We wanted to take a moment and e-troduce you to our new friend Nicole Leavitt, President and Founder of Alacritous Solutions (a bookkeeping, administrative, and project management services based in San Diego, CA) by means of a fun and informal interview process.  She was excited to share some of her green business tips!

Nicole Leavitt, President of Alacritous Solutions.

· What is your favorite native species (flora and fauna) and why?

  1. Flora native to San Diego: Western Redbud, I love the color it brings to desert areas
  2. Fauna native to San Diego: Great Blue Heron, I love to watch the giant birds wading through the shores of the bay. Slow birds to sit and watch
  3. Flora native to Hawai‘i: Kou, I love the bright orange color of this tree
  4. Fauna native to Hawai‘i: Humpback whale, I love their size

· What is the very first step that you took to make your business greener? (And what inspired you to do so?) The first step I took to make my business greener was purchasing second hand furniture for the office. As my business grew, I decided I needed office space for my team so they can telecommute some days and work in the office together other days. Buying supplies and furniture for an office can be really expensive for a small business, so being able to find furniture second hand made it way more affordable and I was giving new life to a used item. I am always looking for ways to improve and simplify. I am in the unique position to see where businesses spend their money and the specific items they are buying. Businesses can produce a lot of waste and I feel it is our responsibility to fix a problem that we have control over.

· What is the most recent (or most innovative) thing that your company is doing to be more environmentally friendly? We are a paperless company, but we still have the occasional document mailed to us or something we have to fill out with a wet signature. Once we are finished with the document we scan everything to keep a digital copy and then shred that document. The shredding then goes into the compost.

· What do you think is the biggest hurdle facing local, small businesses in becoming more socially and environmentally responsible? I think the biggest hurdle local, small businesses are facing in becoming more socially and environmentally responsible is the perception that it is too expensive. I have seen ways to make our businesses more environmentally responsible without breaking the bank. It takes a little more research and time upfront, but once you make changes, you end up saving money in the long run.

· What sort of training/s or certification/s would you recommend to other businesses who would like more info? For certifications, I would look at ones that are industry specific. There are certifications specific to restaurants vs. service companies vs. companies that sell a product. Also, there are a ton of people and companies who are also working to make their companies better and posting lots of content. They can give you a ton of different ideas to implement. Finding people or companies in your industry will help identify some of the same problems you are facing. Also, look at your state or local city/county websites because they have ideas or programs for businesses that make changes.

· What is your 30 second elevator pitch? Alacritous Solutions empowers and supports businesses to make data-driven decisions and eliminate the burden of the daily tasks that all small businesses have. By providing bookkeeping and virtual administrative services, we help businesses reach their goals. We are alacritous. Our team embodies that meaning, not only by what we do, but how we do it. We are ready and willing to work with businesses and bring enthusiasm to everything we touch.

· What is your favorite volunteer or community service project? I love participating in the “I Love A Clean San Diego” Creek to Bay annual cleanup around Earth Day. It is a county-wide event and thousands of people participate. It really shows how much trash is collected in a single day and then also how much is still out there.

· What else would you like to share with us? Our goal in the coming years is to continue to improve and eventually become a climate-positive company by achieving beyond net zero emissions. We would love to learn about what other businesses are doing and how we can share ideas and collaborate with others.

The Alacritous Solutions ‘Ohana: Travis, Nicole and their daughter.

Need some inspirations for your own local business or household? Here are some examples of what the Alacritous Solutions team already done to help reduce their environmental footprint:

  • Properly disposing of hazardous and universal waste such as light bulbs, e-waste and batteries (at a city/county-approved facility)
  • Use reusable silverware/dishes, napkins, and bathroom towels
  • Paperless company majority of the time, and the only time we print is if we have to legally have a wet signature. The office paper we do have is made of 100% recycled paper. Sometimes we get papers from our clients so once we make them digital, we shred them and then that goes into the compost pile
  • Use of digital business cards
  • Refillable water station, no water bottles
  • Package-free office snacks, bring own reusable to-go container
  • Walk to restaurants for team lunches (and reduce take out trash)
  • Always provide meatless options to reduce carbon footprint
  • Bills/receipts received digitally
  • Offer telecommuting schedules, some people walk to the office and others carpool
  • Office furniture was purchased second-hand
  • Unplug devices when not in use, use of natural light and keeping the doors open for air
  • Our electricity is 100% renewable energy. It is a program through SDG&E and San Diego Community Power which is a Community Choice Aggregation program. This program is part of San Diego’s City Climate Action Plan.
  • Review our supply chain before we decide where to purchase items

Here are a couple of items what they have on the list to implement this year:

  • We have a compost bin at home, but plan to get one for the office
  • All notes are digital, no more notebooks
  • Sponsor a local community clean-up event
  • Create more content as it relates to businesses accounting/expenses and being a green business
  • Collab with HWF on further blogs / outreach with small businesses

We look forward to rolling out more innovative ideas from Alacritous Solutions and other local partners on ways to spur positive change in their communities, stories of protecting native wildlife, and moving their business towards more sustainable practices.  Find out more about this HWF partner business on their website: https://wearealacritous.com/