Starting a small business isn’t easy, so if you are managing to survive, you are already beating most of your peers. But just surviving isn’t enough either. To really make your business work, you need to grow. The good news is that the sharing economy can actually help you to do this. Here’s how you can grow with sharing.
Do you need funding to get off the ground? How about for expanding to a new product line? Whatever you need money for, crowdsourcing could be the answer. It allows potential customers to express an interest in your product before it comes to market, and gives you the money to make it happen. You don’t just have to crowdsource money, by the way – there are lots of other ways to use this tool. If you are a game developer, for example, you can crowdsource your content by offering the code up for players to create their own game levels.
Renting office space
Having your own office is a big milestone for a small business, but it’s often hard to raise the capital to get there. If you need to find a space to work from, you could rent it from someone who already has the space to spare. If you have bought your own office but don’t need the whole space until your company grows, then you can also make money of your own spare room. Rent it out to another start-up which needs an office. This also applies to storage space, which is very useful if you are an ecommerce business in particular.
If you need equipment to do your work, then this can be very tricky. Equipment can be expensive, and you don’t have that kind of money as a small business – especially if you might only need to use it now and then. The answer is to rent your equipment on a case-by-case basis. This is great for businesses that use a lot of different techniques to create their products. It could also be the answer for photography studios, for example – it’s expensive to buy a full studio set-up but much cheaper to rent one by the day. The money that you make while using your rentals can be put towards those purchases later on.
When you have a lot of work to do, sometimes it’s not possible to accept everything. You have to start turning clients away in order to keep up with the workload. But what if you could take on all of those clients, make bigger profits, and in time expand your workforce? The answer to help you do it is outsourcing. By sending portions of the work to freelancers or other companies, you may lose a little money on what you normally make per project, but you will be able to complete a greater number of projects overall.
Meeting new contacts
Finally, there’s a side effect to the sharing economy that you probably haven’t thought of. All of this sharing, outsourcing, and crowdfunding puts you into contact with a lot of new people. Some of these people could turn out to be potential new clients helping you to grow your client base. Others could even become business partners or allow you to get your materials cheaper. You never know who you are going to meet in a sharing economy that might help your business to grow!
It’s easy to see that the sharing economy can be a useful boon for small businesses. Use it to take your company to the next level!
Emma Lewis is a devoted mother and wife who supports and writes for Spacer – a startup helping both individuals and businesses find space to rent. When not working, Emma enjoys spending time with her family and reading self-improvement books.