Want to go green but afraid it might be too costly for your business? Many business owners these days are intrigued by environmental sustainability but harbor the misconception that green is always an expensive luxury. While it is true that some eco-friendly products are more expensive than their non-green counterparts, it is actually possible to SAVE money through smart environmental choices. When you add up energy savings, savings on expenses and increased efficiency together with brand caché and competitive advantage, going green can dramatically help a company’s bottom line. A quick and easy place to start is with your smart phone. There are a number of green-minded smart phone apps that can help entrepreneurs cut back on expenses. Here are five of my favorite eco apps to watch:
Forget standard business cards. Not only are they costly to design and print, but why hand out boring, same-as-everyone-else chopped up bits of bleached trees to make connections, when most business conversations take place these days digitally (through phones or email). It just makes sense that business cards should be the next in line to get digitized. The GreenCard app lets folks share contact information without the paper trail and eliminates the cost of purchasing stacks of business cards, by letting users create digital business cards which they can share with contacts in their iPhone. Plus, if you modify the card to reflect new info, the app will automatically send contacts the update. For those without a smartphone, we recently discovered Contxts, a similar service that lets you share your contact information with new connections through text messages.
If there’s one thing businesses use in abundance, it’s paper. Save some trees and some dough with Coupon Sherpa’s iPhone app. The app provides mobile coupons for hundreds of stores, with new discounts offered daily. Simply search the site, download the coupons you want to use and display the mobile coupon on your iPhone at checkout time. The app offers the same savings with a whole lot less paper.
When using company cars, make sure drivers utilize the Fuel Saver app to prevent gas waste. The phone’s accelerometer senses when drivers are speeding, accelerating too hard or braking harshly, all behaviors that use excessive amounts of fuel. By sounding a series of beeps when it detects bad driving behavior, the app teaches drivers to cruise in a more fuel-efficient manner. Some app users reported an annual fuel savings of up to 16 percent, savings hundreds of dollars a year in gas bills.
In order to start cutting back on power consumption, business owners must first learn where their electricity use comes from. MeterRead provides all the data you’ll need to stop wasting and start saving power and money. The app displays the total kilowatt-hours of electricity used since the last read and predicts what the total 30-day usage will be. Plus, it calculates current usage down to the millisecond and stores data from hundreds of readings, so you can really see how various energy-saving tactics rack up electricity savings.
Think how much paper your business wastes by printing out things like boarding passes, tickets, directions, etc. Eliminate all those wasted trees and save yourself some dough by getting the ACTPrinter app and its free, accompanying software, ACTPrinter Mac. The app lets you “print” any document you want from your Mac to your iPhone. Just take along your phone instead of all those wasteful bits of paper and watch the savings pile up. There’s one catch: this app only works with Macs. Sorry, PC users!