Running a small business has a lot of perks to it.
A huge budget usually isn’t one of them, so small businesses have to continually look for ways to stretch a dollar and make the most out of the operating budgets they do have. Finding ways to save on expenses while increasing profits is necessary to stay afloat.
One way for small businesses to save on costs associated with running a business is to utilize today’s economy of sharing.
With the nation’s workplaces being filled with Millennials, companies are changing the way they do business. Instead of larger corporations keeping their cubicles filled with life-long, dedicated employees, companies are now hiring employees who are more caring, sharing, and have a lower level of commitment than their older peers in the business world.
For smaller businesses with fewer employees, this millennial mindset and the sharing economy, sometimes called “collaborative consumption,” can save money on operating expenses and raise profits if done correctly.
Let’s look at a few ways that small businesses can utilize the sharing economy and make it benefit the bottom line:
Unless you’ve been stranded on a desert island for the last 5 years, you’ve likely heard of crowdsourcing, and the sites that aspiring entrepreneurs, those raising funds for medical expenses, and others use in their fundraising efforts.
Instead of going door-to-door selling wrapping paper or candy, or hitting up relatives for capital, small businesses can turn to crowdsourcing as a means for raising capital. Although video games and movies are the most funded projects in crowdsourcing, anybody can put an idea out there and offer special perks to those willing to invest in it.
Crowdsourcing can save time for businesses when raising capital, and also be an easier way to come up with funding than applying and qualifying for a traditional bank loan.
With business hubs in the United States being mainly on the east and west coasts of the country, there will most likely be a need for business travel now and then for small businesses.
Costs in transportation and lodging can really add up, and since ride sharing for airplanes hasn’t really caught on yet, businesses can save the most by using shared car rides and accommodations. Whether it be a ride to the airport, or to a meeting from the hotel, small businesses can save on transportation costs by using services like Uber and Lyft.
Small businesses can also save on local transportation by using these services instead of purchasing and maintaining a fleet of vehicles. Small businesses can save up to 50 percent of lodging costs by using services like Airbnb.
Outsourcing Small Tasks
Small businesses can outsource a lot of small tasks to outside providers. Handyman services, painting, cleaning, and maintenance can be outsourced to the lowest bidder. You can also find the services of a logo designer, app developer, and writer from freelancers on sites like Fiverr.
Do you have extra offices in your building that aren’t being used? Space for a cell tower? Unused parking spaces? You can turn all of these assets into money for your bottom line by utilizing the sharing economy to rent them out. In some cities, parking spaces are worth $50,000 a year.
Using a online services, you can hire temporary employees to work just 3 hours, 3 days, or 3 weeks. You can even use these services to hire temporary to permanent employees. You can use a service like this just to find temps to perform menial tasks like sending out mailers, but more and more businesses are using them to fill longer term positions like web design.
When done properly, and small business can use collaborative consumption, or the sharing economy, to save money in the short term and the long run. Small businesses can also form relationships with individuals and other businesses that can be mutually beneficial to both.
Work Group Photo via Shutterstock