Small Business Problem Solving Is Easy With Crowdsourcing

What does a small business owner do when he or she has a special project to accomplish but not the time or knowledge to do it? The modern solution to solve this common problem is crowdsourcing. Stop wasting time and energy and turn, instead, to a quick fix that can improve sales and grow your company.

What is Crowdsourcing?

In a nutshell, crowdsourcing refers to using outside sources to accomplish a one-time project. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is defined as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.” There’s a thin line between outsourcing and crowdsourcing with the biggest difference being that the latter almost always relies on the internet to find appropriate resources.

Crowdsourcing is a concept that can be applied to a division of labor, a way to supply funding for your business or provide answers to questions via polls or surveys. It can be performed by a single person or a whole group. Often crowdsourcers expect to be paid, but they can also volunteer to help your organization by simply filling out a survey, for example.

In order to find crowdsourcing resources, most small business owners turn to the internet. They may put out a call for proposals via social media or freelance work sites. LinkedIn is a great source for finding talented individuals or groups who are looking to take on extra work in their spare time.

A benefit of crowdsourcing is that you don’t have to have an already established relationship with the people who can accomplish your one-time tasks. This broadens your pool of human resources immensely while allowing you to find exactly the right person, or persons, for each job.

Grow Your Business with Crowdsourcing

As a small business owner, you know it’s necessary to wear many hats; in a single day you may have to take on the roles of human resources manager, accountant, marketing exec and even janitor! But let’s face it – most of us don’t have time to do it all and our talents could best be focused on doing the things that make money.

Another piece of small business advice? Crowdsourcing is a strategic advantage for your business; it allows you to expand, change, move forward and accomplish anything. Rather than taking on full- or part-time employees, you can simply pay a subcontractor for work on a single project, without having to worry about payroll taxes or benefits.

There are several ways the savvy entrepreneur can use crowdsourcing for growth. One way is to solicit feedback from a group of individuals who don’t have a vested interest in the outcome and are thus likely to give you honest feedback. This works well for testing new products or services or an online ordering procedure, for example. This group can also help you name a new offering or even come up with ideas for your business tagline.

Simply reaching out to your online contacts is one of the best online business networking tips. Use crowdsourcing to generate more sales leads for your company. LinkedIn is a good source of sales leads; all you have to do is ask your circle of contacts or members of your groups for help reaching your target market. LeadVine is another good website to use; it’s free, but you pay for referrals that result in finding qualified prospects.

Small businesses that already have a strong social media and online presence will find it easiest to use crowdsourcing for growth and sales leads. Start by increasing your online marketing efforts and expanding your circle of acquaintances. Then use crowdsourcing to your small business advantage!

Small Business Loans For Women

Small business loans for women involve a number of procedures. Firstly, they have to submit the loan application that seeks comprehensive information about the project. Specifically, the application form covers aspects like promoter’s background, particulars of the industrial concern, and particulars of the project (capacity, process, technical arrangements, management location, land and buildings, plant and machinery, raw materials, labor and schedule of implementation).

In addition, the loan application form seeks the cost of the project, means of financing, marketing and selling arrangements, profitability and cash flow and economic considerations. When the application is received, an officer of the recipient institution reviews it to ascertain whether it is complete for processing. If it is incomplete the borrower is asked to provide the required additional information. When the application is considered complete, the recipient institution prepares a ‘flash report’ which is essentially a summarization of the loan application, to be evaluated at the Senior Executive Meeting (SEM).

Once the SEM, on the basis of its evaluation of the flash report, decides that the project justifies a detailed appraisal, it nominates the lead financial institution. The factors taken into account for designating the lead institution are location of the project, prior experience of institutions in handling similar projects, and existing workload of the institutions.

The detailed appraisal of the project is done by the lead institution. The appraisal covers the marketing, technical, financial, managerial and economic aspects. The appraisal memorandum is normally prepared within two months after site inspection and placed before the SEM for a decision about approval of the project and determining the sharing arrangement among the institutions. Once a favorable decision is taken at the SEM forum and the sharing arrangement worked out, the case is referred to the Board of Directors of the lead financial institution. After the Board of Directors of the lead financial institution approves the proposal, a financial letter of sanction is issued to the borrower.

Importance of Social Media Marketing for Your Small Businesses

Social media marketing has gained popularity among small businesses and they are taking this kind of marketing as one of their important marketing strategies for their businesses. It is a helpful platform from where you can reach thousands of customers in a short time with less efforts. In this post, you will see the importance of social media marketing for your small businesses.

Cost-effective: Social media marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy for your small businesses. This is because it is free to open your business account in these sites, but where you need to spend a little money for its maintenance is on content, graphic creation, and for further developments. It has the ability to reach thousands or millions of targeted audience within a short time and with a less efforts.

Take a look at the number of the users:

  • Facebook has 1.15 billion users.
  • Active Twitter users are about 200 million.
  • LinkedIn users are about 238 million.

A platform to educate and empower online community: Social media marketing is a powerful tool in educating and empowering your online community. Here what you need to do is – share educational to informational posts as these reveals your brand personality to the community followers.

Direct interaction with customers: Social media marketing is a two-way communication tool, by which, small businesses can engage their customers by conducting polls or surveys or by responding to the queries. By this, the businesses can know about the targeted audiences – what they like/dislike about your products/services, what their needs and wants and so on. Accordingly, you can make necessary adjustments to provide quality customer service. This will build trust customers’ trust. They will feel your business is credible.

Generates leads/sales: Social media marketing plays a critical role in generating leads/sales for your small businesses. According to the report – 2012 State of Inbound Marketing – it has 100% higher leads to close rate than outbound marketing. However, do not get overwhelmed with this feature, because you will not get instant results. Here you need to put consistent efforts in implementing and maintaining the marketing campaign. Over a period of time, you will get the best results.

Social media marketing helps in branding: This is a good platform to build branding. It depends on you in deciding how to position your organization in the minds of the organization. Here what you need to do is – put consistent efforts on creating and posting valuable content over these sites. This will build reputation for your brand.

Business Exposure: Social media marketing is a boon to professional employers who are willing to connect with the other professional in the same industry. This helps in building comprehensive network as well as you can gain referrals.

Social media site usage has grown manifold over the past few years. Therefore, it is an effective platform to promote your business.

The 5 Most Dangerous Marketing Mistakes Made by Small Business – How to Avoid Them

Many of the businesses I’ve worked with, usually have a singular issue that dominates their marketing woes. After a few years of doing this, I’ve figured out the most significant marketing areas that plague the majority of my clients.

An overview of the situation.

U.S. small businesses employ more than half of the private sector work force, produce more than half of private sector output, fill niche markets, innovate, and contribute to the competition in free markets. Small business drives the economy in most if not all of the developed countries in the world.

Small businesses are overrepresented in business turnover; that is, they have relatively high rates of company startups and closures. The life span of the average small business is still three to five years.

Small businesses give individuals the chance to achieve their own versions of the American Dream, and allow entry into employment by individuals and demographic groups who might otherwise be shut out of the labor market.

Small businesses pay a disproportionate amount of the taxes while receiving less than equitable state and federal support than larger businesses in the U.S.. Call me biased, but I think we need to fix that problem in my country.

Because the small business system is based on individual initiative, owners may not start with the right business education and experience. They most often start on a shoestring and do not market themselves adequately in the beginning.

When I tell startups that a good rule of thumb for them to follow is to invest up to 20% of their expected annual revenues in order to jump-start their business, many begin to realize the full implication of what they’re getting themselves into.

The danger signs.

Let’s take a look at the 5 most dangerous business trends to avoid. If you find that you’re currently making some of these errors, admit it, make a note of it and get ready to fix it.

Here are the top 5 reasons for business failure:

1. Incompetence (46%)

2. Unbalanced Experience (30%)

3. Complacency (12%)

4. Lack of Experience (11%)

5. Neglect, fraud, or Disaster. (1%)

It makes sense to avoid the usual pitfalls before working on improving your income. Because the biggest challenge to small businesses today is Incompetence. That does not mean the business owner is stupid, just that they don’t have the proper business education to keep themout of trouble.

Hard on the heels of Incompetence (46%), is Unbalanced Experience (30%), Complacency (12%), followed by Lack of Experience (11%), in the specified field of business, and finally, Neglect, Fraud, or Disaster (1%). These are the leading causes of failure in business today.

These five opponents to your profit margin must be carefully monitored if you want to do more than just make a living in your business.

Incompetence

Let’s start with incompetence. We aren’t saying that people who start businesses are dumb. We mean that they usually start with very little competence in business affairs. They might be experts in their field but not in the complexity of running a business.

The proof of that statement is that 46% of all business failures are caused by a basic misunderstanding about what it takes to run a business.

Take a look at this list and burn it in your memory. These are the leading causes of failure in businesses today. Notice that being stupid is not on that list.

The good news is that incompetence can be beaten out of you with knowledge and experience.

Unbalanced Experience

The second major cause of failure is unbalanced experience. If you just got out of dental school and are extremely talented in your craft, that’s great but if you don’t have a head for business, then you may not be ready to take on that challenge at this time.

Let’s look at a few of the causes of unbalanced experience.

These are usually caused by ad hoc business practices or inconsistent application of policies and procedures.

Complacency

Complacency usually occurs during the mid phase of the business cycle when owners and mangers are doing well but not keeping up with current trends and competitive measures. They are simply coasting. Usually these businesses are doing a marginal job at marketing but relying on their credibility and history for sales.

The entrepreneurial spirit is replaced with lethargy and mediocrity. Competition soon overtakes them and the marketplace makes them obsolete.

Lack of Experience

11% of the people who go into business do not know their market well enough to survive as a viable operation.

Neglect, Fraud, or Disaster

There is that small minority of businesses that suffer from fraud and disaster. A mere 1%.

Bonus Threats – Taxes and Inflation.

Another enemy of business is one that we rarely see coming. If you analyze your income and you’re growing by less than 10% a year, you’re going backward. Real inflation is usually higher than the government estimates. For obvious reasons. They have a vested interest in keeping the numbers slow. Your business has to live in the real world.

Along with inflation you’ll also deal with the various taxes and fees that have to be paid. These don’t seem to go down each year; just the opposite. They all take away from your bottom line.

Let’s look at the odds for a moment. The NFIB estimations are grim at first glance. Remember that the majority of small business owners do not get an education in business before they open their doors.

That is why they wake up one day to realize that they are making little or no money regardless of how much they bring in.

The bigger you are, the easier it is to succeed.

The fewer the employees, the greater your chances of failure! The facts lead to some interesting conclusions. Those businesses that can maintain a large staff tend to have systems in place to give direction and purpose to its employees. That in turn leads to greater income that does not rely on the business owner’s direct input. The business owner is now free to grow the business instead of working in the business.

So you see that the main cause of business failure is redeemable. We can, through proper education and planning, take care of this problem. If you are in trouble financially, you should seek immediate financial counseling. You may be able to get help from your local SCORE program or the SBA in your town.

If you take the time to study the mistakes of others you’ll have a greater chance of success.