Last week we covered the first 6 approaches to small business development recommended by members of the Forbes Chicago Business Council. Chicago’s small businesses do exceedingly well as a result of these marketing strategies. Ready for the next 6? \
7. Think about social responsibility. “Giving back” and appealing to people on a personal level garners more support than aggressive marketing techniques. ShoppingGives’ Ronny Sage explains that the company’s recent TechweekGives campaign brought more than 50 local companies together and raised more than $1 million.
8. Pull users in to marketing efforts. Encourage them to become your brand’s advocates by sharing their experiences, photos and reviews on social media, as suggested by Jonathan Treble of PrintWithMe, Inc.
9. Form ties with larger networks. Have them share you vision for you, such as FanFood’s Carson Goodale’s message: “You don’t need to be the sharpest tool in the shed to pursue a dream, rather to have the self-discipline to overcome obstacles, time and time again. ”
10. Recruit within your region. Don’t neglect local talent- keep recruiting within your community, if possible, for real investment and a stronger local network, according to Darren Guccione of Keeper Security.
11. Collaborate with universities, says Civis Analytics’ Dan Wagner. These connections will help your business locate unique, fresh talent.
12. Street teams are important, says Adam Hirsen of UPShow. Get people on the ground who encourage others to advocate for and get enthusiastic about your product.
Local businesses grow and thrive via their communities, making them a different organism than their larger-scale counterparts. In Chicago, small businesses are doing especially well due to the efforts of numerous professionals and the local residents. According to members of Forbes Chicago Business Council, there are several approaches that have made small businesses in Chicago so successful:
- Partnerships with other local startups. According to Ben Margolit of Rentgrata, Inc., networking and exploring partnerships with other businesses cultivate relationships that have the potential to stimulate significant growth, especially when both organizations share a similar target customer base.
- Transit advertising. Seemingly old-fashioned, advertisements places on trains and other means of public transportation generated a lot of traffic for Augmented Retail Company, according to Anne-Marie Kovacs. She also listed social and influencer marketing as impactful tools.
- Joining the local tech scene proved valuable to Devbridge Group, according to Aurimas Adomavicius, allowing the company to generate organic referrals and efficiently meet their clients’ needs.
- Showcasing stories. An alumni blog series captured the essence of Victory Lap’s graduates, allowing their story to stand out and their content to be seen by a wider audience, according to Brian Bar.
- Events and relationships. Nothing beats natural interactions and personal referrals when it comes to building up a reputation. According to Bobby Goodman of Truss, attending events and meeting other startup teams helped the company cultivate strong relationships and generate new business.
- Organizing events and tours. According to Ross Freedman of Rightpoint, sponsoring and speaking at industry-focused events and summits grants immeasurable exposure and legitimacy to a company as well as invaluable insights and knowledge into different business ecosystems.