Friday, September 14, 2018

More Evidence that Sustainability Helps Your Bottom Line
Shortly after completing a sustainability project for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center and the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry, I came across more statistics about how being sustainable can help small businesses save money — especially restaurants – the foundation of the country’s economy and the small business community.
According to an article in Foods Safety Magazine written by Marty Sieh, chief operations officer at ENGIE Insight, restaurants that implement sustainable practices can reduce costs by 30%. In a tight business environment, these reductions are boosted by increased traffic by consumers who are looking for sustainable and environmentally friendly foodservice venues.
For example, Sieh wrote: “More than 80% of the $10 billion annual energy bill for the commercial foodservice sector is spent on inefficient food cooking, holding, and storage equipment. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2018 State of Restaurant Sustainability report, restaurants could be doing more to tackle energy efficiency, waste management, and water usage. For example, less than half of restaurants surveyed use US Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star-rated refrigerators or low flush toilets, and only 25% of restaurants use Energy Star-rated efficient dishwashers.”
While untapped technological efficiencies hurt the bottom line and the environment, the industry needs to do more than simply buy new equipment. Foodservice operations must also adopt new business models, utilize data collection, and evaluate their operations to holistically incorporate sustainability, he wrote.
“The ability to harness massive amounts of data from sophisticated control systems monitoring a variety of equipment brings new opportunities for companies to improve performance and mitigate risk. Beyond scarce resources and environmental consequences, more than half—55%—of consumers say they consider a restaurant’s food waste reduction efforts an important factor when they choose a restaurant,” he pointed out.
Indeed, statistics abound about consumers’ preference for businesses that are sustainable. Millennials are more inclined to spend their disposable dollars at retailers and restaurants that are recognizably sustainable. This means if your business is sustainable then tell the marketplace that it is.
Sieh wrote that as consumers and governments crack down on waste and recycling regulations, foodservice companies must implement programs that maximize efficient waste practices and stay in compliance.
“While certain regulations, such as municipalities banning plastic straws, have been making headlines over the last few months, they are slowly rolling out other legislation, including separating organic food waste from inorganic garbage. Companies looking to stay in compliance and avoid major fines must first understand their current waste makeup. By conducting waste audits—scientific studies of waste streams—businesses will understand the data associated with their waste profile, how food waste affects their hauling costs, and where the best diversion opportunities are. Understanding and utilizing this output helps foodservice providers adapt their business models to streamline waste practices and capitalize on their recycling and composting programs in a cost-effective manner,” he elaborated.
In many instances restaurants can incorporate simple changes to can have a major impact on the business as well as the environment, he wrote. It’s not necessary to stop everything and rebuild your business to become sustainable. Hospitality businesses and foodservice operations account for nearly 15% of commercial water use in the country. Sieh found that on the West Coast, Shari’s Cafe & Pies realized the dipper wells used to clean ice cream scoops were wasting 8 million gallons of water every year through data audits. As a result, Shari’s decided to switch from a perpetual flow of water to a heated demand-based system that reduced water usage by 35% and led to 15–18% savings on natural gas usage. Because equipment and building sensors are cheaper than they’ve ever been, and data monitoring and analytics are more advanced, restaurants can avoid massive losses in critical resources and capitalize their return on investment.
Furthermore, according to Energy Star, restaurants that invest strategically can cut utility costs up to 30% without sacrificing service, quality, or comfort.
“Restaurants, now more than ever, need to integrate sustainability and energy efficiency strategies into their business operations and corporate strategy. The road to sustainability is paved in data and without this foundational element restaurants cannot capitalize on all the opportunities these initiatives have to offer,” Sieh concluded.
The suggestions that Sieh cited in his article have applications beyond the foodservice industry. Eliminating waste, adjusting water consumption and improved energy management can help all businesses improve their bottom lines.
The August sustainability edition of The Small Business Voice that I referred to at the top of this blog focused on the benefits of joining the New Jersey Small Business Registry for expert no-cost consultation on how to convert your company into an efficient, sustainable business.
With information about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which serve as a roadmap for businesses and municipalities on becoming sustainable, the issue also offers statistics on how businesses that are members of the registry have made a positive difference on the environment and their balance sheets.
Sustainability is not only a target for large businesses but small businesses, the corner retailer and restaurant, can also benefit from jumping on this global bandwagon.
As Deborah K. Smarth, chief operating officer and associate state director of the NJSBDC, wrote:
“The most successful sustainability strategies often start with simple, low-cost initiatives that even the smallest business can accomplish. There are real opportunities for small businesses to yield significant benefits from the adoption of basic environmental best practices.
“For businesses interested in sustainability, but not sure where to start, the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) offer pro bono sustainability consulting and technical assistance. Over the past two years small businesses across New Jersey have taken advantage of this no cost service to find ways to integrate environmentally friendly practices into their day to day operations. NJSDBC’s expert counselors work with business owners to identify ways to increase efficiency through energy conservation, waste reduction, pollution prevention, streamlined procurement and risk management. Businesses are provided a baseline assessment of their environmental footprint, and a series of recommendations on how to implement sustainable practices.”
Looked from another point of view, sustainability is a growth opportunity for small businesses.
The issue also presents sustainability success stories of these Garden State companies: Consolidated Packaging Group, Ridgefield Park; Seeds of Hope Community Development, Atlantic City; Adams Rental, Hamilton; Viridian Environmental Field Services, Upper Montclair; Classic Auto Body, Paterson; Hamilton Washery, Hamilton; and Atlantic Health System, Morristown, NJ.
It’s a lesson for all businesses and even non-profit organizations. As Prof. Jeffrey Hollender of New York University’s Stern School of Business observed in the issue: for businesses, sustainability is more than the ecology.
For further information about the organizations cited here, visit their websites:
NJ Sustainable Business Registry:
National Restaurant Association:
Send me your sustainable success stories and I’ll share your achievements with others in cyberspace.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

People are Leaving Facebook – Don’t Worry
You’ve probably heard that people are leaving Facebook. Don’t panic. That’s more of a problem for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook stockholders than for you. Just run your business the way you have been running it.
Perhaps in the wake of Facebook’s calamity with Cambridge Analytica and then the whole Russian infiltration scandal, recent media reports state that young Americans are logging out of Facebook, upping their privacy, or deleting its phone app altogether.
Pew Research Center found that found that most adults questioned had limited their Facebook use or adjusted their privacy settings in the past year. The Center’s survey followed revelations that political consulting company Cambridge Analytica had scraped the personal information of approximately 87 million Facebook users for use in targeted advertising. Of the 4,594 Pew survey respondents, young adults were the most likely to unplug from platform, with 44% of Facebook users ages 18 to 29 saying they’d deleted the app from their phone, although the survey did not ask whether respondents had deleted their accounts, too.
The survey asked respondents whether, in the past year, they had either edited their Facebook privacy settings, taken a break from the platform for several weeks, or deleted the app from their phone.
The Pew survey was conducted from May 29 through June 11, two months after a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower first came forward to accuse the company of improperly amassing Facebook user data and converting the information into psychological profiles to use in targeted political ads. The fallout led Cambridge Analytica’s closure, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg giving a congressional testimony on the scandal.
Facebook’s oldest users were its most loyal, the survey found. Facebook users ages 65 above were the least likely to adjust their privacy options, with only 33% of respondents saying they’d tweaked the settings in the past year. Facebook users ages 18-49, meanwhile, had overwhelmingly moved for more private accounts, with 64% of respondents updating their settings.
Those younger users were most likely to purge Facebook from their phones, with 44% of respondents ages 18 to 29 saying they’d deleted the app. Once again, the oldest Facebook users remained plugged in, with only 12 percent removing the app from their phones.
Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook will adjust the news feed in order to make it more people friendly.
None of this should trouble small businesses that use Facebook as part of their diversified social media outreach campaign. If it’s your only outlet, then, yes, difficulties may be in store for you.
If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, then you should know which of your clients and vendors use this form of social media and certainly you must have been sharing information and observations among yourselves. Perhaps new individuals have already joined you.
If not, find a way to reach out to new customers and vendors in order to build a bigger online community – and that’s the whole purpose of social media. To build communities that share mutually-beneficial information.
Why isn’t this Facebook’s problem a troublesome development for small businesses?
Facebook is a social medium belongs in the category of a closed circle of like-minded people. People ask to join and the content is made available to them. Usually, companies and consumers familiar with your products, vendors and company ask to join. They want to be part of what you have to say. Consequently, this is your almost impenetrable castle. You’ve formed your own little world thanks to Mark Zuckerberg.
The sharing that you’re doing on Facebook is adequate exposure for most businesses. However, content should still be provided to the audience regularly. Touting the benefits of what you do will likely scare visitors away so it would be better if you discussed benefits and issues thereby turning the CEO or business owner into a thought leader. That status has greater merit in the marketplace than “my screws or paint is better than yours.”
Post information about your company or your CEO’s thoughts on industry growth a half a dozen times a week (at least once on the weekend) and then monitor your Insights.
Uploading visually appealing photos and graphics is a cinch thanks to Facebook’s easy-to-use interface and remember a photo is worth a thousand words. The browser-based program shows a grid of thumbnail-sized pictures while the user clicks a checkbox on the photos he or she wants to upload. I would suggest regular photo updates on your company’s work and relationship with vendors and clients to show the market and industry your commitment to satisfying customer needs.
Remember, social media drives word-of-mouth referrals. Potential customers can act as brand ambassadors on social media sites. This, in turn, can lead to more business for you. Potential employees follow this same principle.
A recent study by Market Force in Boulder, CO, found that “81% of US consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts, while a comparable 78% are influenced by vendors’ posts, suggesting that company-driven social media content is surprisingly powerful in driving purchase decisions.”
In other words, what goes around on Facebook, comes around.
Being active on social media for your business may be perceived as a free marketing tactic and it is. However, remember, it does take time, which as a small business owner, is at a premium. To keep from feeling overwhelmed, decide how much time you can dedicate to social media activities. Other ideas are to focus your social media time where your customers are spending their time or outsource and hire a social media consultant.
Here are a few ideas to bolster your social media efforts:
  • ·         Add a link to your social media pages in your email signature and website.
  • ·         Spell out the links in your advertising and marketing collateral.
  • ·         Add share buttons to your website or blog.
  • ·         Add your social media site addresses to your business cards.
  • ·         If you have a newsletter, add share buttons and links to your social media site.
  • ·         Post your newsletter articles on your social sites.
  • ·         Consider posting discounts or coupons.

Consider your activity on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as a major part of your marketing strategy not a frivolous attempt of sharing selfies. The time you put into engaging with your customers online will pay off in more loyal customers and larger sales.
There will always be a tendency for the marketplace to adjust its members’ relationships with a product, vendor and social medium. But if you’ve built a strong, vibrant, supportive and mutually beneficial on-line community, then you will do well in cyberspace and in meeting your business goals.

Let me know how this works for you and I’ll share it with others in cyberspace.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, creating company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Monday, June 4, 2018

It’s Time for Women’s Leadership
A few weeks ago I wrote about the business benefits of hiring and promoting women. Your small business will reap the benefits of doing so.
Additionally, you will display you sustainable colors by supporting SDG #5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls.
Recently, New Jersey was the sight of the first Metro Women’s Leadership Summit that was filled with fascinating speakers from the worlds of business and politics and interesting women leaders who came to listen and share their observations.
I’d like to introduce to you my wife, Oksana Dlaboha of HR Tie Breaker, a participant, and share with you her thoughts on this historic event.

It’s time for women’s leadership.
An exceptional group of women decided that it’s high time for the metropolitan area to convene The Metro Women's Leadership Summit – an event that would generate awareness, an event where women (and a few righteous brothers) would gather to share the best of the best: ideas, practices, improvements, insights and concepts that make their businesses unique.
Such an event took place on Friday, June 1, at the Newark Airport Marriott Hotel.
On the home page of the summit website, the word “climbing” in the phrase “climbing the ladder” was crossed out with a red pen and replaced with the phrase “redefining the ladder,” which placed the emphasis on the ladder and perhaps destination rather than the climb. Interesting, isn’t it?
Carol Gabel, executive director of the Metro Women’s Leadership Summit and president of Seven Pearls, a risk management and small business development firm, explained that today’s women don’t climb the ladder, they are redefining it and describing their own path to success.
The keynote speakers at the summit were three powerful women in business and politics: New Jersey First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Sandra Yancey, founder of eWomenNetwork. They gave us, participants, a lot of food for thought as we set out to redefine the ladder or our destination.
Oliver said leadership is the only ship that doesn’t return to port in a storm and described the key to business success is diversity and inclusion. At the end of her speech, Oliver recited a beautiful poem by Ruby Dee called “Calling All Women,” in which every line was more than powerful and had a direct relation to the event.  
Calling all women.
To steal away to our secret place.
Have a meeting face to face.
Look at the facts and determine our pace.
Calling all women.
Come help us start to bridge the gaps
Racial, cultural, or generation
We want some action and veneration.
We got to get together or die.
Now is the time for an evolution
Let’s all search and find a solution
For how we’ll make it to the next revolution.
Oliver set the tone, and in this atmosphere, all 100 speakers in more than 40 breakout sessions delivered a range of ideas and insights for all participants throughout the day. The Metro Summit was an event in which every participant had an opportunity to find her interest - from leadership advice to health topics, from business to personal, hearing new trends, and networking with interesting people.
It was truly a reunion of powerful women, whose ideas resounded in one loud and powerful voice.
It was definitely a time to applaud leadership, where creativity was encouraged, and it was really time when every woman received her own, just reward.
Can’t wait for the next summit.

As I had written, none of this means that you have to turn your company upside down. It means that you run your business in a responsible, inclusive manner with genuinely equal opportunities for every employee. And you will reap the benefits. Businesses that participate in the Sustainable Development Goals stand to experience an unbelievable windfall. The SDGs have the potential to unleash innovation, economic growth and development at an unprecedented scale and could be worth at least $12 trillion a year in market opportunities and generate up to 380 million new jobs by 2030.
Join the conversation in cyberspace about women’s empowerment, sustainability and boosting your outreach. If you have examples, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Small Biz Do Yourselves a Favor by Hiring & Promoting Women
Yesterday, I came across a very salient quote by Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration. In her testimony before the US Senate Small Business Committee on May 15, she observed quite appropriately that women flourish more in an environment that has mentoring and counseling, which is why women’s business centers are so important.
Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration, with Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) after her testimony before the Senator Small Business Committee.

McMahon said the advice and direction provided by the SBA’s district staff across the country, along with its resource and lending partners, is all part of a “very critical ecosystem” that benefits women in business. Her use of the word “ecosystem” is fitting because it conjures up an image of all inhabitants contributing to one another’s welfare. “Every day, this collective effort helps entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of business ownership,” she pointed out.
Small business ownership and growth are complicated undertakings and require entrepreneurs to be skilled jugglers that can simultaneously manage every facet of their companies’ activities. It stands to reason that an astute business owner should assemble the most comprehensive, skilled team of managers and employees possible. This group should include both skilled men and women dispersed horizontally and vertically throughout the company.
Turning to the notion raised by McMahon, hiring and promoting women offers your business comprehensive benefits that will illuminate its presence and successes locally and globally. Such a business plan also supports UN Sustainable Development Goal #5 – Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls. Consequently, by hiring and promoting women, your small business declares itself to be sustainable and you should invest time and money in pursuing this endeavor.
The case for companies to act is compelling. It contributes to your growth, drives your business and adds to your bottom line.
For example, in a recent survey of 366 companies, consultancy McKinsey & Co. found that companies whose leadership roles were most balanced between men and women were more likely to report financial returns above their national industry median. This means that companies with more balanced leadership do a better job recruiting and retaining talented workers, reducing the costs associated with replacing top executives. They also have stronger customer relations because management better reflects the diversity of society, and they tend to make better decisions because a wider array of viewpoints is considered.
Another report, titled “The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management,” shows that companies with more female directors and senior executives tend to have higher returns and dividend payout ratios. The report found the shares of companies with at least one female director outperformed those of firms led by all-male boards by about 3.7% in 2005 and 2013. The return on equity of companies with at least one female director stood at 14.1% during the period, beating the 11.2% for those with all-male boards. It jumped to 14.7% for firms with more than 15 per cent women in the top management. Companies with at least one female director also paid more dividends in 2005-13, with the average payment ratio standing at 38%, compared with 32% for companies with only men on their boards.
Sodexo, a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services, which has 419,000 employees in 80 countries, after a company-wide study found that units with equal numbers of men and women in management roles delivered more profits more consistently than those dominated by men.
Venture capital firm First Round Capital evaluated more than 300 companies and 600 founders and found that their higher performing investments tend to have at least one female founder, and companies with a female founder performed 63% better than those with all-male founding teams.
Why does the presence of women in a company contribute to its success? One reason cites a textbook example of the differences between men and women: Men see business barriers as obstacles, while women often see them as opportunities. Women act on the basis of opportunities. Their unique strengths include blending purpose and profit to the betterment of all and they are creating competitive advantage by incorporating cause marketing – a sustainable issue. By linking their brand and marketing to a cause, they can boost customer awareness, drive sales, polish their reputation, give back to the community and lower marketing costs, all at the same time.
In today’s marketplace, the affluent demographic cohort known as Millennials relates to this type of marketing and puts its money where its beliefs are.
Successful women are more likely than successful men to own a business so they can pursue a personal passion and to make a positive impact on the world – like fostering the 17 SDGs, according to 2013 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth. Seventy percent of the women and only 62% of the men are committed to increasing the level of their sustainable activities, according to Cox Conserves, a national sustainability program run by Cox Communications and Media.
There is a lot more persuasive evidence that demonstrates that gender equity is not just politically correct window-dressing, but good business. But there are pitfalls. Companies are trying to increase the number of women in executive positions, yet many are struggling to do so because they’ve failed to adapt workplace conditions to ensure that qualified women do not drop off the corporate ladder, surveys have shown.
Echoing the Linda McMahon’s mentoring suggestion, ExxonMobil Foundation has found that educating women on their career paths boosts their abilities to successfully assume responsible positions. While women’s entrepreneurship is on the rise globally, many women lack the confidence, access to capital, skills and networks to take their small businesses to the next level. To resolve this, the foundation contributed to launching Road to Women’s Business Growth as a collaborative venture designed to build the business skills and financial literacy of women entrepreneurs.
The project uses a novel “blended learning” approach, which combines in-class training with a unique, custom-built online learning tool. The in-class training enables women to benefit from networking opportunities and peer-to-peer learning, while the e-modules are accessible via tablets, allowing women to learn at their own pace and convenience.
Indeed, opening your door to women employees may be as simple as doing just that. However, share your views with your company. You, the business owner, may have a progressive disposition about diversity, inclusion, equal rights for women and gender equality, but your managers and staff may not. To nip possible disruptive dissension in the bud, owners must begin by openly addressing this issue with all of the senior and subordinate employees, explaining why you’re launching this program and what will be the benefits for the company and all of the employees.

As for SDG #5, it does not merely pertain to hyping equal rights for women and then disregarding what to do once you’ve assumed that status.
Since you support SDG #5, your task is to ensure that women fully participate and are equally represented in all levels of national leadership and decision-making in economic, political and social aspects of life. A major reason why women are still lagging behind socially and economically is because they lack political, economic, social and civil support for their plans and goals. Largely due to educational qualification barriers, women representative positions are either given to under-qualified women or even men who have little or no knowledge of what exactly the challenges faced by women are.
You’ve also committed to formulate and execute social reforms to grant women equal ability to access economic resources, financial services, and ownership and control of properties such as lands and homes, in accordance with respective national laws.
None of this means that you have to turn your company upside down. It means that you run your business in a responsible, inclusive manner with genuinely equal opportunities for every employee.
And you will reap the benefits. As I have written before, businesses that participate in the Sustainable Development Goals stand to experience an unbelievable windfall. The SDGs have the potential to unleash innovation, economic growth and development at an unprecedented scale and could be worth at least $12 trillion a year in market opportunities and generate up to 380 million new jobs by 2030. The SDGs hold great possibilities for all businesses. There are 17 of them. Pick just one.
Join the conversation in cyberspace about sustainability, women’s empowerment and boosting your outreach. If you have examples, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
Check your calendars: If you’ll be in New Jersey in the next couple of weeks make plans to attend the Metro Women’s Leadership Summit at the Newark Airport Marriott Hotel on Friday, June 1. The daylong agenda of top business speakers is headed by New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver as keynoter. The program should be quite extraordinary since it aims to focus on “redefining” the corporate ladder rather than climbing it. Visit its website:
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Small Business Week 2018 – Who Said They’re Small?
They’re called small businesses. You’ve seen them around. The meat market, candy store, restaurant and pizzeria, real estate agency, bank, clinic, convenience store, supermarket, department store, printer, plumber, carpenter, builder, electrician, manufacturer and other outlets of commerce. The proprietors open their doors early and close them in the early evening.
By some official estimates, there are 28-29 million of them across the United States. And while technically regarded as “small” by the Small Business Administration (SBA), which places a cap at 500 employees, there’s nothing small about them – individually and collectively. Their impact is huge.
Small businesses are the bedrock of the American economy, culture and mentality. They are the most important cogs in country’s commercial mechanism. Statistics clearly show that small businesses play a vital role in the US economy, producing 46% of the private nonfarm gross domestic product (GDP).
According to the SBA, small businesses make up 99% of US employer firms, 63% of net new private-sector jobs, 48% of private-sector employment, 42% of private-sector payroll, 46% of private-sector output, 37% of high-tech employment, 98% of firms exporting goods and 33 % of exporting value, they accounted for 63% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013.
Not only are small businesses among the most creative and entrepreneurial forces present in our economy, they also lead in new technology and patent creation in the country. A report, titled “An Analysis of Small Business Patents by Industry and Firm Size” funded by the SBA, documented that small businesses produced 16 times more patents per employee than large firms did.
Small businesses are truly the backbones of the American economy and way of life. When they fail or suffer, the economy follows suit immediately. When they do well, the world could also do well.
With National Small Business Week beginning in a few days, Main Street America is busy pondering what to do to attract attention to small businesses from April 29 to May 5. However, the week’s events and promotions should not merely be intended to drive business by building revenue. They should drive business by raising awareness about small businesses’ vibrant roles in local, national and even global matters. By focusing on the bigger issues during National Small Business Week instead of merchandise, an entrepreneur becomes a thought leader on a local level while small businesses collectively will be able to make a difference on the global stage.
For more than 55 years, thanks to the efforts of the SBA, small businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity to highlight the extraordinary impact entrepreneurs and business owners have on their local communities and the national economy.
Main Street small businesses can start mobilizing themselves for the week’s festivities by turning to the wide range of issues incorporated in the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The points deal with a variety of topics that can benefit communities as well as humanity. By calling attention to them, entrepreneurs will also be calling attention to their businesses and their thought leadership. Here’s what you can do:
Get the word out. Pure marketing and outreach. This is where your initiative will rise to the surface. Prepare a traditional and social media campaign to inform the news media, your neighbors and community, local officials, vendors, competitors and other stakeholders about your plans and encourage them to support you. If it pertains to one or more of the SDGs, explain why. Use press releases, tweets, Facebook posts and emails to spread the word. The more interesting your project, the more people you will attract. Once you’ve notified your constituents in the old-fashioned manner, then post the information on your active social media platforms to increase your reach.
Partner with small businesses and the community – Goal 17. Strengthen your impact and reach a larger audience by joining forces with other small businesses to spread the word about your role in all of the goals or one of them. Summon all of your partners to a meeting, invite the press and local officials. This effort will quickly snowball into a major campaign that shows small businesses are not only in it to make a buck but also to improve the community.
Share your story. Again, promotion. Each small business has a story about how and why it began. This story will focus on why you feel your Small Business Week SDG effort is worth attention. Don’t keep your and your partners’ story a secret. Use your unique point of view about the SDGs so it will stand out from others and you’ll get closer to your customers. Furthermore, millennials are known for their interest in sustainability. Don’t forget to tell them and they won’t forget to visit you throughout the year.
Say thank you to the people who keep your business going and support your view of the SDGs. Maybe you’ve got a top-notch staff or die-hard customer base. Maybe you have a mentor you can always call when you hit a lull. Maybe you have SDG doubters or ardent supporters. Take a moment to step away from the day-to-day frenzy and show your appreciation. A face-to-face thank you is always great. But you can also write thank you cards, send an email to your supporters, or post a thank you on social media. If you’re comfortable in front of a camera, think about how you can get your message across in a short thank you video while promoting your and the business community’s work on behalf of sustainability.
Help education – Goal 4. Organize representatives from nonprofits, schools, boy and girl scouts, libraries and officials, and create a year round program to help education. It could be one-on-one mentoring or something that will benefit the school for a semester or year.
Health – Goal 3. Small businesses, clinics, doctors, officials and pharmacies can collaborate on a project to help women or senior citizens with health issues. They can ensure that children have access to immunizations. This is not beyond the reach of Small Business Week because small businesses are driving it.
Environment – Goals 14 & 15. Small businesses such a field and stream and sporting goods retailers along with boy and girl scouts can do a lot together to help clean up the surrounding fields and streams.
Gender equality and no bullying – Goals 5 & 16. Sadly, a day doesn’t go by without a story in the news about discrimination against a woman, person of color or an immigrant. News media are also filled with stories about adolescent bullying. All small businesses along with houses of worship, schools and civic organizations can launch a community-wide campaign during Small Business Week to eradicate these social evils.
If that’s not enough, check out the remaining goals. With some creativity, you can tap into them and contribute to improving life on this planet as you celebrate Small Business Week. One small business is a beginning. Many is a small business campaign for good. You may not fill your coffers with more money during those seven days but you will certainly reap the benefit of your sustainable farsightedness throughout the year.
Join the conversation in cyberspace about your efforts to commemorate Small Business Week with a nod to the SDGs. If you have examples of how you’ve done it, let me know. If you need help, reach out to me.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways your small business and NGO can boost their outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

So You Want to Launch a Nonprofit (NGO)
You may be fantasizing about forming a celebrated nonprofit organization – also called a non-governmental organization – that will improve the fate of mankind for generations to come. While the intention and result are laudable, the path is not simple.
A nonprofit or non-governmental organization (NGO) – synonyms for civil society – is unlike a business organization though there are logistical similarities. While the goal of a large or small business is to make money, the goal of an NGO is to passionately work on behalf of a global or local cause. Any money the organization makes or fundraises, whether from donations, membership dues, grants, or product sales, goes back into the coffers to further the cause, rather than to the founder. However, that does not mean that the nonprofit can’t have a paid executive officer and staff.
The IRS identifies 27 types of nonprofits which you should review with your attorney and accountant before setting out on your global charitable excursion.
In general, most nonprofit organizations have tax-exempt status from both federal and state governments. However, in order to get this status, you will need to incorporate as a nonprofit organization at the outset. You will also need to file regular documentation and taxes regardless if you have money to keep your nonprofit in compliance.
Unlike a business, a nonprofit organization doesn’t have an owner but is governed by a board of directors. The board is responsible for making sure the nonprofit acts in accordance with its mission, uses its money wisely, and follows laws and regulations regarding nonprofits. Sometimes, board members also run the day-to-day operations.
You should also ask yourself is your nonprofit really necessary? The easy answer is yes, of course it is. Education, health, ecology, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, human rights and animal rights are the low hanging fruit of NGO concepts. Don’t be concerned if there is already another organization that supports the same cause. It will not detract from your ability to promote your cause because the more organizations that share similar agendas, the more interest you generate.
Having been a staff member of the United Nations Department of Public Information / Non-Governmental Organizations section, I saw many civil society organizations espousing similar causes to the benefit of the mission and all NGOs. However, the ultimate goal of a nonprofit is to support a cause, not to compete with others.
Starting a nonprofit organization and keeping it going requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. You’ll need to maintain a passion for your mission, and be able to inspire that same passion in others, including board members, employees, volunteers, donors, politicians, media, global activists, academia and other stakeholders.
On a practical level, your nonprofit must exist to ensure the viability of the cause or goal. As a result, regular fundraising has to be a major function of your board and staff. Promotion, outreach and networking must also be handled by the staff in order to promote your work and accomplishments.
I heard a sound piece of advice for nonprofit hopefuls and established NGOs at a New York metro Better Business Bureau workshop for small businesses and non-profits. Claire Rosenzweig, president, had observed matter of factly in her remarks: “We’re all businesses after all.” Indeed. Regardless if you’re a small business or NGO, you still are a business.
Beyond your complimentary work, you are a business and should behave as such in order to safeguard your cause. Realistically, without money, you can’t exist. In addition to seeking funds, you should develop a comprehensive outreach plan and a marketing concept taking advantage of traditional forms and Internet platforms in order to succeed and promote your NGO and mission.
Finally, after a few months of activity, I strongly urge you to consider becoming part of the United Nations network of civil society organizations and all of you with 501c3 status are entitled to apply.
Beyond the lawyers and accountants’ advice on the administrative and legal regulations of running your nonprofit, your best source of knowledge and experience about the world of NGOs is the United Nations, where civil society is recognized as the third leg of the UN stool together with the member-state delegates and staff.
Once your organization has been associated with the UN Department of Public Information / Non-Governmental Organizations section, the head of your NGO and four other representatives will be given grounds passes to enter the UN headquarters in New York City. You will be invited to attend weekly briefings on a wide range of pressing global and local issues and hear what other NGOs are talking about.
You and your team will be able to share best practices with other representatives, meet with UN and global leaders on the causes that you hold dear, build coalitions and partnerships, and begin to improve the fate of mankind as you had originally intended to do.
In addition to advocating on behalf of your global or local cause, aligning your NGO with the UN network is the most important step on the road to fulfill your mission.
And setting out on this journey won’t cost you a dime. Applying for association with UN DPI/NGO is free.
Spread the word.
Join the conversation in cyberspace about launching an NGO and associating with the UN DPI/NGO. If you have examples of how you’ve done it, let me know. If you need help, reach out to me.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways your NGO and small business can boost their outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Your Small Business can also be Sustainable
All businesses – large and small – should take steps to become sustainable.
By becoming sustainable, large companies will impact the quality of life on a global scale, while small businesses, even neighborhood ones, will have a similar impact on the equally important local level.
These are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the 195 UN member-states to transform our world.
GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
As you can see, being sustainable is not merely being environmentally friendly and protecting the ecology. There are 17 principles and picking a favorite one is all your small business needs to do to embark on the road to sustainability.
Taking a global view, Barron’s recently published its list of 100 sustainable companies. No. 9 on the list is Clorox, yes, the bleach manufacturer. Hard to believe?
According to the business publication, Benno Dorer, CEO, travels to his office via public transit, buys sustainable products, including his company’s Brita water filters, separates his trash diligently, and teaches his kids to do the same.
Barron’s noted that for a company best known for a toxic product, Clorox has become one of America’s greenest companies, publishing goals on greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, phasing out controversial substances, and adding lines of natural products like Burt’s Bees.
“As a CEO, I don’t think I can be credible without walking the walk,” Dorer says. “At the end of the day, the company’s commitment to sustainability starts with the CEO.”
What is important about Dorer’s observation is that he, as the CEO, has set the tone for the company’s sustainable evolution. He created a sustainable corporate culture that trickles down throughout the company structure, to its branches and offices, and quite conceivably to local communities. Creating such a culture or image by top management becomes the dynamic thought leadership that triggers others to follow suit.
There is also a noteworthy payback. Sustainability is mission-critical to Clorox and the investing world is increasingly agreeing with Dorer’s public-spirited views.
More US investors are signing the United Nations guidelines or joining the UN Global Compact that incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria. Paul Smith, chief of the CFA Institute, was quoted as saying by Barron’s: “Consensus is emerging in many countries that it is asset managers’ fiduciary duty to incorporate ESG factors into their financial analysis, especially when material to a company’s long-term prospects.”
Another well-known company, McDonald’s Corp., has embarked on a quest to boost sales and improve its image by vowing to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions.
The world’s largest restaurant chain is adding LED lights and more efficient kitchen equipment, such as grills and fryers, in a bid to reduce emissions at its restaurants and offices by 36% by the year 2030 from 2015 levels. That is the deadline year set by the UN.
Also, changes to beef production will lower greenhouse gases from the company’s supply chain by 31%, the fastfood giant said. Its suppliers are experimenting with new paddock-style grazing practices, in which herds are rotated across sections of pasture. That allows the land to recover and reduces gases from cattle.
The company expects that the combined effect will be the equivalent of taking 32 million cars off the road for a year.
“We believe this will drive growth and drive our business,” Francesca DeBiase, chief supply chain and sustainability officer, was quoted as saying. “These are expectations that our customers have.”
The environmental moves follow the goal the restaurant chain set earlier this year to recycle trash at all of its 37,000 restaurants globally by 2025. As part of that effort, McDonald’s said it would make some food packaging more environmentally friendly. It has also pledged to help protect water supplies, promote animal welfare and preserve forests at cattle ranches that supply its beef.
In addition to Wall Street support for sustainable companies, small business can also reap the benefit of boosting their sales because the all-important millennial age group is keenly interested in sustainable businesses and is expressing its support for them with their purchases.
While these two examples present the 50,000-foot view, small businesses can also jump on the sustainability bandwagon.
  • As owner, be outspoken in your commitment to sustainability.
  • Look how your firm collects and recycles trash.
  • Review what you buy and from which companies.
  • Check your lighting.
  • Urge your vendor and industry partners to follow your example.
  • Inspire, sponsor or contribute to sustainable community projects.
  • Compel your local officials to become sustainable.
  • Spread the word.

Join the conversation in cyberspace about sustainability and its benefits for your small business. If you have examples of how you’re adopted the SDGs, let me know. If you need help, reach out to me.
Scroll through my blog to read about more ways to boost your outreach.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website: