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Wyoming Business Tips for Aug. 7-13

August 1, 2011

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Karen Barnes, Insight, Shelton Group vice president

(Editor's Note: The following is a reprint of an article from Barnes)

"How are companies putting sustainability ideas into practice?" Stephanie, Gillette

I enjoy seeing a theory come to life in the real world -- a great idea put into practice, creating change. Here are two examples from my recent travels.

Hampton Inn has recently mounted refillable dispensers on the walls of their showers that contain shampoo, conditioner and body wash. First, this is a really smart, very sustainable way to reduce the number of barely used bottles that get trashed by hotel cleaning crews every day.

This is a great example of a nudge. By only providing these necessities in a self-serve, use-only-what-you-need fashion, Hampton Inn has made the desired behavior the default. If you don't like this model, well, you can always opt to bring your own toiletries, so personal choice is still available. No more wasted soap bars. No more tiny little plastic bottles in the landfill.

Last week, I traveled to Washington, D.C., where I stayed at the Helix, a Kimpton Hotel. The valet parking sign read, "Overnight Rate - $36; Daily Rate - $20; Oversized Vehicles - $50; Hybrid Vehicles - 50 percent off!" Of course, parking is at a premium everywhere in the nation's capital, but if you drive a hybrid to the Helix, you get a reward. Your parking is half-price.

If you're a hybrid driver in the D.C., area, you can also zip along in the HOV lanes and avoid the nasty traffic snarls. In other words, you get special rewards for doing the sustainable thing. You save money, time and you can help "save the planet" at the same time.

For marketers, think about how you can reward your customers for doing the right thing. Can you give them ongoing rewards? Can you make something simpler, less expensive, or more convenient for them? Can you partner with other companies to extend or encourage the rewards? Since sustainability is rarely, if ever, the primary reason anyone purchases anything, rewards need to fill those primary needs in order to keep encouraging the desired behavior.

If you're seeing examples out there or actually practicing some theories that are resulting in behavior change in the real world, we'd love to hear about and see them.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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