It is time to reevaluate the assumption that only large enterprises can crowdsource data; small business can benefit from crowdsourcing too.
Do you believe that only large and complex organizations can benefit from collecting employee insights? Or that only Fortune 500 companies are sophisticated enough to crowdsource data? Every economically beneficial outcome, no matter how small, requires interaction among individuals who have diverse ideas, beliefs, skills, perspectives, and habits. While a small business has less complex lines of communication than an average Fortune 500 company, even a two-person team still has to ensure that goals are communicated clearly and operations run smoothly. It is both crucial to capture ideas or opinions and to analyze them objectively from various angles.
Here are four primary reasons why crowdsourcing is not just important but necessary for small businesses:
1. Overcome Assumptions
Often contact creates familiarity and familiarity results in mirror imaging. Since small business teams tend to associate so closely, management can assume that the team is unified or that differences will become readily apparent in their confined company community. However, subtle differences can emerge or valuable perspectives could be left unstated in even the smallest teams. Katherine Novikov, the CEO of Diamond Mind, discovered the benefits of the 9Lenses platform when her company ran the Business 360 app. She explained that her company was a tad skeptical of the value of crowdsourcing because they had fewer than 20 people in their team. However, once they actually began using the high-powered analytics, they quickly discovered invaluable information that would have been otherwise overlooked. Like Katherine Novikov, decision makers from businesses of different sizes are discovering the power of crowdsourcing.
2. Drive Employee Empowerment
We have written extensively about how crowdsourcing data drives employee empowerment in a previous post, but the basic idea is that by asking employees for their insights, they feel more actively engaged and empowered in the organization. Employee empowerment can be further increased by closing the loop after the data is collected by informing employees about the trends in the data and how it will impact company strategy. The benefits of empowered employees extend beyond the employees and feed downstream into many areas of the organization such as profitability, better customer service, lower turnover and more. As a small or medium business (SMB), maximizing your limited resources through crowdsourced insights is for sure a lucrative proposition!
3. Generate Exponential Returns
Current trends seem to indicate that small businesses have begun to recognize the value of big data. Many commentators speculate that the benefits of big data will be especially profound for small businesses. Leveraging crowdsourcing is particularly useful for them because they can establish an immediate context for information. Because perspectives within the organization are more localized, the leaders of the small business can easily establish the immediate value of data. While a larger business has to evaluate their data in terms of general trends, small businesses can extract deeper meaning for the data because there is less guesswork involved in extrapolating the potential value of individual insights. Small businesses can utilize data in meaningful and actionable ways.
4. Provide Easily Actionable Data
The unique organizational flexibility of small businesses affords a plethora of opportunities for companies looking to improve their organization. Agility has become a central component of effective business strategy for many companies. For instance, in the IT sector organizational agility is essential for survival. In fact, large businesses have long emphasized the goals of organizational efficiency, making “lean” one of the many buzzwords popular in business circles. Small businesses can operate lean because they have fewer organizational layers to readjust and correct. Consequently, they can readily utilize the insight they gain. For instance, if a large company discovers that their sales process is underperforming, retooling the process would require significant time to involve proper personnel and correct strategic movement. On the other hand, small business can easily solve the same issue by retooling the functionality of the process without too many vertical cross-interactions.