The sharing economy is no longer a new idea in the business world. Food, rideshares, bikes, renting a room or even a whole house; you name it you can probably share it. It’s certainly not going anywhere, but we’ve seen that not every idea is a winner, with companies like oBike and Foodora going under in Australia.

So how do you get involved with your own hustle without going under? We spoke to Chris Noone, CEO of Collaborate Corporation operating businesses like Drive My Car and is the only sharing economy business listed on the stock market.

What Is The Sharing Economy?

I could pull you out a fancy dictionary explanation, but basically, it’s all those businesses popping up that let you share goods or services, instead of having to buy it outright. Think Uber, Airbnb, Menulog and such.

Why is there such a pull towards the sharing economy by consumers? Why do we prefer to share rather than own outright? Noone believes it’s because we don’t want to be stuck with extra stuff.

We’re seeing a strong shift towards a preference to access assets, rather than own them, especially when it comes to millennials and Gen Zs. The main things driving this trend include freedom from having to worry about maintaining, insuring and storing items…[and the] flexibility to hand something back when you don’t need it.

Is There Room For More?

It’s not like there aren’t already a lot of businesses out there jumping on the bandwagon, and clearly, not all of them are working out. So is there any point getting involved? Apparently, yes.

New needs will always be identified and new marketplaces will launch to meet those needs,” explains Noone.

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Where Do Some Sharing Economy Companies Go Wrong?

Noon reckons it’s about identifying what is actually really needed on the market, not just coming up with a cool idea.

…Marketplaces that don’t meet realistic needs will not survive. Once I was pitched an idea for a lego sharing marketplace for adults interested in making large-scale lego models. Given the extremely niche market for something like this, it just isn’t viable as a platform.

He believes this was also the case with oBike and Foodora, as well as ignoring their non-customers and not trying harder to win them over.

In the case of Obike they have riders and non-riders. They forgot that non-riders makeup the majority, and that they are the ones who may be inclined to throw a bike in the river if they see it cluttering up the footpath. 
Many of the bike share firms…didn’t work to win hearts and minds, and behaved in an arrogant manner by disrespecting the community. They tried to grow really fast, not caring about the damage they were doing in their relentless pursuit of growth.

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How Do You Get Involved In The Sharing Economy?

You need to understand the market enough to identify what annoys people about owning and renting, that’s where you’ll find the demand.

Find a significant pain point for owners and renters. What items are under-utilised and is there a demand for those items? Next, define how to establish trust between all participants in the marketplace.

That last one is to avoid that whole everyone-who-wasn’t-an-oBike-user-hated-oBike thing, you dig?

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