The sharing economy is a social-economic system based on the sharing, swapping and renting of resources, both human and physical. Tangible examples of the sharing economy include the well-known Airbnb for lodging, Uber for transportation, and thredUP for online clothing consignment. The common theme among these service offerings is the concept of sharing. Individuals from all over the world pool and share their assets in exchange for economic benefit.
The sharing economy began with the global financial crisis in 2009 and has exploded with the use of social media and peer-to-peer online reviews. Businesses as well as consumers have much to gain by embracing the new concept of collaborative consumption.
Here are some examples of how you can put the sharing economy to work for your business:
Make Money With Unused Assets
If your business has an extra conference room, office, desk or parking space, consider renting the space for extra capital. Freelancers and entrepreneurs often need places to conduct meetings or to work as their start-up businesses grow. Unused parking spaces can be a strong revenue source and may also bring in extra foot traffic. LiquidSpace, ShareDesk and Parking Panda put these ideas in action.
Rather than investing time and money in hiring for small or occasional service needs, businesses can outsource these tasks to virtual freelancers. The sharing economy has led to a thriving community of freelancers, who can quickly and cost-effectively handle app development, logo and other graphic design needs, transcription projects and website content creation.
Another benefit of the sharing economy is the ability for businesses to bypass traditional funding sources and still raise substantial capital for new business concepts.The process of crowdfunding allows financial backers from all over the world to contribute funds to projects they believe in, whether as a donation or in exchange for a small incentive. Popular examples of crowdfunding websites include Kickstarter, Fundable and Lending Club.
The sharing economy is, in many ways, similar to the age-old concepts of carpools and timeshares. Modern technology drives transaction costs down, making the sharing of assets more feasible than ever. Put the sharing economy to work for your business and unlock its immense potential.
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