Wouldn’t it be great to get an objective assessment about your business sustainability? How sustainable is your business, really? How do you match up against other businesses? What are your opportunities for improvement?
And, importantly, how can you get these answers quickly when you’re busy running your business?
Fortunately, there is a way to do this: take the B Corp Quick Impact Assessment.
A Quick Assessment of Business Sustainability
The full version of the B Impact Assessment is a free online tool that you can use to benchmark your company against 200 best practices for sustainable businesses. It’s also the first step towards B Corp certification: you need to get a score of at least 80 out of 200 to get certified.
The Quick Impact Assessment (QIA) is a shortened version of the full Impact Assessment. Instead of benchmarking against 200 best practices, you benchmark against 30. It’s designed to give you a quick and easy way to get a snapshot of your company’s performance – in as little as 20 minutes.
Benefits of Completing the Assessment
There are three benefits to completing the assessment, either the full assessment or the quick one:
- Get a baseline. Find out your how company performs against best practices for employee, community, and environmental impact.
- Compare your impact. Find out how your company compares against thousands of other businesses. The Quick Impact Snapshot will show you where your company provided above average, average, and below average responses. You can also view the detailed results.
- Improve your impact. Identify concrete steps that your company can take to improve your impact in key areas. The assessment will provide you with specific best practices that you can implement in your company.
Once you’ve taken the QIA, you’ll have a better idea about how your company is doing. Think your company is already green or sustainable? Find out!
By the way, this is also a tool that you can use with your suppliers – it’s quick, it’s free, and it will provide you and them with valuable insights. After you fill it out, consider encouraging your suppliers to use it as well.
Completing the Quick Impact Assessment
You’ll need to register, but that takes just a few minutes and then completing the QIA isn’t difficult. Each question will ask you about a best practice. There are three points in particular that are helpful as you fill this out (these are noted with the yellow arrows below):
- Revisit a question. If you’re not sure about an answer or you need to get the answer from someone else on your team, just check the “Revisit This” box and come back to it later.
- Get clarification. If you’re not sure about what the measure means or why it’s important, click on the orange question mark and a “Help Text” popup will appear that will provide you with more information about the measure.
- Learn Best Practices. By clicking on the red “Best Practices” button, you’ll see how real companies are implementing these Best Practices.
Once you complete the QIA, you’ll get your Quick Impact Snapshot. This is where you see how you stack up against thousands of other businesses. Where are your practices above average? Where are they average or below average?
Now you’re ready to dive into the Detailed Results. This is where the QIA really shines. You’ll be able to evaluate how each of your responses compares to other businesses.
A helpful way to think of this is in terms of strengths and opportunities.
The areas where you’re above average are your strengths.
How can you build on them? How can you gain a competitive advantage through them? Maybe they’re practices that are so ingrained in your business that you haven’t realized how much they help you to stand out from your competitors. This is really useful information that you can use to your strategic advantage.
The areas where you’re average or below average are your opportunities (not weaknesses!).
What can you do to strengthen these areas? Maybe you realize that you’re strong in one area, such as environmental impact, but not so strong in another, such as community involvement. Strategically, this shows you the areas where the market is moving in terms of best practices and what you’ll need to do to keep up – and, eventually, surpass those who choose to stick with the status quo.
Improving Your Impact
Once you’ve completed the QIA and reviewed your detailed results, you should have a much clearer idea about how your company’s sustainability practices compare to others. You’re now ready to improve your impact – and to build a better business.
Start by reviewing your opportunities to make improvements. You can prioritize these based on “Goal” or “Difficulty.”
For example, if you prioritize these by “Goal,” you can align these based on goals that your company has identified such as diversity or community engagement. You’ll see the best practices that fall under those categories and you can work on implementing those first. This approach will allow you to make sure that you’re doing all that you can to maximize your impact in the areas that are most important to you.
Or, if you choose to prioritize by difficulty, you can move from the “easy” ones – the proverbial low-hanging fruit – through to the “medium” ones and then on to the “difficult” ones. With this approach, you’ll be laying a good foundation for best practices across a wide range of impact areas.
Whichever approach you take, this is a great project for your green team to work on. It will allow you to engage employees, which is key to the success of any small business sustainability initiative.
You’ve Taken the QIA. Now What?
After taking the QIA, there are two more steps you can take to build a better business. You’re not committing to either of these by taking the QIA, but they are logical next steps for you to consider:
1. Take the full Impact Assessment! By completing the QIA, you’ll actually have completed 20-30% of the full B Impact Assessment. Completing the full Impact Assessment will provide you with even more opportunities to benchmark your performance, compare your impact, and improve your impact. You’ll be able to dive into areas such as your corporate governance, employee engagement, and business model. Plus, like the QIA, the full Impact Assessment is a free tool that you can use.
2. Get certified as a B Corp! If you complete the QIA and then the full B Impact Assessment, why not keep going and get certified? You’ll need a minimum score of 80 out of 200 on the Impact Assessment in order to get certified. Once you do so, you’ll become part of an international movement and join an awesome local community of sustainability-minded entrepreneurs and business professionals. Plus, you’ll be able to let the public know that your community has met the highest standards for social and environmental responsibility.
You can get started with the QIA by registering here. It will take you just a few minutes to register and you’ll get access to the list of best practices. Work with your green team to complete the assessment and then identify projects that you can take to make your business better. It’s free and it’s a great benchmarking tool, so there’s no reason not to do it!