Six steps to sustainable, successful small business leadership

  • 02 May 2017

In the run up to an election we hear a lot about the qualities of good leadership. 

But as the country enters a period of economic and political uncertainty, it is the leaders of small businesses whose leadership will really be put to the test. 

With that in mind, here are six things that you can do today to improve the sustainability and security of your business.   

Commit to boosting profit by improving efficiency

If you run a small business, then your first job is probably to hit profit targets. Cutting energy, water and raw material use could be the easiest ways for you to maximise profitability. Small and medium sized businesses in Scotland can save an average of £16,000 a year through resource efficiency.   

Those looking for a helping hand to unlock these savings should check out Resource Efficient Scotland. It is a free Scottish Government funded programme that provides technical guidance and support on using resource efficiency to boost profit. 

Understand how changes in regulation will impact your business

Changes in policy have a big impact on the daily running of your business. Successful business leaders anticipate these changes, embrace them and enjoy the competitive advantage that this brings.  

Take the Westerwood Hotel and Golf Resort in Scotland. When legislation on food wastage came in for Scotland, managers at the hotel decided to go beyond compliance and implement a new strategy to reduce food waste. And the result? Savings of over £70,000 identified per year.  

Read about how they did it here

Know your customers and adapt to their needs

Small businesses leaders need to adapt quickly to changing customer requirements. Nowhere is this more obvious in Scotland than the move towards environmentally conscious purchasing, which is becoming a part of many businesses’ strategies. 

Fortunately improving environmental performance and growing your business go hand in hand. For example, the West Highland Hotel in Scotland used an interest free loan from the Scottish Government to install a biomass boiler. The boiler has saved the business £20,000 per year, reduced its carbon footprint and is allowing guests to experience a West Highland winter in luxury and comfort. 

Empower your staff to make savings

Successful leaders know how to empower their staff to take responsibility not just for their personal performance but also the success of the whole business. 
For example, encouraging your employees to take small actions in their daily routines that reduce their energy, water or raw material use can translate into big end-of-year savings. Just getting your employees to reduce the temperature by 1 degree Celsius could save a whopping 10% from your yearly energy bill. 

If you’re looking for tools to encourage your staff to save money, sign up to receive a professional communication pack from Resource Efficient Scotland here

Make the most of the support and funding available now

Great business leaders know to prepare for the future by being mindful of the present. That means seizing opportunities and support while it’s available.

For example, the Scottish Government and the European Development Fund are currently offering small to medium sized businesses in Scotland unsecured, interest free loans of up to £100,000 to fund efficiency improvements. Business leaders throughout Scotland are using this money to upgrade their boilers and improve staff comfort, install double glazing to reduce energy loss or invest in new equipment to grow their business. 

Find out how apply for the funding while it’s still available here.   

Get training on sustainable leadership

Investing in training for yourself or your staff to improve resource efficiency and environmental performance is incredibly valuable. And it doesn’t necessarily have to come at a cost. 

Green Champions is a free Scottish Government funded online course designed to help your business to develop the leadership skills needed to maximise resource efficiency and profitability.

“Everyone who has the drive and ambition to better themselves and their company should sign up and complete the training.” Steven Rae, The Sanderlings, Glasgow 

“This training is really impressive, it covers a lot of information in an accessible way"
Alan Peddie, The University of Edinburgh  

There are more than 1,000 Green Champions pioneering sustainable leadership and using it to grow their businesses in Scotland.  Click here to find out how you can join the Green Champions community.   

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