Sustainability: The New Way To Leverage Your Business
One of the biggest issues with small businesses, or any business, is finding a way to sustain and ultimately grow. Although I have been an entrepreneur for over 35 years, I have been able to sustain Essence of a Lady, Inc. for 26 years. However, I never thought about the word “sustainability” in business until a few weeks ago. I was having a conversation about retiring and establishing a connection with a new CEO known by the person on the other end of the phone. She knows me as an educator so she asked what else I did. As I began to share my experience as an entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, and nonprofit strategist, she began to talk about how this new word, “sustainability” was the new buzzword and suggested that I research it to build a platform for corporate training. My desire to run Essence of a Lady, Inc. full time and leverage my training business motivated me to explore “sustainability” more.
What Is Business Sustainability?
As an ICONIC entrepreneur, my bottom line has always been earning a profit and growing the business. However, business sustainability focuses on the triple bottom line: profits, people, and the planet. The World Council For Economic Development describes sustainable development in a business: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In other words, sustainable development in a business is one which has developed resiliency, it can survive weakened economies and market downfalls because it has connected with the community which it belongs and has established Eco-friendly ways to preserve the planet.
How Can We Leverage Our Business Using Sustainability Best Practices?
- Listen to our clients, customers, and community: One reason surveys have become common practice in viable businesses is to engage the stakeholders. It is a way to find out what they think, what they want, and what they do not want.
- Manage our environment efficiently: Many businesses have become more Eco-friendly. As business owners, we have to determine how we can protect our planet by having less waste. One way we can help is using electronic communication and billing systems to save trees.
- Make transparency a top priority: As business owners, we must be willing to share business reports, not as a mandate but as a method of building trust. Where there is trust, there is growth because people have a clearer picture of what is going on and how they can help you sustain and thrive in their community.
- Practice continuous research and analysis: As community demands and customer needs change, as business owners, we must be cognizant of this and utilize the data we gather from the feedback we receive from each group.
Sustainability is the most effective way to leverage our business. It demonstrates a holistic approach to running a business. By implementing best practices of sustainability, we are able to stay focused on what is important to our business(the people), conserve our environment(the planet), and grow our business (the profit) over time.