Sharing economy has become a burgeoning business in today’s world. From the sharing of cars and bicycles to the renting out of rooms, Sharing Economy has undoubtedly become the next big thing. Encompassing a wide array of aspects which include exchanging, shared ownership, renting, recycling, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer transfer, subscription based models, and the like, it is a hybrid economy in itself and can be thought of as an advanced form of the barter system.
Collaboration being at its very heart, SE encapsulates these constituents:
- People: Sharing of different resources/entities take place between different individuals who are active participants. Being suppliers and recipients of goods and services, people from various spheres combine to form the base of SE.
- Production and Distribution: Production of goods as well as services is taken up by individuals or organisations who then distribute them to customers. The presence of internet connectivity helps enormously in development and distribution helping mitigate geographical limitations.
- Ecofriendly behaviour: SE helps save the environment by promoting sustainability of goods and services. By constant re-use and recycling, SE helps enhance the environment around us and reduce carbon footprints at a large scale.
- Communication: Being a transparent system to constantly enhance and improve customer experience, knowledge in an SE is open and accessible. This implies efficient and robust communication at different strata which helps the economy thrive. It goes without saying that technology plays an indispensable role in communication.
- Future: The entire point of sharing is to build a robust, sustainable and vibrant economy with an eye set firmly on the future. Considering future implications while providing stable products helps an SE function successfully in a harmonic manner.
Some basic questions regarding SE
- How do you earn money?
Any skill/asset that you possess can be monetised by attracting customers who require your services. For instance, renting out simple home appliances such as refrigerators or televisions, driving for a taxi service, or renting out a spare room in your house are simple ways of earning some extra cash. By advertising on the internet, you can reach out to a wide variety of customers with minimal capital.
2. What are your working hours?
The concept in its whole is very flexible; you can participate at your own convenience. You are your own contractor and can decide how much and when to work. For instance, if you are driving, you can decide your own schedule and set your own hours. One has the opportunity to work sporadically at his/her own luxury.
3. How important are the reviews?
Sharing Economy thrives on reviews and ratings which can make or break a start-up. Since it is a transparent process and could be driven merchants or peers, people can check reviews to understand the experience of other customers before availing themselves of the service and then later, reviewing it themselves. By determining other people’s experiences you can decide whether you want to try a product or not. The entire process helps increase productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.
What are the prime advantages of the Sharing Economy?
1. Beneficial for everyone
Here, a customer gets what he’s looking for in a convenient and inexpensive manner locally, and the provider earns his money. This leads to mutual satisfaction.
2. Sharing Economy helps save money
By renting out and sharing, one helps mitigate costs drastically. Also, the starting-up costs are minimal due to lack of government oversight which enables scores of micro-entrepreneurs to start off even with low financial backing.
3. Helps save the environment
By promoting sustainability and the important R’s of reuse and recycling of resources, Sharing Economy is eco-friendly. For instance, renting out bicycles does its bit in reducing the planet’s carbon footprint. Expanding a business/startup while simultaneously caring for the environment is a basic tenet of sharing.
4. SE is gathering momentum which is only set to increase
With millennials across the globe adopting the process of sharing, this economy has snowballed into a massive movement which is only set to grow as time passes. With people changing their buying and spending habits, sharing has become the new trend. Convenience, accessibility and affordability carrying SE’s mantle, now is the best time to integrate yourself within the community and reap its benefits.
Some helpful tips for those eager to join the Sharing Economy movement
- Look for any problem that can be fixed
This is the most basic step that should be taken before dipping your feet in SE’s waters. Think about what common problem you are looking to solve for yourself and others and which hasn’t satisfactorily been addressed by anyone yet. Once you’ve outlined that problem/pain, think about how you can go about solving it in an efficient and reliable manner with use of people and network of people around you.
2. You need to do your research
Conducting a fairly accurate research before setting up your company is the key to performing well and keeping the company afloat. It helps you figure out if there’s a genuine marketplace that requires your services. By conducting something as simple as a survey, you can decide if there is a demand for what you are offering and to what extent does a community require your solution to mint money.
3. Surround yourself with a great team
Again, the importance of a valuable team cannot be underestimated. Having a great team of similar-minded, enthusiastic people who believe in the same goal as yourself, can do wonders for your company. Besides, you can also promote the hard work and values that they bring to your establishment which will help your company succeed by attracting investors.
4. Be insured
In a sharing business, one has to make an estimate of the risks that are being undertaken and then necessary insurance must be sought. For instance, if you are renting out miscellaneous items or cars, there is always an element of risk involved and the worst-case scenario has to be accounted for. Combining this with unforeseeable factors makes extensive business insurance a necessity.
5. Concentrate on building your brand image
Building a robust and compelling brand helps enhance your company’s image and also gets people talking about it, thus aiding promotion. By creating a brand that really connects with your user and subscriber base, you motivate and inspire your customers which in turn leads to positive reviews and ratings for the company. This also fosters trust and hence is a win-win situation for everyone. Nothing works better for your brand than your transparent and seamless service.
Sharing Economy is really moving forward at a steady place with startups offering all sorts of services springing up everywhere. It is an evergrowing phenomenon that is changing the very way we live our lives. Hopefully, this article helped clear a few doubts regarding how the Sharing Economy works and what it entails.
Do share your thoughts and experiences.