Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Ten Green Business Trends

By Stephanie Rosendahl
As the owner of a web-based company, small, medium or large, your web site uses the same rules of engagement that brick-and-mortar companies use to woo their prospective clients – at least in the beginning. But as a web-based business owner, in order to grow your business and build your brand, you must make smarter decisions that lead to your web-based business and your brand – soaring to the next level. These decisions include not only traditional marketing, but also the inclusion of web-based marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and brand marketing. One of the most important steps of the courtship of prospective clients is the realization that green technology is no longer a stereotype for hippies, but it is more mainstream and even expected of companies as a responsible decision.
Following some simple “rules of engagement”, to make visitors to your web site fall in love with you, your brand needs to show that it is responsible, caring, and trustworthy. What worked in the early days of the world-wide-web do not necessarily work today. Customers are smarter and expect more from a brand, and that includes environmentally-friendly practices. Or as a computer-savvy tech guru said, “Here’s how to pitch woo to the world wide web.”

Top Ten Tips for Using Green Technology to Build a Brand:
Green web hosting- Reduce your carbon footprint and demonstrate your company’s responsibility by choosing a green web hosting provider.Environmentally friendly packaging – Whether you are shopping for a new computer for your office or home, by choosing a vendor that utilizes green, environmentally-friendly products you are displaying a level of responsibility and commitment to the environment. Dell Computer, for example, recently announced that it will ship two of its net books in packaging made from processed bamboo, a renewable source of material. Dell’s bamboo packaging campaign has created quite a stir. Bamboo is an attractive source for packaging because it is strong and sturdy, even when it is still small and undeveloped. As the bamboo plant grows larger, it becomes an amazing material source that can withstand incredibly high tolerances and abuse – making it totally perfect for just about any kind packaging application. If your company is considering placing an order with Dell, be sure that your product will be shipped in their Bamboo packaging, because some of their computers are not.Toxic-free products – Apple computer announced in its environmental report update that it is stepping up efforts to reduce toxic materials in its computers and consumer electronic devices. A company-wide goal is to lower emissions and a whole lot of other key elements to green products, eliminating toxic materials. Apple’s aluminum-clad MacBook, for example, boasts an energy efficiency between 86.6% and 87.5.. Passionate and valid points exist for both PC or Mac purchases, but it ultimately boils down to your personal tastes, business needs, and budget. Both vendors are working feverishly to pitch their green efforts.Turn off equipment when not in use – This sounds simple, but many companies do not turn off their equipment when they are not in use. It is an easy way to reduce energy consumption by 25%. And by also turning off equipment at the end of the business day, an additional 50% of energy consumption can be saved.Use paper with maximum recycled content – When shopping for office paper for printers or even printing cards for a mail out advertising campaign, choose paper that has maximum recycled content. Encourage communications by email, and read email messages onscreen to determine whether it’s necessary to print them. By cutting down on printing, and if printing is absolutely necessary – choosing recycled paper is not only good for the environment but good for your business’s bottom line because conserving resources and cutting down on waste saves money.Telecommuting to reduce greenhouse gases - VOIP phone providers offer smart tools that allow employees to telecommute, which saves employees money and provides businesses with happier, more efficient employees. Telecommuting and the use of virtual offices are evolving into a popular environmentally friendly option for companies.Fuel efficient cars - Many businesses are opting for electric cars or hybrids when making purchases for company vehicles.Green products and services in the local community – The further supplies or service providers have to travel, the more energy will be used to get them to you. By shopping locally, companies can not only save on shipping expenses, but they are able to support the local economy.Compact fluorescent lights – ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are the most energy efficient. They undergo a rigorous certification process to ensure that they are high-quality, energy-efficient products.Spread the “green” word. After a solid commitment by your company, spread the word. Boast to your clients and potential customers. Share your eco-friendly achievements with friends, families and neighbors. Encourage them to share your accomplishments with others. The trend toward green, environmentally-friendly business practices has increased, and for good reasons. Consumers appreciate a company’s green efforts and take notice.
One thing to note first off, however, is that “green” can mean a variety of things, and it’s common to find “green” elements in many offices today. The final standard of green goes all the way down to the corporate mission. A truly green company is green from the inside out.

Ms. Rosendahl has over 19 years experience in systems analysis, hosted applications, and management as well as 13 years experience in web hosting and Internet marketing. Ms. Rosendahl has a Bachelors from Houston Baptist University with a double major in Computer Information Systems and Business Management. Stephanie is the founder and CEO of Austin, Texas firm – green web hosting.