How Crowdsourcing Can Give Your Company a Huge Financial Boost
Crowdsourcing ideas and information has long been a highly valuable practice in business, and the idea of sourcing your ideas and deciding the direction of your business based partly or entirely on what the very customers you are catering to ask for is just good sense and a very logical way to make the internet’s power to connect you directly with millions of people. Seeing as you ultimately design your products and services for the general public, why wouldn’t you want them involved in the process? Especially as most people are so eager to give opinions for free?
But if you’re stopping at just getting ideas from your crowdsourcing then you’re not making the very most of that resource. Why not take things one step further and get your customers and visitors to fund your project too? Read on for more on how this can work…
Let’s imagine that you have a project that you know will get a great reception and that you know there’s a massive hunger for in the market. You know that if you released this product, or started offering this service, you would be an overnight sensation and you’d have a ton of orders and make a ton of cash.
There’s only one downside – you can’t find the funding you need to get the project off the ground and no one is willing to take that gamble on you. What do you do?
This is where crowdfunding comes in – and if your audience are genuinely that keen to see your project become a reality then you might find they are actually willing to help fund it in exchange for some kind of incentive such as a discount on the finished project, or a say in the design. You’re essentially just getting ‘commissioned’ by your own customers to make the project that you know will be profitable to you in the long run.
You’ll get free marketing this way too and build a lot of hype, and the best bit? If you crowdsource your design, then you’ll know that there’s that built in audience who will probably be happy to fund you as well.
How to do it
This isn’t just a nice idea – it’s a real business model that many companies are currently using and that has an existing and easy infrastructure out there for you to use. There are many sites for instance such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo and Rockethub that allow businesses to create ‘project pages’ with their incentives and then collect the pledges automatically. Thousands of businesses have used these sites to successfully fund their start-ups.
Of course you can always opt to skip the middle man too – you don’t have to use these existing sites when it’s equally possible to just market your idea on your own web pages, or when you could alternatively just offer pre-orders for your unfinished product as a way to collect funds and gauge the public interest and this way you’ll be able to set your own rules rather than sticking necessarily to set guidelines.
Either way though if you want your attempt at crowdfunding to be successful then you still need to consider factors. It’s highly important for instance if you want to make money from your crowdfunding that the project you are trying to get funding for is exciting enough to get that kind of investment. If you try and crowdfund your latest saucepan range then don’t expect at people to jump at the opportunity to give you the cash – never has a good USP been so important.
Likewise you also need to make sure that the incentives are good, and that you market the project enough to get the exposure. You need to generate a buzz for your project and create a sense of collaboration and community for it – which conveniently enough will also help your product to thrive once it’s out there in the real world.