Thirty Steps to Setting up your Green Business, part 6

Planning is the biggest part of any endeavor, and with a clear vision, mission, and system to deliver your products or services, your business with thrive. Today's post goes over maintenance plans to give you tools to understand your company's status at any time: listen to the "heartbeat" of your green business and plan for its growth.

Read the full series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Step 25) Track your data: check your referrals
Whatever number you measure tends to improve. For green women in business, one of our biggest tasks is to identify what is "the number" we want to measure. Besides your monthly revenue or the number of unique visitors to your website, you'll identify with absolute clarity what is the number you want to track that correlates with the health of your business?

For example, is your number:

  • returning website visitors?
  • number of visitors who make a purchase after visiting your e-commerce store?
  • number of customers who are repeat customers?
  • average sale per customer?
  • number of new signups at your e-newsletter?
  • number of new Facebook fans?
  • average number of comments per post?
  • number of affiliates who sign up per month?
  • percent of visitors who purchase from a recommended upsell?

Any one of these, or a combination, might be the number that allows you to understand your business and keep track of how to improve your business.

For example, for my website design and development company, at first we thought our number to track was the average sale per customer, but over time this only gave us an idea of how much it costs to develop a website. The *real* number we want to track is the number of referred clients. We're growing organically and we screen the clients with whom we do business, so it's important to us to know how our potential customers find us. When we complete a website, our customers tend to refer new customers (which is how we've grown the business so far), so we always, always want to know where a new client heard about us. You can reference Green Girls at 10K Webdesign if you need a highly functional website to support your business!

 

 

Step 26) Monday Morning check in: always review your reports

Albert Einstein said that if he had an hour to solve a problem, he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and then five minutes finding the solution. Schedule in some time every week (I take Monday mornings) to review all of your reports. Understanding "the numbers" and how they fit into your business process is the most important work you need done for your business.

You will be spending time "in the business" as well as working "on the business" so do as much as you can to understand the numbers: for example, I review website visitor reports, financial reports like profit and loss and balance sheet information, open invoices, and scheduling. I also review trends in my industry and I understand how to best come out with solutions that add value to our customers — what can you do to create value and provide something useful to your clients?

 

Step 27) Install easy ways to make your business run smoother
Your task is to find ways to save money and allocate resources towards creating a sustainable, profitable, and green business. Take advantage of many different automated systems to make your work easier and to be more efficient. For example, a quick way to save time on your customer service calls is to offer an online Frequently-Asked Questions section.

Some other ways to make your business more "green" are:

1) offering e-versions of payments: instead of sending a stamp and an envelope, offer credit card payments online

2) digital delivery: do some of your products sell over e-mail? Consider delivering PDFs or zipped files instead of sending a CD or printed copy.

3) bundle your products: consider offering bundled items to save on shipping costs and to make a customer's experience more smooth.

4) convert your packaging to recycled materials: use more sustainable packing and delivery options

5) use good phone services: RingCentral (try it for free for 30 days) offers you a toll-free number, call forwarding, the ability to receive voice messages as e-mail, and much more.

6) handle postal mail digitally: EarthClassMail.com will give you a postal address. They'll also scan your mail for you to review, e-mail you a PDF version, and/or ship you the original mail, shred it, recycle it, or store it.

7) telecommute: offer web-based training, videos online, e-mailed documents, and shared online workspaces so you cut down on your carbon footprint and reduce travel needs.

8) share your commitment: on your marketing materials, make note of the fact that you are going green and invite your partners, customers, and affiliates to do the same.

There are many ways to think sustainable and still be profitable: let's work together to create truly green businesses that support us, our families, our workers, our communities, and our planet.

List your green business for free in the national directory at www.greenbusinesswomen.com.  Follow me on Twitter at @monicadear and let me know about your green business!

Monica S. Flores  of 10kWebdesign is committed to educating, empowering, and connecting women in business — she believes in the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. She is available for consulting on web development, green business practices, and women in business.

 

 

 

Thirty Steps to Starting up your Green BusinessPurchase the book: Thirty Steps to Starting up Your Green Business, 110 pages.

 

Trade paperback: http://amzn.to/30greensteps $12.99

 

E-version: http://www.tinyurl.com/30greensteps $10.99

 

Conscious choices for successful women.

 

Use the thirty tips in this book to guide you through your work of building a thriving, sustainable, eco-friendly, 21st-century company.

 

Each chapter is focused on helping you plan, launch, and grow your green business.

 

Use these tips to help you get organized, focus on the basics, build your infrastructure, increase your customer base, interact online, review your data, refine your process, and maintain your course.

 

Find additional information on green metrics, sustainable practices, long-term sustainability, and a resource list.

  

   

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