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Top Pain Points for Small Businesses and Proven Cures
On the surface, the day-to-day challenges that confront Northern California small businesses can seem dramatically different. For example, an agricultural farm in the San Joaquin Valley faces an entirely separate set of issues than a small manufacturer in Fresno or a design firm in Palo Alto.
But if you dig a little deeper, the results may surprise you.
According to recent surveys, the challenges that small businesses face aren’t quite as disparate as you might think. In fact, there are three pain points revolving around reducing energy costs that all small business owners seem to feel.
Let’s take a closer look at these pain points and consider some proven cures that California businesses are using today.
Pain point 1: Not enough time
It’s no secret that small business owners are overburdened. They have many roles to fill each day and they rarely work “normal” business hours. In fact, according to The Huffington Post, small business owners report that one extra hour in the day is worth more than $500.1 In other words, time is significant money.
To complicate matters, small business owners face the challenges of trying to maximize efficiencies, reduce energy costs and save money for their businesses. That’s no small task when time is so tight. Fortunately, the hard work has already been done for them.
The cure: Ready resources
How long would it take small business owners to research energy- and money-saving ideas, find products that would serve the need, calculate how much they could reduce energy costs and locate financial incentives for their projects? The answer is almost no time at all.
The Business Energy Checkup (BEC) from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is an online self-assessment tool that was specifically designed to help small and medium-sized California businesses. It provides highly customized recommendations that can reduce energy costs. In just a few minutes, the BEC delivers customized recommendations that will help a business maximize energy savings. The BEC also provides product options that offer financial incentives to help implement energy savings.2
Above all, the BEC was developed to help small business owners optimize efficiencies around their hectic schedules. They can use this resource to compare their energy costs with those of similar businesses and energy-efficient businesses. They can also track their usage and costs over time. That’s the type of information an overburdened business owner can use to make better-informed energy decisions in no time.
Pain point 2: Capital isn't accessible
Small business owners often have big plans but they rarely have big capital. According to Forbes, only about 32% of respondents from a small business survey were able to satisfy their needs when it came to borrowing capital.3
For businesses that are trying to optimize efficiencies, that finding may seem like a double-edged sword. In essence, they can’t get the capital they need to realize money-saving practices. However, when it comes to energy efficiency, there are resources that can bridge this gap.
The cure: Rebates and financing
PG&E offers California businesses rebates for upgrading to new, energy-saving products. This helps offset the cost of these products and allows the business to reduce energy costs long-term. Business owners can also locate rebates by business or equipment type.
In addition to rebates, businesses can qualify for a 0% interest loan of up to $100,000 from PG&E. This provides them with the capital to replace old and inefficient equipment with no up-front out-of-pocket investment. The business has up to five years for repayment. In addition, financing is available to fund many technologies that can reduce energy costs, including lighting, electric motors, LED street lights, refrigeration, food service equipment, water pumps and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
To learn more about financing options, download the Insider’s Guide to Financing Energy Efficiency Projects from PG&E.
Pain point 3: Finding people to trust
When it comes to managing a business and controlling expenses, every contact is crucial. Business owners want to work with people they can trust, which is easier said than done. When it comes to energy efficiency, the key is to find advisors who share the business owner’s goals and are not focused on their own agenda. For California businesses, there is a helpful service that can provide this critical guidance.
The cure: Trusted advisors
PG&E offers its small business customers energy audits to provide the trusted guidance they need. These audits include on-site analysis of their energy consuming systems and customized calculations to help them create a strategic plan for implementing projects with the help of their account manager.
During the audit, a PG&E energy advisor will analyze the business’s current energy use and identify savings opportunities. This energy audit can be extremely valuable because it provides the foundation for energy efficiency practices and highly effective energy management. After the audit, business owners will have energy information and options that are tailored to their individual businesses and energy use to help guide their decisions.
As it turns out, understanding the opportunities available for small businesses to manage their energy use isn’t as complex as they first appear. With the right resources and trusted advice, small business owners can optimize their time and finances while they become more energy efficient in the process.
Ready for more good energy efficiency ideas? You can find many more smart practices in "25 Money-Saving Tips for Businesses" from PG&E. These steps range from simple, low-cost steps to high-impact energy management tips that can lead to significant savings, and there are options for businesses in every industry.
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