Transform your business and go green - Business Works
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Transform your business and go green

Bradley Derringer, Manager, TechBreach In this day and age, if you arent using technology to provide you with every possible advantage over the competition, youre behind in the game and are losing sales that you could easily be making to leave your competitors in the dust.

As small business owners, we need to take advantage of everything technology has to offer just to stay in or ahead of the game. While its important to keep our overhead costs as low as possible, there are ways we can accomplish this without taking on significant additional fixed costs. If youre looking for ways you can transform your business and become greener, here are just a few suggestions that can reduce your companys carbon footprint.

Online Invoicing

When was the last time you said, "I sure am glad to have this gigantic filing cabinet in my office?". Better yet, when was the last time you felt excited, or even the least bit happy, about needing to file work documents? Its rather shocking just how many companies still rely on paper to conduct their business, especially given the number of ways we can reduce our carbon footprint by reducing our paper consumption. By choosing to do your companys invoicing online, you save not only on the paper you would normally use to complete your invoicing, but youre also simplifying your bookkeeping process.

Online invoicing is one of the easiest ways a company can reduce its paper consumption as it doesnt require you to print a single document that is, unless you want to. Online invoicing software provides you the ability to view and create documents from any computer and many offer the ability to work from your tablet or smartphone as well. Add the ability to send your clients reminders directly to their e-mail inboxes and youll quickly see just how much money your company can save while implementing this green practice.

Accepting payments online

If youve been looking for a way to go green while increasing your ability to sell your goods or services, theres no easier method than to accept credit cards online through your company site. Not only can this allow you to increase your revenue, but you can also reduce your paper consumption in the process. If the average individual receives up to 3kg (6lbs) of mail a year, think about how much of that you can remove, keeping forests lush while continuing to provide your customers with everything they need.

By setting up a merchant services account, your customers can make payments on your website and can eliminate virtually every single paper document that usually accompanies the transaction. No longer will you need to print out receipts, shipping information, or invoices, as you can have your customers create an account, inputting all of their information into your system, so you can provide them with all of these documents electronically.

Recycling programme

Youre probably familiar with the adage, 'Reduce, reuse, recycle', but do you truly put this into practice in the office? If not, dont worry about it; you certainly are not alone in this. However, with it being 2013, it is time for us to do all we can to preserve the planet for generations to come. Most of the products you use on a regular basis in the office are recyclable, but if you arent making recycling easy on yourself and your office staff, you wont make much progress with this green endeavor, which is why you should look into creating a recycling program in your office. You dont need much to get started; just some collection bins, some signs for each category and some easy-to-follow guidelines to make each recycling decision in the office an effortless one. Here are some labels you can create, but this is just a jumping off point. You know your office best, so create labels that fit your needs. Some suggestions include:

  • Ink Cartridges some office supply stores will give you money back for recycling your cartridges and some charities and local community organisations collect them too.
  • Cardboard we all receive packages in the mail, so this is a must-have.
  • Paper products pretty self-explanatory; if you use paper, you should recycle it.
  • Cans and bottles great for those employees who love soda and energy drinks, but important as most plastics and aluminium cans can be recycled.
  • Plastic bags this may be a lesser-used bin, but if you have any employees who bring lunch to work with them, this is a great way for them to properly dispose of any plastic bags they might use.

Energy-efficient lighting and computers

Up to 30% of your office energy use goes to artificially lighting your space. While we need light to remain productive throughout the day, there are ways we can reduce our energy consumption without working in the dark. The first step is to purchase Energy Star-rated light bulbs and lighting fixtures, as these use 20% less energy than traditional light bulbs. You can also install motion-detecting timers that will only keep your office, or certain areas of the office, lit when in use. Lastly, if youre the last one to leave the room, turn the lights off as you leave. Even if youre only stepping out for five minutes, theres no need to keep your unoccupied room lit. It is good to label light switches to help people identify different area and particularly where there are potential health and safety issues.

The other area is computers and their monitors. The general rule is to turn off the monitor if you are going to be away from it for more than 20 minutes and the CPU unit for more than two hours. Machines with the Energy Star facility should have it enabled.

Whether youre looking to turn toward technology to reduce your carbon footprint, or simply want to make it easier for you and your employees to recycle, there are plenty of ways you can go about making your office greener. It will ultimately come down to practices that you are willing to stick with, so dont create any new policies or changes in the workplace if you arent going to be able to live up to them.

As long as you dont make it a chore, your whole office will jump aboard the green bandwagon.

Bradley Derringer is Manager at TechBreach which provides important technology updates from around the world.

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