Exploring a path to “Work Life Balance” lead me to researching efforts around the re-institution of the “Share Economy” for individuals and business alike.
Most understand that before governments started forms of “money” as a standard for business trade, small business owners and market traders mostly did transactions using some sort of bartering system. And even as “money” is widely used for most retail purchases today, many still trade goods of similar value for other products. However, some find difficulties with bartering for how to fairly valuate services/goods; how to negotiate; and how to tax bartered transactions? Because westernized consumers are very accustomed to the convenience of making purchases with a government-form of money, the bartering system is less desired.
However, there is an easier way to trade…the “Share Economy” has become a sustainable lifestyle for some by simply making something available, at no cost, instead of selling it. In most cases, the sharing is reciprocated by something already received; or something being shared in the future from somewhere else. There doesn’t seem to be any impressive networks just yet for 1-to-1 sharing; but the ultimate goal of the Share Economy is to connect and share with those who need. For an organization, sharing can build trust and credibility for the business brand.
The Sharing Economy is not based on sacrifice, but rather more towards providing excess. Don’t confuse efforts to share with donations in exchange for tax benefits or other receipts. And the interesting phenomena is…there are instances where businesses have provided products to share (free) and received more in return that if they were to put a price on the product. I’m remembering a bakery that positioned free items on a counter alongside a simple basket if anyone wanted to leave a contribution. After all baked goods were taken, (some people leaving money in the basket while others didn’t); the money collected was in excess of what the receipts would have been if the items were priced.
Sharing creativity is a form of economy very popular with information technology professionals who give-away their coding statements, configurations and fixes. In most cases, the goods/services are easily available via digital downloads or can be found in blogs. Again, don’t confuse the Share Economy with business models that require registration schemes to sell collected data. The world has benefited from artist sharing their creativity since the beginning of time. A business that shares to its community environment profits in collaborative and supportive work space in the community.
The Share Economy assumes all entities have something to share whether it be goods, services, experience, skill or time. When organizations decide to make sharing a part of their business model, they not only create new options to benefit their markets; but begin to contribute to enhancing their community and the lives of their consumers… which is always Good for Business.