How Small Businesses Can Go Green

Online Meetings

Written by Steve Adams for Gaebler Ventures

Is an entrepreneur who holds meetings online a social entrepreneur? You bet. Online meetings help the environment in a variety of ways.

Becoming more environmentally-friendly doesn't have to cost you more.

Online Meetings

In fact, with the right technology choices it can cost you less.

By taking advantage of various Web-based technologies, you can improve your business operations and your bottom line, all while helping reduce your business' impact on the planet. It's the ultimate trifecta for the environmentally-conscious.

Want to get started with going green? A good way to go green is to cut down on travel by embracing online meetings.

Let's take a look at how online meetings save money and help the environment.

Make More of Your Meetings Online

There's a lot to be said for meeting face-to-face instead of exchanging messages via email or a document repository.

Mere words on a page (or screen) don't begin to convey the nuances and hidden meanings that can become rather obvious when you can hear the tone of someone's voice or read their body language or facial expressions.

Yet unless everyone attending the meeting is driving an electric car to get there, it's not the most environmentally-conscious way to go.

Of course, sometimes it's important to meet face-to-face since certain tasks can only be accomplished that way. If everyone being there in-person isn't critical to the success of the business, however, consider making meetings online instead.

For a small investment in camera equipment and a small monthly fee for an outside service provider you can realize many of the same benefits you would by being together in-person.

You can see and read facial expressions. You can hear the tone of voice and the nuances in speech. You can share presentations, desktop applications and Web sites. You can white board ideas. You can even use the camera to do a little show and tell.

Not only do online meetings save the transportation costs and impact on the environment, they can help you reduce other expenses as well -- from housing for out-of-town participants to the purchase of the ubiquitous doughnuts that always seem to go to waste. Not to mention the time spent traveling to and from the meeting itself.

Many laptops these days come with a camera, so it's really a good time to move more meetings online.

Steve Adams is Vice President of Marketing for Protus, provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for small-to-medium businesses (SMB) and enterprise organizations.

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