Did you take note of any Earth Day activities last month? Celebrated annually on April 22 in the United States, Earth Day began as a celebration for environmentalists and a forum for their concerns. But now, the spirit of that day pervades our culture. A case in point is recycling, which has been a big part of Earth Day since the very first one. Now, across the country, from the biggest city to the smallest hamlet, recycling services are common, and assumed. Recycling is surely one of the bigger success stories of the ecological movement. We shouldn't forget the important role small businesses have played – and those in the payments profession who help them sell their products – in the recycling revolution. The most effective public campaigns are often those that find a way to combine passionate activism and entrepreneurialism. That is certainly true of recycling.
You've probably seen the bumper sticker with the phrase that helped popularize recycling. It reads: "Recycle, reuse, reduce." Look at your office space and your home, and you'll likely find many things you could recycle, reuse and reduce. But my object here is not just to inspire you to tidiness in your physical and mental spaces. As I often do, I take a slogan and figure out how it applies to work and business. I find the slogan "recycle, reuse, reduce" in quite helpful in this regard.
What do you need to recycle in your work-life and business to make you more productive and your business more profitable? You could probably do a quick stock inventory and figure out what could be recycled, but I'm not talking about finally dealing with those old printer cartridges. I'm suggesting something more like an inventory of the ideas, the visions and dreams, of your business. You may find it's time to give up on some ideas that have outlived their usefulness for you, and let others take those ideas and run with them.
However, after doing such an assessment, you may find that many of your ideas still have a lot of life left in them – those you want to hold onto, to reuse. Your old ideas may need to be re-fashioned somewhat, re-calibrated for your current business plans and for the current business environment. But with a little mental buffing, those ideas may shine like gold again and be put back into productive use.
Also, are there some ideas – for product lines, for sales campaigns, for future investments – that you need to scale back on, to reduce. Some of these ideas may have led your company astray, into blind alleys where there is little area for growth. Sometimes you need to reduce a grand vision to something more practical, or reduce your level of investment in certain habitual ways of doing business. By doing so, you find there is more space for newer, more exciting, ideas, new ways to bring in new customers and generate more profits for your company.
The slogan "recycle, reuse, reduce" makes a lot of business sense. If you put it into practice, it will lead to a cleaner work space, a clearer head and a healthier balance sheet. So, celebrate Earth Day every day, by recycling and reusing your good ideas and reducing the things that hold your business back.
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