When you are setting up a business, it is highly likely that you have put in a lot of time thinking about your branding, marketing and business plan in general. In fact, some would say that this is all you really need to think about at this stage of the operation and you are standing in good stead.
While this might be true, there are 3 things that many businesses don’t consider which can make a huge difference to the way you build and grow: what you will do with your waste, what environmental impact you may have and how you could be helping your community.
Though businesses are often merited on their ability to turn a large profit, in recent years, consumers have made it clear that they are now looking for much more in a brand. In fact, with the amount of social awareness being generated in the media around topics like plastic waste, consumers are being much more discerning about where they spend their hard earned cash.
So now you’ve ticked everything off your ultimate business start-up checklist, here are just 3 more things to think about.
Yes, it’s a boring topic but given that the Environment Agency is cracking down on all businesses (not just the big ones), you need to understand what your duty of care is. Even if you are only disposing of waste paper, you need to make sure that you are doing what you can recycle and reuse where necessary.
Waste management is most important for those companies using hazardous materials. You might think that this doesn’t apply to you but lots of businesses use materials that become hazardous waste when finished with – batteries, for example.
Storing hazardous materials and wastes properly is also a part of your duty of care so you must make sure that you keep an updated list of what is in each storage container and ensure that everything is stored properly. Visit CLSmith.com to learn more.
Waste management may not be very glamorous, or something that you want to put on your marketing paraphernalia, but it is worth doing if only to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Failure to manage your waste properly can easily end up in a large fine, and how daft would you feel if your business flopped because you didn’t do this basic step?
Every business has some impact on the environment, even if it is a passive effect of having all the lights in the office switched on all the time and 50 computers humming away. In many cases, looking at improving your environmental impact may cost in the short term but save significantly in the long term so even from a stark financial perspective, it is worth considering.
For example, many offices have water coolers with a stack of disposable plastic cups. The best guess suggests that these cups take somewhere in the region of 1000 years to break down in landfill but we can’t be sure. A good alternative would be to use regular glasses or another reusable cup and wash up at the end of the day.
Another issue is recycling. As stated above, you have a duty of care to recycle and reuse as much as possible which is often cheaper than bundling all your waste together and sending it to landfill. Factories in particular can save here as their waste can often be used by others. For example, a farmer might like to buy waste paper.
As people are getting much more involved in the impact we humans have, now is a good time to show off what you are doing to mitigate the damage and even improve things. Holding charity fundraisers or working with environmental charities and agencies could do a lot for your brand as well as for your soul.
Helping the Community
On a similar thread, it is becoming more and more noticeable that small communities need the help of local businesses to thrive. Given the prevalence of multinationals taking over every high street, it is important that you cement yourself as part of the community in order to survive. Businesses depend on their local communities just as much as locals depend on businesses so using a small proportion of your profits to benefit the community will go miles in PR value as well as good sense.
The first thing to do is identify a cause that you would like to help with. For example, there might be a park that needs restoring or maybe you would like to donate some books to local schools. Whatever it is, it needs to fit with your general branding and appeal to your customers. So a restaurant might host a kid’s cooking class, for example.
As with any event, you might also like to invite other local businesses to join in, making the venture mutually beneficial for everyone and raising the profile of the area too. The local press love this sort of thing so if you can all pull together to do some good, you will all have the attention of the community.
Community events are also a great way to get people out and about in the area. A brilliant example is the East Lancashire Railway 1940s Weekend where lots of locals and tourists dress in their 40s finest and many of the shops and restaurants in the towns linked by the train get dressed up too. This sort of thing brings the community together but also encourages others to get involved. Plus, anyone can stick some bunting up and print off some slogan posters so every single business can get involved.
While you are setting up a business, there is a lot to think about and a lot to organize but giving these 3 things some thought now will save you a lot of bother in the future. Setting a good example and being in good habits from the start is a lot easier than finding you have to change your processes to keep up later on. Get ahead and reap the rewards.
*This is a contributed post