Earth Day: 6 Ways Businesses Can Be Eco-Friendly While Saving Money


3 minutes Every business wants to save money, right? But why not save money and help save the environment at the same time? Eco-friendly, it turns out, can also be budget-friendly. Here are six ways your business can tap into the green movement while pocketing some extra green. 1. Change The Bulbs Compared with traditional incandescent, energy-efficient lightbulbs such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) typically use about 25% to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs do, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Plus, they last three to 25 times longer than traditional incandescents. Over time, your business could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by going with energy-efficient bulbs that’ll reduce your energy costs and cut down on the frequency of bulb purchases. 2. Get An Energy Audit No one likes to be audited by the IRS. But any business should welcome an energy audit. An energy audit can prompt upgrades such as repairing air leaks, saving 10% to 20% on your HVAC bills; installing exterior low-E storm windows, saving 12% to 33%; and weather-stripping windows, saving 5% to 10%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Not only can those fixes save money, but they also can reduce energy waste. Many local utilities perform free energy audits to assess the energy efficiency of businesses and homes. 3. Reduce Water Usage Water eats up natural resources as well as financial resources. A business that adopts water conservation measures — such as putting in drought-tolerant native plants, watering the lawn only when necessary, collecting rainfall for irrigation, regularly checking for water leaks and installing high-efficiency bathroom fixtures — can cut back on water usage and, therefore, cut the water bills. Commercial buildings account for an estimated 17% of water consumption in the U.S., according to engineering firm Peter Basso Associates, and water accounts for 1% to 2% of a business’ overhead. If your business embraces water conservation, you can do your part to bring those numbers down. As if the direct cost savings weren’t enough, your business also might qualify for rebates, grants and tax breaks to encourage water conservation. 4. Go Paperless The Ecology Global Network estimated in 2011 that about 4 billion trees are chopped down every year to supply the global paper industry. It takes two dozen trees to produce 1 ton of typical office paper. The financial effects of paper consumption are almost as startling. By one measure, the average business in the U.S. annually spends $80 per employee on office paper. If you’ve got 50 employees, that adds up to $4,000 a year. Relying more on digital documents and less on paper documents can decrease the number of trees harvested for paper products and can decrease your business’ bill for office paper. 5. Promote Telecommuting To be sure, telecommuting takes cars off the roads, which leads to less gas consumption and less air pollution. But can it save money for your business? Yes. For one thing, telecommuting boosts productivity. A study by researchers at Stanford University found that performance among telecommuting workers at a Chinese travel agency was 13% higher than among employees who worked at the office. Researchers attribute that to more time spent on work tasks and less time spent traveling to and from work, taking long lunches with colleagues and leaving the office early for an appointment. In addition, the researchers discovered, at-home workers were less distracted than their in-the-office counterparts. On top of that, resignations at the company fell by 50% when employees were able to work from home. Combined, those telecommuting benefits can trigger cost savings: Perhaps fewer people need to be hired, thanks to the increase in productivity. Less time, energy and money are allocated to replacing employees who’ve quit. Another advantage: Telecommuting workers use their own electricity, not the business’ electricity, and oftentimes use their own supplies and equipment. According to Ohio University, letting just one employee telecommute can shrink office expenses — including rent, utilities and supplies — by $10,000 a year. Global Workplace Analytics assigns a higher number to the savings: more than $11,000 annually for every employee who telecommutes 50% of the time. 6. Reuse And Recycle Reusing and recycling can trim the amount of waste you’re sending to landfills and can trim expenses. Businesses, homes, schools, hospitals and other places in the U.S. generated 262.4 million tons of trash in 2015, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Of that, only about 25% wound up in recycling bins. If your business isn’t already doing it, establish a recycling program. Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles and paper are among the items you can recycle rather than tossing them in the trash. There are companies who will even pay you for your recyclables! As for the reusing part, your business can give a second life to things like envelopes and boxes. And you can ask that employees drink coffee from reusable mugs or eat their lunch with reusable utensils. These steps can reduce environmental harm and lower your overhead. Did you know Talus can help your business become eco-friendlier? Payment processing from Talus can cut down on your business’ reliance on paper. Request a quote today!   […]

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Business Budgeting, Cash Flow And Taxes

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3 minutes Every small business is unique, but they all share one challenge: managing their finances well enough to stay in business. Whether you open a flower shop, sell your wares online or start a new restaurant, you cannot ignore how much money comes into – and goes out of – your business, says Patricia T. Anderson, an accountant and Enrolled Agent based in Boca Raton, Florida. There are usually many outgoings, even online businesses need to invest in services like Eatel Managed Business Services to ensure things run smoothly. “The new business owner’s biggest financial concern is cash flow,” she says. Anderson says most businesses fail because they do not have enough cash to get them through the lean period when starting the business. “They need to have enough cash to take care of them personally and professionally while they run and build their business,” she says. The key to staying afloat is setting a realistic budget, and then turning that into a cash-flow analysis that ensures there are enough funds to keep the business going until it can turn a profit, she adds. Choosing The Right Business Entity The financial concerns don’t end there, though. For example, choosing the right business entity – such as a limited liability company or S. corporation — can make a big difference to your bottom line, Anderson says. “Small-business owners should consult with an accountant to confirm that they are making the best selection for tax and liability purposes,” she says. Fail to seek such guidance, and you could end up paying more in taxes than you should. Anderson also notes that many small-business owners are not aware that their tax is calculated on the amount of profit the business has earned, not the amount of cash they have personally taken out of the business. “This can also cause cash-flow issues,” she says. “Many new business owners roll the profits back into the business to help it grow and forget to set aside funds for tax.” The Impact Of Tax Reform Recent changes tied to federal tax reform – formally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — also can have an impact on your new small business. Anderson says the biggest change is the qualified business income deduction, which can provide up to a 20% deduction of qualified business income from a domestic business. “If qualified, it could significantly reduce their tax liability,” she says. However, she adds that there are “a tremendous amount of rules and exceptions” surrounding this change. “This new change makes it even more necessary to engage an experienced business tax preparer,” Anderson says. Another change tied to tax reform is likely less welcome – the elimination of the deduction for entertainment expenses. “In addition, if you treat your clients to cocktails and dinner at the sporting arena while attending a sporting event, your tickets and food and beverage is no longer deductible,” she says. However, she notes that if you strictly take your clients to dinner for a business purpose, your food and beverage would still be 50% deductible under tax reform. “Many clients used to track meals and entertainment in one account on their financials, but now it is important to separate the two to assist in tax preparation,” Anderson says. Hiring Outside Help Strong finances are the fuel that allows a business to move forward. For that reason, it’s crucial for small-business owners to view their accountant as someone who can provide help that stretches beyond mere compliance and tax work. “In reality, they should be using their accountant’s expertise for more than just that,” Anderson says. For example, she urges new business owners to work with their accountant to conduct a profitability and growth analysis, especially in regard to long-term plans such as opening an additional location, moving offices, adding team members, and integrating new software. “They should consider the cost and benefits of these decisions,” she says. “Sometimes, clients are making decisions based on their wants, but need to analyze information so they can make more informed decisions to attain their long-term goals.“ She also notes that too many small-business owners who handle their own finances do their accounting “after the fact.” By working with an accountant, they can get better access to real-time data that can help them make more effective decisions about product and service pricing, and employee salaries, she says.   Are you looking for payment services for your new business? Speak to a Talus Pay representative today to customize your POS system. […]

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Do’s and Don’ts When Gathering Customer Feedback as a Business

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4 minutes Customer feedback is immensely valuable for small business owners. Big companies spend bundles of money collecting feedback and compiling consumer research to guide their strategy and tweak product offerings. Small businesses need that same information, but often don’t have the resources available to get it. That’s where creativity, persistence, and ingenuity come into play. Want to get more customer feedback? […]

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