Business Habits

Naughty and Nice Business Habits, Part 1: Nice

Overview: It’s that time of year! Time to separate the naughty from the nice. That’s why we’re bringing you a two-part list of NICE business habits you should embrace and NAUGHTY business habits you should avoid. Let’s get started!

If you’ve been in a store or a coffee shop any time in recent weeks, you’ve almost certainly heard these lines referring to Santa Claus and his list-making tendencies:

He’s making a list, and checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice

We’ve decided to take some inspiration from the big guy in the red suit and make our own end-of-the-year naughty and nice lists. Unlike Kris Kringle, we’re not so focused on kids and whether they’ve been telling the truth or eating all their vegetables. We’re looking at businesses and the naughty and nice things they do.

This week, we’re starting with our “nice” list. Why not start with the “naughty” list? Because that’s where the really juicy stuff is, and we want to make sure you come back next week!

Green Technology 

Santa’s sleigh is presumably powered completely by magical reindeer, which seems like a pretty eco-friendly choice. You might not have any flying ungulates (look it up) at your disposal, but you can still make the “nice” list by investing in green technology for your business!

You could use solar panels to power your business — or, if you’re a one-person show, use them for your home office. You can also install energy-efficient LED lighting, and when it comes time to procure new appliances, go for the energy-efficient options. And when it’s time for a new company car, how about an electric vehicle or a hybrid? 

Making green choices for your business is great for the environment — and incidentally, many of them will save you money in the long run!

Companies for a Cause 

Now more than ever, businesses are dedicating themselves to greater causes than just making money. And for their part, consumers are responding. Millennials and Gen Zers, especially, enjoy patronizing businesses that do good.

Look no further than Bombas, one of the biggest companies ever to get a deal on the TV show Shark Tank. They’re famous for their comfy, foot-warming socks — and they’re just as famous for their policy of donating a pair of socks to those in need for every pair of socks they sell. Customers love spending money on Bombas socks because it makes them feel like they’re helping make the world a little bit better.

Here are some steps you can take at your business to show you care about more than just profits:

  • Donate a percentage of your revenue to charitable organizations

  • Offer discounted rates to charitable non-profits when they use your services

  • Use a portion of your profits to sponsor a child in need

  • Contribute to funds to assist people in need

  • Organize your team to perform volunteer work

And the best part is, when your customers see how you’re demonstrating the spirit of giving, they might just be inspired to take steps to make a difference themselves!

>> Related Reading: Charitable Giving Guide for Small Businesses

Judicious Use of AI 

USA Today raised eyebrows recently when it was suspected of using AI-generated articles on Reviewed, a shopping advice website it owns. As reported by the Washington Post and other outlets, several articles appeared on the Reviewed website at the same time, written with oddly similar language and credited to bylines of writers whose work had never appeared on the site before. USA Today’s parent company denied that the articles were written by AI language models, but they ended up deleting them anyway.

As AI becomes more accessible and easier to use, it brings with it a plethora of questions. It’s surely tempting for businesses to replace human writers and artists with AI tools, but is it ethical?

Every business owner will have to make decisions on their own — but the ones who retain the human beings on their teams instead of swapping them out for robots are the ones who make our “nice” list!

>> Related Reading: Artificial Intelligence: Enemy of Friend to Small Business?

Good Cybersecurity Habits 

You’ve never heard of anyone hacking into Santa’s network at the North Pole, have you? That’s because the elves keep their system safe from would-be cyber criminals — and so should you! 

Don’t take a “set it and forget it” approach to your online presence. That means taking steps to keep all your passwords secure. And it means staying on top of your security software and plugins. Keep all your data protected by keeping your systems updated, and perform regular checks to make sure there’s no funny business going on — and you just might save Christmas!

Millennial Entrepreneurs 

We’d just like to give a tip of the red cap to Millennial entrepreneurs! Recent statistics are showing an upswing: In 2023, Millennials accounted for about 12.9% of small business owners, which is a significant increase from 2022, when the percentage was just 7%.

Millennials, who are generally defined as members of the generation born between 1981 and 1996, have done their time working for businesses owned by Baby Boomers and Generation Xers. Now, more and more, they’re deciding it’s time to seize the day and become business owners themselves. And we’re here for it — which is why they have a place on our “nice” list!

>> Related Reading: How Millennials Are Shaping the Business World

Innovative Use of 3-D Printing 

Back in 2013, the Harvard Business Review published an article called “3-D Printing Will Change the World.” And they were right!

3-D printing opens a world of possibilities across a wide range of industries. In the medical world, 3-D printed prosthetic limbs, 3-D printed equipment, and even 3-D printed pills are already changing lives. Construction companies are now 3-D printing houses (yes, really!) at a lower cost to homeowners.

And there are even hints that 3-D printing could have a positive effect on the environment. When everyday goods can be 3-D printed, it could potentially cut down on the carbon footprint that would normally be involved in transporting them physically across great distances.

As with any developing technology (see also: the section on AI above), 3-D printing comes with questions and challenges regarding the most responsible way to use it. It remains to be seen what 3-D printing’s overall effect on the world will be, but if business owners use it wisely, they could improve their customers’ lives. So for now, we’ll put this technology on a 3-D printed copy of our “nice” list.

In Conclusion 

So that’s our “nice” list for business owners. We hope we’ve given you a few things to think about.

You know what else is nice? Having a team of experts on your side when you run into technical issues with your website! That’s what we do — and you won’t even have to go up on the housetop to find us! Check out the rest of our website for more information on our subscription-based support service. And stay tuned for the “naughty” list!

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