Sustainability in a business: How to develop a sustainability plan in an SME (Image from https://www.articles.asme.org.sg/single-post/2017/12/20/Navigating-towards-a-sustainable-future )
- A sustainable business is one that “meets the needs of the present [world] without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
- There is no one right solution to sustainability in a business. Here are a few useful actions for all management teams to improve sustainability practices.
The rules of engagement have changed; presidential elections are won on social media, students become millionaires while chasing a degree, screen time is not on our TV sets, speed of mass communication is as fast as a Tweet away.
The socio-psychological impact of IOT devices in the global village (a world linked into a single community through telecommunications) is undeniable, and causes one to question what the future brings to us, and how we will leap over it with less bruises.
Take time to relook at what People mean to your business. If we are to grow towards sustainability in a business, we must be empathetic, and address the impact that technology is dawning on us.
Sustainability in a Business: A Requirement for Companies Today
1. Understanding and working with Millennials
The largest generation in our workforce today are the Millennials, and they make up 22% of our resident population. This generational group is known as the segment after Generation X, loosely classified as those born between 1979 – 2000.
They are now economically viable with disposable income and families, they crave a work/life balance and are avid content creators and users themselves. These are our consumers, our employees, and our business partners.
Some might echo others that working with them is a mystery as they come into the workforce feeling self-entitled and unaccountable. Perhaps to an older generational workforce, these differences may look as faults and limitations.
Sustainability in a business is more an opportunity than a threat. PHOTO: PEXELS
Instead, encourage their individualism, their zest for communicating feelings and passions publicly through blogs and social networks into a hotbed for shared learnings, community and belongingness.
Involve them and invite shared decision-making into corporate actions that affect their future with the company. You may be pleasantly surprised with the amount of feedback and truthfulness that they are willing to share, and the solutions that come from this.
2. Surviving the digital divide
Retail experiences (and other consumer purchasing behaviour) now spikes heavily towards digital experiences and consumption of virtual reality, ecommerce marketplaces, drop-shipping.
Being sustainable and relevant in today’s context means to extract and pivot your value proposition towards a digital front-end experience.
This goes beyond whether going digital is a good approach or not. Rather, this is about how your business can survive, or be future proof so as to continue its lifespan.
Consider investing into and crafting a digital marketing strategy or roadmap that navigates your unique set of challenges and objectives and marketplace. Put your customer’s digital experience front of mind, and with timely planning and razor focused execution, you should be able to come out on the right side of this chasm.
One way of navigating towards sustainability in a business is by going digital. PHOTO: PEXELS
3. Developing in-house capabilities
When it comes to looking for business, market reach, or consumer reach, we tend to look for agencies or specialists that are very involved with a domain; such as a digital agency doing SEM, SEO, social media and content marketing.
Often, business owners themselves wear many hats rolled into one - Human Resource, Finance, Marketing and Operations driver. They may not have additional bandwidth and commitment of hired agencies to educate and take them on a digitisation journey.
Overtly relying on an external agency may not solve all your marketing and business problems. Create internal value within your company by sending your senior decision makers to boot camps or continued lifelong learning programs that will help with capability development.
With the many training grants by Skillsfuture and WSG, take every opportunity to capitalise on available funding to enhance learning and self-driven creativity of your staff. With this exposure, your key staff will be equipped to get more out of your agency partner or develop their own plans to take on new initiatives.
In short, our adaptability and ability to evolve makes us the finest at what we do. So long as we keep up with the change and constantly challenge our status quo with humility and continuous learning, the future remains bright.
About the Author
Frieda Lee | General Manager | Webnatics