So the question is - Can Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) use Crowdsourcing techniques since they don't have huge budgets or millions of followers? Thankfully the answer is yes, and to do so SMEs can adopt some of the techniques described below.
More the merrier, yes but no – While it may be OK and acceptable for big brands to just focus on getting anybody to contribute, SME firms need to be very focused on who they are trying to attract. When you are small, you may not have a brand image which you can give back and which a contributor can relate to, so providing a very specific reason or a trigger is of utmost importance in order to get fewer responses which are more relevant. This will help you save lot of effort, time and money in dealing with thousands of responses. For example - if your product offering is for sports persons, then challenge their intellect such that they would want to be part of your innovation.
Be trustworthy, but how? - Creating the trust of your customers is good for your business, but creating trust with a casual contributor overnight is not worth the effort. Use a trusted partner like ideaken, to reach out to large number of relevant and willing contributors. Once someone contributes, then you would also have time and reason to build the trust.
You are better than your bigger competition, at least at this one - One of the areas where large brands may falter is in acting on good suggestions from the crowd quickly. This is mainly because large brands have existing businesses which they can't afford to change. On the other hand, SMEs typically don't have such limitations or say have less of it. Be nimble in your approach and act on good suggestions early.
You might as well learn few new things about open innovation while Crowdsourcing ideas for your business - which could open up new opportunities for you to contribute and benefit via open innovation initiatives by bigger players in your domain.
In summary, SME have much to benefit from Crowdsourcing, and knowing these techniques might help.