Yesterday an article on Stuff claimed that “big businesses get more out of sharing economy” in New Zealand and Australia.
According to research from National Australian Bank, big companies were about twice as likely (compared to their smaller counterparts) to say the sharing economy was good for business: 12% of Australia’s top 300 companies vs 6% of companies nationwide. Are Kiwis missing out on the sharing economy?
Personally, I don’t think they are missing out… Well not yet. There’s a lot of creativity and innovative thinking to be found in New Zealand. Take for example Timely, a start-up in simple, affordable and reliable scheduling software (in the cloud) for small businesses. If they want to do it, the Kiwis can do it However the biggest problem New Zealand businesses are facing, is complacency.
New Zealand businesses seem reluctant to change. It really looks like they don’t see what’s happening in the rest of the world. Take for instance the state eCommerce is in New Zealand. In my recent blog post ‘why you need to change your eCommerce strategy’, I showed you how difficult some New Zealand businesses make it for their customers to shop online. It’s almost like they don’t take eCommerce seriously and believe that customers will come anyway.
The same seems to be going in the sharing economy. Especially if so little Australian (and probably also New Zealand) small to medium businesses see the potential of the sharing economy.
Successes in the sharing economy worldwide
Let’s look at some successful examples from overseas. Especially in Europe there are quite some successful start-ups in this field. The top 5 below consists of 5 start-ups that have successfully utilised the sharing economy. The country in brackets behind the brand name is the country it originates from. Most of them are so successful they have branched out throughout Europe or the USA.
1. Borrow a dog by Borrow My Doggy (United Kingdom)
It’s all in the name. Their website connects dog owners with people who love dogs but don’t have one. The latter can borrow a dog for a walk, dog sitting, or holiday care.
2. Lease a jeans by Mud Jeans (Netherlands)
Why pay heaps of money for a pair of jeans when you only wear it a few times a month? Simply lease a pair of Mud Jeans and keep them, switch then, or send them back after 12 months. It’s all about ethical production, recycling, and upcycling.
3. Car sharing by Zipcar (United Kingdom)
Share a car with others. Use it by the hour, day, or week(s). Wheels when you want them.
4. Borrow stuff from locals by Peerby (Netherlands)
In the old days, you went to your neighbours to borrow tools or what not. However, you only knew a few people in your block. Today your neighbourhood got bigger with Peerby. Their website connects locals and the stuff they’re willing to lend to each other. Why buy a power tool when you’re only going to use it twice a year?
5. Ride sharing or carpooling by BlaBlaCar (Netherlands)
Why travel alone by car when you can also share the ride and get paid for it? BlaBlaCar connects travellers and drivers. Drivers earn a bit of money and lower their travel costs. For travellers, it’s a cheap way to travel from A to B. For both, it’s safe and reliable as all profiles and reviews are checked and verified.
Advice for small to medium businesses in New Zealand
Whether it’s the sharing economy, eCommerce, or some other new hot topic from overseas. Please pay attention. Yes, New Zealand is physically far away from everything and everyone but in our modern, online world that isn’t the case anymore.
You’ll either have to lead the way in New Zealand when it comes to the digital revolution or you’ll have to sit back and wait until the digital world brings new competitors to your neck of the woods. And when overseas online competition arrives you’ll be playing a catch-up game. That’s a battle that is harder to win than to try to become a digital leader today!