Ways for Small Businesses to Utilize Crowdsourcing

Fri, May 25, 2012


If you already have a thriving business, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re already familiar with a term known as “crowdsourcing”. But, if you’re someone who is considering starting up a business or you’re in the beginning stages of developing your company, it’s a concept that you might not be familiar with. Oh, but you should be.

If there’s a “cliff note version” of the word, crowdsourcing is basically a creative way of handing out tasks to a group of people. Yes, that probably sounds a lot like delegating, but there is a catch. Whether online or off, the purpose of crowdsourcing is that the task is not usually handed out to employers, but instead an unidentified group of individuals.

And what’s the benefit of that? How can crowdsourcing be utilized effectively by small companies? Those are two really good questions.

If Gives You Broader a Insight

There used to be a time when people relied on their staff and maybe a few of their returning customers for ideas on how to make their company better. Thanks to the Internet, you are able to get a far greater perspective because through your company’s website, Facebook fan page, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn profiles, Pinterest pages, Digg or Magnolia accounts (the options are almost becoming endless), you are able to ask a vast group of people what it is they would like in relationship to the kind of business that you may run. Say that it’s a lingerie store, for instance. Who knows what Victoria’s Secret would’ve been like had they had a Facebook page in the beginning stages and lots of women wrote in to say, “How come you don’t have plus-size underwear?” (It’s a legitimate gripe.) There’s absolutely no telling how much more money they could have made! So, rather than spending loads of money hosting surveys or spinning one’s wheels trying to use the 50 people that you personally know to get an idea of how to improve your company, thanks to crowdsourcing, it’s just a matter of putting a question out into cyberspace and waiting for all of the responses that you get back (usually far more than you ever expected!).

It’s a Cool Way to Do Contests and Giveaways

Until the end of time, people are always going to love getting free stuff and thanks to crowdsourcing, you’re able to pull it off far easier than you ever were able to before. However, don’t just say, “A free T-shirt to the first person who clicks ‘Like” on our Facebook fan page.” That’s OK to do, but it doesn’t really get you anywhere other than being stuck with the postage of sending a T-shirt to someone and one more person who may or may not look at your fan page again. Instead, put up trivia questions and surveys regarding information that is relevant to consumer research that you are doing for your company. Say that you’re looking to update your website and you want some website builder reviews. Why not offer a promo code good for a three-month use of your services to the person who can give you a website builder contact that you actually end up using? This way you get a great website and the winner gets to become really familiar with your business. It’s a win/win for you both ways.

It’s a Creative Way to Either Tweak or Expand

In your mind, a cupcake delivery service is great. In the world of crowdsourcing, you may get questions like, “So how much is the delivery fee?”, “Is the tip already included?”, “There’s a cupcake company right up the street from me that’s a whole lot cheaper. Why should I go with a delivery service?” Crowdsourcing doesn’t mean that you have to change your concept, but because it can connect you with so many different kinds of individuals that it tends to cause you to think about some things that you wouldn’t have otherwise. That way you can tweak your company or even expand your services to meet a greater audience. And the greatest part of all of this? You were able to do it free of charge. Yes, all because of the power of crowdsourcing!

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