Today small businesses and entrepreneurship represent over half of all United States employment. This number continues to grow domestically and around the globe as more individuals seek self-employment in these economic times. With more individuals looking to become self-starters, small businesses sustainability leaders are positioning themselves to play a much more significant role in our economic future.
Within our professional consulting, we find that small business is often, by design, perfectly suited for sustainability implementation. By this, we mean that small businesses are:
• More in-touch with employees: engaging and actively managing employees on an individual level.
• More in-touch with investors: closely working business relationships to meet the expectations of its stakeholders and investors.
• More in-touch with customers: working directly with consumers and business customers to deliver products that meet specific requirements and delivery expectations.
• More in-touch with suppliers: directly communicating with smaller set of business partnerships often directly integrated into the business operations.
As is often the case, broader high level sustainability concepts are easy to grasp yet how those concepts relate to a specific application of business is where confusion or inaction occurs. The recent post, How One Small Business Cut Energy Use and Costs, articulates in detail the cost savings and benefits derived from sustainable business practices. While the post addresses energy efficiency measures, as noted in our professional consulting practice, there are numerous opportunities for a small business to capitalize on company conservation efforts delivering benefits to both the bottom line and the environment. In fact, more and more leading companies are becoming increasing aware of the cost savings and long-term benefits associated with implementing sustainable changes in their organization.
With small businesses having closer and a more direct line of communication with key business stakeholders, the potential for an aligned business sustainability understanding is available. We find that progressive small businesses are working with stakeholders to create a business case for sustainability and leveraging small business resources already available within the organization. These companies are defining opportunities for improvement, linking them to specific business metrics, and creating scorecards to evaluate success. Is your business one of them?