It is vital that businesses of all sizes and in all industries find ways to be greener in 2021. Environmental damage is an enormous issue right now, and consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, so becoming greener is important for reducing your impact as well as improving your brand reputation and attracting people to your business. On top of this, you should find that becoming greener could also help to lower your operating costs too. With all of this in mind, read on for a few of the best ways that you can make your business greener in 2021 and beyond.

  • Energy-Efficient Equipment

One of the best ways to reduce your impact as well as lower your costs is to switch to energy-efficient equipment. This will be at a cost upfront, but you can make big savings over the long-term, plus it will not negatively affect your daily operation in any way, so it is a win-win situation.

  • Remote Work

There were clear signs of the environment healing itself when most of the world switched to remote work in 2020, plus this can bring a range of benefits to both staff and the business, so it should certainly be considered moving forward. It has environmental benefits because it means that there are fewer cars on the road as a result of your business, plus employees will not be consuming energy at your company.

  • Cycle To Work Scheme

Following this point, when staff do come into work, you should encourage the cycle to work tax scheme with Cycle Solutions. This is a scheme that helps your business to reduce its NI contributions by 13.8% of the value of the equipment supplied while employees benefit from paying less for a new bike and cycling equipment. When your employees are cycling into work instead of driving, it will make your business much greener, keeps your employees in good shape, and could help to lift morale amongst a range of other benefits.

  • Paperless Office

Another highly effective way to make your business greener while reducing your costs is to become a paperless office. This will eliminate the need for both paper and printing, plus you also have the benefits of lower costs, more storage space, and documents being much easier to find when you have a digital filing system in place.

  • Use Green Suppliers

It is also important to look at the businesses that you work with and to make sure that the supply chain is also green. It is when this happens that real change can be seen, and your reputation as a green company will shine through, especially if you are also using local suppliers as a way to limit transport and to support the local economy.

As you can see, there are lots of effective ways for a business to become greener, and this can bring a range of benefits. Now is the time for action, and businesses will be able to improve their reputation and lower costs when they take action to reduce their environmental impact.

None of us wishes to fail in the businesses we launch. Our ultimate goal of starting a business is success and prosperity. It does not matter how long we have been in the industry, whether we are beginning a new venture or have been a business owner for decades. We are all brought together by a strong desire to succeed in our businesses and the opportunities available.

For the last decade, I have worked closely with several small business owners. I learned that there are particular principles that they abide by which make great contribution to their success. These principles are the driving forces in business that can make or break our ventures.  Various details vary from one industry to the other, or from one business owner to another. The following seven principle elements will be very significant to all industries.

The Leadership

To attain success, we need to have the right team working with us in our businesses. Everything in the business will always run smoothly and comfortably when everything is right at the leadership level. As business owners, we should strive to have the best leadership skills and styles. This will make us become good leaders in our businesses. If we don't have the leadership skills, the adverse effects will trickle down and be experienced throughout our businesses. This will definitely have a notable impact on the company and our profits as well.

Marketing

In a business, marketing is considered one of the most critical aspects. It is why people look to so many methods, through companies like First Page Digital Hong Kong or through their own marketing departments. Currently, the internet is one of the most incredible resources we have. We should strive to always have well-designed websites that will help us to reach out to our target clients and generate more sales for our business worldwide with ease and inexpensively. We should ensure we have a top search engine rank, which will vastly improve our local deals.

Productivity

We all know that time is money. For our ventures to be successful, we must maximize our time and focus on the right things. I have seen several small business owners striving to embrace new technology, which has often been very rewarding. I would advise any business owners looking to adopt any technology, such as incorporating software that reduces administrative work and starts using better equipment. This will significantly help your business to stay ahead of the game and enable things to run smoothly.

Customer Aspect

In any business, the customer is an essential factor.  The key to a successful business is the ability to have loyal existing customers.  To turn repeat customers into loyal customers, we need to look after their needs and wants. We can resolve this by setting up a 24/7 customer care line to ensure all their queries and complaints are solved promptly. Online, several guides will help us learn how to retain and attract new customers.

Competition

Even if we have the best products in the market, our business may experience a downward spiral if we fail to acknowledge our competitors. This is in terms of pricing and improving our product to avoid customers going for substitute products. We also need to understand the industry and the key players in the market to plan our business strategies effectively. This will make our business stand out from the rest, and we can be assured of success.

Organizational Structure and Design

We need to understand how successful businesses operate and run their businesses. This could be from the departments' primary structure within the business, to the personnel and how to manage various projects. Through interactions with several business owners, I have learned to effectively and efficiently run a business. We need to know everything about the organizational structures and design of the specific industries we are in.

Financing

When starting a business, we need to have an excellent financial base. It is also vital to ensure that our businesses have a positive cash flow as it grows and develops. The business will always need adequate finances to pay the employees, vendors, and bills to ensure its sustainability. When our businesses can sustain themselves, it will be effortless for us to manage the cash flow wisely and, in return, get profits.

A Shrewsbury based messy play group, Ready Steady Let’s Get Messy which has been unable to operate since March has pivoted to creating activity boxes for toddlers and babies.

For the group owner, Laura White, it was a big change from the sessions she was used to delivering. She made an initial 20 Halloween themed boxes to test the water, they sold within 24 hours. 

She set a more ambitious target of 70 boxes between then and Christmas. They sold out by early December, she spent much of the month hand making play dough, assembling boxes and going back and forth to the post office.

Laura learnt a lot about which activities and products worked well and with some great feedback from customers she were able to refine what she did and how she did it. 

Laura had plenty of ideas for other themed boxes, the initial run of Dinosaur boxes sold within a few days. Her latest creation is the Woodland box, she wanted to get natural elements into a box so that children could experience wood and leaves as well as her home made play dough, cloud dough and coloured rice. 

The boxes are priced £19 with free delivery in the Shrewsbury area. They are available to purchase through her website www.letsgetmessy.co.uk and through her Facebook page.

Businesses need insurance to protect themselves against uncontrollable elements, like weather that causes property damage, and more preventable occurrences, like workplace injuries that result from carelessness. Depending on what industry your business operates in and what products or services your company provides, you may also need to protect your business from within by covering costly employee errors.

Professional Liability Insurance Basics

Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance, is a type of policy aimed at protecting service providers from claims made against them by their clients. It specifically covers the policyholder from any perceived mistakes they make while carrying out their professional duties.

Protected claims can include negligence, misrepresentation, and inaccurate advice. However, it's important to note that this policy does not protect professionals from intentionally malicious actions. As a form of liability insurance, professional liability insurance pays money to the claimant, not the policyholder.

What Industries Present the Highest Risks?

Due to the nature of professional liability coverage, it's not necessary for businesses of all professions. As a rule of thumb, companies that provide a form of service should consider a professional liability policy.

In some states, attorneys must have professional liability insurance or at least disclose to their clients their insurance status. For some lines of work, such as health care, industry standards require this form of coverage. Professional liability insurance may not be regulated in other industries, but other businesses won't sign a contract with your company if you do not have coverage.

Even service-based businesses that don't need professional liability insurance to operate often opt for coverage because of the potentially devastating costs of a single error. Aside from lawyers and medical providers, professional liability insurance is highly recommended for the following types of professionals:

  • Accountants–  Accountants perform detail-oriented work, and a mistake can have wide-reaching consequences for clients. Common claims made against accountants include inaccurate ledgers and accounts receivable errors.
  • Architects– For architects, common liability exposures include design flaws, inaccurate cost estimates, construction delays, construction defects, and contractor negligence.
  • Consultants– Across industries, consultants often face claims of contract breaches, conflicting interests, inaccurate advice, and failing to properly secure the client's private information.
  • Engineers– Like architects, engineers will be held liable for any mistakes in their final product if it can be determined those mistakes were reasonably avoidable.
  • Insurance Brokers– Yes, even insurance agents should have errors and omissions insurance. Brokers are just as susceptible to lawsuits as these other professions. Clients are often dissatisfied with the ruling on a claim, and their main avenue for recourse is to sue the broker.
  • Real Estate Agents– Since real estate agents act as intermediaries between two parties, there are twice as many chances for disputes to arise. Common complaints include improper listings, failure to disclose all information on a property, and discrepancies regarding inspections and documentation.

Further Considerations

Aside from covering the costs of client claims and drawn-out legal battles, having professional liability insurance offers substantial benefits. For example, many insurance providers include risk management services for all their clients. These educational programs can help businesses identify their unique liabilities and take action to prevent claims.

Furthermore, having professional liability insurance gives peace of mind to both your employees and clients. When those performing a service know they have financial protection should something go array, they can fulfill their duties more confidently. On the client side, customers may be willing to spend more and ask for additional services if they know their investment is protected.

Assessing Your Exposures and Insurance Needs

As previously mentioned, not all businesses have to have professional liability insurance. If you're still on the fence about your coverage needs, it may help to make a list of all the possible exposures associated with the services you provide.

From there, do a little research—how often do businesses similar to yours face those claims? How much do businesses typically have to pay when they lose a lawsuit in those areas?

On the other hand, how much would it cost to insure your business? For accurate projections, you may want to request quotes from numerous providers. You can click here to learn more about professional liability insurance quotes for small businesses.

Digging deep into the cost of professional liability insurance compared to the financial risk of not having coverage should inform your ultimate decision.

Typically the challenge has been to get up from your desk or off your couch, strap on a pair of shoes, and go for a jog. That was what we considered to be that tough form of exercise that everyone knew was important, but no one wanted to do. 

Although as we spend more and more time online, staring at screens and considering our virtual spaces, getting a workout done to our physical selves might look to be the easier one. We don’t even consider the fact that we have to take care of our mental health while we were clicking and tapping our phones and laptops to no end.

Too Much of Anything Is Not Good

Getting into a good workout routine is key, and once you are able to do so, you should be applauded, but every expert and trainer will tell you that you shouldn’t do intense workouts every day. Your body needs to take time off. You are pulling and flexing your muscles as you exercise, and these same muscles need to heal and repair themselves to grow stronger. That’s not to say that you should lay in bed all morning after a previous day of working out (in fact, you should always be stretching every day), but balancing your time properly is essential. You can get tired of anything, even having a wild night in London having someone escort you to the restaurants and clubs that get top reviews.

This is especially true with the internet. Of course, it is a good thing that we can be so connected so easily at all times, no matter where we all are in the world. It means friends can always chat, work can always get done quicker, every bit of information can be shared, and great fun can be had. But always having it close to you (with your mobile in your pocket) is certainly not the best way to go about it. Getting too comfortable with this level of immediacy will affect your expectations for everything else in life. It’s amazing that you can order a product and have the package arrive on your doorstep the next day, that you can stream almost any tv or movie or play any video game right away, but it makes engaging with ‘reality’ that much more difficult and dispiriting. 

You think exercising every day is a good thing until you injure yourself doing it, and likewise, you think spending every waking moment online is good until you make a post you regret, order something you didn’t really want, or maybe trust someone you shouldn’t have and get scammed or hurt. 

Take Regular Breaks

‘Moderation is the key’ is a paraphrasing of the general attitude of Greek philosopher Aristotle. It may be several thousand years old, but it is more relevant than ever. Work may demand that you be available to answer email throughout the day, and it’s become normal that we ‘escape’ this grind by doom scrolling through our social media news feeds, but regardless of what we are looking at, the fact that we are looking at all is the problem.

That’s why non-screen activities should be embraced, whether it be reading a book made out of paper or puzzle-making or knitting, or going outside for work and yes, exercising or kicking a ball around. Making an ironclad schedule might not be possible, but try to set aside one hour a day of not using the internet. At first, you could sneak that hour into other activities, like some daily chores or even cooking (which would mean not listening to podcasts while vacuuming or quickly rushing to double-check the recipe!).

Just as plenty of parents are able to put ‘locks’ on their kids’ electronic devices to make sure they don’t spend all day with them, have a friend or loved one do the same for you, putting a password on your mobile for a certain hour or two of the day. One of the best ways to do this is to cordon off areas of your home and call them ‘no-phone zones’. Have certain rooms not be allowed to have a phone or computer in it for part of the morning, evening, or afternoon.

Keeping a Positive Attitude

Saying that 2020 was a lousy year is putting it mildly, and it was too easy to find negative and dispiriting news whenever you started to check any news, sports, or entertainment-focused apps. The fact that we all were going through the same thing is slightly heartening, but that just meant going to friends’ social media pages was the same thing over and over, because either nothing different happened, or something terrible did.

Doom-scrolling is the term given to just going through newsfeeds and seeing all the bad news over and over, with little variation. It’s easy to get sucked into reading people snapping at each other and posting memes about it, because seeing other people ‘work out’ their problems can help you make you temporarily forget yours. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for us, or for how you feel about your own mental health.

Part of getting past this is certainly putting the mobile or laptop down, but it should definitely be acknowledged that the internet has some solutions for this as well. It’s good to find articles that proclaim that social media use can certainly be a net positive for mental health, but this always comes with some caveats.

You have to be the one to decide not to post a snide remark. You have to be the one to take a moment and consider that maybe the person misinterpreted your comment and that you might be misinterpreting theirs. It sounds silly to think that after almost three decades of the internet being part of our lives that we all can’t detect sarcasm, but there’s not much body language or vocal inflections to interpret in a message. Giving people the benefit of the doubt can definitely make you happier.

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