Bringing Fortune 500 CEOs into Small Business

Entrepreneur Resources welcomes this guest post, by NYC blogger Alan Parker.  He shares how the actions and insights of successful Fortune 500 CEOs can easily relate to small business.  I hope his words inspire you to take action in your own company.

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As the economy has only just started to improve, many small businesses are still looking for direction to help get them through.  There are various books and websites available for small business, and many of them are often invaluable resources.  However, small businesses owners consistently forget to look to some of today’s largest business leaders for successful ideas, many of which can be replicated on a much smaller scale, and that when implemented can help your business immensely.  The two most easily applied mindsets are those of philanthropy and sustainability.  Here is a more thorough look at a couple CEOs that have brought these ideas to the forefront of their company.

Sustainability:

It seems like almost every corporation is taking up practices that display their commitment to the convergence of corporate enterprise and green technology.

To this end CEOs Klaus Kleinfeld of Alcoa and Dow Chemical’s Andrew Liveris’s have developed and are implementing sustainable business models. These models influence the type of products and services a corporation offers to their customers, as well as the day-to-day functioning of the corporation itself.  For example, Kleinfeld and Alcoa submitted a 2009 report that organized the corporation’s three areas of concern (sustainable resources, sustainable products, and sustainable operations) and since, Alcoa has cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million metric tons, devoted more than $34 million dollars into the communities where Alcoa plants are located, and created an expected business model for 2050 with respect to the corporations long-range sustainability goals.

Dow and Liveris are following a similar path.  Dow is currently partnered with the International Olympic Committee as the official sponsor and chemistry company of the Olympics until 2020.  Liveris has shown scientific, business, and special interest parties that not only is his obligation to green science and sustainability beneficial to the environment and humans, it integrates with business to bring about unparalleled discoveries and profits.  According to their website, they plan to release their Powerhouse solar shingle this year which can replace standard asphalt roofing shingles and assist in powering households and businesses.

Now, how does all of this apply to your business?  First, by taking a hard look at your company’s day-to-day operations and determining ways to save energy and cut back on waste you can end up saving considerable amounts of money that can be reinvested in the company.  Second, by providing green products and services, which can usually be offered at a premium, you gain authority and credibility within your community.  To enhance this credibility, look to join local and statewide “green accreditation” programs that can set efficiency and other environmental goals for your company to aspire toward as you become more efficient.  You don’t have to make huge changes or invent new solar panels, but taking a few minutes to review your company’s products and operations can yield huge results.

Philanthropy:

Now while sustainability has been rising in popularity only within the last few years, one of the oldest practices in corporate America is that of philanthropy.  Two of America’s earlier CEOs, John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, gave away enormous percentages of their wealth to start foundations, universities, and libraries.  Today, it is tough to compare anyone to the philanthropic ways of Bill Gates.  Through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, over $27 billion was given to charity as of 2007, and more recently, Gates has vowed to give more than half of his wealth away to causes he believes in.

This does not mean that you have to go and give all of your company’s profits away.  If you have the financial means, sponsoring local charities and helping with fundraisers for those charities is a good way to show that you care about the community and are an active member of it.  However, donating time can be just as significant, and you can reap the same rewards by volunteering, especially if you can help to get others in the community involved as well (there are also a number of studies that show giving to charity promotes your own happiness and wellbeing!).  Lastly, as charity events often can bring whole communities together, there is always the possibility for networking and meeting new customers or clients, and your first impression will be very positive and memorable.

Overall, these are not groundbreaking ideas by any stretch of the imagination.  Still, by following some of the guidelines and ideas laid out by of these top CEOs and using them with your small business, there is plenty of potential to build strong relationships in your community, look more enticing to customers, and have an overall positive impact on your company.

Alan Parker is a blogger based out of New York, NY who writes about alternative energy, green business, sustainability, and climate change.

Follow on Twitter @AGreenParker

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Entrepreneur-Resources.net is happy to provide guest posting opportunities for small business owners. This article was created by one of our contributors.

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  1. Business is more like the old fashioned yo-yo. There are many ups and downs…

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