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The Case for Crowdsourcing Projects as a Business

Is your business struggling to come up with a new idea or innovation to solve the latest industry challenge? If you’re not too proud to admit defeat and seek inspiration and ideas from elsewhere, you might find that crowdsourcing is a breakthrough concept that can help you to break new ground and potentially disrupt a market.

The concept of crowdsourcing dates back to 2005, when Wired magazine journalists, Mark Robinson and Jeff Howe, coined the phrase. Companies such as Qmarkets have since developed industry-leading crowdsourcing services for corporate clients that give firms a chance to engage and incentivize large groups of people – be it fellow professionals or customers – to tackle unique business challenges. The roots of crowdsourcing can be traced as far back as the early 18th century, when the British government sought help from members of the public to develop the best way to measure a ship’s longitudinal position. A cash sum was offered as an incentive.

Does your business suffer “blindness” to problems relating to your operations and its industry as a whole? If you can’t see the wood for the trees, here are three reasons why crowdsourcing innovation can help take your brand to the next level.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | The Case for Crowdsourcing Projects as a Business
 
Get a fresh perspective

When you live and breathe a business 24/7, it’s all too easy to become all-consumed by the day-to-day “grind”. You might have your own vision for how a project should go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best possible vision for your business. By crowdsourcing a business project among colleagues and even external contractors, it’s possible to get lots of minds and ideas around the table at once that often go unheard.

The saying that “two heads are better than one” has never been truer when it comes to crowdsourcing. It’s a chance to free your colleagues and other professionals from the shackles, giving them complete freedom to think as creatively as they want. In doing so, you’ll also maximize the number of options you have, rather than forging ahead with an idea just because it’s your only idea.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | The Case for Crowdsourcing Projects as a Business
 
Retain a firm handle on your overheads

Crowdsourcing is rapidly growing in terms of popularity among business owners because it’s proven to be a cost-effective option for idea generation. In reality, the time it takes to sit colleagues down, brainstorm, validate ideas and put them into action is often hugely underestimated. By seeking external input from the “crowd” it can actually help to lower the overall cost of your innovation project, cutting the time it takes to reach your end goal(s) and only paying for the insight and ideas that you use.

Engage your customers and build trust

Another form of crowdsourcing for growing businesses is to utilize customer feedback. Businesses that are looking to build long-term, trusted relationships with consumers are increasingly inviting valued clients to get involved with the idea generation process, helping them to feel like they are making a difference. Ultimately, these people are the ones you’re targeting your products and services to. They should know the problems your target demographic is experiencing and the best way to solve them. Crowdsourced innovation shouldn’t be viewed as a one-way street though. Ensuring your customers are engaged and rewarded will help to ensure sound, worthwhile knowledge-sharing.

The Real Value of Cloud Technology and the Role It Plays in Your Business

By now, cloud technology is no longer a “new” thing in the world of business but something that has already been well-established and explored by many companies. It has been integrated into countless workflows and provided lots of unique employment opportunities around the world, but it goes without saying that this kind of information has yet to trickle down into smaller businesses and startups. While technology-powered businesses are a common sight now, many entrepreneurs have yet to fully grasp the concept of cloud technology and the benefits it provides their companies.

So in this article, we’ll be informing you of the real value of cloud technology and the important role it plays in your business.

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How cloud technology improves productivity

One of the biggest advantages of cloud technology is its ability to improve the general productivity of your workplace. Cloud technologies such as Google Drive allow your employees to access and take their work wherever they go, resulting in the ability to consistently update and iterate their work regardless of their location. This is arguably one of the most productive and enticing things about switching to a workflow that is supported by cloud-based technologies and services, but it can go much further than simply being a way to create and edit work on-the-go with laptops.

Cloud technologies can also be used to power tools and software that would otherwise require a powerful computer. Although laptops are incredibly convenient thanks to their portability, they do lack in terms of processing power unless you spend over a thousand on the laptop itself. This means that certain tools are not feasible for portable use, but this is where cloud technology can come into play.

Cloud technology allows you to remotely control powerful computers in the workplace that not only have better hardware but are also connected to your office network which means you can access files and processes that would normally require you to be physically connected to your office network. Some uses of this include accessing rendering software for video production teams, it could be editing large spreadsheets that contain millions of lines or even operating sophisticated machines with a software interface that you have developed specifically for your office.

With this in mind, it should be easy to see just how productive you can be with the help of cloud technology. By giving your employees the opportunity to utilize powerful hardware no matter where they are, they can get work done much more quickly and efficiently. It also helps to offer your staff the chance to work from home, a coffee shop or even on the train during their commute to work. The added flexibility is fantastic for the overall wellbeing of your staff and it helps to encourage your employees to work in an environment that is comfortable for them.

The cost savings of cloud technology

There are countless IT services that companies need to hire in order to take advantage of cloud-based technologies. Whether it’s renting out powerful servers and hardware which can be used remotely to power demanding processes or even the travel costs involved in transferring documents physically from one employee to another, there are business-related costs that can be lessened with the help of cloud-based technologies.

Cloud-based technologies also have the advantage of being incredibly secure especially if you’re planning to utilize an enterprise-grade solution. These industry-standard cloud-based technologies are secured with incredibly sophisticated security solutions. Whether it’s software-based antivirus software or hardware-based monitoring that helps to identify threats and defend against them, you can be sure that your data and your network are kept safe with the help of cloud technology.

Another cost-saving advantage of cloud-based technology is in the way it handles automation. Many cloud technologies can help to automate processes that would usually take a dedicated employee to manage. This can include routine tasks like email marketing, document storage or even acting on marketing and business trends as soon as they’re detected. Automating these tasks can take a certain level of user input, but more sophisticated solutions are ready out of the box and can be implemented into your workflow almost immediately.

In short, cloud-based technologies are fantastic for helping you cut the costs of operating your business. A lot of people get carried away when it comes to cloud technology and they might try to change their work processes or modify how data flows through the business to accommodate cloud technologies. However, you’ll find that modifying things too much can often create annoyances for your employees, especially if it’s a change that doesn’t seem productive or adds more frustrations that hinder your employee’s ability to work. As such, you need to strike a good balance of traditional and cloud-based solutions to create a productive business.

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Embracing the flexibility that cloud technologies can offer

Another big advantage of cloud technology is in the flexibility it gives your workforce. We’ve mentioned already that cloud technology can help establish remote working opportunities for your employees, but what we’ve yet to touch on is how flexible this makes your workforce. This is something that can offer huge potential growth as it allows your employees to not only work at their own pace and in a comfortable environment but also means that you can hire from all over the world assuming the work is doable without a strict schedule to adhere to.

Being able to hire from all over the world means that your business can operate 24/7 without any slowing down. Of course, this is more feasible if you have managers and senior staff that can help you monitor and direct your employees that are working from all over the world. However, just the idea of being able to create a flexible and adaptable workforce is usually enough to convince an entrepreneur to switch to cloud-based solutions. This isn’t applicable to every type of business, but it can be a huge consideration for businesses that are able to operate around the clock. This can include content creation, offering consultation services or even customer support.

Giving your staff some degree of freedom can also be a huge employee benefit. This often results in enhanced performance, high-quality work and also better overall wellbeing. It does remove the personal aspect of managing your staff, but if you’re a small business looking to grow then it’s vital to take advantage of the flexibility of cloud-based solutions. For savvy international businesses that want an edge over their national competitors, hiring a global workforce can be a massive advantage that helps them stay competitive while operating on a much lower budget.

Some final words regarding cloud technology

Cloud technology is something that can easily be implemented into any business, but being able to use it effectively to improve productivity, offer flexibility and also lower costs is another story. By following these tips, you’ll hopefully be able to take better advantage of cloud technology and learn to use it efficiently. When people first start to implement cloud-based solutions, they might find that they’re spending more money than they initially planned to which can result in countless problems.

Effective use of cloud technology means gauging its usefulness, developing strategies and work processes that revolve around the use of cloud solutions and implementing it in ways that won’t hinder your existing work processes or frustrate your employees. Regardless of how you use cloud technology, it’s important to keep these considerations in mind.

How 21st-Century Solutions Could Save Your Business

Owning a business nowadays can be a struggle. It can cause stress, worry and be a financial burden. Today we are going to be looking at how you can alleviate some of those daily stresses just by updating some of the ways you do things.

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | How 21st-Century Solutions Could Save Your Business

Outsource

Trying to do everything yourself is something every entrepreneur is guilty of. The result is always the same, exhaustion and burn out which results in a very moody boss.

The solution to this has been made ever more available, especially over the last 10 years. Outsourcing no longer has to be an outside consultant, prancing his way around your offices telling you what you should do.

It is now a fantastic option when it comes to adapting to survive. The key to succeeding in business is simple, it’s all about cash flow. So you can save some money, that’s perfect, right?

You can have your leading expenses outsourced and have all of your IT solutions dealt with from an outside company. You can even have a company operate a customer service solution for you. These companies are great and over the space of twelve months, they can save you an average of around 60% on what you would generally be spending on a salary.

Cloud

The cloud has become one of the most valuable tools we can use as business people. It can offer so many solutions.

Most people still think of the cloud as just a space for storage. In reality, it is so much more. Nowadays we can have cloud-based bespoke customer management systems that we can access on an international level. We have access to cloud-based accounting systems that allow us to manage international finances all in one place. We even have companies like SimplyClouds that will allow us all in one license service on our software.

Turning to the cloud can not just help you as a business, as far as 21st-century solutions go, you should be utilizing it at every turn. It will allow you to operate from anywhere in the world, at any time.

Should you be looking to expand, all of your data is in one place and easy to duplicate to a second or even third location.

Social Media

Gone are the days of expensive, bank-breaking advertizing campaigns. You now have the power of social media at your fingertips.

Social media is so much more important than you think. If we go back 20 years, it would cost huge rates just to reach a few thousand people. Now, with a little bit of knowledge and the right campaign, we can hit millions overnight.

Companies have built their reputation built on nothing more than Facebook videos, vines, and Youtube videos. The perfect thing about these videos, they not only cost nothing, given the right amount of hits, but the videos also start to bring in revenue for you.

Although it is a tough market to hit, you should consider approaching a social media mogul who can push your campaign. One thing you should not do is ignore the power of social media, it could be your winning move.

A Guide: How to Stop Wasting Money in Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | A Guide: How to Stop Wasting Money in BusinessTurning over a profit isn’t the only important task that you face as a business owner. You also need to consolidate this money that you make, which is why you need to avoiding wasting it at all costs.

It’s going to mean making use of all resources afforded to you, it’s going to mean making smarter investment choices, and it’s going to mean honing in on your mistakes — it’ll all be worth it in the end, though, when you’ve got a heap of cash to invest into the growth of your business.

To unearth all the things you can do to stop wasting so much money in business, be sure to read on.

Minimize your tax bill

Nobody likes the tax man, but unfortunately, he’s never going to go away. There are, however, ways to minimize the bill slapped on your desk every year.

To minimize your tax bill, you should:

  • Keep a track of your business expenses (receipts, invoices, vehicle mileage, etc.) and then seek to claim for them
  • Tap into the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)
  • Research and make use of tax reliefs (such as the creative industry relief)
  • Pay your tax bill as early as you can

Invest in good website design

Marketing, especially digital marketing, is essential in the world of business. By not running advertising campaigns, quite simply, you won’t spread your company’s message or attract new customers.

As important as marketing campaigns are, however, they need not cost you an awful lot. More to the point, they need not cost you as much as you are no doubt currently shelling out on them. When you choose to invest your money on good website design instead of advertising, you’ll be sure to find yourself saving thousands in the long run. This is because you’ll have a platform that can act as a constant source of important information; your website can spread your message at all times, meaning you won’t have to constantly spend your money on spreading it yourself.

To ensure that your website does everything a marketing campaign can do and more, you have to align yourself with a web design company like Plego Technologies. They will make sure that your website works well in both a practical and aesthetic sense.

Turn off and unplug your devices

Even when they’re not being used, if they’re still plugged in and turned on, the various devices that you use in your office could be costing you an arm and a leg. They will be using up what is known as ‘vampire energy,’ which means they will be draining your electricity bill for no reason whatsoever.

Before you leave your office of an evening, you and your employees have to go around and make sure everything is turned off and unplugged. Other important forms of action you should be taking in this instance include:

  • Tweaking your power settings so as to ensure your devices shut themselves down or go into hibernation mode whenever they’re not being used
  • Resolving to never leave your desktop computers and laptops on their screen savers — believe it or not, doing this is worse than leaving your monitors and screens to go black
  • Never forgetting the peripherals (your printer and speakers, for instance), as they can suck up a lot of ‘vampire energy’ too

Take the above advice, stop wasting so much money, and put the cash you save to good use!

Relocating Your Business Internationally: A Guide

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Relocating Your Business Internationally: A GuideDeciding to relocate your business can come down to a number of factors. Perhaps your service or goods would find more success in a different country. Maybe you’re ready for a new challenge, or a family reason has prompted the move. No matter why you want to move to a new location, there are several considerations you need to keep in mind to ensure it runs smoothly.

The Location

If you’re moving due to a family reason, you will no doubt already have a location in mind. Perhaps your partner or spouse would like to return to their home country. However, if you are relocating to find a new challenge, determining the best place can be tricky. Would your products work better in a hotter climate? Or are they ideal for a country which experiences harsh winters?

Once you’ve chosen the location, you should begin to look for the best place not only for your business to be located but for you and your family also. It’s a challenge to view new homes online, so if you can, try to plan a visit where you can visit a number of properties before choosing one. If you have decided to move to Egypt, for example, Capital Egypt specializes in real estate Egypt and will help you find the ideal property.

Create a New Business Plan

When you began your business, you will have created a business plan. This critical plan will have detailed your idea, the funding you required, the profit you expected to hit in the first year and beyond, and more. However, it’s likely that in a new country, this business plan will not be applicable. That’s because the market will be different, you’ll face different challenges, and you may even require extra funding to get the business off the ground quickly. For that reason alone, it’s time to create a new plan, one which takes into account the new market.

Research the Market Thoroughly

Following on from the above point, when you are relocating your business to a new country, it’s crucial you research the market you’ll be entering. Who will your target audience be? It may be very different from your current audience, depending on the see economic climate, lifestyles, and more. Your market will also be able to show you if you require further funding once you arrive in the new location, or whether you will be getting more bang for your buck once you move.

The Legalities

The legal structure which you used in your home country may be completely different from your new location. In the UK, should you employ workers, you will need to adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Equal Pay Act 1970, to name a few. In contrast, to carry out any business in Egypt, a foreign investor must either establish an Egyptian subsidiary or a brand, which will typically be a joint stock company or a limited liability company. Ensure you are aware of your legal status before making the move.