My husband is one of those glass-half-full kind of guys who doesn’t let anything get in his way. This “go get ’em” attitude—plus his interest in wine—led him to become a finalist recently for Crowdsourced Cabernet, a program that picks an amateur wine lover to represent the masses in making all wine-making decisions, from when to pick the grapes to what should be blended. It’s a program that looks to the collective wisdom of a large fan base of amateur wine aficionados to make critical decisions for that particular harvest.

It’s a process that puts that power into the crowd. Crowdsourcing is an effective tool that is becoming an important strategy for many businesses, as we explain in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Whether you own a small business or part of a large one, your business has basic needs—monetary support, a workforce and brand awareness. Crowdsourcing can play a key role in each of these areas.

Fundraising: Do you have a start-up business and need some investors? Instead of looking for one or two large investments, consider crowdfunding, where multiple individuals can pitch in and have a part in your business. Websites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter allow people to invest in your product in return for a product sample or other perk.

Recruiting/Workforce: Do you need specific skill sets for your business? Are you having problems recruiting the right talent but can’t invest in high salaries yet? Crowdsourcing can play a key role. Skill-swapping websites such as Swapaskill make it easy for businesses to exchange their specialties. Other sites, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, connect businesses with freelancers to perform tasks such as transcribing videos, writing articles and conducting research.

Brand-building: You’re ready to launch your business website, but you aren’t sure how the market will react. After all, you aren’t a professional website developer. Well, look to a crowd for input. You can get help to identify problems on your site through tools like Conceptfeedback and BrandsOfTheWorld. These sites offer feedback and help with ideas, symbols, typography and color suggestions from professional designers.

Whether you are looking for the right words to boost the visibility of your business, need workers to perform basic tasks or are looking for the money to fund it all, turn to the power of the crowd with these crowdsourcing tools.

Source: Miranda Marquit is a freelance journalist specializing in topics related to personal finance, entrepreneurship and investing. She has also done reporting work on topics related to science and technology. Marquit’s work is featured on the web, as well as in print publications.