When I wrote the Rule of Thumb book for Small Business Sustainability, I truly thought it would be a hot topic for business owners seeking to leave a legacy for themselves and their families and/or business partners. However, after very stagnant book sales, I have to ask this question. Are small business owners so caught up in day-to-day survival that they cannot even focus on the future?
In this article, I’ll share some words of wisdom from Internet research gathered on the importance of sustainability for small businesses.
In her article, Sustainability: Is it good for small companies, Jennifer Miller offers this sage-worthy analysis:
In recent years, small business sustainability has become a popular topic as business leaders face hardships with the poor economy in the United States. In fact, sustainability strategies have been growing in popularity over the past several decades. Young and Tilley (2006) describe in a recent article that the 1980’s and 1990’s were decades of eco-awareness following the pollution aware decades of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Now, as companies face increasing problems in trying to achieve profitability, managers are looking for ways to decrease costs while still maintaining quality products and services. Managers are looking for ways to survive. However, mere survival skills will not give a company much hope for the future. This is where the concept of sustainability becomes important.
It is important that sustainability concepts are able to produce visible results for the companies that implement them. Without visible results, it is likely that companies will choose not to pursue these strategies. However, researchers have been able to identify ways to ensure success through sustainability. It has been found that a competitive advantage can be accomplished through a “balance between economic progress, social responsibility, and environmental protection” (Epstein, 2008). With this formula for competitive advantage, more companies will be willing to implement sustainability concepts.
The key sentence in this excerpt is mere survival skills will not give a company much hope for the future.
Sustainability planning is just as important as the day-to-day crisis management mode for small business owners.