How Your Business Can Take Advantage of the Sharing Economy

  • Founding and running your own business can be a daunting task. Licences, advertising, office space, courting investors and hiring employees; it can easily take a toll on your energy, your morale and (critically) your budget. Whether you’re a hot-off-the-press startup, or an SME looking to expand, it’s about cutting costs wherever you can to stay lean and simultaneously generating income through each and every side-hustle you can identify.

    The growth and increasing accessibility of the sharing economy are giving small businesses a firmer financial footing in those critical early days, by opening up a number of different passive income streams to tap into. Conversations around the sharing economy are often limited to individual consumerism but here are three ideas of how you can start saving your business money.

    Rent the Gear You Need

    Does your company ever run events? Are you planning to start a podcast for marketing purposes? Do you need quality photographs of your product? In the past, sourcing the necessary materials for these situations would likely have lost a great deal of time and money. Now, however, with the arrival of rental platforms such as Fat Lama, businesses no longer have to rely on overpriced agencies for what they need. Run out of East-London Fat Lama operates all over the UK and US, specialising in the rental of high-end equipment such as cameras, drones and AV goods. You can borrow nearby gear to suit your needs with just your ID and debit card.

    From the other side, as a business you can make some vital extra revenue by renting out some of the equipment you might have lying around your office. So much of the time, tools and equipment like video projectors, cameras or spare laptops will gather dust in a corner for weeks on end. However, if listed for rental, not only will it start generating a bit of income in itself but it can be a great way to generate a little exposure for your company. Depending on what you’re renting out, you could have professionals with similar interests turning up on your doorstep almost every day! And you might be able to pay for an office night out every month with the proceedings.

    Save on your Business Trips

    We all use it for holidays, but a surprisingly small number of people are aware that AirBnB have a whole subdivision on their website for business trips. If you and your employees spend a lot of time travelling for work, it’s well worth ditching sub-par hotels and using Airbnb instead. Not only will it save you money, but the website offers a bespoke service that tracks your employees wherever they are, and monitors what they’ve spent. It also compiles your net expenditure in weekly, monthly and yearly reviews, which, in effect, eradicate the laborious exercise of ‘doing your expenses’.

    Pay Less for More Room

    Space is one of the greatest challenges facing all businesses. Whether it’s for the Yoga classes you run, or for a full on office for the 9 to 5, businesses all too often haemorrhage money on space. This is what platforms like Vrumi are looking to change. You can rent virtually any space imaginable - from people’s front rooms to entire office floors - all for hourly, daily, or weekly rates. Moreover, the service is a lot more personal and many of the details can be arranged between you and the proprietor, making it far more flexible than dealing with agencies.

    These are just a few of the endless possibilities that the sharing economy provides, so get smart and start sharing to make sure your business isn’t missing out on ‘free money’.