GoingGreenA Guest Post that addresses the on going global topic of climate change. It is often hard to maintain focus on such an idea as climate change when you are running your business. Sales, Deadlines, Taxes, Rent, Office Space, Employees, Providing Benefits, Selling Your Business, Climate Change??? Wait…. did that last one really fit in to your daily thoughts? Probably not! This Guest Post by Jennifer Carter provides 27 Ways that an entrepreneur/retailer can put systems in place that will make an impact.

About The Author

Jennifer Carter stays busy writing on various topics, including professional development, for Outbounding.com. In her spare time she’s quite handy; she’s currently working on a confined space entry certification.

 

27 Ways That Business Owners Can Prevent Climate Change

Global warming is an urgent problem facing our planet, but retailers are in a unique position to contribute to climate change prevention efforts. Dealing with large volumes of goods and having control over large spaces and employee culture means that a simple switch can have a noticeable impact when adopted by a retailer. Corporations such as Starbucks, Safeway, Tesco and Kingfisher have already pledged to make green changes to their stores, and many other retailers are following their lead.

In addition to helping save the planet, there are a variety of reasons for retailers to help prevent climate change. As consumers’ perspectives shift increasingly away from the idea that “going green” is just a trend to the understanding that sustainable practices are a necessity, retailers who follow suit are likely to see substantial spikes in business from environmentally minded shoppers. Add that to the fact that climate change prevention measures often save businesses money, and even non-environmentally minded retailers will want to start thinking about ways to go green.

Following are 27 ways you can work to prevent climate change in your retail store or stores, what you can encourage your employees to do, and how you can get customers in on it too.

What you as a retailer can do:

1. Get an energy audit. Your utility company can perform an energy audit to determine where you’re overusing energy. Many will do this for free, and the recommendations they give you will help you save money for years.

2. Recycle everything you can. Find out how you can start recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, ink cartridges and cardboard.

 

recycling-bins3. Reuse whatever you can. Cardboard boxes and other packing materials are a great place to start.

4. Reduce paper use. Print double-sided, reuse printed paper for scrap paper, and think before you print.

5. Buy local. When possible, source your products from local distributors or producers to reduce fossil fuel use.

6. Go digital. Switch to digital bill payment, invoicing, banking and ordering. You can also send email rather than printed memos or offer downloadable employee handbooks. Use an eFax service instead of a paper machine.

7. Get rid of Styrofoam. Styrofoam is one of the least environmentally friendly products you can use. Find alternatives to Styrofoam for everything from cups to packing peanuts, both in what you sell and in what you use in the warehouse.

8. Eliminate disposables in the break room. Reusable cups, plates and utensils may come at a small up-front investment, but they pay for themselves quickly — the average employee uses 500 disposable cups per year!

9. Reduce energy use in the restrooms. Install low-flow toilets and urinals, and fix leaky sinks or toilets promptly. Install air dryers rather than offering paper towels. And lower the thermostat on hot water heaters to 115 degrees.

10. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products. Check out www.responsiblepurchasing.org and www.epa.gov/oppt/epp/pubs/vendors for options and information.

11. Xeriscape. Reduce water usage by replacing grass outside your store with native plants that use little water, and engage in other xeriscaping techniques.

12. Buy EnergyStar-certified equipment and maintain it properly. Read up on your options at www.energystar.gov.

13. Adjust your thermostat. Keep the thermostat on 68 in the winter, and 78 in the summer, and program it to automatically reduce energy use overnight.

14. Insulate the building(s). Use weather stripping and caulking to reduce energy consumption. Insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss.

15. Recycle or donate the old equipment. Not all electronics recyclers are created equal, though — choose an R2 certified recycler to ensure that your equipment will be recycled in earth-friendly ways. Start here: http://www.r2solutions.org/certified/electronic-recyclers-with-r2-certified-facilities/

16. Use natural lighting when possible, and switch to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. CFLs can save up to $40 per year per bulb in energy costs over incandescents, and can last 13 times longer! Also, make sure all lights are turned out when everyone’s gone for the day.

17. Use Green Packaging. Educate yourself on the impact that your green packaging choices may have on the environment. In fact, your packaging can have a huge impact on sales too, not just the environment.

How to get employees involved:

18. Give recognition to employees who use green practices. People like being recognized for their efforts, and you’ll begin to create a company culture that values sustainability.

19. Offer incentives for walking, biking, bus riding or carpooling to work. These may be financial rewards, or allowing employees to leave early on days they don’t drive.

rideyourbike

 

20. Put a compost bin in the break room. Believe it or not, throwing break room food matter such as fruit peels, old bread and eggshells into the trash contributes more to global warming than does material that can’t be broken down. This is because the anaerobic decomposition in landfills produces significant quantities of methane, whereas composting food — an aerobic process — produces no methane.

21. Encourage employees to turn off and/or unplug appliances when not in use. Unplugging appliances is one of the easiest ways your store or stores can drastically reduce energy consumption. This goes for everything from the coffee maker in the break room to computers being turned off and unplugged overnight. Using power strips makes it easy to unplug several appliances at once.

22. Let employees work remotely if possible. Although this is not always feasible in retail stores, it’s possible that certain employees — such as upper management — can work from home on occasion, reducing their carbon footprint.

 

How to get customers involved in climate change prevention:

23. Offer digital receipts. Many retailers are now offering customers digital instead of paper receipts, which are easier to keep track of and save tons of paper. Some programs even allow you to offer a discount once customers have emailed themselves a certain number of receipts, which adds an extra incentive for them to go paperless.

24. Offer incentives for not driving. Consider offering a discount to customers who walk, bike or bus.

25. Reduce use of bags. Encourage your customers to bring their own bags by offering a discount to customers who do.

26. Sell reusable bags by the registers. Make it easy for customers to use reusable bags by selling them at cost when customers check out. And rather than asking, “Would you like a bag for that?” have cashiers ask, “Do you have reusable bags with you?”

27. Participate in a carbon offset program. If you offer online orders, offer carbon-neutral shipping or give customers the option to add a carbon offset to their order.

Once you’ve implemented the earth-friendly measures discussed here that make sense for your business, get another energy audit. You may be amazed how much of a difference a few changes can make — and you’ll be proud that you’re doing your part to prevent climate change!

 

Which of these ways will you place into your business? Please feel free to send me other things that you do to help!

 

 

The Original article by Jennifer can be found here

 

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Are You Sure?

October 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Being sure is important in business. Being sure allows you to freely and confidently make decisions. So, sure about what you ask? Are you confident that none of your employees are stealing from you?

In my business, we deal with Dental Practices located all over the world. Consistently throughout all of the practices that we serve there continues to be story after story of staff members who have found a way to steal money from the practice. There seems to be a never-ending number of methods that this can occur.

And trust me, when it happens, the numbers can become staggering.

The fraudster is almost always someone who has been there for years and has earned the trust of the doctor or owner. Many times it starts out small, likely even with the intent that they will return the money. Unfortunately, the small amount was intended to solve an issue in their home life but the issue persists. However, when it goes unnoticed and whatever problem existed continues; their judgment slips again and so it goes…..

It isn’t always a masked bandit or a horrible person that will steal from your business. That would make it much easier to identify. Often it is the least person you would ever expect within your organization.

As a business owner you should put safeguards and checks and balances in place to prevent what starts as a temptation into spiraling into something much larger. Some of the checks and balances that our On-Site Practice Analysis Team recommends are:

  • Deposits are made on a daily basis
  • Internal controls over cash
  • Reconcile the books daily
  • Internal audit trails on the practice software; minimum of 1x per week
  • Check the deleted files internally in the practice software
  • Stamp checks “Deposit Only” immediately
  • Different people run audit trails and check each other’s work
  • Carbon Copy of receipts
  • Fidelity Bonding your staff

Just to name a few….

The above are literally just a few of the items that should be completed as part of your internal business processes. Most of these are daily functions so they can’t be just left to chance or performed randomly. It has to become how you operate every single day.

For many small business owners the list above can seem daunting. The thought of trying to train everyone to do these things can be even a little uncomfortable. When in fact this could be suggesting that there is a trust issue. I would encourage you that there isn’t a trust issue, but rather good business processes. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

 “Trust, but verify” – Ronald Reagan

 I will admit that implementing all of these systems can be cumbersome. However, when each of these are in place there is a sense of clarity and peace that comes along with knowing that they are in place. Fear and doubt are reduced which allows the Doctor or Business Owner to concentrate on the other areas of the business.

Whenever a business doesn’t have the time, expertise, or human capital to do certain parts of their business they outsource the job to a professional in that field. My colleagues, some of the brightest CPA’s in the business, serve our clients by taking on these functions and processes for them. I have personally witnessed the relief that occurs when the doctor releases this burden as he outsources this to the professionals. It is like hiring a team of the brightest financial minds at a fraction of the cost of only one employee. Creating this financial team, as an extension of their office staff, provides for the surety that is desired.

So, are you sure?

Even if you answer yes, does it make sense to put these safeguard procedures in place?

 Or, should you outsource this part of the business to a professional for the ultimate in peace and clarity?