5 Principles for Boosting Your Business Based on Sharing

Inc. | Martin Zwilling | Nov 6, 2020

gettyyy 300x226 - 5 Principles for Boosting Your Business Based on Sharing Now that you can find anything on a moment's notice on the internet, people have found that a temporarily unused expensive asset, such as a room in your house, or your car sitting idle, is a new business opportunity.

Thus the rise of the "sharing economy," with collaborative and peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms, including Lyft (rides), Airbnb (lodging), and WeWork (workspace).

As an adviser to aspiring entrepreneurs, I tell people that these platforms are an easy and low-risk way to test your fit for the entrepreneur lifestyle, without jumping off the cliff. There are always opportunities to participate in existing platforms, such as becoming an Uber driver, or to start your own platform sharing your favorite hobby.

 

See: Uber is making a fintech push with a New York hiring spree

Here are some key principles to consider in every case.

1. Solve a significant problem for customers with money.

Just loving to share things you cook with the hungry doesn't mean you can make it a business. Every sustainable business model has to attract paying customers and revenue, as well as provide something with significant economic or emotional value.

A specific example of a platform failure in this space, Neighborrow, enabled sharing of relatively low-value items (like power tools, bikes, and kitchenware), where the money saved was often offset by the inconvenience of pickup and delivery. It didn't scale well.

2. Look for assets that have no "shelf-life" or idle value.

We all know that we can't profit from lost time, or collect revenue from unused assets. Thus if you have a penchant for collecting clothes, pets, or "stuff," there may be value in a sharing platform. Unused assets, as well as your free time, have no value on the shelf, and should be marketed. The Uber platform capitalized on the fact that people with expensive vehicles, and time on their hands, were willing to provide rides at a lower cost that taxi companies who had to support a fleet of cars. They also offered an app to make the whole process simpler.

 

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