Are you ready to jump into a new role?  If it’s time to start your own business venture, the sharing economy is a terrific vehicle for engaging success.  Here is how to put this platform to work for you.

Ready to roll.  Developing your own small business is a wonderful adventure and now is a terrific time.  Before you jump in, make sure it’s what you really want and a good fit for your skills, lifestyle and personality.  Do some self-introspection to determine if you were born to run your own business. For instance, are you a risk-taker?  Leading your own business can leave you open to downfalls when the economy dips or other issues impact your income. You need to be the sort of person who can see how to make improvements.  Whether it’s scheduling, bookkeeping, marketing or simply how you conduct phone calls, recognizing where there is room for improvement or opportunities for capitalizing can make a world of difference in growing your business.  You also need to be disciplined and tenacious, ready to work harder than ever to meet deadlines and goals.

The sharing economy explained.  If you’re ready to be your own boss, the sharing economy offers a wealth of opportunities for developing a small business.  Generally speaking, the sharing economy refers to peer-to-peer activities, meaning businesses or individuals offering services or goods to each other via a platform.  There is no one route for pursuing success. In recent years, the sharing economy evolved to embrace a variety of options:

  • Peer-to-peer lending programs.  These companies offer funds to individuals at lower rates than traditional lenders.
  • Co-working platforms.  In metropolitan areas, companies offer workspaces to entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers.
  • Business-to-business platforms.  Businesses offer goods or services directly to other businesses.  There are also business-to-consumer platforms and business-to-government platforms.  
  • Freelancing platforms.  These platforms connect freelance workers with clients; services are broad with everything from dog walkers to personal organizers and handymen to bookkeepers.  
  • Fashion platforms.  Just like it sounds, these platforms offer clothing for rent or for sale.

Nitty gritty.  To prosper, you need to handle your money well.  As a small business owner, you need to be smart with your funds to survive economic ups and downs.  You also must manage your bookkeeping carefully, staying ahead of invoicing, bills and taxes. Inc. recommends developing a sound budget.  You need to track how much income is required cover costs, how much you have available should unforeseen expenses arise and how much you can use toward your business-related “wants” versus your business-related “needs.”  A budget can provide validity if you apply for a loan as well.  

Advertising.  Word-of-mouth can be a key marketing tool, especially when you’re starting out.  As Entrepreneur notes, you will get people talking about your business by not just meeting their expectations, and not just exceeding their expectations.  It’s when you go noticeably beyond the call of duty that you’ll truly make a mark. Go the extra mile for your clients, be polite, be timely and be helpful.  The other way to generate word-of-mouth is by being remarkable in other ways. For instance, if your business offers cupcakes delivered to people’s doors, driving around town in a van painted to look like a giant cupcake will get you noticed and get people talking.

Mistakes to avoid.  There are a number of common mistakes new business owners make.  First and foremost, you should do something you are good at.  Pursuing a business in which you lack skill or knowledge is a set up for failure.  You also need to be aware of your competition. For example, if you’re selling a product at one price and a business across town offers the same item for half, you’ll probably price yourself out of work.  

Dive in!  Jumping into the sharing economy isn’t for everyone.  If you are ready to be your own boss, do a personal inventory and explore your options.  Develop a vision and a budget, get noticed and be aware of common errors. With these strategies you can assure success!

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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