Kind Business: Why Sharing Is Key To Success

Post by E.K. Bradley for the Kindness in Business series.

Rusty Antique Skeleton Key from KeyLimeSupplies on Etsy

The island I call home is filled with small businesses selling their wares. Few franchises or chains exist, at least not compared to Bangkok or other large cities across the globe. I take pride in knowing the owners of the cafe I frequent on a daily basis, and enjoy chatting with the business women who are hard at work day in and day out, running restaurants and other small establishments. What gets me even more excited is knowing that here in Thailand, street food trumps eating at a ‘proper’ sit down restaurant (this is indisputable) and seeing how much pride the chefs take in the one or two dishes they wok up and are known for inspires me.

Of course business is business in many respects, and more and more Hypermarkets are dotting the island, running out of business the convenient stores. But people are protesting them, putting up signs indicating that when the hypermarkets come they pollute the area and cause small businesses to pack up shop and move. There is this feeling of activism floating in the area everywhere in Thailand, and change will follow it.

A few months ago I came across a video on YouTube discussing what is known as collaborative consumption. The term ‘sharing economy’ is also used to describe the growing trend in business all across the world where people are craving something more than mere possessions. It’s defined by Wikipedia as ‘a socioeconomic system built around the sharing of human and physical assets’. Instead of people just wanting to buy a product, they want to know where their money is going and even trade skills. In other words, there is a growing movement of individuals using the internet to buy/lend/trade directly with those that have something to offer, regardless if they have a business or not.

A great example is Airbnb. Users are renting out rooms or entire residences to travelers in need of accommodation; this is empowering locals that have a spare room to rent and giving travelers a deeper connection to the location they are visiting. Another example is Trade School where students barter for knowledge instead of paying huge fees. You can pay your teacher with Twizzlers, cheese, or anything else instead. I’m not kidding.

Perhaps my favorite example is Tripoto where locals and travel experts give tours of areas they know and love. It’s free to list your tour and you can cater it to what you love most about your town (tour of the best pubs, restaurants, parks, etc.). This trend of connecting locals with travelers is growing at a rapid rate and a host of internet based platforms are growing to meet the demand. People want more than just a tour guide, they want to support the local economy and get a once in a lifetime experience.

I’m not sure how many more Hpyermarkets will be popping up in Phuket before we leave this summer. They are still a popular option for those looking to buy cheap food and clothing all in one place. Yet just yesterday I discovered a shared working space for digital entrepreneurs to share, consisting of a kitchen, a conference room, library, and of course Wi-Fi, owned by a pair of marine biologist who felt communal work spaces were the way to go. By the time we’re gone I don’t doubt even more businesses modeled after this sharing economy concept will have popped up not only in our neighborhood but across the island. Indeed my friends, kind business principles and community sustaining business models are the way of the future.

E.K Bradley is an award winning writer, photographer, and Holistic Life Coach that values the simple things in life. 

She is passionate about helping women live more creative, holistic lives. 
You can find out more about here.

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