Why a sharing economy is great for small businesses

This week we have another guest blog – not sponsored, from Faye at www.businessforsale.com about the sharing economy and how is it changing traditional business. Kelly @ My Sassy Business

Why buy when you can rent?

Over the past several years, there has been a steady increase in the rise of what’s now known as a sharing economy. Whether it’s the more globally known Uber or Airbnb, or some of Australia’s more popular sharing economy platforms such as Airtasker, Mad Paws, Zoom2u, Spacer, Open Shed, and Camplify – this new business trend of sharing assets to both save and earn money continues to gain momentum.

A recent report by The Sharing Hub indicates that seven million Australians have used the sharing economy to make and save money. That figure is anticipated to rise, with more than half the population expected to have used it to improve their finances by the end of 2018.

Recent research from Deloitte Access Economics reveals that businesses in NSW alone have seen revenue growth of 68% from an estimated $1.6 billion in 2014–2015 to $2.6 billion in 2015–2016. So, with the sharing economy clearly becoming a vital part of our growing economy, how will you incorporate it into your small business?

Sharing assets

Most businesses have numerous assets that often sit unused from day to day. Business owners are turning their unused property into additional capital by leasing out these assets to other companies or individuals. This includes items like printers, laptops, empty desks or other practical office supplies. You will find dozens of platforms and apps online for almost any unused product that is available for rent.

And the options don’t stop there. Businesses are also renting out extra parking spaces, especially in cities and areas where parking spots are a valuable commodity.

Freelancers unite

Having a large staff is not usually something that goes hand in hand with a small business. However, there are certain tasks that require extensive resources. Instead of hiring full-time staff that you can’t afford, you can reach out to professionals who offer their services under a contract. Whether it’s web design, accounting work, or marketing, it’s often much more cost effective to pay a monthly fee until the job is completed than to hire a new full-time employee. This also eliminates the need to pay other perks that full-time staff would expect, like annual leave and sick days.

Shared workspace

With more and more of us working outside of a traditional brick and mortar business, it’s sometimes difficult to find a quiet workspace to accomplish all that needs to be done on any given day. The growing popularity of shared workspaces has given us the solution we’ve all been looking for.

Do you have a couple of extra desks at the office or some rooms sitting empty? The sharing economy allows small businesses to make some extra cash by filling those desks and rooms. You can rent out your unused office space to anyone from freelancers looking for an occasional workspace to startups and professional entrepreneurs.

Another option business owners are offering is office space in the evenings for various forms of social gatherings or networking events. This is a great way for you to easily gain extra income without having to compromise your office environment during the day.

It’s all about community

One of the most undeniable benefits of using the shared economy concept is the fact that it leads to creating a community of like-minded individuals who support the same cause. It is a valuable system that allows you to build and expand your networking and consumer base.

Another great way to build community is by joining other businesses in hosting special events. By participating in a variety of events that promote both your business and others within your industry, you can attract visitors who will learn more about the services your business has to offer. Some of these people might even want to work with you in the future.

Trust is a must

In order for your business to succeed in the sharing economy, you must build trust with your consumers. For a business in the sharing economy, breaking the trust of a consumer or provider could lead to a lost user for your platform, your industry, and the entire sharing economy.

It’s vital that you set out to consistently deliver a reliable product or service. Once the consumers know they can rely on you time in and time out, you will have gained their trust as well as a firm foothold in the growing sharing economy trend.   

The sharing economy is thriving and continues to change the way people do business. It is a system that allows small companies a variety of ways to boost their business without any major corporate influence or capital of their own.

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Faye Ferris is the APAC Sales and Marketing Director for BusinessesForSale.com, one of the world’s largest online global marketplaces for buying and selling small-to-medium sized businesses. Faye is passionate about helping Australian small business succeed and regularly writes about entrepreneurship and business management.