Operating a start up or even small restaurant can be lonely. There’s so much to do. Identify the right location, find funding, decide on a concept, create a menu, hire the best people and design and plan for your brand.

And then you need to accomplish a lot of this, fast on one half of a shoestring. YIKES!

Not too worry. There are millions of talented people who are drinking coffee while wearing flurry slippers and PJs that are willing, ready and able to help you get your branding going. And the cool news, they are just a click away.

It’s called Crowdsourcing. The concept has been around for centuries, just called different things like: idea quotas, group problem solving or team outsourcing. The only catch was the answer seeker needed to have access to a bunch of smart folks to get the idea machine going.

Today, the Internet has made this method of problem solving easy and accessible for everyone.

The process starts by posting a project query or brief. This document outlines all pertinent information, sometimes includes research, current perceptions, specific challenges and the goals of the assignment.

In most cases, there is an incentive or award for the winning idea. For the number of ideas you get the cost is very low. For example 99designs charges $299.00 for a logo and you may get 50 ideas.

Crowdsourcing sites often offer several levels of investment to launch a project. From my experience the higher the reward, the more submissions you’ll get. You can also pay a bit more for a rush projects and private projects.

Some sites have a guarantee, so if you don’t find what you are looking for, you pay nothing. Other sites, there is a fee no matter what.

In concept, I love crowdsourcing because it allows you to get lots of ideas, from people around the world. Here are two pointers from experience: 1) make sure you get all copyrights transferred to you when you pay the fee and 2) remember, giving good clear instructions is key to getting good answers.

Here area few of my favorite crowdsourcing sites.

For design:
99designs

For brand names and taglines:
Naming Force

For funding of creative projects:
Kickstarter

This link shares a variety of crowdsourcing sites:
Ichitect

Brand on!

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