Green Leasing: 4 Ways It Can Help Your Business Save

Learn how a green lease could be just the thing your business needs to take a chunk out of its energy bills.

With the demand for more energy-efficient “green” buildings on the rise comes an increased interest in green lease arrangements between landlord and tenant. Green leases refer to agreements in which buildings are to be operated, occupied and managed in an efficient manner.

In fact, The Department of Energy Better Buildings Initiative has made a bold statement calling 2018 the “Year of the Lease.”

And for good reason. According to the Institute for Market Transformation, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building and environmental protection such green leases could potentially save U.S. office buildings $3.3 billion annually while cutting energy consumption by 22%.

Four of the benefits of a green lease include:

  • improved environmental performance of the leased space;
  • better alignment of incentives between landlord and tenant, meaning each side benefits from the adoption of a green lease;
  • better environmental data reporting transparency, making it easy for landlords and tenants to track success against the agreed-upon goals of a green lease; and
  • enhanced goodwill for each of the sides that comes with being more transparent and environmentally conscious.

Green leases illustrate just how powerful a collaboration can be between tenant and landlord. By sharing in the costs, rewards and value of using less energy, together they have the power to achieve significant savings. In fact, if the green leasing approach were to be utilized in leased office buildings across the United States, more than $3 billion in annual cost savings would be achieved.

Technical assistance from the COSE/GCP Energy Team

Businesses don’t have to feel like it’s all on them to come up with green lease solutions. Through the Small Business Energy Initiative (SBEI), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and led by COSE/GCP and the IMT, the initiative is designed to provide free, energy-saving guidance to members. Click here to learn more about the resources available to small and medium size businesses through the initiative.

Contact the COSE/GCP Energy Team today via phone at 216-592-2205 or email the Team at energy@gcpartnership.com for a free assessment of your facility and to begin designing a plan to help you save on your energy costs.

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  • Next up: Growing the SMB in the Wake of Big Data and Social Media
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  • Growing the SMB in the Wake of Big Data and Social Media

    As technology continues to take over our everyday lives and create efficiencies and complexities, it leaves the small to medium sized business (SMB) with a myriad of options to reach their audience and manage ever-growing data volumes across every department of an organization. So what can you do as a SMB to keep up with technology and marketing trends in order to support growth in the wake of big data?

    As technology continues to take over our everyday lives and create efficiencies and complexities, it leaves the small to medium sized business (SMB) with a myriad of options to reach their audience and manage ever-growing data volumes across every department of an organization. So what can you do as a SMB to keep up with technology and marketing trends in order to support growth in the wake of big data?

    Start by creating a plan around the privacy, security and compliance of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC). In 2015, Forrester predicts that 60% of enterprises will discover a breach of sensitive data. You need to think like the big guys even if you are a three-person shop. If you plan to host an e-shop, take payments via your website or simply collect data via an online form, do your research and align yourself with vendors that exhibit cyber best practices. Remember, your security practices are only as strong as the vendors you choose.

    Take the time to establish an ongoing incident management program. An incident response plan, like a business continuity or IT disaster recovery plan, is your immediate response to a specific threat. To be effective, you need to establish an ongoing incident management program that lets you identify the potential risks so that you can create appropriate response plans, test those plans and keep them current. The plan should include the privacy, security, and compliance around SMAC.  

    Next, get your message out. Experiment with budget-friendly ways to build your customer and prospect list. Social media can be a great tool when you find the right outlet or mix. Creating and pushing out content that showcases your organization as a thought leader can really move the meter, but using social media to help build your audience can be your biggest ally. Test various sites and make sure the mix of your posts are equal parts about your organization, its messaging and products/services, as well as equal parts about your friend/connection and what matters to them. While people are always thankful to gain important nuggets from a pertinent blog post or article, they may also enjoy seeing your organization in a less formal setting like in photos from a team building event. Engage with them to see what is resonating; remember to keep it light. Offer life hacks that make their work experience even the tiniest bit easier.

    Letting your customer know that they matter, showing your cyber responsibility, especially with their personal data, can go a long way in building trust and fostering a lasting customer relationship. They need to have confidence in your organization beyond products and services. Make them aware that you are doing everything possible to keep them safe from a cyber attack.

    Nicole Ponstingle is the Director of Client Services and Marketing at BlueBridge Networks in Cleveland.

    This article originally appeared in the May 25, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.

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  • Next up: Here's to Tech in the CLE: 2015
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  • Here's to Tech in the CLE: 2015

    What do we want next year for local tech?

    I think we’ve had a pretty good year for tech, here in the CLE:

    • our quarterly survey results show strong performance;
    • hiring was on a torrid pace pretty much for the entire year;
    • local media provided significantly more coverage of the industry in 2014;
    • Tech Week grew by another 23% and has quadrupled in just four years;
    • we had a big exit with Oracle’s acquisition of TOA Technologies;
    • and more.

    So, what do we want next year for local tech?

    • Even more publicity for the industry, not just locally, but nationally too.
      • We’re poised for explosive growth, we need national recognition.
    • Breakout companies from local tech accelerators, Bizdom, FlashStarts, and The Bit Factory
      • Some are on their second and third classes, we’d love to see traction leading to growth and hiring
    • An in-migration of talent to the region
      • The CLE is a great place to start or grow a tech career, let’s get some folks in from elsewhere to help propel our growth even faster
    • And selfishly, we want to see Tech Week grow even more strongly in 2015
      • Let’s double it and get 4000+ to connect, engage, support, and celebrate local tech next year

    Tech in the CLE…let’s rock it in 2015!


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  • Next up: High Impact Tech Initiatives Take the Spotlight in Northeast Ohio
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  • High Impact Tech Initiatives Take the Spotlight in Northeast Ohio

    On the heels of an excellent article from Freshwater Cleveland, I wanted to share news on some of the cool things happening with tech talent here in the CLE.

    On the heels of an excellent article from Freshwater Cleveland, I wanted to share news on some of the cool things happening with tech talent here in the CLE.

    Talent NEO/Skills Based Hiring
    Towards Employment
    and Regional IT Engagement (RITE) are spearheading a great effort to deepen and broaden the talent pool. The initiative is called “Skills Based Hiring,” a methodology to identify potential candidates using non-traditional means. Details on the effort are here.

    RITE (Regional IT Engagement)
    RITE
    offers high school engagements, internship programs, coding camps, and the annual Get IT Here Summit to attract students to IT majors in college.

    CoolTech Challenge
    The CoolTech Challenge
    has awarded more than $77,000 in scholarships and other prizes over the last eight years. Sixteen schools and more than 100 students participated in 2015.

    Tech Week Efforts
    During Tech Week 2015, more than 400 IT students attended Tech Talent talks at seven different NE Ohio college campuses to get connected, learn about enterprise and entrepreneurial IT and stay in NEO post-graduation. Plus, 33 companies connected with more than 250 attendees at Linking IT Talent, an event to match employers with tech job-seekers.

    TechHire
    TechHire consists of a $100M federal grant program that several partners, including OHTec, are collaborating on to address the challenge.

    And there’s a lot more going on than noted here. 

    As talent demands continue to grow in this region, it’s important to note that some great, cool and high impact initiatives are underway right now. More can be done, to be sure, but we’re excited about the results these efforts are yielding and will yield in the future.

    So stay tuned and buckle up, NE Ohio is becoming a destination for great tech careers!


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  • Next up: High Tech Vs. High Touch: Balancing Technology and People
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  • High Tech Vs. High Touch: Balancing Technology and People

    Technology revolves around everything businesses do. But how do you embrace new technological solutions without losing the human element that is so important to small businesses?

    Understanding and deciding how much high touch to utilize in your business is a challenge that every business owner, leader, manager, consultant and marketing expert should know. What high touch is and how it relates to the average business in today’s highly technological world is essential for growth and success.

    The main challenge most businesses face is in learning how to balance high touch (people skills) with the high tech (technology) that is everywhere. How do you embrace technology without sacrificing high touch? Where and how does the “human touch” fit into our highly technological work world?

    It’s not either or

    As a business owner of more than 25 years who has been involved with all types of professional organizations and non-profits, and has served on many boards, I have had this discussion many times. I believe both high tech and high touch are essential to a successful business. A balance of both approaches allows a business to use technology for growth without alienating customers or clients. It creates a human bond that helps to offset the coldness of technology. Think of how differently an email can be interpreted vs. an actual phone call or visit. There is no way to attach emotion to an email, so it becomes open to interpretation by the reader. Whereas an actual human encounter leaves little or no space for interpretation. The human element of high touch allows an emotional attachment to take place.

    Recently, at a business conference, I heard about the “Triple 555” trend. Simply stated, it means every five years, 50% of businesses are losing 50% of their business (customers). This is an alarming trend! The reasons for this might vary but many of them are related to the fact that the high touch or human relationship aspect of their business does not exist. Imagine working at or with a company that only uses technology for their communication! Would you feel comfortable telling them your business issues without having a human to relate to?

    The proof is in the pudding

    At the beginning of 2016, I informed my employees at SACS Consulting that during 2016 we were going to focus on one aspect of our business in a major way. I explained that each of us, including myself, needed to work harder on what I call “touches.” I defined this as anything that involved personal contact such as meeting for breakfast/lunch/coffee, networking events, dropping in to a client’s office to say hello and thanks, presenting to a group, referring business to another client, etc. I wanted my company, as well as each of us as individual employees, to increase our touches during 2016 by a minimum of 10% to 20% per month. I explained we still needed to utilize high-tech tools (emails, social media, blogs, newsletters, etc.) but that the emphasis would be high touch on the front end and high tech as the support and/or follow up aspect.

    The end results were amazing. That year, we experienced a record year in both revenue and profits. That allowed us to spend more money moving forward on our marketing, reputation building, hiring more key people and more. But, the biggest result of a more focused, high-touch client culture was the way the business community was reacting and the buzz that was created about our company. Comments such as “You are really growing,” “I see you out everywhere,” “People are talking about you” and “You are doing some amazing things” seemed to be echoing everywhere. We also experienced increased requests from people who wanted to join our team or form strong business partnerships.

    The most important result of our high-touch effort was that we were receiving increased requests for business from potential new clients, as well as gaining additional business from our current clients, all with less effort on our part. I believe businesses want to be part of, or engaged by, other businesses that can relate on a human level and produce results through positive methods.

    So, how do you incorporate this into your business?

    You first need to determine what separates your company from the rest. I have conducted trainings all over the country and when we discuss building their positive culture, both inside and out, I am amazed how many companies cannot clearly define what separates their company from the rest. Knowing that important fact is the first step. Everyone in your organization needs to fully and clearly understand your business, because this drives your process for all your high-touch engagements.

    Make developing a high-touch company culture a full-time commitment. It is crucial everyone from the front desk personnel to the behind-the-scenes employees understand what sets you apart and what it means to have a high-touch company culture. Being a high-touch company means the culture should exist not only for your client engagements, but also internally starting with your leadership and in all employee relationships. You cannot have a successful high-touch company culture unless it is practiced both inside and outside of your organization. As we become even more technologically advanced, employees want and need to be emotionally connected to their company and its leadership. They need to know and to feel that they are part of a successful and important team. They want to engage clients and fellow employees on a higher, more meaningful human level.

    People do not buy products or services. They buy outcomes

    Utilizing high touch allows you to view the world through your customer’s eyes. It helps you to stay focused on the source of your customer’s pain and allows you to offer clear solutions to help them eliminate that pain. It also allows them to feel comfortable letting you in and hearing and utilizing your solutions. This process helps you to keep clients, add new clients and connect you to all clients in a stronger, more meaningful way.

    We only get one chance at making a good first impression. When you include high touch into your business, supported by on-going follow up using high tech, you have separated yourself from the competition, retained your clients, developed new clients and gained a distinct advantage over your competitors.

    Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, is president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services Inc. He is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

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  • Next up: Hiring Contract Remote Workers Can Benefit Small Businesses
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  • Hiring Contract Remote Workers Can Benefit Small Businesses

    Hiring contractors can save your company a lot of money, but it’s important that you hire the right person and give them the necessary tools to succeed.

     

    One way for small businesses to expand is through the use of contract remote workers. Hiring people that work from home, in a different city or even a different country, can help a small business to expand while saving money. This practice offers many benefits however, it also comes with its own unique set of problems and issues. Let’s explore the pros and cons and review some steps that small businesses can take to ensure they hire correctly and know how to monitor remote employees.

    Remote workers are often contract employees that charge by the hour. One large benefit to a small business means that the business has lower operating costs. Some of the ways companies can save include:

    • Not being responsible for providing health care or other benefits;
    • Not having to pay for downtime or vacation time;
    • Saving on office space;
    • Not having to pay for the time employees may waste or spend on social media, and more.

    There are some important issues that need to be considered carefully before hiring a contract remote worker. These include monitoring time, communication and connectivity issues, motivation and productivity issues. In today’s electronic world, there are many excellent tools available to businesses that can monitor and keep track of hours, deadlines and work quality. There are also tools that allow you to conduct remote meetings, enforce security and protect your privacy.

    Every company should have a policy and procedure manual that spells out the rules, as well as the possible consequences for breaking the rules. This is just as important for remote workers as it is for in-house employees. Make sure your policies include company issued electronic devices such as phones and laptops. And always employ a strong security system on all devices. Make sure these policies are uniform and apply equally to all workers, contract remote or in-house employees.

    If you are new to hiring remote workers, you may want to try video contacts where you can interview them face-to-face online. When hiring a remote worker there are certain qualities that you should look for that signal who will be a successful remote worker. Some examples include:

    • Independent skills that tell you they can work on their own without constant supervision; Previous experience working remotely;
    • The ability to function well without the social aspect of working with others; and
    • The ability to communicate well and be able to take the initiative on their own.

    You may want to use an outside agency to help you find and hire a remote worker. If you do decide to use an agency, be sure to check them out thoroughly before you hire them. This should help prevent you from hiring any fraudulent freelance workers.

    Once you hire a remote worker, you may want to consider putting your files on the cloud. This is safe and allows you to determine who has access to your information. You can limit access to your files as needed. You will be able to control what files and information they can access through the use of passwords and other security measures.

    If your worker is outside the United States, you should be aware that they are bound by the rules of the country they live in, and not the rules in the United States. Always have any contract remote workers as well as others sign a strong non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect your intellectual property and other business aspects. Your attorney can help you with this.

    Once you hire a remote worker, give them the tools to do the job successfully. This includes necessary electronics and access to information that relates to their job. It is also a good idea to utilize a project management hub to keep track of and help to manage projects. Make sure they understand the expectations and responsibilities of the job and make them feel like they are part of the team.

    Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

     

     

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