One of the challenges of small business, especially of the home business variety, is that there are so many immediate, practical things to think about – late postal deliveries, computers crashing at 5pm on Friday and you can’t get anyone to look at them till Monday, companies that owe you money deciding without notice to pay on a 60 day schedule when you had a clear agreement on a 14 day payment, but they’re bigger than you, so there – that sometimes you can be just too tired or pissed off to take in the bigger scene, the broader business, economic, political environment. Even though you are smart enough to know the bigger picture does matter.
Which reminds me of a time when I was staying at a little motel in a coastal town. When I was settling up in the morning the rather frazzled owner showed me a huge questionnaire from the government for operators in the tourism sector, no doubt prepared with the best of intentions by zealous, hard-working public servants and a committee or three, with the laudable intention of helping people like our worthy host. Tossing the sheaf of paper in the bin he said, “They just don’t understand, I have a business to run here”. And I wondered, how many others would decline to return the questionnaire and how interesting and possibly appalling to know what decisions would be made by governments on the basis of questionnaire results which might not actually reflect the views of the people at the tourism coalface, all of whom had bins for recycling unwanted, annoying, time-consuming questionnaires.
But I digress.
What prompted this post, which is supposed to be about small business and big issues, was reading what my b5media colleague Jim Norton, who produces the excellent Small Business Boomers blog, has to say in Global Warming – Impact on Small Business.
Whether you believe in the science of global warming or not it is already having an impact on your business. It has become part of the environment in which businesses large and small function. You can’t change that. You don’t have to agree with the science, but you must account for it in the way you do business.
He lists and comments persuasively on three key areas which any small business owner needs to look at in terms of direct or indirect impact on their business from global warming, sooner or later, probably sooner (as in, now):
- petroleum and alternative fuels
- automotive and transportation
Scary stuff. Not to be ignored.