Four great business ideas
- There is an anti-‘stuff’ movement – not only can we not store everything we own (we live in smaller spaces in cities – and self-storage is one of the fastest growing industries) but we are increasingly concerned about the cost to the planet of manufacturing, transporting, storing, then disposing of all this stuff.
- That social networks are revolutionising media.
- That smartphones are outselling PC/laptops.
- That people like a deal.
- That people want to trust and believe in brands.
- There is an increasing desire to contribute to community and for people to feel connected to those people around them (an increase in farmers markets for instance).
Put these six things together and there is a perfect business revolution taking place.
Rachel Bolsman in her book What’s Mine is Yours calls the phenomena “collaborative consumption” – or the “sharing revolution”.
There have been four distinct phases as business models evolve to get us to this collaborative consumption era:
- We connected to share information (open source).
- We connected to people we know (social networks).
- We shared our thoughts and published them (blogs/Twitter).
- We connected to share and access to assets.
Apparently in the average life on a power drill it is only used for 13 minutes. Does every man need to have one in his tool shed (or does he just need a hole drilled)… Matt, my colleague said that I was missing the point about men and power tools when I mentioned this to him.
So how can we share assets – or utilise what we already have to increase it’s return? The internet has created a true enabler – that is efficient, and that provides the scale needed to make such collaborative consumption work.
There is a shift where access trumps ownership.
There are four interesting business models:
- Collaborative lifestyles: Social networking becomes service networking – have a look at AirBnB.com.
- Micropreneurs: eBay is the ‘Big Daddy’ of this but also think Freelancer.com.
- I need – you have: Is about redistribution (back to the idea of swapping, bartering, trading, gifting) think 99dresses.
- Products become services: If BMW were to offer mobility solutions rather than sell more cars –it is worth looking at what DriveMyCarRentals.com.au is doing.
Interestingly, it might take a radical shift of thought to move to these collaborative business models, especially for existing businesses – such as manufacturers turning themselves into services.
Naomi Simson is considered one of Australia's 'Best Bosses'. She is an employee engagement advocate and practices what she preaches in her own business. RedBalloon has been named as one of only six Hewitt Best Employers in Australia and New Zealand for 2009 and awarded an engagement scorecard of over 90% two years in a row – the average in Australian businesses is 55%. RedBalloon has also been nominated by BRW as being in the top 10 Best Places to Work in Australia behind the likes of Google. One of Australia's outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker inspiring people on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blog and is a published author - and has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded – RedBalloon.com.au.