Earth Day 2009 may be officially over, but in the hearts and minds of small business owners, attention to Green applications are never far from their minds. This, according to a recent survey, shows that most small business owners are thinking Greenall year long. The survey by PayCycle (an online payroll service) found that even with the economy continuing to dominate headlines and bottom lines nearly everywhere, most small business owners (63%) say that environmental issues are just as important as economic.
The survey showed 84% of small business owners considering themselves at least "occasional environmentalists"; of that group, one third say they are "environmentalists"; taking multiple steps to reduce their impact on the environment. Happily enough, only 5% are not at all concerned about the environment (I wonder what planet their living on!)
One thing is clear, Green is not going away, and every business seems to tout Green standards. It’s good to know that Small Business Owners also see the importance of Green, in fact, 35% worry more about the environment now than ever before. BUT: they are also worrying about costs. Going Green isn’t always a money saver, and when dealing with Green suppliers, “Three out of 4 small business owners found a green vendor to be more appealing than a non-green vendor - if the service and price are the same.” So if the small business has to pay more, he is not likely to go with a Green Vendor.
This sounds realistic. Small Business Trends talks about business having to focus first and foremost on service and price. Those two factors resonate loudest with the largest group of small businesses as basic survival. Green initiatives have to take their place under a kind of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needsfor businesses. Maslow’s theory says that your most basic needs have to be met first, before higher ideals and needs are considered.
Maslow’s Hierarchy Image Compliments of Wikipedia
So it falls to the consumer to help drive Green initiatives for small business owners – by supporting those that practice environmentally-friendly production and waste management. Then those small business owners may be able to afford the higher costs that still accompany Green practices. I wonder how much our Small Business Community knows about its customer base’s interests in Green practices….events like the Natural Living Expo Iowa, held last month at the Des Moines Convention Center, is one way to make a positive statement about your interest in, and doing business with, earth-friendly and sustainable lifestyles. Small business that offers products and services that support that initiative should be a priority for our dollar.