According to a recent study, the sharing economy is growing exponentially. This is the economy created by organizations like eBay and Airbnb. Increasingly, individuals and businesses are cutting out the middle man and dealing with each other directly. We’re exchanging and sharing resources, either for a fee or a reciprocal resource.
The benefits to businesses are huge. There’s vast potential for saving money and generating new streams of revenue.
Here are just some of the ways the sharing economy can help your business:
1. Save or Make Money Through Office Space
Big companies have unused office space. Smaller companies can’t afford to rent big office spaces for their tiny operation. By using a community sharing site to rent office space, these two groups can come together and have both their needs met. Benefits extend beyond the financial too. This was the case for Michelle Henry and Steve Turrell when they found a joint premises for their signage and printing businesses. Through office sharing they were able to share ideas and skills that furthered both their companies.
2. Find the Best Freelancers
There are a number of websites out there allowing businesses to find the best freelancers for their projects. Having access to so many available freelancers, not just those in your pile of resumes, means you can avoid hiring a permanent member of staff until it’s absolutely necessary. For smaller or intermittent projects, this is an ideal way to maximise your funds.
3. Find Investment
Crowdfunding websites pair businesses with thousands of potential investors, in some cases bypassing the tricky business of applying for a bank loan altogether. Companies pitch their business idea and investors can decide how much they would like to invest.
4. Travel Cheaply
Company travel expenses can quickly rack up. The sharing economy has made travel more affordable. Catching a ride with Uber can cost significantly less than flagging a taxi cab in the street. Equally, finding a room or an apartment to rent through Airbnb will cost a lot less than a regular hotel room. And, as company executive and regular Airbnb business traveller Tad Milbourn finds, it’s a better accommodation experience all round.
5. Save or Make Money on Your Resources
If you’re a bigger business, you likely have resources and equipment that goes unused throughout the course of the day or even the week. Renting your resources out by the hour or the day will generate extra income for your company. For smaller businesses, renting from bigger businesses in this way reduces the cost spent on equipment rarely used.
6. Save or Make Money Using Delivery Space
Another money maker for bigger companies and a money saver for smaller ones: delivery vans. They travel the length and breadth of the country at half capacity. For smaller companies, the cost of running a van may be prohibitive, but renting space in one is a much more accessible prospect.
7. Improve Your Environmental Credentials
Making use of the sharing economy can make your business greener. Increasingly, customers and clients are concerned about the ethical and environmental impact imposed by the companies they do business with. Incorporating strong values into your brand image is good for your brand authority and customer loyalty. Sharing a delivery van reduces harmful emissions, sharing an office space reduces the ecological impact of heating separate buildings, whilst sharing resources reduces both manufacturing emissions and landfill waste.
The sharing economy has been a major boost for many businesses. Whether you’re using it to save or to make money, improve your staff resource or develop more environmentally friendly operations, there are plenty of opportunities out there.
Meet the Author: Emma Lewis
Emma Lewis is a loving mother, a devoted wife and a part of the team supporting Spacer – a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing economy and often mentions its benefits.