Ways the Sharing Economy Can Help Early-Stage Startups
By Sarah Kearns | Sharing is caring, and your startup needs all the care it can get. When your business is in its infancy, it can feel like you’re trying to move mountains with a shovel, especially when the money you need isn’t available and you aren’t capable of wearing every hat known to man.
The sharing economy solves many problems startups (and sometimes corporations) face by providing alternative solutions. Allow the sharing economy to fill in the gaps your startup can’t work around by making the most out of the services and products that are available to you.
Outsource management roles
Outsourcing management roles seem counterintuitive, but it may be necessary for management roles of lesser importance. For example, your social media strategy is an integral part of your outreach efforts, but it’s hard to spend all day on Facebook when you’re navigating the labyrinth of startup growth. Outsourcing social media management to a team of skilled professionals will help you experience the positive effects without having to maintain a full-time presence. You’re only one person (or a small team) trying to pick your battles–let a social media manager act as your mouthpiece while you’re busy working behind the scenes.
Hire development and content specialists
Businesses cannot survive in the Internet age without content and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists. Creating content can be a full-time job. Creating valuable content and building backlinks are complicated and labor intensive. Companies of all sizes outsource this job to expert copywriters and SEO marketers. A significant portion of the content you read on the internet is generated by experts that don’t directly work for the company they’re promoting. A few great freelance copywriters can help you turn your humble startup into something impactful.
Rent office equipment
Startups often need more equipment than their budgets will permit, so they settle for less. If everyone is exhausted from waiting for their turn on the printer or copier, you have a problem. Inefficiencies and limited resources will throttle productivity. If you can’t afford to buy all the equipment you need to keep your startup going, then rent it. You can return it when you have the money to buy your own, or possibly utilize a rent to own scheme to make equipment more affordable.
It’s a smart idea to buy an office that’s slightly too big. Leases are long, and extra space means more room to grow. Until you’ve grown to fill it, you’ll have floorspace left unoccupied. You’re paying for it, and you can get someone else to offset that cost. Smaller startups and independent entrepreneurs need a place to work. If you can allow them a small piece of your office building at a price their budget will allow, you can collect a little extra money just by letting someone else the space to work.
Utilize independent service providers
Utilizing independent providers makes the world more accessible for everyone. In an age where people want everything delivered, companies that don’t deliver, suffer. Then UberEats and other platforms of its kind changed the game. Even companies like McDonald’s who are working with more than enough capital to institute a delivery option won’t do it; instead, they’re listing themselves on UberEats and making the delivery someone else’s job. Use the sharing economy to provide local delivery for your products, whether or not they’re cheeseburgers.
Monetize your surrounding lot
If your business is in a major metropolitan area, people are probably looking for parking. Startups with big lots can easily separate that lot: a portion for customers, and a portion for paid parking. Outside of business hours, the entire lot can be used to generate a profit. You aren’t losing out on anything, and the bills are suddenly a little easier to pay.
Open Source Technology
Web geeks make the world go round, especially when it comes to WordPress websites. Much of WordPress.org’s infrastructure is open source, which means you can use it for free. Development experts contribute to and modify plugins that can offer your startup’s website new layers of functionality. Utilizing open source pieces can help you affordably build an internet presence for your growing business.
The sharing economy can help your startup temporarily (or permanently) make ends meet during such a delicate time. Just be sure to pay it forward when you’re successful.
About the Author
Sarah Kearns is a hardworking mother of three daughters. She is a part of the team behind Parkhound–a platform where you can find cheap parking spots. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.