When a company is trying to conduct business, keep their customers happy, and make a little money, sustainability doesn't initially seem like it should be high on the list of priorities. However, by their very nature, small service industry businesses are often in the sustainability business by virtue of the number of times they repair rather than replace the items in a customer's home.
Customers like it
As service professionals, we have an obligation not only to be the example but to give potential clients a reason to want to hire us. One would think that competence, training, experience, and value would be reason enough, but customers are always looking for that 'one more thing' that shows the business is just slightly ahead of the others, and therefore better. Caring is a powerful marketing tool, whether it's intended to be or not, as recent studies have shown that three out of four Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Employees respect it
A reputation for caring doesn't just create a bond with customers. It also establishes a relationship with employees and potential employees. Employees want to work for 'the good guys'. Sustainable practices show your employees that we not only care about work, but also care about our surroundings, our community, the environment, and the planet. It's a strong and silent message that we intend to do good instead of harm.
Ways to lower consumption and waste
Some suggestions for lowering energy usage are installing occupancy sensors that turn off the lights when no one is in a room, low-flow toilets, Smart thermostats, or trucks which get better gas mileage. Above all, it's lowering consumption without any corresponding loss of quality.
Many small businesses are natural experts at implementing sustainability measures since many of them are the first generation in the industry and learned in their early days that being frugal with their resources was the only way they were going to be able to get through those fledgling years in business. Some are also in the unique position of being an expert at installing energy-efficient appliances and fixtures. Many of our clients have gone paperless to eliminate waste, as well.
Moving from the concept of sustainability to practices and then an eco-friendly company culture doesn't happen overnight. But isn't just for our customers, or our employees, or even our fragile planet. Being environmentally responsible is the right thing to do for us, our families, and future generations.
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