While no business is going to claim not to be sustainable, it helps if you can point to actual things you are doing in this area.
The Small Business Brand as USP
Being “green” isn’t going to be a complete USP for most companies these days. But if you are in one of the few remaining industries that doesn’t concern itself with sustainability, then it might help.
Faced with two seemingly otherwise equal choices, most consumers will choose the small business brand that appears more sustainable.
Simple Small Business Brand Options
One easy and low cost way to make your small business brand more sustainable is to switch to green energy. Fortunately, these days you can buy sustainably sourced energy from many power companies. That’s much easier than trying to install solar cells or wind turbines.
Then you can tell your customers, employees and anyone else likely to care that your business is helping to save the planet and so on, increasing your small business brand.
In most cases, green energy isn’t going to cost much more than conventional. In fact, it might be one of the most inexpensive small business brand improvements you can do.
Said one retailer:
Yeah, it costs us a little bit extra to do these good things, but I think it helps our bottom line. Employee-retention rates are high and customers are more loyal.
In addition to local press, businesses that reach these sustainability goals may make it on to the EPA’s list of companies that choose renewable power. Official logos are usually good to improve a small business brand.
Sustainability can be a tricky subject. Take building supplies for example. You won’t find a product that doesn’t claim to be more sustainable. Concrete is one of the dirtiest, most energy intensive processes out there. But then well laid concrete will last indefinitely. Wood on the other hand, is infinitely renewable but we build with it intending for it to last only 50 years.
Another relevant example is the car battery. Electric and hybrid cars claim sustainability based on extremely low gas mileage. But then if you consider the production cost of manufacturing a hybrid battery and its disposal, it becomes one of the least sustainable vehicles there are.
Sustainability and The Small Business Brand
Those two examples look at sustainability from the cradle-to-cradle paradigm. It’s important to consider the energy it takes to bring a product to market as well as its disposal. Consumers are becoming more aware of such issues even if it doesn’t seem that it would be immediately relevant to your bottom line.
All that’s to say that paying a little bit more for your energy might make sense financially too when it comes to customer satisfaction, employee retention and improving your small business brand.