5 Easy Expense Decisions Entrepreneurs Can Make in 2022 to Increase their Impact Make positive changes to be more intentional with your expenses.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I love the energy of the new year. Ideas feel limitless, and possibility is everywhere. It's an opportunity to make thoughtful tweaks in our personal and professional lives. The kind that not only make our routines more accretive, but also propel us toward a better future.
My favorite new year's resolutions are those that advance the greater good. This year I'm thinking about how our spending choices as a business today will shape the world we live in tomorrow. If you're looking to be more intentional with your expenses in 2022 and make positive change along the way, here are a few commitments you can make this January that will impact the future of our world:
1. Office supplies = value advancers
There are plenty of small shifts you can make. Initiate efforts to demonstrate to your employees that you walk the walk when it comes to the values for which your brand stands. One simple way to do this is to consider how you source your office supplies.
Think about the core pillars that mean the most to your company and direct your purchasing power toward advancing them. For some, this means supporting businesses with a focus on giving back to the environment. Switch your office coffee to organic, swap out the styrofoam cups for reusable mugs or install a water purifier in the break room sink with washable glasses.
Or, your business might focus on working with underserved communities. There are plenty of second chance employers who provide opportunity to people rebuilding their lives after setbacks. You could source your logo-ed tees and hoodies from companies employing at-risk youth. Or buy your corporate gifts from bakeries that hire people jump starting their careers after incarceration. Committing to switch to a value-aligned company or product takes minimal effort. You can make sure that the space you are creating and the items that bear your company name reflect your beliefs.
2. Consider supplier diversityAre you casting a wide enough net when you are looking to hire outside help? Decisions ultimately come down to companies' offerings. But, it's beneficial to consider suppliers and service providers of all backgrounds and walks of life. Whether you're looking to work with a large business or a mom-and-pop shop, it's helpful to review bids from non-traditional providers, like women-owned, veteran-owned or minority-owned companies. Many non-traditional businesses have an incredible range of qualifications and offer fantastic work. But, they might not have the big marketing budget that the Fortune 500 competition has. Keep this in mind when choosing providers like marketing agencies, engineering shops and PR firms.
Creating competition is not only a step towards more equal opportunities, but it's also great for business. It means everyone has a shot to offer their best. And, that you're more likely to find the most truly qualified option for your needs.
3. Seek small and local
In addition to seeking out non traditionally-owned businesses, consider small and local options when working with service providers or vendors. 99.9 percent of businesses in the U.S. are considered small businesses (this includes start-ups!). These small businesses often lose out to larger corporations whose household names might be top of mind. This could mean options like choosing local catering for the next board meeting, hiring a boutique planning company to manage your next big event or putting up clients in a much-loved local hotel instead of a chain.
This creates a powerful ripple effect. When local businesses thrive, so does the economy. That equates growth in local talent and a stronger community. And few things feel better than pouring back into the communities that matter to us.
4. Create company culture-aligned service opportunities
Why is this an expense? Because compensating your employees for their service to others will more than pay for itself. Team service is an excellent way to foster goodwill and dedication to the organizational culture you are striving to build. Go a step beyond encouraging your employees to give back by seeking out opportunities that align with your company's mission.
It could be as modest as a thank you letter-writing campaign to your service providers and suppliers or as large-scale as a day spent volunteering in the field. The key is to choose activities that are authentic to your business.
This is more than just the chance to make a difference. It's also an opportunity for your team to build strong bonds while getting an up-close view of what kind of good your company aims to do in the world.
5. Keep an eye on innovation
Minds in every sector are working 24/7 to dream up new ways for companies to be more transparent, more ethical and more eco-friendly. The new innovations that are just twinkles in entrepreneurs' eyes today could be tomorrow's solution to common shared challenges. From more creative ways for your team to lower their carbon emissions to better ways to pay down student loans. Stay curious about new tech on the horizon, and don't be afraid to be an early adopter.
As we dive into this new year, I keep returning to the thing so many of us forget about resolutions: you don't have to move mountains to make real, lasting and positive change. Even a few small shifts in how you direct your budget can make a big difference. And with simple changes, it's easy to keep your momentum going for the long haul.