By Robin Smith
Dec. 1, 2011
Humans combining with technology-¦.what else is new? It seems we are inundated at every turn with the latest gadget that promises futuristic business applications. Understanding which applications are relevant and applicable to your business can be a very difficult and often intimidating task. Crowdsourcing, however, is a relatively new tool almost every business can benefit from in many different ways.
Crowdsourcing is basically “outsourcing” tasks to individuals or groups who are accessible through a variety of platforms or open calls. Think of crowdsourcing as your own personal assistant available only when and wherever needed. For example, a specific project requires copied documents from a courthouse three states away, the printed materials for your afternoon meeting must be picked up (but your employee called in sick), a machine you need to purchase is thousands of dollars less but located across the country, etc. In each of these examples, it is possible to dispatch a person to complete these tasks for you via crowdsourcing.
Many business owners have to think outside-the-box to find solutions for costly expenses within their companies. Crowdsourcing is an effective tool for lowering overhead and saving time.
Finding the right crowdsourcing platform which best fits your needs is simple. There are several good companies that tap the power of many people to get the work done. The persons who participate as independent contractors within the crowdsourcing platform are local to their area and very familiar with their way around their community.
A few crowdsourcing platforms:
1. TaskRabbit.com: Simply post your “task” and “rabbits” bid on the job.
- Pros: Lots of “rabbits” will bid on a variety of job postings such as: putting together furniture at the office, picking up dry cleaning, “secret shopping” to verify employees are checking IDs. Rabbits are vetted through an interview and background check.
- Cons: TaskRabbit is available only in a handful of cities throughout the USA but they are “multiplying” quickly.
2. WeGoLook.com: With over 7,000 nationwide agents across the Country, WeGoLook will dispatch an agent on your behalf to the location of items, property or people to verify or inspect by taking photos, videos, and observing working demonstrations. They can also arrange transport and will customize B2B reporting templates for any type of asset.
- Pros: There are no geographical limitations, tasking is customized, agents are background checked, and the customer receives report information quickly.
- Cons: A customer account is required (free) to place orders and contact phone number supplied.
3. Zaarly.com: Zaarly is a proximity based, real-time buyer-powered market. Buyers make an offer for an immediate need and sellers cash in on an infinite marketplace for items and services they did not know were for sale.
Pros: This is a great service for finding items you may need to operate your company at huge discounts.
Cons: Zaarly is only in a few large communities.
4. Agentanything.com: People can post any service they need accomplished as well as the price they are willing to pay. Similar to TaskRabbit except Agentanything posts a fixed price and TaskRabbits bid on the jobs.
Pros: A great way to have errands and services completed on short notice.
Cons: Agents are located only in New York and New Jersey and can be college students (age requirements not the same as other companies).
Crowdsourcing is a unique way to save personnel expense, travel expense, time and gain peace-of-mind that your operations are running in a cost-effective manner.
Robin Smith is the co-founder of WeGoLook.com where she has taken crowdsourcing to a new level by offering 7,400 “crowdspectors” throughout the US for her customers. WeGoLook.com is a nationwide service company headquartered in Oklahoma City. She can be contacted at [email protected].