Small businesses have a lot to gain from the sharing economy, which is a fast growing industry. Nielsen’s report said that the peer-to-peer rental market had now grown to $26 billion. Sharing is clearly the new buying, and small businesses have a chance to both make their lives easier and generate another source of income.
Let’s see some of the key ways that small businesses can benefit from the sharing economy.
Renting Unused Assets
Every small business has assets that it can potentially lease out to someone else. There are apps and platforms for practically any product, such as unused printers and extra desks.
One of the easiest ways to make an income is to rent out any unused office space you may have. These unused assets are costing you money. The power of the sharing economy can help you make something out of them.
Another option is to rent out parking spaces. These are more valuable than ever, as space in busy cities decline. If you happen to operate in a busy business area, a parking space can be worth thousands of dollars every year.
Become a Shared Office
Nowhere is the sharing economy more apparent than in the number of shared offices and coworking spaces that have popped up all over the country. It’s easier than you think to make your small business into a shared office.
For a start, you can rent out entire rooms to other companies. You can even go as small as renting out a single desk. For the small business, this can bring in more than money. Coworking spaces have enabled small business and startups to connect with others in order to ensure mutual growth.
Hit a Wider Audience
Sharing websites can help you reach a larger audience. Your products and services could be used to target a broader range of people. Technology in recent years has served to advance the progress of the sharing economy.
"The key to success as an entrepreneur and business owner is to be dynamic,” says Dino Gomez, CEO & Founder, Dynamik Internet Marketing Inc. “Technology is changing every single industry in the world and your success can be short lived if you don't adapt and embrace the changes that are taking place. This can be from an operational, systemic, manufacturing, or marketing standpoint.”
Borrowing Money for Growth
Small businesses are notorious for never having enough money to do what they want. This is life as an entrepreneur. Borrowing from banks can be risky; if the business fails, money still needs to be repaid.
The sharing economy has come to fill that void, with angel investors and crowdfunding websites growing in prominence. This new world has enabled small businesses to get the money they need to grow. It could be the catalyst that pushes your business into its next phase of growth.
An Ally Not a Competitor
It’s easy to look at the sharing economy as another chance to fight the competition. But the sharing economy is geared towards smaller businesses. It’s allowing them to do things that were previously impossible.
For example, renting out spare office space used to require specialized agencies, and most of them wouldn’t be interested in renting out a desk. They would want to rent entire rooms, which excluded many businesses from using their services.
Small businesses aren’t blessed with huge teams. When you need an essential task carried out, it isn’t always practical to hire someone full-time to do it. That’s where outsourcing comes in and that’s where the sharing economy can help. There are so many platforms where you can hire people online to carry out important tasks.
And even offline, it could be a lifesaver. Imagine you’re a small business traveler in Rome and want to know the culture fast for your important business meeting, what do you do? You could quickly hire a local to teach you their culture relating to greeting on a first meeting, hand gestures during speaking, eating a meal, or others things to do in Rome with locals.
This is far more cost-effective for small businesses since you only pay for a specific task.
The sharing economy has changed the way people do business. How will you use the sharing economy to your benefit today?