6 steps to make the SDGs work for your small business

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an opportunity for small and solo business owners. Not only are they a framework for us to measure and map the impact we’re creating, they also can help us identify opportunities for business and impact growth.

But where do we start?

1. Narrow it down

There are 17 SDGs. With 169 targets.

All important and noble and necessary.

Most small businesses simply won’t have the ability to actively work towards all the goals all at once.

Instead, choose a few that are particularly relevant to your business or, if you’re a solo business owner, to you personally. Look to your purpose and your values, but also think strategically about what actions your business is best suited to make towards specific goals.

By focusing on a few, you’ll be able to make a bigger and more meaningful impact in those areas.

2. Assess your impact

There are a few tools that can help you do this—check out the SDG Impact Assessment Tool and the SDG Action Manager.

3. Make a plan

Look at how you run your business—employment practices, supply chains, climate policy and so on—and identify areas where you can align to the SDGs.

Set targets for the changes you want to make in the short- and the long-term.

Again, we all have limited capacity so prioritize as necessary and break down this step into smaller ones to make it more manageable. Some progress is better than none, but make sure you push yourself as well. It’s all about that sweet spot between achievable and ambitious.

4. Take action

Like, duh.

5. Share your impact story

Communicating with your team, peers, customers and community is another way to increase your impact, for example by raising awareness of the SDGs and galvanizing support for them.

It can also increase support for your business.

But no greenwashing allowed! Measure your impact and share your progress honestly and transparently.

6. Stick with it.

Keep up the good work! Maybe it’s time to tackle another goal or two?

Build a better business

Better for the environment, better for people and—yup—better for your pocket.

Every week, I put together a collection of practical and thought-provoking resources designed to help us grow our impact as small and solo business owners. 

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