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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Climate Change is a business concern too

Today is Blog Action Day, with over 6,000 bloggers writing about  climate change and its impact on our world, and on us.

Maybe climate change, and protecting our environment, is something you think of at home or when choosing to buy local or low packaging options. Many people act as if environmental concerns don’t apply at work or in business, but we all need to think and act sustainably all the time and in all sorts of situations.

As a small business owner, here are some of the things I take into account:

  • amongst other reasons, I work from home because it saves any energy or pollution from commuting to an office somewhere else AND I only have one set of base consumption (e.g. I don’t heat an office and somewhere for my baby; I only need one computer for business and personal use)
  • I choose to reuse paper by using the back of documents and envelopes instead of notepads
  • I buy recycled paper products for printing
  • I email invoices and statements to save paper and printing – the computer is already on so sending an email is close to environmentally neutral
  • I read news items and articles online rather than buying paper versions – and rarely print copies of them
  • I use email and phone calls as much as possible for communicating with clients – again, this saves using a car or plane for meeting face to face
  • I turn off my computer, printer, etc when I finish for the day, and turn off my screen whenever I leave my desk for a while
  • I close the curtains as soon as it starts getting dark and cold – keeping the heat inside saves heating
  • I choose practical promotional items rather than gimmicky things that use resources to make but provide no real value. So I would prefer a pen, notepad, water bottle or bookmark to a plastic bracelet, inflatable toy, flag or fan

I’m sure there’s more as I care about my environmental impact, but the list shows how easy it can be to include environmental ideas into everyday business. While we may not be able to reverse climate change, I think we can slow it down considerably by taking individual responsibility in the little things as well as the big things.

In Copenhagen next month, world leaders will be making some decisions and agreements about topics around climate change. I just hope that everyone starts working on those targets straight away rather than waiting until the deadlines.

What have you done/are you doing in your business to help our planet? What suggestions do you have for other businesses?

Making changes…

Cuboree 2010Last week, I found out that cuboree (a big camping event for cubs in Victoria that I went on last year) has been moved. Instead of being in April 2011, it will be in September 2010 is the latest news in scouting. The previous five cuborees have been three years apart and in the March/April school holidays, so the date has surprised many people.

Not only has the change surprised people, but it has also annoyed and angered many leaders as well. The change from March to September was made for logistical reasons – it is easier to prepare such a large event later in the year for a voluntary group that effectively shuts down over summer.

However, the event could have been moved forwards to September 2011 or backwards to September 2010.

Moving forwards had the disadvantage of meaning some children would miss a cuboree on age rules – easily fixed by adding 6 months to the maximum age for that one cuboree.

Moving backwards has a number of disadvantages – it is sooner and in the same year as jamboree so leaders will potentially have trouble getting time off work and away from families, not to mention risking being exhausted and reluctant to help at future events, being the same year as jamboree makes it difficult for leaders and cubs to afford cuboree, being the same year as jamboree is a strain on groups preparing and possibly funding children going on these camps.

Many leaders are unhappy with the new date and are following this up so the dates may  yet change.

Making changes in business

Aside from my personal interest in the timing of cuboree, there is a business perspective to this story!

Making smooth changes

Changing from plan A to plan B

Sometimes, it is necessary to make a change in business, even to long established practices. And those changes may just have to be implemented without much notice or consultation. However, the change is likely to be much smoother if you notify people as soon as possible and explain the reasons for the change if they are likely to be inconvenienced or annoyed by it.

So tell leaders that cuboree is moving to September because time is needed to organise it in the lead up. Simple.

If a change affects many people, especially if you have staff or key stakeholders, the ideal is to involve them in the change process. Ask their opinions, get their suggestions and listen to their objections. You may still do what you had planned but

  • they will feel better and more in control if they were involved, which means they are more likely to support the change
  • you will know what objections and challenges may arise and therefore prepare for them in advance
  • you may be able to adjust the plan a little to reduce concerns and problems
  • you will have more confidence that your business will survive and thrive with the change

Humans generally struggle with change, but a consultative process is easier to deal with.

How have you managed any major changes in your business? Or have you been an employee in a business undergoing big changes – what worked or didn’t work?

A change is as good…

As a professional writer, most of my work is commercial – I write business profiles, articles, web copy, brochures, letters and so on. But every so often, I write something completely different, and I love the variety.Beach holiday

Recently, I have had a few ‘different’ projects.

First, I wrote some letters to help out Santa as he likes sending Australian letters to Aussie boys & girls (instead of talking about snow and ice) – personalised letters from Love Santa are definitely professionally written, lol!

QuickCrafts Online is producing a set of books for children about Australian animals and I have been editing the stories to suit the under 5 age group – although I always write in simple terms, I had to use even simpler vocabulary and ideas for that age group!

Real Mums is about reality parenting so they wanted some Santa letters for Mums. These were fun as they need to be humourous and aimed at Mums while maintaining a Santa feel in case the kids read mum’s mail!

It is fun to be involved in projects with such different types of writing!