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Simple ways to green your business and save money
Running a small business comes with its fair share of expenses and overhead costs are the most begrudged of them all – rent, utility bills, office supplies…the list can feel endless. Indeed, every business owner will be familiar with the idea that you have to spend money (typically a lot) to make money (hopefully a lot). Here we share a few tips on how you can reduce your overheads by embracing environmentally-friendly practices.
Become energy efficient and trim your electricity bills
Once upon a time, not too long ago in fact, small businesses had no insight into how much energy they were using other than what was stated on a quarterly bill. But in today’s digital world, and with a fundamental need to use energy wisely in all facets of life, small businesses and householders alike finally have access to tools allowing them to monitor energy use – courtesy of the Victorian Government’s smart meter program and ethically-minded power companies (like Powershop).
Powershop customers are equipped with an online account and smartphone app, which can provide half-hourly insights into how much energy your small business is using, as well as what appliances or equipment are sucking the most – perhaps even when you’re not using them. By harnessing these tools, as well as smart meter data, small businesses can effect real change in day-to-day operations in order to become more energy efficient and in turn save money.
Naomi Tosic, Business Manager of The Office Space – which operates two boutique serviced office sites in Sydney – switched to Powershop last year and has been using the smartphone app to reduce unnecessary consumption within the business.
In addition to improving efficiency, Tosic estimated The Office Space would save around $6000 on its annual electricity bill in their first year as a Powershop small business customer.
Embrace the sharing economy
According to Tosic, smaller companies – from start-ups through to established businesses – are increasingly adopting a collaborative consumption model, in the form of a shared working space like The Office Space provides.
Although collaborative consumption (also known as the ‘sharing economy’) is not a new concept, it has taken the help of brands like Uber and Airbnb to truly demonstrate on a global level the benefits of peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services. Love them or hate them, something can be said for their clever use of resources.
Tosic says sharing a working space can not only eliminate waste, but by pooling resources such as a receptionist and office equipment, it can result in huge cost benefits.
“You also don’t have to worry about fit-out costs, leasing or buying equipment,” Ms Tosic says.
Improve your sustainability practices
While it has been established that sustainability should be a core component of modern day business, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s being put in to day-to-day practice. Are your staff still leaving lights on overnight? Are you printing documents for meetings when you can view them on your smartphone or tablet?
Implementing new initiatives to increase energy efficiency or upgrading inefficient equipment can save you big bucks in the long run. Consider switching power-sucking fluorescents to LEDs and introducing energy management tools such as timer switches for lights and standby power. Or you could try going paperless, which means you won’t have to pay for paper or ink cartridges – and will possibly eliminate the need for a printer altogether. Fancy that!