Not familiar with the sharing economy? You’re not alone. Approximately 73 percent of Americans (of 4,787 adults polled) have no idea what the concept is. In short, the sharing economy (otherwise known as collaborative consumption), provides the opportunity for consumers to rent or borrow goods in lieu of buying or owning them.
While it’s likely that you’ve already used such a service from one of the heavy hitters in the industry, there’s never been a better time than now to launch your own venture. Obvious perks include low startup costs and the security of building on an existing business, but the sharing economy is also building the barter economy, which is great if you need resources for your business. So, if you want to join the millions of Americans — from millennials to baby boomers — who are taking control of their career, read on and Concept Marketing Group will help you get started.
There are hundreds of different concepts that are currently available, so ideally, you want to choose a direction that you enjoy and have some level of expertise. This is not to say that you can’t come up with a platform of your own, too. It’s interesting to note that the most popular types of companies lend money, assist with chores, lend cars, offer a spare room and show people around town. The least amount of companies are swapping vegetables, providing a kitchen for a cooking class and loaning sports equipment or an instrument. This is not to say that concepts at the bottom of the list aren’t viable. In fact, they may provide an opportunity for you to tweak the concept and make it more appealing to consumers.
Whether you branch off on your own, or jump on the coattails of another company, it’s up to you to grow your business. Along with social media (an absolute must), some other tactics include guaranteeing transparency and safety, growing your network, reaching targeted investors and constantly adapting your strategy to keep up with technology and trends.
Create An At-Home Workspace
Even if your business is on-the-go, you need a quiet, comfortable, and distraction-free home office where you can take care of invoices, taxes, social media and any other busy work your company requires. But just because the space is within your home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create boundaries. In fact, they’re an absolute must.
Establish set office hours and make sure to take regular breaks. Make it a habit to shower and get dressed in normal street clothes so you’re feeling more like working than vegging out in front of the television. Create a productive environment that’s free from clutter and has ample lighting. A comfortable chair (ideally, one that’s ergonomically correct) and organizational tools such as whiteboards, calendars, and filing cabinets are all good office staples.
Don’t forget about mundane tasks like invoicing and payroll. Happily, you can use tech tools to make these simple. For instance a payroll app like Quickbooks is a one-stop shop for everything from generating checks to reviewing reports to paying Uncle Sam his share. If you take your office on the road, you can even pay yourself and your staff from wherever you happen to be working. The simpler you make it to stay on top of your grunt work, the better.
While joining the sharing economy may be easier than starting a business from the ground up, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have guaranteed success as it’s not uncommon to make mistakes if you’re not careful. Keep in mind that consistency builds trust, so make sure you always have enough manpower or inventory to keep customers happy.
Seek out marketplaces that haven’t been fully fleshed out yet and see where you can create a niche that’s of use to consumers. In order to keep growing for the long-term, it’s important that you constantly seek out new ways to build your supply.