Six Chicago Business Trends That Can Help Startups Across The Country

Many local businesses have their own ways of operating. While some marketing tactics or management techniques may only resonate with people from the area, others can easily translate into other regions, and small businesses should be open to learning from each other.

We asked the experts of Forbes Chicago Business Council to share business trends they’ve seen in their community that could benefit small- to medium-sized businesses across the country. Regardless of your location, you can implement these tactics in your business to reap the benefits.

Six members of Forbes Chicago Business Council share business trends that can help startups across the country.Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Optimize For Local Search

A third of all mobile searches on Google are now local, meaning Google interprets your search as looking for a local business. That’s huge. Make sure you have accurate Google listings, ask customers to review your business and keep an eye on your local search position. – Chris Campbell, ReviewTrackers

2. Use Instagram For Visual Branding

Instagram is not just about food, fashion and beauty. Because a picture tells a thousand words, small- to medium-sized business of any kind, even business-to-business, can use this visual social channel to tell their story. Use photos to show your company or brand’s personality, values and mission. Tell behind-the-scenes stories with Instagram Stories. Include relevant hashtags to be found. – Anne-Marie Kovacs, Augmented Retail Company

3. Consider Remote Teams

Managing remote teams can feel harder at times, but you have the benefit of getting access to the best talent for your company. – Killian Tobin, Omega Grid

4. Use Automation To Work Smarter

It’s important to leverage software platforms to automate many processes early on in order to lay a strong foundation to scale your business. As Bill Gates said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Carson Goodale, FanFood

5. Look For Pay-For-Performance Models For Your Financial Services

One thing I’m seeing is the evolution of the structure of financial service products from a simple “pay-for-effort” business model, where you pay a subscription or transaction fee, to a “pay-for-performance/results” model with guaranteed results. – Rajesh Voddiraju, Health iPASS

Forbes Chicago Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners in Greater Chicago. Do I qualify?

6. Give Gifts To Your Customers

In a product-centric world, we all have to focus on how to get eyeballs on our products in cost-effective ways. Gifting is a method that is accessible to any business with a social media account. Try offering really share-worthy packages to anyone who meets your brand’s key demographic. Gifting has become a serious line item in our marketing spending. – Jaisen Freeman, Phusion Projects LLC