The Top 3 Sustainable Business Practices for Entrepreneurs Being sustainable doesn't mean being perfect, but following these practices can get you close.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As entrepreneurs, we often forget to look at our business journey as a part of life. There is not one single business journey out there that has been perfect, but choosing how to pursue sustainability is worth admiring.
Sustainability can mean so many different things, but in short, it means making more out of less. It's about creating cycles that can sustain themselves. Hence the "sustainable sign" we are all familiar with.
So, being a sustainable business practice means putting a name to your cycles in a way in which you can commit to them fully, wholeheartedly and transparently. Trust me, it's not as hard as it seems, and you're already here taking the first step by trying to learn how.
Think about the processes and systems inside your business and ask yourself how you could make each part of your business sustainable. Dreaming of your "perfect" sustainable efforts is the first step. Don't underestimate them, even if you're starting your business with a laptop sitting on your couch at home.
Why are sustainable business practices important?
Sustainable business practices are important for building trust with younger generations and communicating transparency. Having sustainable business practices may not be so easy when you're starting, but when you choose to commit to transparency and sustainability, you never know what doors could open for strategic partners that can help you grow your business.
When you share your passion to create a world with less waste, less plastic and less pollution, you'll find that other businesses may want to help you out.
1. Build your sustainable reputation
Words are just words if you can't prove what you promise. Building an online reputation is key because you need to provide transparency for conscious consumers in order to help them make informed decisions before they purchase from a brand.
Your sustainable reputation will open or close doors for you, so be careful about how you address social issues, and be smart about how you handle online trolls. Even if someone tries to hurt your reputation, pick your battles and answer with elegance. Never hide your face or stay silent when someone is pointing a finger at you. Show up, take the blame for whatever you may need to accept and inform others about how you will improve your sustainability efforts. Being sustainable is not easy, and even a sustainable business isn't perfectly sustainable all the time.
Sustainability reports can help
A detailed sustainability report can help you document your sustainability efforts. Have a sustainability report for a determined period and showcase it on your website. Start by calculating your business carbon footprint and then make an impactful report that shows that you're not afraid to improve your efforts every single day.
2. Do what you preach
Greenwashing is something you want to avoid. So before letting someone in the online space criticize your efforts, stick to what you preach. Be the voice, make room for the change, start initiatives, train your team and reward whoever takes an extra step into helping you make the world a better place.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
This ultimately leads to building your business practices around these three principles. Reduce your business waste, reuse whatever you can and recycle whatever you can from plastic to packaging.
You can get creative with these principles. Some fashion brands even create secondary products out of their fabric scraps like hair scrunchies or home accessories. Have fun thinking about how you can become more sustainable.
3. Make the most out of your marketing budget
Less is more in life and marketing. When you're starting a business, the budget can be tight, but it shouldn't be an excuse for avoiding promises you don't want to make. Don't be afraid to go all-in and define your brand ethics and values, even if that means working with a different supplier, manufacturer or shipping partner.
Your marketing budget should always have a sustainable principle priority, and it can also become the foundation of your price strategy.
Being smart about your marketing budget will allow you to add extra levels of storytelling to your business, and you'll make the most of all your marketing efforts when they all align with your mission and fit together like a perfect puzzle.
Related article: 3 Reasons Why No One Will Buy From Your Brand in 2030
Let your sustainable business practices open a realm of possibilities for your business
You're here and you're different. You're ready to change the world. You have an amazing business idea, or you may already have a sustainable business. Either way, you're here. You're waking up every morning thinking about how to improve your business and how to make a bigger impact, and that truly matters.
Sometimes, as business owners, we forget to acknowledge this. We forget to look back and see the miles and miles we've run in our lives. Don't forget that, and remember that what you choose to do today will always make a difference tomorrow.