Category Archives: Business

Refinancing: Is it Right for You in 2010?

Your home is your castle, and probably your biggest investment. Thinking of refinancing the castle? Refinancing simply means having a mortgage on a home and applying for a second loan to pay off the first. This new mortgage might be attractive to a homeowner if he is going to end up with lower monthly expenses or extra money in his pocket. Refinancing runs parallel to applying for a home loan. Credit is checked and debt ratio is examined. According to Chris George, CEO and founder of CMG Mortgage, $2.1 trillion in mortgages originated in 2009 with that number expected to fall to about $1.35 trillion in 2010. 45% of that share will go to refinancing. There are several reasons why a person might choose to refinance in 2010.

Lower Payments

Interest rates are historically low right now, and Mr. George affirms that the vast majority of refinancing in 2009 was specifically targeted toward the acquisition of lower payments. He set up this scenario for a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage with an average $300,000 balance. A typical interest rate reduction would be 7.5% to 5%. Such a cutback would lower a mortgage payment from $2097.64 to $1610.46.

Tap Home Equity

Chris says that approximately one-third of the refinances in 2009 were cash-outs, nowhere near levels reached when property values rose. Yet many clients still want to extract money for home improvements, especially energy efficient ones. More often than not, however, mortgagees are seeking debt consolidation.

Change Mortgage Products

Ethan Ewing, president of Bills.com believes that refinancing from an adjustable rate loan and locking into a fixed rate in this interest environment makes sense. He says that even though the adjustable mortgage rates may well be lower right now, they will rise again and A.R.M.’s will quickly leapfrog the low fixed rates.

Shorten Loan Length

Chris George maintains that home equity has shrunk considerably with falling property values; therefore, borrowers are looking for unique ways to build equity. Paying down mortgages more quickly could be an alternate solution. Refinancing your mortgage from 30 to 15 years can eliminate thousands of interest dollars, making you a homeowner sooner rather than later. Not many occasions are as invigorating as a mortgage burning party!

Leigh Lester Holmes, Housing Program Manager of CESI Debt Solutions tells me, “This is a great time to refinance because rates are low and lenders are hungry for the business. Refinance before rates go back up…but be sure to negotiate!”

How to Look Rich When Leading a Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle

The economy is crashing with lightning speed, and your bills are overwhelming with shut-off notices every few days. You juggle the finances as fast as you can to keep everything running smoothly. You live paycheck to paycheck while trying to keep up with the Joneses, and little do you know it probably means they are about to file for bankruptcy!

But do not fret for there are ways to appear in a class of your own, living the life of the rich and silent with a few well placed stories and good front. Like putting lipstick on a pig, you are going to look a lot better than you truly are! No one will realize the trouble you have at night when you try to fall asleep. The bills will fly through the air mocking you only in your dreams while neighbors and friends will envy your smart investments.

Your home, your car and your appearance will appearance will mask the poverty under the cushions and the car the barely keeps going. They will never know how close you are to becoming homeless because you carry yourself with confidence, a winners smile and the greatest fantasy of all time. You are a credit to all who walk the line of defeat against the odds and just keep walking no matter what.

Your façade help you to face each new money crisis and as you watch your savings very slowly grow until one day you can finally move to easy street. But first you present fantasy of wealth, happiness and good taste in the face of financial ruin. Never show the stress and never admit failure!

  1. If you drive an older car and it’s paid off you have already won half the battle! How? No car payment and for the little extra you can change it’s appearance and history. No matter what kind of car you drive make sure you have a decent paint job on it and a high polish. Invest in some nice hub caps to make it a beautiful “vintage” auto.

Brag to everyone you just love the year and make of your car and it was a great find at the right time. If you appear to love the car for it’s year, make and model and it’s well cared for you are creating a history for it and yourself without anyone knowing you couldn’t afford a new car if it fell out of the sky! Adorn the inside with nice seat covers and hand made pillows to match . Shine every part you can. What a beauty it will be as your neighbors envy your good taste.

  1. Get a good hair cut. A good current style and a little hair gel goes a long way in convincing someone you only settle for the very best. Can’t afford to color your hair? You will let everyone know you believe in the wonderful and natural “you”! No amount of money or riches can make you better than you already are!
  2. Learn to sew! Make most of your own clothes with a touch here and there for a change in the pattern. Your story is you never buy off the rack unless it is very special or an emergency. YOUR clothes are all custom made by a new designer that will one day rule the walks of high end modeling. It’s your secret and you just cannot give the name for now. After all you will own the original designs of a future king or queen.
  3. Your home needs to be very well cared for even if it is a basic lawn front yard. Use a few well placed decorations, a rock collection and a few solar lights for effect. Make sure the outside front of the house has a nice paint job and good trim. Your story is this is just your little investment until you decide where you want to build your “dream” home. Keep it simple and keep it trimmed.
  4. Make your decoration simple and few. This is the least expensive way to decorate and looks the most elegant. Buy a few nice pieces of glass from retail outlet stores at a low price, but make sure you always relay they were purchased at full price. Add a few plants, candles and mirrors, family pictures in nice frames you can get at thrift stores and resale shops. Always decorate in groupings.
  5. If your furniture is on the older side this is where learning to sew will come in really handy. A couch cushion can have stuffing or foam added to it for extra firmness. Cover all your basic pieces with good, matching cloth. Sew it to custom fit each piece and add several large, overstuffed matching pillows in the same color and a few complimentary colors.

While at the machine make decorations for your home with small amounts of finer cloth such as small pillows and stuffed animals. Place on various pieces of furniture. Even lampshades can be made to match the rest of the room for that designer touch. Very chic, very modern and very cost worthy to those living a on a non-exsistent budget.

  1. Eat cheap when dining with just the family. But when you serve company and need to keep up appearances buy chicken and inexpensive white wine to cook it in. Serve with very little fresh vegetables and an unusual bread you can get from any deli or bakery section of your grocery store. Serve any left over wine from an inexpensive decanter you pick up at an under price store or thrift shop. For desert serve slices of frozen pound cake with strawberries and a good coffee. The effect is to look rich without spending a lot of money.
  2. Now you must be wondering how to serve such fine fare on your plain everyday dishes. You can’t afford a set of good china, but you can buy pieces of good china cheaply at thrift stores. The trick is to make sure every piece is different and tell your guest you planned it that way. It makes a beautiful setting on china most people will never eat off of again anywhere in there simple lives! Make sure your table is covered with a light weight table cloth and one single flower in the center. The vase can be from a dollar store or an empty, but well labeled perfume bottle you have found on your search through antique shops.
  3. Do not be afraid to go to consignment shops and look for labels or good quality items for much less money than new. It is good for appearances and for the budget. If you like jewelry choose costume pieces from an earlier era. Make sure they are clean because it is another one of your collections you are willing to share the beauty of with the common people. Following these simple suggestions will make you feel rich and prepare you for the day you are in a class of wealth like no other.
  4. If you work a job that cannot be disguised from others then you are only working in the position because you are a silent partner in the corporation and this is your way of making sure your investment is safe and know what makes the employee’s and customer’s happy. You must stay connected with the classes that spend the money for maximum profit and future improvements. Sounds good doesn’t it!

If the day never comes and your dreams are in a small neighborhood of a small but fine home, then at least you will have lived the fantasy just for the fun of it. So many of us do not live a life of luxury, but sometimes just a few fine items or the appearance of good taste gets us through the day and to the next paycheck. If you feel truly poor just remember you are not alone.

The next time one of your neighbors look like they are able to afford the very best while you try to figure out how to keep the power on, remember they may have read this article. Have fun, appear rich, enjoy the fantasy, but always be nice to those less fortunate. Because they may one day be nice to you when you need a shoulder to cry on or a hug to face the rest of the day.

How to Deal with Financial Stress in Your Life

Every month you tell yourself things will get better, but after a certain amount of time has passed you realize it may not. If your family or you are experiencing a downturn in your financial picture, it may time to decide to make some serious changes. Studies have showed that in the last recession of the 90’s a huge majority of those that got laid off, did not recover financially to what they made. By being proactive you may save yourself a serious financial crisis down the road.

Should You Stay or Go: If you have found yourself trying to find a job in the area you live in with little to no success, it may be time to relocate. Many families are finding themselves leaving cities they grew up in because jobs in their fields are just not readily available. Do some research regarding where the hot spots are right now for your type of employment. You may just have to move to keep a roof over your head.

Sell The House: We may be in the worst housing recession this country has ever seen, but there are still people buying homes everyday. You may have purchased your home based on how well you were doing in the past years, but now as the decrease or lack of income may be playing a role, selling that house may be a smart move. Many people try to hold onto their home hoping things will be ok. But there has to be a point agreed upon by all parties, that if things do not improve selling the home and renting something cheaper may be a good idea. Check out the surrounding area you live in for rentals and their rates. If you have a family, keeping your children in the same school district may be your goal. Minimizing the expense of maintaining a residence can help stretch the income even more. Remember, in the future you can always purchase a home again.

Discuss the Finances: Hiding the finances from the family is the worst thing you can do. By discussing it and letting everyone know that it is group effort, things much less stressful in the house. This is a time to teach your children a valuable lesson about the real world. Life is all about ups and downs.

Look at Cost Cutting: Major corporations do it everyday and even have whole departments devoted to reducing costs and expenses. The same should go for your household. Do the kids really need all those channels on cable? Can you do without the land line at home? Can cellphone costs be cut? How about combining trips with the car for errands or places the kids want to go? Less buying out lunch and more bagging? Let teens get a part time job for their extra money. They are less likely to spend it on impulse items when they know its money they earned. Forget the housekeeper and let everyone pitch in. Make a list of all the items you spend money on each month and cut it down. Try using online coupon websites for savings.

Seek Counseling: For some people, who examine their finances, they may find that trouble is a lot closer to their door than they realize. Counseling about your finances may be a good decision. A counselor may decide that you are too deep into a financial position to be able to pull out. They may recommend credit counseling to try and consolidate your bills or even bankruptcy in a worse case scenario.

Examine your financial situation immediately, so you can make clearer decisions without the emotional turmoil than can happen as things get worse. Attacking it as a unit makes the decisions that have to be made much easier on all those involved. Your not facing this alone, as many other people around you, even some you know are dealing with it. Starting on this today, can prevent heartache and stress for tomorrow.

 

Using Your Credit Card to Manage Your Finances

Before I begin, only someone who is wise enough not to get into debt can use this method and if that person figures he is getting over their head, he should pay by cash, check or debit card. However, the wise money manager can use this method to manage his finances.

True, you may need cash and loans for big items. For instance, tollbooths and some dollar stores do not take credit cards, and neither does it look good to put your name and your credit card number in the collection plate at Church, but for most purchase, you can depend on your Master Card or Visa.

First, this will only work if your credit card carries no annual balance, has a cash-back, or points system. You must be able to pay your balance off every month and not even carry over one cent and think of your credit card as a debit card with a bonus. After so many points, you get a trip, an Mp3 player, new sheets, or whatever.

It also helps if you have a high interest savings account that you will transfer into your checking account and then after that, placing the amount you spent onto your credit card account. If you got one of those credit card insurance, it would be best to put the money on the statement before you use the card, and after a time, you will be able to estimate how much you will need.

Now many checking accounts do not carry interest unless they run into thousands of dollars, and many businesses prefer either credit or debit cards. With debit cards, the money comes out of your bank account almost instantly, whereas with credit cards, you get a little leeway.

Before you use this, you have to make sure you know what your spending habits are, because if you put almost everything on credit, and pay off each month, you cannot have surprises. So, the first thing you should do is to figure out what you cannot put on credit, the purchases you make at the Dollar Store, the odds and ends you pay cash for, and the surprises such as group wedding gifts, showers, et cetera, also anything that you cannot use your card. After this, figure out your annual payments or anything that costs considerably much. For these, you will have to deposit money into your high interest savings account and then when you have enough, you withdraw the money into your regular savings or checking account, charge the item, and then you are so many points to your goal.

After this, you make a list of what you spend each month, and then you are all set. You can now use your credit card as a debit card with no worry.

How We Improved Our Financial Health

Several years ago my husband and I were in quite a financial fiasco. We were behind in payments on our housing, autos, utilities, and installment loans, and creditors were calling us constantly. Our young marriage was rocky at best due mostly to the financial stress. After much hard work, though, we managed to dig ourselves out of the hole we were in, and I’m happy to say we are now on a much firmer financial footing. I’ve tried to put together an outline of how we improved our financial health. I put them in some sort of order, but many of them must be done simultaneously.

Change your attitude

This was the first, and most crucial, step in turning our financial life around. We had to accept responsibility for the choices we had made and make a conscious decision that we no longer wanted to live that way. We wanted a better life for our family with less stress. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, the change in attitude in one area of our life slowly overflowed to all other areas and many of the problems we were facing seemed to disappear. Now I look back and realize how much of an impact our attitudes had on our lives and marriage.

Set goals

Preferably with your spouse so you can work together. As I learned in the early part of our marriage, it’s very difficult to get anywhere when resources are spent trying to go in two separate directions. And if you don’t set a specific goal, like saving for a down payment, paying off credit cards, or going on a family vacation, you are less likely to actually set the money aside.

Analyze spending

Starting with the monthly bills and getting right down to the little things like the candy bar at the gas station. The simple act of writing down everything you spend (and your spouse) for thirty days can be a huge eye opener. I resisted for years, and when I finally stuck with it for 3 months I was amazed at the potential savings I had overlooked for so long.

Start slashing costs

How drastic you need to be depends on how desperate your circumstances. Start with things you and your family are least likely to notice and that will provide motivation to continue.

Research, research, research

There is information everywhere on every subject imaginable. Check out books at your local library and do online searches for finances, saving money, living cheaply, or a specific area you want to save money on. Find like-minded people who you can share with and learn from.

Make and stick to a realistic spending plan (aka budget)

Do it simple or fancy, just get it done. Write down all the income and the bills and fill in with the extras like groceries, gas, allowances, clothing, etc. It must work on paper before it will work in real life! Dave Ramsey and Mary Hunt both have excellent advice on budgeting and getting out of debt.

Start paying off debt

Of course, you must stop buying things with credit if you ever want to pay it off. Most of our problems were old bills we had let lapse into collection. Once we had adjusted our attitudes and set up a plan, I started paying the bills off one by one. I started with the smallest ones and paid those as the budget permitted. There was a great sense of achievement after the smaller ones were gone. Then I moved onto the larger bills, which required making phone calls to creditors whom we hadn’t been in contact with for some time. Those calls were extremely difficult! Not only was my pride a little bruised, but I often had to deal with rude people. After having my feelings hurt on more than one occasion by what I felt was a lack of helpfulness, I finally started asking to speak to a different person. If that didn’t work, I simply hung up and called again until I was speaking with someone who wanted to take my money without insulting me. And one last note: Save records of everything you pay off! This is especially useful when cleaning up your credit report.

Plan, plan, plan

I don’t believe in unexpected expenses; I simply think they are unplanned. Everyone gets sick, the car will eventually break down, the dog will have to go to the vet. Just make sure you set aside a little bit at a time on a regular basis and the money will be there when you need it. Mary Hunt calls this a Freedom Account. Planning also applies to purchases of all kinds. Amy Dacyzyn, author of The Tightwad Gazette, says you should plan purchases in such a way that you get them before you need them at the lowest possible price. If your kids need winter clothes for next year, get them this summer at yard sales.

Clean up your credit

This should not be an immediate concern! If you are serious about getting out of debt then you don’t need to worry about how great your credit is. However, it should be done eventually since it takes years for bad stuff to disappear, and you may want to buy a house down the road. I didn’t tackle this until we were paying our bills on time and had paid off the collection items. It was a huge undertaking that took up a lot of hours over a couple of weeks. First I went to a link from Dave Ramsey’s website and ordered a 3-in-1 credit report so I could see everything at once. I did a rough read through to see what was immediately incorrect and then started digging deeper. My records from paying off old collection bills were very helpful. Once I had a list of all the items that needed to be corrected I went to the credit agency’s website and filled out a dispute form. They responded to each item I questioned and sent me a new credit report after all the changes were made.

Debt Help Available in Great Britain: Free Debt Advice and Counselling Services in the UK

Coping with debt can put an overwhelming strain on both individuals and families. Fortunately, debt help is widely available in the UK from various organisations. Many of them have free debt help telephone numbers, giving immediate access to qualified debt counsellors.

Debt Advice on the Telephone

There are a variety of options for people wishing to discuss debt problems, one of which is to telephone a debt help number. Most debt help organisations have a telephone number to call, some of which are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An excellent example in the UK is the National Debt Helpline, where calls are free and debt counsellors are on hand to offer advice and support.

The Samaritans are also an option for those affected by debt problems. Although calls are charged they do provide the option of reversing charges or having someone call the client back. The Samaritans have numerous centres throughout the UK where anyone can drop in for a face to face chat about debt problems. The Samaritans is a charity which uses volunteers and allows anyone to discuss any problems at any time.

Debt Help from Citizen’s Advice

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is a well known part of many towns in the UK, offering free advice on a wide range of topics. The Bureau also operates a satellite organisation known as the Debt Advice Trust, giving free debt advice supported by the government. A free phone number can be called, which is staffed by experienced debt counsellors.

Online Debt Help

An alternative to debt help lines is provided by the CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Service). Their website gives clients the option of filling out an online form with details of their income, debts and expenditure. Within a short time span clients receive back a suggested debt management plan based on the information provided.

The Sterling Trust charity offers another form of online debt help. Clients, as with the CCCS, enter their financial information online. Their income and debts are then compared to produce a repayment plan. The site also provides letters which can be printed off and sent to creditors, explaining individual situations and how debts will be repaid.

Advantages of Free Debt Advice

In addition to costing nothing receiving free debt help from a charity should ensure that any advice given is fair and impartial. There are now more opportunities than ever to obtain free debt advice in the UK. In the current financial climate debt is affecting more and more people. The charities and organisations described above are working to help as many people as possible regain control of their finances.

How to Market a Business: Ten Ways to Set Your Organization Apart

1) Develop a written marketing plan that defines objectives for today, the immediate future, and projected future. Your marketing plan should encompass budget, headcount, new technology, and trends.

2) Once you establish marketing goals, communicate them to the entire organization. Every employee in your firm, regardless of title or position, helps market your company. When everyone is on the same page the marketing effort becomes that much stronger.

3) Hire marketing people that know how to write and design to avoid unnecessary outsourcing costs, and use marketing dollars wisely to create quality brochures, proposal materials, and online newsletters. Printed material has a limited shelf life so create items that can be easily updated.

4) Develop a strong public relations strategy, as it will help customers get to know your firm in ways advertising cannot. Public relations may involve the development of news items that appears in objective sources, expanding an element of community service, or just managing the press your firm already receives.

5) Engage in advertising that will produce the biggest impact. If your budget is tight, don’t dole out small amounts of advertising dollars for things like marketing “trinkets” or a series of small ads. Instead, determine your target client base and develop regular ad placement in a publication your prime customers peruse often.

6) Make sure all collateral material is consistent with other areas of your brand. Be consistent with the look and content of proposals, brochures, letterhead, business cards, and job signs. Consistency is what helps customers develop recognition for your firm.

7) Determine what your firm does better than any of your rival businesses, then market that skill to differentiate from your competition. Once you define your firm’s unique area of expertise, reiterate this in proposals, advertising, and public relations.

8) Understand what your brand really represents. It can be difficult to take a step back from your company and see it as a customer would, but this is an important step to marketing. Pay close attention to what customers say about you.

9) Banish the fire drill mentality in preparing proposals. A clearly communicated set of expectations with regard to proposals will help everyone on the team understand their role in the process. Project managers, sales, marketing, and management should all be involved.

10) Lack of communication, support, or clear-cut goals will only serve to cause frustration between you and your marketing staff, so clearly communicate expectations. For example, saying you want to get “some press” for your organization is not a clear goal, telling them you’d like coverage by the end of the year in a specific magazine is. If marketing people take direction from more than one person at your firm make sure everyone is on the same page with what the role of marketing should be.

The marketing effort of an organization includes all structured attempts to first acquire and then maintain a customer. When all elements of marketing are put together successfully under the umbrella of an overall marketing plan these efforts can increase sales, provide brand awareness, and solidify your reputation in the market.

How to Say No: How to say no to extra work without feeling guilty

Do you get overloaded at work because you hate to say ‘’no.’’ This is a common problem, one that you can’t afford if you’re too busy already.

So, how can you turn down these requests without feeling guilty? The key is to say ‘’yes’’ but give a different kind of help – anything but taking the monkey on your back. Offer advice or suggestions. Ask the person to talk you through how he would do the work.

We find it hard to say ‘’no’’ because we don’t want to give the impression that the person or the task is unimportant. Even if the person doesn’t get this message, we might worry that we gave this impression anyway. So, a good strategy is to counter this feeling, both in yourself and in the other person. You might say that you can see how important this task is and stress how much you would like to help. Instead of apologizing and saying that you are just too busy, it is always better to focus on the other person’s needs instead of your own. If you say you can’t do the work, you might make yourself look bad or feel bad. It is much better to talk about the person’s need to get a job done. Instead of saying you can’t do it, stress the point that to give this task the justice it deserves you would need to dedicate so many hours to it. And, because you wouldn’t want to disappoint the person with a poor job, you might have to delay it for a certain length of time. Then say that you could perhaps be of more assistance by showing the person how to do the task or referring him to someone else.

If the person asking you to do the task is your boss, ask her what the priority for it is relative to other things you have on the go. If you regard your boss as one of your most important customers, it is a good idea to check regularly to see how her needs are shifting and how you should invest your resources to enable her to achieve her needs. This serves as a reminder to your boss that you have quite a lot on your plate, and it may help her to think more carefully about how to make the best use of you rather than simply dumping everything on you. The key is to negotiate priorities rather than simply say you can’t do it.

How to Play to Your Strengths: Think Strategically about Yourself for Career Success

For career success, you are told to play to your strengths. Sounds simple except that you may not be fully aware of your strengths or of what is required in a particular job.

We aren’t very aware of our strengths because we discount them. Things we enjoy doing and find easy to do are indicative of strengths, but precisely because they come easy to us, we say that it is just our job or surely anyone can do that. When we get a compliment for doing something well, we are surprised because we thought there was nothing to it. Conversely, we are keenly aware of our weaknesses. As a result, we have an unbalanced self-perception. The reality is that we have many more strengths than weaknesses.

It also depends on who we compare ourselves with. If you compare yourself to Jack Welch, you may see more gaps in your portfolio of strengths than if you compare yourself to a junior colleague. Also, if you are in a specialist function, say finance, you may not know much about marketing, operations or human resources. So, you can always find people who know more than you do about something or who have strengths that you lack.

Strategic Strengths and Weaknesses

Skills are only career strengths if they relate to success at work. You might be a ping pong ace but this won’t help you get that management job you want. You might be hopeless at selling anything, but this is irrelevant if you don’t want a career in selling. So, we have strategic strengths and strategic weaknesses. The former are those that most closely fit whatever career direction you are pursuing while the latter are just those weaknesses that might block you from getting where you want to go. The good news is that you don’t need to fix all your weaknesses if they aren’t standing in the way of your preferred career path.

There is an excellent reason to play to your strengths, once you have identified them. It is well known that people have more confidence when they are doing things they are good at. Success is more likely, you will appear more decisive and you will inspire more confidence in the key people you need to impress. On the other hand, if you continually play to your weaker side, you will appear hesitant, clumsy and lacking in confidence. Worse, your discomfort could well undermine your confidence in your strengths.

When looking for a new job, start by assessing fit. Will your target job be a good match for your strategic strengths? There will always be some learning to do in a new role, but make sure that your major weaknesses won’t get too much exposure.

Why Businesses Are Going Green: The Benefits of Becoming an Eco-Friendly Corporation

The release of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” caused quite a stir, attracting both criticism and applause in equally large quantities. Regardless of whether you are a believer or a sceptic, this documentary, which looks into how mankind is contributing to global warming, has really got people thinking about how their actions impact on our environment. The film reflects a growing trend in which more and more people are deciding whether or not they use a company based on their environmental standpoint. This can be seen in the countless blogs and forums that are springing up around the globe, with the main focus being on which companies are environment friendly and produce ‘green’ products and services.

Many corporations are incredibly resistant to changing traditions and ways of doing things that have been built up over the course of many years. However, there are actually a lot of benefits to going green. Plus, if companies don’t alter their habits to fit in with the changing viewpoint of the population, they will soon be left behind by their quicker, smarter rivals.

A Healthier Bottom Line

Many business owners believe that changing their processes to fit in with a more eco-friendly world will be expensive and time consuming. While it is true that environmentally friendly products can be more costly to purchase, in the long run they can save you and your business an awful lot of money. For example, using high-efficiency lightbulbs, such as compact fluorescents, will cost you 75% less to run than standard lightbulbs and will last 10 times longer. Using email as much as possible, instead of sending faxes and emails, will also significantly reduce your company’s overheads. According to document delivery company Captaris, an enterprise with 30,000 employees that sends and receives two pages a day can save over $2 million a year by digitalising its paperwork.

Keeping the Customer Happy

Increasing numbers of people are deciding whether or not they use a company based on how eco-friendly they are. This means that it is becoming more and more important that businesses make environmentalism a part of their brand.

What Else Can You Do?

There are numerous things that you can do to make your business more environmentally friendly. You can take steps towards becoming CarbonNeutrual. You can reduce waste by recycling paper and making sure that you dispose of items such as unwanted office furniture, batteries, lighting and plastic in the appropriate manner. You can also choose suppliers that back packaging for reuse. The possibilities are endless.

Let the World Know about Your Eco-Friendly Stance

While you may feel uncomfortable about ‘blowing your own trumpet’ when it comes to green issues, don’t keep your eco-friendly activities and achievements hidden under a bushel. Customers, clients and shareholders will all want to know about your green efforts. Most individuals will be happy to learn that they are dealing with a responsible, environmentally aware corporation.

If you are not quite sure how to sensitively publicise the fact that you are taking some steps towards being more sustainable and eco-friendly, you can always contact a reputable public relations agency. A number of ‘green’ PR companies, including Green Planet PR in the United Kingdom, have sprung up in recent years. These consultancies only take on green businesses as clients and focus primarily on making people aware of environmental issues. Other agencies, such as Intermediary Communications in New Zealand and MWW Group in the United States, make a special effort to incorporate green PR and corporate social responsibility services into all of their strategies.