You’ve probably heard of businesses that capitalize on the sharing economy. Such an economy involves business transactions based on sharing goods or services person-to-person rather than actually selling them. Usually the transactions are facilitated through an online platform. Platforms such as Uber and Airbnb have become global giants using the sharing economy approach. And plenty of entrepreneurs in India have used such platforms to their advantage.
Additionally, entry to short-term housing and transportation entrepreneurship tends to require a level of financial comfort that may not be available to everyone. Fortunately, other methods and platforms allow entrepreneurs with limited financial means to join the sharing economy revolution.
So, on the whole, the sharing economy offers a host of benefits to both the consumers as well as suppliers of goods or services.
1. Opens Up New Avenues for Consumers
The sharing economy has caused a significant shift in the way people do business. In the past, permanent ownership has always been the standard. If you wanted to listen to your favorite musician’s new album, you purchased it. These days, a music fan might be more likely to “borrow” the album by subscribing to a streaming service such as Spotify. The sharing economy makes it possible for people to enjoy products or services without committing to long-term ownership.
The sharing economy opens up new avenues for people to enrich their lives by enjoying a wide range of products and services temporarily. For example, if you’re spending a week in Dubai, you might stay at a different person’s house every night, creating a more unique experience than a typical hotel stay would allow. Realizing the true value of your resources can help you to create innovative business ideas. After all, what’s normal to you may be exciting to someone else.
2. Low Barrier for Entry
Even if you don’t have a spare bedroom or a vehicle, you can still join the sharing economy on a budget. Make some extra money by renting personal possessions or services, or reduce your company’s overhead expenses by renting equipment. For example, if you own two laptop computers, you could make one available on a sharing economy platform such as RentSher. That way, your spare laptop earns you money instead of just collecting dust.
If your small business is struggling to make ends meet, sharing equipment can be a great way to generate some extra income. Say if you own a farm; an unused tractor could be rented out to other farms in the area who can’t afford to buy their own. This partnership becomes mutually beneficial, as you gain income from your unused equipment, and the other farmer saves money and time in labor costs.
3. Growth Potential
The beauty of the sharing economy is that you can scale up over time. If your company owns a projector that was purchased for an important meeting, it is an asset that can be shared with other local businesses that need a similar setup for upcoming presentations. Once you’ve rented that projector a few times, you might choose to reinvest the profit into a second projector. Unlike traditional sales, you gain money, but you also retain ownership of your product. You have very little in the way of overhead expenses, as you don’t need to manufacture any sort of inventory. You simply take your profits, save them over time, and then reinvest your savings when the time is right. After you do this for a year or two, you could end up with a storage room full of projectors and other A/V equipment to rent out.
4. Becoming the Borrower
While lending goods and services can be profitable, so can borrowing them through mutually beneficial trading partnerships in which you become the customer. It’s a two-way street; sometimes you rent to others, sometimes you rent from others, and sometimes you trade.
If your company has a projector and another company has a PA system, you can share equipment. Both companies win because both have better presentations without the overhead costs. As an entrepreneur, you can take advantage of both sides of the sharing economy both to make money and to reduce business expenses.
How To Find Customers For Your Shared Economy Gig?
In order to find customers to patronize your sharing business, you need to spread the word. Social media is a perfect platform for connecting with your community. In addition to posting your goods or services in relevant community groups, you can also create sponsored ads that target specific demographics interested in what you have to offer. You can also reach out to local businesses by sending emails, making phone calls, or even scheduling face-to-face meetings. Also, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising.
Therefore, the first step in joining this movement is determining what you have to offer. If you own any sort of high-value item, someone out there may be interested. If you don’t have anything yet, try browsing sharing economy platforms such as RentSher for ideas. Once you have a shareable item or service, you can start connecting with potential customers. From there, the growth potential is endless.