The sharing economy allows for underutilized resources to turn into assets because communities of people connect to pool what they have to offer. Often focused around centralized apps connecting consumers with individuals offering goods or services, the sharing economy has revolutionized more industries than you can count.
If your small business isn't taking advantage of the new opportunities presented by the sharing economy, you may be missing out -- but often it's hard to know where to start. To help you dive in, consider these four ways small businesses can take advantage of the sharing economy.
1. Accessing crowdsourced funding
If your company has a big idea but you need more operating capital, you aren't stuck struggling to get a conventional business lender to take a leap of faith and loan you the cash. The sharing economy makes it easy to connect with individual investors, as long as you can sell them on your plans.
Kickstarter and Fundable allow you to post projects that everyday people can invest in, while peer-to-peer lenders such as Lending Club give you the chance to obtain a business loan of up to $300,000 from individuals who fund millions of loans.
2. Hiring help to accomplish specific tasks
There's a plethora of websites that connect freelancers and talented professionals with companies looking for their service. Check out Upwork, TaskRabbit, and Fiverr to find professionals to do everything from making deliveries to setting up your company's website.
By hiring contractors on an as-needed basis, your company can save money on staffing costs and find industry experts to perform targeted work. You can read reviews of the workers before you hire so you'll know what you're getting and don't have to worry about all of the legal issues associated with hiring full-time staff.
3. Finding office space
Do you need a professional conference room in a luxurious office to impress a big client? Want to avoid having a physical office space by building a remote team. The sharing economy can help you to structure your workforce in a way that makes sense for you while still giving you access to professional workplaces when you need them.
Check out ShareDesk or one of dozens of coworking locations across the country to find the spaces you and your staff need to get work done without having to lock yourself into high rent payments for traditional office space.
4. Share your resources to boost your cash
Your company can be more than just a consumer of products and services -- you can also boost your company's bottom line by offering to share resources of your own.
If you have empty desks or your office building has some extra parking spaces, loan them out using apps such as ParkingPanda or LiquidSpace. Even if you bring in just a small amount of extra cash, this is another income stream for your business that takes little effort to sustain.
Depending on what products or services your company provides, marketing your main business on different sharing economy apps could also help you to reach new audiences and expand your customer base.
Make the sharing economy work for you
The sharing economy has revolutionized the world -- and it can help you to make your business more efficient and effective if you explore opportunities and embrace this modern economy. These tips will get you started, but there's no limit to how far you can go as new marketplaces for sharing products or services seem to develop every day.