By Hauwa Abubakar
Start-ups are faced with many challenges and one of them is getting the required members of staff to do the available jobs. Often times, a start up is a one-man affair. The business owner is the marketer, salesman, public relations manager, manufacturer and in some cases, even the receptionist. The reality of a start-up business is that it can really be chaotic and before you know it, a once wonderful business idea would begin to seem dysfunctional.
It is however not often a situation that is chosen by most start ups but one they tend to experience and it can sometimes spiral out of control. Are you just starting your business and already feeling overwhelmed with work? Or there are just too many things to be done but you cannot afford to hire extra hands? Don’t pull out your hair just yet. We are in a digital era after all so, why sweat it?
It’s time to seriously consider crowd-sourcing.
Simply put, crowd-sourcing is the process of giving out jobs usually in a piecemeal format to a crowd of people to do. Slow down, it doesn’t mean printing out jobs on paper and sharing like a questionnaire. Thanks to digitisation, the crowd is at our fingertips and with just one click; you can be rest assured that the workload would be reduced with minimum hassle.
Why crowd source?
It is important to note that crowd-sourcing does have its own challenges. For instance, what is the guarantee that the job you are giving out is secure and safe? There is often a valid concern that these workers are either largely unknown nor can their experiences be vouched for. As a matter of fact, it would be great to conduct physical interviews to be convinced that they can deliver the project to the standards and with the level of detail, as expected. These challenges abound and in another article, we shall discuss how to address them. However, there are still many reasons why it would serve the business well to consider crowd-sourcing and here are a few:
- Saves cost
No doubt, crowd-sourcing work helps start ups to save the cost of hiring an expert full time. A business might really need the services of an expert in a field but how about, hiring a staff on a short-term basis to fine tune the work done by the crowd. That’s almost half the cost of hiring an individual to do the entire job at once or a team to finish the task in a shorter period of time.
In giving jobs to ‘the crowd’, many people take pieces of a large job broken down for easy output and delivery and when you estimate what you have to pay the crowd for their piecemeal jobs, you may find that you are saving up some cash to take care of other expenses.
Note however, that crowd-sourcing is not an excuse to underpay crowd workers for jobs done simply because the jobs are micro in nature. Fairness is important in business and this is a principle to begin any organisation with. Be aware also that the crowd is a smart one and so, underpaid jobs do not attract skilled workers. It is quite simple.
2. Many heads are better than one
They say two heads are better than one but in the crowd-sourcing world, many heads are better than one. According to an article on Wall Street Journal, “companies today need armies of people, not experts. Today, it is all about sharing. Crowd-sourcing harnesses the creative and competitive spirit of people all over the world, enabling them to solve big problems as well as small ones. It also allows businesses to bypass the knowledge-hoarders we once depended on.”
True indeed, as not only would the crowd provide your business the opportunity to learn to collaborate and work with different people, it also affords the rare opportunity to learn from these experts as well. Think of it this way, these are groups of people with different life experiences that may never have been imagined or heard of, whose ideas and knowledge shape the way they behave and do their work. You can’t get that sitting in a room with just three staff.
3. Achieves diversity
The Wall street journal reported that “The collective insight of a large number of individuals – in crowd-sourcing is superior because of the diversity and breadth of ideas and knowledge these people bring. Companies need to learn from those with different skills and backgrounds—not from those confined to a department.” You will be amazed at the quality of expertise, knowledge, and creativity available in the crowd. It is even more exciting when these virtual experts help you find problems or challenges your business plan did not envisage and how they help to fine-tune operations to reach its full potential. There’s overwhelmingly so much to gain from crowd-sourcing and start-ups should explore it more.
4. Saves time
It’s normal to be chasing deadlines often as a start up and seemingly always racing with time all to no avail. Crowd-sourcing helps to preserve the sanity of the business owner and helps to manage time, saving some for a life outside of work. So, the business opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm but crowd workers do not have an opening and closing time. How about the entrepreneur going to sleep while the business is still operating throughout the night? This is certainly a win-win situation.
Related Article: Crowdfunding Your Business Idea
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