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Business Advisor

Test Your Green Readiness — Part 2

A Step-by-Step Guide to Going Green for Homebuilders

As we discussed in Part 1, going green requires purpose and planning. It is a business decision and it is no small undertaking. We will focus our attention on some additional factors that also need consideration as you transition from traditional to green construction. The following is the continuation of tips to going green.

5. Protect Your Company

Protecting your business from potential lawsuits should be on top of your list. Your construction contracts should have definitions of terms such as “green,” “sustainable,” “energy efficiency,” and “integrated design”. Clarify what you mean by green in your marketing efforts. Use caution when declaring percentages. For example, declaring that your green-built product will save customers 50 percent on their energy bill could pose a problem for you if the results are otherwise. Furthermore, people’s lifestyles also contribute to energy savings in ways that are unpredictable. Instead of claiming that they will save 50 percent, using the words “up to” 50 percent could keep you from trouble. Any projected savings percentages should be realistic. Have the green section of your contracts reviewed by your legal advisor. One wrong word in your contract could make your company vulnerable to a lawsuit. Contact your attorney and explain exactly what your homes will include and have him or her help you word this in the appropriate “legal” verbiage that would hold in a legal battle.

6. Update Your Marketing Materials

Your marketing materials should be consistent with your message, your branding, your company culture and your overall presentation of your business. Your marketing efforts begin with your message. The logo, slogan, colors, fonts, sizes, graphics and other identifiers for your company depend on your message. Your branding is not just your company logo or slogan, although it includes them. Your branding is your marketing. Brand your company in a way that helps separate it from the crowd and that transmits your message clearly and in a way that is compelling to your target audience. Work on one word that you want your customers to remember you for, and stress this consistently in all your marketing efforts. Seek a professional to help you in this area. Allow them room for their creativity to come to the surface and you will get a great product. However, it is very helpful to give them an idea if you already have one so that they can have something to start with.

7. Delegate and Re-Organize Your Business Priorities

We all have strengths and weaknesses. You should nurture your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. Discover the things you are most good at and focus on them. Delegate tedious data entry and paperwork so that you can focus on doing what you do best.

8. Train Your Team and Business Partners

Starbucks spends more on training their employees than they do on advertising. That is because they found the secret that employees can make or break the company. Starbucks’ employees have an 82 percent job-satisfaction rate, while other employers have a rate of 50 percent! The most cost-effective training is online learning. This form of education allows people to learn at their own pace from anywhere and at any time. It eliminates travel. It is actually a greener way to help your team while helping the environment.

The increasing demand for greener homes brings many opportunities. When it comes to protecting your company and building a profitable business, taking inventory on the changes and enhancements in your organization become a priority. It is no longer business as usual for today’s homebuilders. Homebuilders need to employ new ways to run their jobs and operate their business. Planning the way into the green landscape will not only save home builders thousands of dollars in potential mistakes, but pave the way to a highly profitable company.

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