I was watching CNBC this morning, looking at a previous show on the sharing economy in Asia. And I was struck by one commonality among the entrepreneurs they were interviewing. The assets they were leveraging were high end, but easily accessible. Large pieces of luggage, designer dresses – – all had value, but were not so scarce that the entrepreneur could not retire or replace the asset if it was damaged.
Later I was reading an article from the MIT Sloan Management Review from March this year, entitled Competing With Ordinary Resources and there was one paragraph towards the end that was very relevant to this issue: “By eroding established barriers to imitation, ordinary resource-based business models may disrupt the business landscape. In a whole array of industries (retail, manufacturing, banking, automobile, hospitality, higher education, etc.), enabling the power of strategic resources requires mundane assets, and leveraging massive amounts of ordinary resources through platforms and ecosystems could be as profitable as securing unique possessions and talents.”
Rooms in existing houses, somebody’s car, vacation homes that are empty – there are lots of common items with reasonable value propositions where they can be repurposed for more than one consumer. In this period leading to the New Year, many try to make resolutions for 2016. For enterprises, I might suggest the following: Try to create and/or develop new solutions by leveraging low-cost technologies and largely available firm assets. In this period of austerity, doing more with less will be the strategy to achieve medium and longer term growth.