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The business of sustainability

by | Jan 31, 2018 | NatHERS

Welcome

Welcome to my new blog on creating and running a sustainable business. This blog is aimed at solopreneurs and small businesses conducting energy ratings and thermal performance assessments and those working in home sustainability consulting.

Over the last six years I have worked with hundreds of individuals in these fields both in Australia and internationally. I have had the privilege of being invited to and attending United Nations Global Business Leader Forums at the UN Headquarters in New York where I spoke with business leaders from around the world. From my work in sustainability consulting, focussed predominantly on creating and running sustainable projects, and through presenting keynote presentations in over 20 countries, I have gained a unique insight as to what is happening around the world.

On the business front, I have operated five businesses over the past 16 years and during that time have achieved not only profitable results, but my work has been recognised winning and being a finalist of over 25 business awards, including ACT Telstra Small Business of the Year in 2015 and as runner up in the Australian Small Business of the Year.

During this time, I have learned a lot, often from failure rather than success. I have perfected what it takes to make a profitable business that delivers great service to customers, but also makes a positive difference in the world.

Through this blog I plan on sharing what has worked and what hasn’t and will also provide tips and tricks on everything from structuring your business and getting new clients through to managing your money. This is a way I can give back to the community, but it also helps achieve my broader goals of creating an army of building and sustainability professional’s that can create comfortable, sustainable homes and reduce Australia’s escalating energy use and greenhouse gas production.

To create an Army, we need profitable and productive businesses. Small business is the hard working engine room of the economy. With 97 percent of the population working in small business, it is the many thousands of solopreneurs and small businesses that have the greatest ability to create the change we need. And unless these businesses are profitable, then those of us in the industry will go elsewhere for better pay or change to something more profitable.

Thermal performance assessors and home sustainability consultants directly impact the lives of the average person. We are responsible for making millions of people too hot or too cold in their homes or ideally creating comfortable homes. We are the ones responsible for reducing energy use by creating homes that are thermally stable and do not require excessive mechanical heating and cooling.

Therefore, my aim is to help you become more profitable, less stressed and work less hours in your business, whilst still doing what you love AND making a real difference.

So what is the purpose of business?

I recall a conversation I had a few years ago during an entrepreneurs’ development program about the real purpose of business. It was in a group of about 40 entrepreneurs, some of who had an idea for a business, some were in start-up, with most operating for a few years. It was an interesting conversation as most of us had not even really thought about it despite many of us having run businesses for over a decade.

A few people responded indicating that the aim of business is ‘to make money’, others said ‘to service customers’, and a few more indicated that it was all about ‘making a difference in the world’.

Tim Dwyer, the facilitator, eventually cut to the chase and gave his definition: The purpose of a business is to solve a client’s problems as efficiently as possible whilst making a profit.

This definition really encapsulates a few key gems. Firstly, a key purpose of any business is solving a customer’s problems. This may sound somewhat strange, but when we examine the way people buy things and how they make buying decisions, the research shows that by selling a solution to the customers most compelling problem is by far the best way to generate new business and be profitable.

Secondly, being as efficient as possible is critical. Ultimately, customers want their problem solved as quickly and efficiently as possible. In many ways, they don’t really have any interest in how you solve their problem, or even what your products or services are, they just want their problem solved. The more efficient you are at doing this the more likely they are to refer you to other people, and the happier they will be to pay you.

Lastly, making a profit is critical in business, as your business will not be sustainable and will not exist in the future if you cannot make a profit. Whilst making a profit is necessary, it doesn’t mean that you need to be profitable at any cost.

So why are you in business? Let’s continue the discussion…

Until next time.

Cheers,

Michael

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