startups happen
Start a business via crowdsourcing
Starting a business is quite an undertaking for any entrepreneur. If you’re attempting it, be prepared for long days and nights and a ton of hard work. It can also be expensive to get everything up and running before you start turning a profit. There is something that could help save you time, energy and money, and it’s called crowdsourcing. You simply delegate some of your work to the public, and you’ll be surprised at the results. Here are some ways you can use crowdsourcing for your startup.

Funding

In the beginning stages of starting a business, you need cold, hard cash if you want to make things happen. One form of crowdsourcing is crowdfunding, and it can help you get the money you need. With crowdfunding, you explain to the crowd how awesome your business is and solicit donations. To entice donors, you offer something like a free service or product rather than a stake in your company. Popular crowdfunding sites for entrepreneurs include KickStarter.com and CrowdFunder.com.

Design

Your startup needs a logo, and your website needs design. While you’re the brains of this operation, it doesn’t mean you have an artistic eye. Crowdsourcing is an excellent way to get some design help without hiring an expensive professional. With crowdsourcing, you can choose your favorite design or ask for input until you’ve come up with the perfect final creation. You can get design help for anything you need, from business cards to product labels to menus to brochures.

Testing

It’s so important to test everything you do before you make it public. You don’t want to start off selling an imperfect product or launch a faulty website. Crowdsourcing can provide you with a very large pool of testers who can help you get things right. You can ask the crowd to give you feedback on your product, services, advertising, or anything at all. The crowd is also a great resource for usability testing for your website. Sites like UserTesting.com can help you make sure your site is intuitive and in working order.

Work

It’s such a broad area, but you can crowdsource just about any work you need done for your business. When you’re starting up, sometimes it’s hard to get everything in order. You might have some menial tasks to get done that are time consuming, such as organization or data transcription. To avoid wasting time on these tasks that someone else could complete, ask the crowd to do it for you. Crowdsourcing some work is a lot less expensive than outsourcing it or hiring additional employees, especially when the work is short-term.

Recruiting

Recruiting the perfect people to help you with your business can be one of the toughest jobs for you. You want to find the best, most trustworthy partners and employees possible because the success of will be partially in their hands. Crowdsourcing is one way to recruit. Websites like NotchUp.com will help you do just that, by using the crowd to suggest candidates. It’s a great way to be introduced to valuable talent you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

About the Author: M.P. Brown leverages crowdsourcing for his design work and recruiting tasks. His business grows at a fast clip because of his work in an entrepreneurs network.

Image: StartupWeekendTampa / Flickr