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Why your business should consider tapping into the sound of the crowd

twintangibles - Tim Wright, Director

In today’s competitive business environment, the ability to access finance via crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular route for companies. Tim Wright, Director of twintangibles explains why tapping into ‘crowd assets’ has become an essential skill for many businesses.

 

There was a time when the notion of ‘following the crowd’ was seen as a negative idea, something to be avoided by those who wanted to steer their own course.

But, in business terms at any rate, for an increasing number of companies, tapping into a wider community to source finance and other support has increasingly become the route of choice.

There’s no doubt that part of the reason for crowdfunding’s popularity has been the reluctance of traditional finance partners such as the banks to invest as widely as they did prior to the economic downturn.

The gap which they’ve left is now being partly filled by crowdfunding, with its mix of equity, reward and debt based options making it suitable for a wide range of businesses from startup to the growing and more mature.

At a time when there is a great deal of debate due to Brexit about the value (or otherwise) of looking and operating outside our geographical borders, there’s no doubt that one of the keys to the success of crowdfunding is a willingness to step outside the operation and engage with the wider community.

Becoming comfortable with the notion that value exists outside of the boundaries of the organisation as well as within, and knowing how to access, manage and create income from those “crowd assets” are increasingly important business skills.

And, as is so often the case in business, the ability to collaborate effectively is hugely important.

That’s been made easier by the advent of low cost cloud based shared resources and communication spaces.

Cooperative group purchasing and consortia bidding are examples of how effective and valuable collaborative working can be.

But crowdsourcing takes the notion of looking outward and harnessing the crowd to an entirely different level.

As an example of what major businesses can achieve, take a look at how Lego accessed their user community to transform what had become a tired product set. By collaborating with users and embracing their innovation via Lego Designed by Me, they were able to rebuild their brand’s profile and the company’s performance since then is clear evidence of the success of their crowd-oriented approach.

But creating value via crowd assets can go beyond funding, collaboration and innovation to embrace activities as diverse as viral marketing, big data sources for deep insight, or even into collaborative consumption models for extended and mutually beneficial service offerings.

Amazon works to make its fulfilment services more efficient by using unconventional delivery partners such as corner shops as delivery and collection infrastructure.

Closer to home, Glasgow-based Desk Union provides high resource utilisation and entrepreneurial desk space through its collaborative platform.

In short, the crowd can be a source of innovation to resolve business problems, an opportunity to re-engineer business models and a source of revenue.

Recognising the benefits of looking outside the confines of the organisation and unlocking the value of the crowd asset has huge potential for businesses of all sizes and sectors.

 

The above blog post has been made possible through the generous support of Creative Clyde and the named contributors.


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