Bay Area Business Trends That Can Benefit Small Businesses Everywhere

Regardless of what type of company you run or where you’re located, small businesses can learn from and get inspired by local and regional trends. This is especially true of San Francisco’s bustling startup scene, which has spawned many Silicon Valley success stories in the last two decades.

Forbes San Francisco Business Council members identified some business trends in their area that can benefit small business owners across the nation. In the Bay Area and beyond, these tactics can be great ways to fuel your company’s success.

Six experts share their tips about business trends that can help your venture thrive.All photos courtesy of individual members.

1. Make Your Business A Force For Good

Consumers truly believe that businesses can provide solutions toward positive environmental and social challenges we face in the world today. In other words, use your business as a force for good for people and the planet. – Shamini Dhana, Dhana Inc.

2. Use Technology To Grow And Scale Quickly

The Bay Area is the heart of technology. Take advantage of technology to help your teams work from anywhere, collaborate seamlessly and get the most bang for your IT budget, even without an IT team. These tools can help your teams collaborate, chat, engage clients and get work done quickly. This can help you operate like a global leader. – Kathy Krumpe, Future State, Inc.

3. Focus On Employee Engagement And Retention

Work extra hard to keep your best people. People seem to be feeling a lot more confident, which is wonderful — but it means that you need to be transparent about their path toward a raise or bonus and focus on check-ins to assess job satisfaction. – Cameron Jacox, Lark Technologies, Inc.

4. Collaborate With Other Small Businesses To Enhance Your Offerings

Find partners who can bring new services and products to enhance your value to customers. Find partners that fill the gaps in your business or who can provide more capacity when you are in the fortunate state of being too busy. And when the tables are turned, find partners that bring you into opportunities. Take on bigger projects with your combined forces. – Norma Watenpaugh, PhoenixCG

5. Hire A Diverse Workforce

A diverse workforce with different ages, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures and types of education can allow businesses to serve customers better because each group brings different insight into a diverse customer base. Our world is diverse by nature; if you don’t have a diverse workforce, you could either be missing serving your customers or possibly not serving them at all. – Sylvain Kalache, Holberton School

6. Manage Your Data Safely and Smartly

Small businesses can make significant gains by implementing new technology. Yet new technology can bring new risks, so business owners must be aware of how to manage their data in a way that protects their cybersecurity and that of their customers. This is especially relevant for tech-based businesses like mine because a compromise in our security could put our reputation or business at risk. – Evan Singer, SmartBiz Loans


Business Owners Can Now Compare Their Working Hours with Global Averages (INFOGRAPHIC)

Although the United States gets a bad rap for having employees work the most hours of any industrialized nation, a new infographic from BambooHR says otherwise.

According to the “Working Hours around the World” infographic, the US is averaging 34 hours per week, which is on the low-end side compared to many other countries. On the high-end of the scale, Colombia and Turkey have the top spots at 48 hours each.

Small business owners who work too many hours would probably be happy with the numbers from Colombia and Turkey. Fifty plus hours are not uncommon as owners try to grow their business and build a company which will support them, their family and employees.

According to the 2017 Pulse Survey report from The Alternative Board, 84% of business owners are working over 40 hours per week. And on average, owners only have 1.5 hours of uninterrupted, high productive time each day.

BambooHR got the data for the report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD has been compiling the average weekly working hours for workers in 35 countries around the world since 2000. The interactive graph, which you can access here, allows you to see the working trend for these countries for the past 18 years.

Aerage Weekly Working HoursNot surprising the lowest average weekly hours comes from a European country. With a total of 29 hours, the Netherlands has the shortest average work week.

Denmark is next with 32 hours, followed by the US, Germany, and Switzerland taking the number three spot with 34 hours of average work week. As a region, Europe has the most countries with the lowest working hours at 15.

If you take the US out of the equation, the Americas have the highest average with Colombia (48), Mexico (45), Costa Rica (45), and Chile (43).

In addition to Turkey, only two other countries in the European continent, Hungary and Poland have 40-hour averages.


When it comes to gender, women worked fewer hours across the board. But the women in the countries where the average was high, they ended up working more than all the men in Europe and the US.

Women in Turkey and Colombia, for example, worked 45-hour weeks, while men in the US averaged 41 hours and 34 hours in the Netherlands.

What is the Takeaway?

The key, as The Alternative Board survey points out, is to spend the time more efficiently working on the business instead of in the business.

When you first establish your company, you have to work in the business, but as you begin to grow you have to delegate tasks so you can start working on your business.

In this way, the time you spend will be geared to growing your company instead of the day-to-day task which can be carried out by your employees.

Understanding the concept of working in and on your business early during your entrepreneurial journey is critically important for using the time you spend building your company more efficiently.

As Bryson Kearl, who wrote the report on the BambooHR blog said, the data from the OECD can be interpreted in many ways. But at the end of the day, Kearl added, “Individual countries work in their own way, at their own rate, and for varying lengths of time. These variances extend to individual organizations, and increasingly they extend to individual employees.”