Share and share alike

Most small business are time poor. Each day brings a laundry list of must-do tasks. The sharing economy is an exciting new space in which small businesses can provide and tap into the resources, opportunities and capacity to save time while solving problems and increasing their income.

While sharing resources is nothing new, the advent of the digital economy has made it easier than ever before for small businesses to engage with the sharing economy.

What is the sharing economy?

One of the defining features of the sharing economy is how it is helping businesses get the most out of resources that are under-utilised – either their own or someone else’s. These might include:

Assets – What assets does your business own that could be hired out or utilised by another business/agency/group? Think of items people may want to use but might prefer not to buy due to cost or other factors. TwoSpace is transforming unused restaurant space into co-working sites.

Expertise – What knowledge or insights can you offer that could be used by another business?

Labour – Do you have team members who could be used in another location or with another business? Businesses are now sharing receptionists.

Production – In the production of your product or service is there a gap or quiet time that could be used in another way to maximise revenue?

Saving time – The sharing economy means that many of the tasks you’ve relegated to the “never get to” pile can now be completed professionally.

Increasing business income – The key to maximising your own sharing potential is to determine where you might have some unused capacity that could be monetised to increase business income.

Increasing business income

You can achieve this aim through:

1.Tech Improvements: Changes, developments and increased functionality in tech products mean that what was once considered to be expensive and complicated, may not necessarily be so any more. For instance, making a business/explainer video would once have cost thousands of dollars. Now, the filming, editing, sound and effects additions are much less complicated and, therefore, accessible to many more producers offering the same quality product at a fraction of the price. The sharing economy means you can access producers such as these for any size job and highly competitive pricing.

“What was once prohibitive is now easily accessible and achievable.”

2. Training: Developments in e-commerce mean that more providers and producers are now available at the touch of a key than at any other time. If you or your staff need training or upskilling in any area, you can access online training groups and do courses from as little as $15. This is massively advantageous for the business and allows owners/operators to be as competitive as the “big guys”.

3. Recruitment: Rather than settling for hiring someone’s brother or sister because of budget or time constraints, businesses can now take advantage of the proliferation of low-cost recruitment agencies that will take the time, pain and decision-making out of your already crammed day.

There are many other examples and it only takes a few minutes to identify and pinpoint e-commerce opportunities that can maximise your income and intelligently adapt your outgoings to your judiciously designed budget.

Solve business problems

Examples of what SMEs can achieve quickly and economically via the sharing economy include:

  • Hire a professional photographer or videographer through a platform like Upwork.
  • Find a restaurant kitchen that’s not being used during the day where you can cook food for your catering business through an app like Cookitoo.
  • Need 100 balloons inflated? Locate last-minute help for event launches through a platform like Airtasker.

What was once prohibitive is now easily accessible and achievable. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share in this new way of solving problems and growing your bottom line.

Matt Alderton, CEO, BxNetworking for Business

This story first appeared in issue 23 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine.

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