Sustainability is a “loaded” term. I’m confused, bemused and amused by vernacular at times. I hope you’ll allow me to discover what I mean by sustainability as I write this article. Webster defines “sustain” as to maintain or prolong or endure or withstand or “to suffer”? Okay, the “suffering” aside, I’m all over prolonging anything I perceive as positive and ending anything I perceive as negative. You can argue the economics of sustainability all day but none of it matters (to your bottom line) if it doesn’t further your business objective. Of course, I'm not speaking to the ethics of sustainability, I'm speaking to the business of sustainability!! I’m a “seasoned” (that’s the way people of a certain age like to refer to themselves) business person, who has run an independent real estate business since 1985. There was no internet (gasp!), no cell phones (double gasp!) and I remember the day I won a multiple offer situation for my buyer client because I “faxed” my offer (instead of “Fed-Ex Over-nighting” it ) to an out-of-state seller. I am now and have always been a fan of new technology. Love it, love it, love it!!!
But, I digress. Sustainability is now a multi-tasking term. I’ve watched as the world matured and the expectations increased. I’ve watched the integration of “use and re-use” become commonplace. I’ve seen the world change from having to drive across town to recycle to urban garbage companies offering recycling. You’re now “politically incorrect” if you don’t recycle.
What does sustainability mean to my business? It means print is dead….yes dead (well, ok...it's "alive and well" but what does it do to further the business of selling homes in an age of instant web communication?)! I’m not saying people don’t and shouldn’t read. I have a Kindle app on my iPad and read voraciously online. Statisticians seem to agree that over 90% (and I bet that's low) of buyers start their search on the internet. Why waste time on print venues that don’t connect able buyers with willing sellers? You are still spending money on marketing as your brand, your blog and your web presence costs money. But, this type of marketing allows for less of an ecological footprint. I’ve watched over the years as our Realtor information sharing went from large phone-book sized publications to Multiple Listing Web sites, as cell phone voice-mails replaced office receptionists and paper messages, as multiple web presences replaced newspaper ads, as company publications are replaced by individual agent blog sites, as fax (and often phone) are replaced by email and text and as paper flyers are replaced by perma-flyers. And, recently Docusign (digital signatures) has made passing around paper so very "yesterday" (although, their still needs to be plenty of paper). Docusign has done for my business what a mobile phone did "umpteen gazillion" years ago. None of this disturbs me. Despite the fact that I feel I'm more tied to my technology and have less human contact than ever before. It's simply business as it is today! It’s use without having to think about re-use. Just thinking out loud....