The difference between corporate wealth and personal wealth is huge. Individuals don’t have the responsibility to look after anyone but themselves and their families. Once the house and car loans are paid off, it’s just tax that tends to clip the financial wings of the keen entrepreneur.

A look back over a decade or two shows us that Ebay, Über, AirBnB and others have several things in common: they started small, scaled quickly, have no material assets of the kind they sell to consumers and yet they represent the prime conduit through which sellers find customers.

The growth, through technology, of the ability for one individual to sell and supply a service to another has been termed the Access Economy and it has established business worried. If not worried, then certainly watching hard to see what the disruptors do next.

Start-ups can rent out a car ride and a room without any hindrance or bureaucracy and the returns to small traders are potentially life-changing. Selling your empty room to one person may not be a £billion business but it offers close to 100% margin.

Hotels and other established outlets can compete, of course, but their staff can only negotiate so far. After a while, consumers don’t even look there for accommodation and that segment is lost to them.

Why go back?

Gumtree, Freecycle and others let us trade products for money, services or for free, and so transactions through retail in those cases drop away too.

Start-ups, and more established concerns, are getting investment from crowd funding and it’s a real option for every sector of product development now.

Peer to peer lending is also a growing phenomenon. There is a structure building behind the Access Economy and it has the potential to alter our consumer-level view of borrowing and insurance.

Individually, car rides, room rental, selling used clothes, and small loans at attractive rates won’t change the world. Collectively they will. They already are.

How does your innovation strategy look now? Have you got one?

www.room44.co.uk. Future thinking. Future proofing.

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