When some small business owners think of going green, they might envision hours spent on the roof installing solar panels or other similarly complicated (and expensive) projects. For our purposes, let's put aside for now all the grand schemes and concentrate on small steps.
Starting small in this context means making only a couple of simple changes. Taking this approach has two advantages. First, of course, small projects are generally easier to implement than larger scale projects. If you have some hesitation about going green, easy implementation might make the difference in clearing that hurdle. Second--and this advantage shouldn't be underestimated--benefits are easier to track.
Start Small, Track the Benefits
Being able to track the benefits early in the process is particularly important in helping you determine if going green makes sense for you. To that end, it makes sense to adopt only a couple of initiatives, even if there are many simple ones that can be adopted.
Suppose that you adopt several green initiatives because they are all easy to implement. Suppose further that you determine after a period of time that you are not getting any financial benefit from the changes you made. Do you jettison all of your initiatives? When deciding what to do next, you're in a tough spot if you cannot individually measure the initiatives you adopted. If all the initiatives you adopted but one was saving you money, your best option would be to jettison the one and keep the others. But if you've adopted them all simultaneously, you might not be able to identify which one is at fault.
As a result, it's usually a better idea to start small, with just a couple of changes. Evaluate those changes after a period of time. If they prove worthwhile, add a couple of more and repeat the process. By adopting green initiatives in stages, you should be better able to build a green business that works best for you.
By no means is this suggestion to start small meant to discourage you from thinking big and taking on larger scale projects. If you intend to undertake a more ambitious approach to going green, perhaps the best place for you to start is with an energy audit that would evaluate your current energy use and recommend changes. For more on energy audits, see the "Energy Audits" section in State Government Resources, where you may be able to gain access to free or low-cost energy audits through your state government.
Beginning With Small Steps
Otherwise, for suggestions for how you might begin with small steps, take a look at the following: