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How Small Businesses Can Temporarily Adapt


Author: Josephine Fleming, Executive Director of the California Green Business Network

How Small Businesses Can Temporarily Adapt

 

As the president of a small business in Santa Cruz, and the Executive Director of a nonprofit serving small and medium-sized businesses across California, I have a deep appreciation of the dilemmas and decisions business owners face today. We are making decisions with many uncertainties, knowing they directly impact our employees, customers, and our own bottom line. 

Given our focus on costs and profit, and knowing that in the midst of this crisis we’re unlikely to increase revenue, we may well choose to cut staff. And frankly, for some that may be the only path. For other businesses, it may be time for a deep breath and to rethink options to stay afloat until more information is available. 

I propose that, instead of preemptively cutting staff expenses, business owners consider using this downtime to complete important, cost-saving projects that in busier times often get overshadowed by urgent tasks. 

I encourage business owners to use this time to consider how they can broaden their calculation of the bottom line to include people and planet — the so-called triple bottom line. If you’re a business owner that can keep staff even a few more days, why not: 

  • Use this time to educate staff on clean and green practices and demonstrate your commitment to a green future.
  • Research and purchase cleaning products that are hygienic without being toxic. 
  • Schedule consultations with solar companies to start saving now on energy bills.
  • Sign up for the myriad of online tools that help reduce your energy bills.
  • Set up online billing and other paper-saving systems to save money and reduce waste.
  • Research long-term cost-cutting as well as revenue-generating projects.
  • Engage green experts at no cost to help you overcome the heightened public health needs of today without creating public and environmental health hazards tomorrow.

Our team continues to work to assist businesses to become Certified Green Businesses during this time, providing remote assistance through phone and web video. If interested, enroll here. For currently certified businesses, many of our Green Business Programs can offer remote review for your upcoming recertifications.

The latest research and trends in countries that first had cases of COVID-19 suggest that within the next couple of weeks, the scale of its reach will be more clear. That knowledge will help us all plan better. Meanwhile, let’s be creative. Let’s use what resources we have to create and invest in long term benefits for our people, planet and profit.

Local, State, and Federal Guidance to Businesses:

Webinars/Videos: 

COVID-19 Resources:

Other Resources:

Have a resource to add? Email it to sorgelolson@environmentalin.com