taking inventory of what you are already doing in terms of your use of energy, water and materials usage, products and packaging, transportation and travel, even your marketing and communications programs. You need to know where and when you’re expending resources-and where you can conserve. You’ll need this information to set priorities.
Smallbizlady: What is step #4?
Assess the risks your business faces-the threats posed by the physical, regulatory and economic forces associated with climate change. Proactive risk management will open up a variety of opportunities.
Smallbizlady: What is step #5?
Assess the strategic branding and product opportunities related to greenness. Don’t try to fit your identity into a green program, but rather make your green program fit your identity.
Smallbizlady: What is step #6?
Create a plan. Set measurable objectives-and report measurable results.
Smallbizlady: What is step #7?
Implement your plan by putting policies and procedures in place to achieve your goals, one step at a time.
Smallbizlady: What is step #8?
Communicate with key stakeholders by engaging in a public dialogue about your green program, disclosing your assessments and plans in company communications, marketing materials and on-site signage in a transparent way.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9pm ET follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
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