What Crowdsourcing Is and Four Ways Small Businesses Can Benefit from It
Crowdsourcing has been around for a long time, well before the advent of the internet. It’s a known way to harness the power of many to solve complex problems, get a lot done in a short amount of time, and to involve your target audience.
You have probably participated in at least one T-shirt designing contest for a school project, or even for your business. That is crowdsourcing! In spite of the term being first coined by Jeff Howe in Wired magazine, and the desire for internet marketers wanting to believe it’s a new concept, crowdsourcing has been around for a very long time.
However, crowdsourcing has been taken to an entirely new level with the advent of internet technologies. Today, websites such as crowdSPRING.com, 99designs.com, iStockPhoto.com, MechanicalTurk.com, Indiegogo.com, Ziptask.com (and many others) have popped up to facilitate crowdsourcing. This means that businesses can go beyond personal connections, leveraging an even larger crowd for even more amazing result with options that go beyond even the borders of a country.
Businesses large and small can use crowdsourcing. Even big corporations like PepsiCo have used crowdsourcing. Small businesses can benefit from crowdsourcing in the following ways.
1. Save money – By not having to hire someone on staff, and being able to hire people who are competing for a project from many locations, your business will save money on labor costs. Additionally, your business only pays when you’re satisfied with the work, so that’s an extra benefit and cost savings.
2. Increase productivity – By breaking down each project into multiple small tasks that you outsource via crowdsourcing, you’ll complete projects and tasks much faster than you can alone, without adding that much to your costs.
3. Leverage scalability – By having a truly unlimited work force at your fingertips via crowdsourcing outsourcing sites like MechanicalTurk.com or Ziptask.com, your business will increase the productivity multiple times over. In essence, your business reach is extended by your ability to use the crowd when and where you want to.
4. Produce quality projects – Once you are accustomed to offering a fair price and appropriate rewards for your projects to properly leverage the crowd (for the right projects), you’ll end up with high quality results that you may not have enjoyed without crowdsourcing.
Before your business can reap the benefits of crowdsourcing, you need to understand how to organize your efforts. Choose the right projects and tasks that work well with crowdsourcing for your particular enterprise. It helps to know your target audience and your industry inside and out so that you can gain the most from crowdsourcing. It’s important to know when to use the crowd and when not to.
Sometimes it can be too risky to trust the crowd. Always ensure that you understand the risks and benefits before proceeding with any new project – especially copyrightable projects. Also, remember that crowdsourcing isn’t only for tasks and design, it can also be used for idea conception, funding, and launch of almost any type of enterprise.