Almost 4 billion trees are cut down each year to make paper. The average American uses more than 748 pounds of paper per year. Many times paper is used, unnecessarily, to sign documents. What do you do when you get a request to sign a document in your email inbox? Chances are you print the document, sign it with a pen, and fax it back. If you don’t have a fax machine, you get in the car and waste gas driving to the post office to overnight the signed document. The signature requester gets your document, scans it back into electronic format, and then shreds the paper version. This is a waste of resources. There is an environmentally friendly way to sign documents. You can save trees and money by signing electronically. In other words, sign and send documents from your computer or mobile device.
What is an electronic signature?
It is “an electronic sound, symbol, or process logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record” according to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. There are mobile applications and e-signature web services that enable you to sign electronically. Many of them are free or low cost. One such application is SimplySign by Vignature.
Here is how to sign and send a document from a mobile device with Vignature:
1. Open the document from your email inbox or from Dropbox.
2. Tap to sign, and pose for a live image capture.
3. Email the signed document to yourself and/or another recipient.
Signing documents electronically is a great way to save trees. It keeps documents in digital format from beginning to end, eliminating the need for paper. Try using an e-signature application the next time you need to sign a document. Video below is a demonstration and review of the Vignature app on iPhone. There are also reviews available for Android users by visiting Best Android Apps Review.
Article by Kelly Spradley, Cofounder of Vignature
Learning how to start a green business with a small startup budget is a perfect opportunity for an entrepreneur. There’s a lot of money to be made in the “green” industry and the added bonus is that your business can lead to helping the earth while you make money.
You may start a green business with a small budget by adding new products to a current business and taking your work in a different direction. The concept of sustainability continues to grow and become part of our language. The idea is growing among entrepreneurs, engineers, architects and Fortune 500 businesses that sustainability of resources is the way forward for business and for the world’s population.
Eco Consulting and Coaching
One good method to start a green business with a small budget is to share your own expertise in environmentally sound living with others as a trainer or as a consultant. As an adviser or consultant you won’t have the expense of creating and manufacturing your own product line but can help improve the features of products produced by others.
The range of areas where a consulting business could succeed is very wide. Designers are being asked to use products in furniture and home equipment that are focused on sustainability. Consumer shopping habits are being changed with an increased public awareness of living green. Nothing shapes the habits of the consumer more than a topic or movement that is considered politically and socially correct. Nothing today is more “correct” than the idea of green living and of creating a lifestyle that does not harm the land we live on.
Public relations would also fall under the consulting and training category. This is a great way to start a green business with a small budget if you have public speaking or sales background. Companies are focusing on the environmental impact of their products but to make the products sell, they need to inform the consumer about how their particular products are good for the environment. Establishing a consulting business that focuses on connecting a company’s products to the environment in the consumer’s mind could be a great money maker and a fun new career.
Affiliate Marketing for Solar Power and Wind Power Products
Though the debates over solar power and wind power continue, the reality is that people are accepting these new environmentally sound processes. Competition is growing among manufacturers of wind turbines, solar panels, green living home heating and cooling systems and the myriad of products that are associated with these technologies. There are affiliate programs you can join where your business would be an independent contractor representing either one or multiple manufacturers of solar and wind turbines supplies. This is how to start a green business with a small budget at its simplest. There’s no manufacturing costs or design expenses but only your own sales strategies.
Perhaps the most profitable business of this type is one where you are selling commercial solar and wind products to existing businesses. In the business to business sales environment, your company can expand to provide an advisory capacity to help small businesses use resources more efficiently and save money on power use.
Of all applications of solar power the one most ready for common use today is for heating water. While a full solar system for heating and cooling may be financially out of reach for the average homeowner, water heating systems are growing in popularity. Sales of water heating systems could be combined with sales of green cleaning products. These items are not difficult to sell to the public as people understand the damage caused by caustic chemicals poured down drains and flowing into sewer lines. The idea of heating water in the home at less cost for power is enticing.
Best of all, you don’t have to understand all of the technology as the manufacturers often have their own customer service areas to answer detailed questions about their products. Your business would be to send as many qualified leads to these companies as possible and your company would be paid a commission for any sales that resulted from those leads.
Organic Food Production & Home Gardening
Food production is increasingly critical around the world as population numbers continue to increase. A good choice to start a green business on a small budget is to focus on farming and home gardens. Your company might launch special seed combinations that a patio or terrace gardener could use to grow salad fixings or Italian herbs. You could focus on rooftop garden installations or on greenhouses. More and more people are starting their own garden. Some want a new hobby but many are trying to offset rising food prices.
A business focused on gardening could offer environmentally friendly products for week and insect control, books on organic gardening, solar panels and equipment to heat greenhouses or warm the soil in cold climates. Your company could be a specialist for apartment dwellers or offer products to help survivalists grow everything they need while living off the grid. Your business could grow over time by adding more areas of expertise and products to address more gardening areas.
Green Home Design & Architecture
Similar to a consultant, an eco designer could start a small business on a small budget. The trend to consumerism is down as people understand all the home goods they buy and then replace and discard are lading to landfill and resource problems. From upholstery fabrics and carpeting to safer painting products and kitchen appliances, there is a huge market for a business that can advise homeowners and even home decorators on the best products to use and how to maintain those products.
If you prefer to start a green business on a small budget that is a service-focused business, a green cleaning service is an option. Whether you are cleaning homes or providing laundry facilities, an environmentally responsible green business on a small budget could offer low water use and safe cleaning compounds.
Choosing an Eco Business That is Right For You
It’s not sufficient to ask how to start a green business on a small budget. Just saying your business is “green” is not good enough. The first step is to choose a direction for your new business.
You can use a sales focus or provide a service. You can offer products to replace current home products to save energy and reduce pollution. Often the simple products are the best sellers. Finding small companies that manufacture biodegradable garbage bags or solar camping supplies or environmentally sound gardening products for home gardeners can lead to a highly profitable green business started on a small budget.
Guest Author Bio
M.H is highly involved in alternative energy discussions and he also run a site, Alternative Energy Geek, where he shares his knowledge.