Whether you run a small business that sometimes feels like a one-man show or are part of a larger organization, it doesn’t always pay to try and handle every project yourself. Sometimes fresh outside ideas can inject new life into your business, get things off the ground, and take them to a whole new level.
Enter crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing may be used by virtually any size business for a broad range of projects. This unique, versatile approach enlists outside handling of tasks in which you either don’t have a background, or simply do not have time to manage—freeing your valuable time to focus on your business instead of getting lost in the details. If you are seeking feedback, would like to gather ideas or opinions of new products, or would simply like to outsource some of your business or creative functions, crowdsourcing could be the tool for which you’ve been looking.
You would be amazed at the number of talented people available out there. While it would be fabulous to have the resources to welcome them all to your staff, for most business owners assembling a ‘dream team’ is not a feasible option. Crowdsourcing poses an economically sound alternative. If you lack the know-how, the time, or can’t solve a problem or handle it with your internal resources, challenge your ‘crowd’ to help you out and give your business a shot in the arm.
There are a couple of things to remember if you are considering using crowdsourcing:
You get what you ask for.
It is imperative that you provide clear-cut direction. The fact of the matter is, regardless of how talented the people you are sourcing may be, they do not know you personally; therefore, they will not understand your likes, dislikes, preferences and standards unless you tell them. The better you are about identifying exactly what you're asking for, the more likely it is they will meet your criteria. Always offer more details than you think are necessary. Otherwise, you might get back something that looks nothing like the result you imagined.
As with anything else, you get what you pay for. We all know budgets are limited, so make your crowdsourcing dollars count. While it's imperative to make projects cost-effective, don't low ball. Remember, by using crowdsourcing, you are already maximizing your resources, honing dollars where you will get the most out of them. You can’t expect true professionals to work for pennies. If that’s what you are offering, it will be reflected in the quality of work you get back.
You get what you give. Most people, whether permanent employees or those hired on a contract basis, thrive on feedback and recognition. To that end, stay involved in the project and give them the feedback that will help them reach their goals to your satisfaction.
Optimize technology and use it to your benefit. Let your computer screen be a window to a global pool of human resources that can help you reach your goals and grow your business.
Ben Sharp wears many hats as a small business owner, but he crowdsources as much as he can. Even his writing is edited with help from the great team at Grammarly, the #1 grammar checker on the internet. For great referrals to crowdsourcing providers, try a local small business networking event.Tweet