When you hear about crowdsourcing or crowdfunding, you automatically think of raising starting capital to finance the business. But do you realize that this method of community interaction has other applications as well? Like helping manage an existing business or getting consumer input on new products or ideas for new products? Read on, my friend, read on!
Yes, it is true that gathering finance partners or investors is an important aspect of a new startup. Everything costs money in a startup; from purchasing inventory to having a logo made, crowdsourcing gives investors the opportunity to get in on the ground level of something in which they believe.
So on that note, accessing the necessary finance requirements is a benefit of using crowdsourcing, which is also sometimes called crowdfunding. Placing your business idea in front of a “shark tank” of sorts is what everybody thinks of when they think of this. But what happens AFTER the startup? How do you expand? How do you develop new products or services? How do you remain competitive in a down economy?
The answer is crowdsourcing, but from a different perspective. Now you get to use the community of Internet users as a beta group to test and gather new ideas that have merit. Let’s look at a couple of examples so we get on the same page.
Say you started a business that serves ice cream. After you finance the store and open your doors, you have 22 flavors available and a lively amount of traffic. Then, people stop coming by and revenues suffer. You realize that you obviously have to do something, but the question is “What?”. Crowdsourcing can help you with this.
You can use crowdsourcing to get your finger on the pulse of the public. What is it they are looking for? What are you NOT offering that they want? How can you better serve them?
Start a project at any of the crowdsourcing sites, preferably the one you did the raise with, and gather a group of loyal patrons. You might offer them a coupon or something in exchange for a little time to complete a survey asking your questions.
From the information you gather, you discover that the ice cream shop that is two miles away has 37 flavors of which you have none and their prices are lower. Now you have the necessary information to fight back and actively manage your ice cream business so as to expand it and serve your patrons better with items they want to buy anyway.
You can take this one step further and actually ask what flavors of ice cream your customers want available that are not currently on your menu. Solution? Add them. If you add the flavors, they will come.
You may also find a way to lower your retail price too. Maybe you cannot at the moment, but you could offer coupons and incentives to attract your customers back to your store. Now all you need to do is keep them there.
There is a lot of information available through crowdsourcing that can help you manage an existing business or develop an existing project effectively. BY getting your finger on the pulse of the purchasing public, you can tap into their desires and specific tastes to a higher degree. Make them happy, give them what they want and they will be yours forever.
This is all made possible because you had the intuition to ask a beta group what they want from you and then acting on the information.