Small business sustainability: take cues from big business

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20 Under 40: JenniferDessoye

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Dr. Jennifer Dessoye is assistant professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University and owner of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy (BBELA). Discontent with the early education curriculum and understanding of human development and neurolo (read more)

20 Under 40: Amy Hlavaty Belcher

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Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gift (read more)

20 Under 40: Christopher Hetro

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Chris Hetro, 33, works hard and plays hard. “A strong work ethic is important, but finding balance outside of work is important because life is too short and you need to enjoy it,” he explained. As an electrical engineer and project manager at Borton-Laws (read more)

20 Under 40: C. David Pedri

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For attorney C. David Pedri, 37, it’s all about a combination of qualities that contribute to success. “My philosophy is simple: be open and honest, treat people the way you would want to be treated, with respect, and work hard to attain your dreams. The (read more)

20 Under 40: Ed Frable

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Ed Frable, 28, believes “if I work hard and stick to my word, good things will happen. My crew will not be deterred. We will re-evaluate our game plan and not give up until the job is complete,” explained Frable, the owner/operator of Ed Frable Constructi (read more)

20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch. The fam (read more)

20 Under 40: Angelo Venditti

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Angelo Venditti, 38, heard a call to the helping professions early on. Geisinger Northeast’s chief nursing officer answer was to volunteer for his local fire company. After high school, he became a paramedic, then enrolled in nursing school. Three years a (read more)

20 Under 40: Donald Mammano

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At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton. Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fas (read more)

20 Under 40: William J. Fennie III

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William J. Fennie III, 27, is always knocking on the proverbial door, because he knows one day, one will open. As an investment specialist with Integrated Capital Management (iCM) he cannot take “no” for an answer. “I make cold calls every day to invite f (read more)

20 Under 40: Marcus Magyar

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As an advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marcus N. Magyar, CFP, 30, provides comprehensive wealth management and investment portfolio services to business owners, executives, families and high-net worth individuals. His multi-disciplinary team of pro (read more)

20 Under 40: Heather Davis

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Heather M. Davis, 33, director of marketing and communication, is responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing a strategic marketing and comprehensive communications plan for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). She is also responsible for pr (read more)

20 Under 40: Alexandria Duffney

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Alexandria Duffney, 30, is competitive by nature and loves a good challenge. These qualities have led her to her position as associate director of graduate admission at Wilkes University. Here she works with prospective students interested in enrolling in (read more)

20 Under 40: John Culkin

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John Culkin’s tenets inform: “Less haste equal more speed; the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, it is all about what you are made of, not the circumstances surrounding you; and don’t ask someone to walk a mile in your shoes, bef (read more)

20 Under 40: Conor O'Brien

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“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it,” mused Conor O’Brien.” As co-founder and executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, 25, is responsible for leading the development of the overal (read more)

20 Under 40: Jessica Siegfried

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Jessica Siegfried, 38, is senior designer with BlackOut Design Inc., where she is responsible for all creative design at the full-service agency, from traditional branding and print to collateral and front end web design. “I’ve always had an interest in t (read more)

20 Under 40: David Johns

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David Johns’ career path has been shaped by his diverse experiences. As director of structural engineering at Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Moosic, Johns, 39, ensures that his engineering and consultant teams provide clients with their best effort. “We complete (read more)

20 Under 40: Robyn Jones

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Robyn Jones, 38, president of ReferLocal LLC, has learned just as many lessons from her business successes as she’s had from her failures — and she believes it’s important to share that knowledge with her employees. After graduating from American Universi (read more)

20 Under 40: Nisha Arora

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Nisha Arora, 36, tries to be the best version of herself every day. As general counsel for ERA One Source Realty Inc., she realized she cannot control other’s behavior so “I try to focus on myself and how I can be better,” she explained. Arora’s responsib (read more)

20 Under 40: Justin Sandy

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Starting at a young age in Hazleton, Justin C. Sandy, 33, found a passion for running. He became a member then a coach for Misericordia University’s cross country and track and field programs. “It was at Misericordia that I also garnered the profound sati (read more)

20 Under 40: Dr. Ariane Conaboy

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As a doctor of internal medicine at Physicians Health Alliance, Dr. Ariane M. Conaboy, 34, realizes the importance of human life and how fragile it can be at times. Conaboy graduated from Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton with a double major in (read more)

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By Cheryl Scandale-Murnin, LEED AP

Keeping it simple is important for success in any business, but it is especially important in small businesses where resources and assets are extremely limited.

So many facets of running a small business can become complex but adopting sustainability as a competitive strategy does not have to be one of them, and as a result, even the smallest start-up company can leverage the strategies that the largest multinationals are using to their significant benefit. It completely levels the playing field.

Additionally, it is a powerful way to differentiate your company from your competitors and break through all of the marketing clutter that stands between you and new customers.

Follow the example of several large companies but be sure to right-size the initiative to your business model. For example, large companies have the opportunity to partner with other large companies in an effort to cause big changes, but that is not a reasonable expectation for a smaller company. Trying to do so will lead to early frustration and disappointment, and who really wants to focus their limited energies on a task with so little emotional return when the financial return seems so far off in the distance.

Small companies can accomplish spectacular outcomes when they find another organization that is similarly sized, in their neighborhood and who serves a similar customer base to partner with on smaller-scale sustainability initiatives.

If providing clean drinking water to emerging economies on the other side of the globe is beyond your resources, create a wellness program in your company and empower your staff to become involved. Big corporations can partner with major NGOs that attract large amounts of grant money, but a small company that has adopted a great in-house wellness program with some documented outcomes can partner with a local charitable organization with similar interests and exponentially increase their reach in their own community.

Together, the small company and the small charitable organization can combine their efforts in a mutually beneficial way and bring a wellness series to a local school, or provide programming for an after-school program, or serve an intergenerational group that needs help with something because of elder participants.

So, how is this part of sustainability if it doesn’t include changing light bulbs and why is it good for business?

The triple bottom line, which addresses economic, social and environmental issues, is the framework within which sustainability is achieved. They should all be in balance and, more importantly, they all support each other. Becoming involved in your community is great free marketing and good corporate responsibility. That’s good for business. Staff engagement in projects bigger than their daily grind makes happier employees, which helps to increase customer service. That’s good for business. Increasing your community exposure creates enthusiasm for your success among your stakeholders. That is particularly great for business because, as external stakeholders feel a sense of buy-in for your success, they become an extension of your marketing network and potential customers.

The challenge is to avoid the informality prevalent in some small businesses. Take these initiatives seriously so your staff will take them seriously, but don’t become paralyzed by policy rigidity. It is important to strike a balance, to find that sweet spot. Remember the triple bottom line, like a three-legged stool relies on balance to remain standing. Stay consistent in your vision, be honest about the real outcome of the initiative and stay straight-forward in your messaging. If these are achieved, a sustainability initiative will be cost effective. It will communicate success. That is what levels the playing field between big companies and small business that adopt sustainability initiatives as a competitive strategy.

Cheryl Scandale-Murnin, LEED AP, is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business and Global Innovation at Marywood University. As a LEED AP, she is an Accredited Professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, demonstrating a high level of professional expertise in issues of sustainability. She served both as a former V.P. of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and member of the Small Business Advisory Board of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Cheryl Scandale-Murnin, LEED AP

Cheryl is an adjunct faculty in the School of Business and Global Innovation at Marywood University. As a LEED AP, she is an Accredited Professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, demonstrating a high level of professional expertise in issues of sustainability. She served both as a former V.P. of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and member of the Small Business Advisory Board of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

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