One trend that has dominated the modern marketplace in the last five years in the “sharing economy.” It seems new ventures pop up every day, with a goal of eliminating the middle man and empowering the consumer. Uber is just one example. In many American cities, the service is a viable alternative to taxi cabs. Giant Airbnb is a service that connects consumers looking for accommodations with home owners. What do these successes mean to you? Here’s what business owners in any niche can glean from their wins:
- Speed matters. Uber is always looking for ways to maximize the customer experience. Technology is one answer to that. Although costly at times, an upfront investment can mean residual returns. Customers today want what they want faster and easier. Are you set up to meet their expectations?
- Lead with trust. Trust is the currency of the sharing economy. This can be a tall order at times, because such companies like Uber simply act as a third party and do not deliver the service. As the business owner, however, you can exercise more control over the deliverable. Your business is only as good as your employees. Do they trust you and believe in your vision? Rewarding and motivating them can go a long way.
- Put community first. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have mastered the art of grassroots marketing. They maintain a consistent feedback loop between buyers and sellers. You can get plugged in, in your own right. Start by using social media sites at your disposal and monitor what people are saying about your brand—good, bad and indifferent. Truly engage in the conversation. Address any issues in a timely manner and don’t make excuses. Support non-profits just because it’s the right thing to do.
By directing your collective energies to three areas, success can be within reach.