When we talk about “holistic” or “sustainable” practices, we tend to think about health, the environment or going green. According to the Center for Sustainable Business Practices, “the goal in developing sustainable business practices is to create strategies that preserve the long-term viability of People, Plant and Profit; the proverbial triple bottom line.” Holistic business practices adopt and analyze a system of ideals; taking all factors into consideration including the business owner’s fundamental principles and beliefs.
Transparency and accountability
These are two elemental qualities that endear clients to brands. People use and engage in brands they trust. Be mindful of how you conduct yourself and your business as well as your collaborative partners and suppliers. Transparency includes your supply chain. Just think about all of the brands that have suffered from public opinion on sweatshops, fair trade issues, public policy positions or environmental stewardship. Be upfront about what you offer, how you offer it and where your products are sourced. Sure, some clients won’t care, but be concerned about the majority that do.
Reduce expenses with electronic invoicing. Reduce paper production and/or filing time with cloud storage or external hard drives. Be mindful of energy efficiency (lights, power, etc.). Reduce, reuse and recycle. Consolidate and track work efforts and communications with CRM systems. Use technology and apps to reduce repetitive tasks, organize projects, fax, etc. Streamlined business practices give you back time and energy; which equates to more time and energy for engaging in revenue producing activities like servicing clients. And more time for prospecting and filling your pipeline.
Organic Client Attraction
Your capacity to naturally attract your ideal clients is based on how in tune you are with your core values, purpose and principles and how well you execute, exercise and exude those ideals. Like-minded individuals generally attract each other. Shared interests, causes, viewpoints etc. are all starting points for introductions and discourse, which lead to identifying opportunities and addressing needs.
Supply Chain Management
Leverage your buying power. Source locally, when you can. A holistic supply chain could include lower impact products, hiring locally, paying fair wages, employee well being programs and working and collaborating with local vendors. If importing, ensure Fair Trade practices are used. It’s important that you encourage vendors and your supply chain to adopt sustainable policies and practices to strengthen your supply chain.
Your community involvement plays a big role in naturally drawing attention to your business. Being the familiar face at your local coffee shop or favorite eatery, volunteering your time or providing in-kind services to your favorite cause are simple ways to increase your social capital, support your community, develop a solid local base and preserve sustainable practices.
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Simplicity expert and Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley helps entrepreneurs align their purpose and principles with their business practices for agile growth. Connect with her on Twitter at @simplicityinc or check out her online magazine, Micro Business Therapy