Technology and the internet has turned the business world right on its head. If a CEO from the 80’s were to be magically transported to the present, they would be severely ill equipped to deal with the task of creating and managing their SME with todays challenges. Let’s hope they manage to get a copy of this article – we’ll look at some of the more exciting business concepts available to startups today:
1. Tap Into Freelancing & Outsourcing. Sure, contractors and freelancers have always been around. However, never before has it been so easy and simple to find an instant pool of talent, no matter what skills you’re trying to buy. Increasingly, companies are using outsourcing and freelancing opportunities to get things done in a cheap and efficient way. Why hire a freelancer? For a start, it’s easy to research and hire a good professional when you go through freelancing sites such as Elance. Most freelance sites offer ratings on their freelancers so you can analyse their past performances, making the due diligence process a lot simpler. Hiring freelancers is also a lot cheaper in the long run than hiring a permanent employee – no NI and other financial obligations to stump up, and you can hire them for only as long as is required.
2. Crowdfunding. Still relatively untapped, crowd funding (also known as peer to peer lending) is threatening to turn the traditional business loan industry on its head. Rather than companies seeking financing through banks and other traditional sources, they go directly to the public via established peer to peer lending sites. Companies can then set up their profile and project details explaining what the loan will be used for, and private lenders can choose to offer a percent of the loan amount at a pre-determined rate. While peer to peer lending is an avenue that many companies seek only after being refused by the banks, a lot who use it have been lauding their positive experiences. Well worth a gander as an alternative way to raise startup financing.
3. Lean Startup. A relatively new concept, lean startup is all about just creating a business on a small and practical scale while keeping costs to the bare bones. The idea is to offer products in a practical and hands on way, while continually making improvements based upon customer feedback. With lean startup, costs are minimized and efficiencies are maximized. The process focuses on producing products and services that customers actually want through a continuous product deployment process. Since products are introduced to market right away, the product cycle times are slashed when companies use lean startups – no expensive and lengthy testing using theoretical situations and models. The lean startup model embraces several other concepts too, such as split testing and the use of key metrics to measure results amongst others.
4. Micro Jobs Sites. Micro jobs sites such as Fiverr can be interesting places to get marketing and technology work done at the price of a cup of coffee. These sites have job providers who offer all sorts of micro jobs for a small fee (on fiverr, everything costs five dollars unless you choose to plump for upgraded services). They can be a good way of employing and expanding your social and SEM strategy at low costs.