With a new year comes new opportunities! It’s time to shake off the troubles and challenges our businesses saw with Covid-19. What does that mean for your business? Is it finally developing an online presence? Coaching? Outsourcing your accounting? Extending your influence to new markets?
Whatever your growth goals are, we found an amazing way to achieve them without raising your overhead in the process. The secret lies in the 100,000,000 small businesses out with the resources you need, and an understanding of Collaborative Capitalism.
What is Collaborative Capitalism?
The value proposition of Collaborative Capitalism is a community of open-minded, growth-minded, and creative individuals who share a passion for collaboration. Collaborative Capitalism doesn’t simply take an economic approach towards improving the business development interests of a small business owner or freelancer; it creates a level playing field where those involved are able to exchange their products, services, and skills without the exchange of money.
Growth is much more sustainable through these kinds of exchanges. Collaborative Capitalism is a circular and regenerative economy where local talents are afforded the opportunity to work with local businesses, which benefits the community as a whole. Talent is evenly distributed among this system of economic cooperation with local/small businesses and local creatives and freelancers.
Traditional business models use money to solve business problems, which has many challenges in itself. Especially if you do not have the available funding to develop your website, attain training and coaching, outsource extra workloads, reward employees, or nurture relations with your best clients.
Collaborative Capitalism focuses on skills, resources, and opportunities as currency to grow your business. You offer your extra products, services, reservation slots, and other resources to the business that needs them. In exchange, you gain ‘buying power’ and referrals for the things you need.
Why Does Collaborative Capitalism Work?
There are over 100,000,000 small businesses, creatives, and freelancers out there with amazing skills, and according to a study by Upwork, over 57 million of them people are offer freelancing skilled services. And all these businesses are also looking to expand their businesses on a finite income.
Think of unutilized reservations, sluggish products, or the skilled knowledge you have right now. What if you could use those things to link with even just five skilled businesses from the pool above? Here are a few real-life examples seen on Avontage:
- A freelance writer offered web writing services, and they helped several local businesses update their web content without raising their overhead. They, in turn, received referrals and buying power with the network for self-care, logo re-design, and other things they needed.
- A business owner receives chiropractic care that wasn’t fully covered by her insurance. She receives the care she needs, and the chiropractor gained a great client- without sacrificing buying power for their business.
- A pizza chain raises awareness for their businesses by trading a set number of gift cards. Each time they send out a gift card, they also gain buying power for ads, marketing, and other things the network offers.
- Members can purchase magazine ads, sponsor podcasts, and reach out to their community through the buying power they earn helping other businesses.
How Do I Use Collaborative Capitalism to Grow My Business?
Collaborating with other businesses is easier than ever with the rise of digital communications. Here are a few simple steps to get started TODAY:
Step 1: Take an Inventory
What does your business have to offer? What do you have that other businesses would need or appreciate? Here are a few examples:
- Overstock or Slow-Moving Products
- Gift Items Appropriate for Clients and Employees
- Slow Days or Time Slots
- Digital Products
- Gift Cards or Certificates
- Extra Seats or Rooms
- Admission Tickets to an Upcoming Event
- Consults and Mentoring
- Training and Coaching
- Skills and Services
- Extra Ad Space
Step 2: Find or Build a Network
Next, you reach out to freelancers and small businesses that have the skills and services you need. You can reach out to local businesses via phone, email., or in person. You can find these businesses via your local Better Business Bureau and other associations. You may even have local gatherings listed on sites like Meetup.com to reach out to.
However, this does come with its own challenges, such as figuring out a fair and equal exchange between you. We personally recommend visiting bartering sites like ours- which provide a “value currency” to help make trading more flexible.
If you do not want to develop a Collaborative Network on your own, you can find networks like Avontage.com online. These networks offer a wide range of shippable goods and digital services from small businesses and freelancers nation-wide! You may even find local businesses among them!
Step 3: Offer to Collaborate
This can be done in a variety of ways. On occasion, you can work out a “straight trade” agreement with another business. Such as content writing work in exchange for accounting services, or a set amount of products for web design services. However, this relies on careful communication and equal worth. It depends on both sides needing what the other has.
With Online Collaboration or “Business Bartering” networks, you can post the skills goods and services you are willing to trade. Instead of a straight trade, you make offers in exchange for a site currency- your ‘buying power’ within that network. You fulfill requests, collect points for helping out your fellow businesses, and trade that buying power for things you need within the network. This allows for a great deal of flexibility, being you can:
- Trade one large product or service, then reach out to multiple people in the network for smaller things you need off your to-do list.
- Make a series of smaller offers to build up for a large investment your business needs, like an ad for a local magazine or half a year of business coaching.
This offers a far wider range of flexibility to collaborate with businesses than traditional straight-trades. More importantly, everyone succeeds in helping one another achieve their goals without extra overhead.
Step 4: Deliver Excellence
Business trades can lead to new clients and referrals for your business, so make sure to build a great reputation. It’s not just trading for things you need- it’s exposure and marketing!
Once you build up spending power, you can trade it for the things you need to grow your business. Do you need to update your online presence? Do you want someone else to handle your social media? Did you want to build motivation by rewarding a hard-working employee? You can do it without adding to your expense line!