7 Pieces of Advice for LGBTQ-Business Owners
Running a business is difficult no matter who you are. The following are 6 of the best pieces of advice for LGBTQ-owners and for people in general.
🏳️🌈#1 – Understand Your Funding Options
Regardless of your race, ethnicity, or sexuality, the only reason a business goes out of business is due to a lack of funds. With this in mind, you will need to take stock of all the funding options at your disposal. Online lenders such as OnDeck, Kabbage, Lending Club, and PayPal LoanBuilder can provide you with a loan within minutes to keep you afloat. Having a line of credit handy in the event of emergencies can save you from collapse in a tough economic environment.
For a larger figure, you could apply for an SBA (7)(a) with a lender such as SmartBiz. The interest rates will be lower and the total amount can be very large. However, you will need to have a higher credit score and annual revenue to qualify for this loan.
#2 – Use The Resources Available to You
Check out the resources listed above to see what help is available. Join groups and get active so you can benefit from partnership and mentorship. More than anything else, remember to get certified. As an entrepreneur, you need to learn to capitalize on the most lucrative opportunities that you can. There is a tonne of corporate sponsorship available to certified LGBT owners and a lot of publicity. You can rely on social and financial capital to give you a boost.
🏳️🌈#3 – Be Adaptable
Adaptability is one of the most important traits of a business owner. This was always the case. But it is really the case now with a world that moves so quickly. With issues such as COVID and Black Lives Matter hitting the globe, everything has become volatile and human preferences are changing at a rapid rate. With the onslaught of technological progress, customer spending habits are changing extremely quickly.
So be prepared to change your business model. This is known as ‘pivoting’, and even if you don’t completely change it, you will have to make some innovations. Sponsors might fall flat, people get sick, employees do not deliver, clients pull out of contracts.
The more adaptable you are to these inevitable events the more your business will thrive.
🏳️🌈#4 – Tell Your Story
As an LGBT business owner, you likely have an interesting backstory. There is still a lot of reluctance on behalf of LGBT business owners to come out as proud representatives of their business. Make sure to advertise your presence and ownership status. You might also be the beneficiary of financial assistance and press coverage.
A good story can really propel your business forward. It can engage customers and business partners, as well as help you to become more confident.
🏳️🌈#5 – Focus Your Time and Energy
Running a successful business all comes down to focus, energy, and attention. The more focus and attention you give to a particular topic, the better your results will be. The trick is to spend some attention on the most important items each day. As you get more specialized, you can outsource some areas and get management to focus on certain areas – you can’t do it all, unfortunately.
But you still need to become excellent at managing your attention. Get organized, get up early, and focus on the things that really matter. The hard fact is that most entrepreneurs spend too much time on irrelevant details and too little time on the really important facets of business development. You’ll also want to look into taking some time off for vacation and relaxation. The more you can relax, the most productive you will be when you do get back to work.
🏳️🌈#6 – Keep Reading And Learning
There is a mind-boggling amount of things to learn in order to run a successful business in the USA. Taxes, insurance, software, accountancy, best business practices, marketing, building an online presence, SEO, blogging, HR, maximizing employee productivity – the list goes on and on and one.
You need to make sure that you learn each and every day in order to stay competitive. Get some good books and read through them each day. You don’t have to spend an excessive time doing this, just make a list of good books and blogs that you can learn from. Even 20 minutes a day should be enough, as you long as you intend to learn and apply that knowledge.
🏳️🌈#7 – Don’t Get Too Attached To Labels
It can seem like every single group is trying to create a profile for themselves – female entrepreneurs, Blacks, Veterans, eco-warriors. While this might be useful in a limited context, sometimes it’s good to simply drop the labels and to get together with other human beings. You still need to learn the business fundamentals and how to improve and develop as a person. You won’t get by on identity alone, and running a business is not easy for any group, regardless of the resources that are available to them.
Future Trends for LGBTQ
According to the latest research, LGBTQ business owners tend to do far better than the rest of the population, similar to female entrepreneurs and diverse ownership boards. However, the research is mostly based on a small dataset of 900 or so LGBT certified businesses.
The support will continue to grow for this community and they are taking a more prominent role in mainstream society. Right now, it is important to generate awareness so they get a fair hearing and an equal footing in the context of economic development.
Sarah Davis is a business executive specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and international law. She achieved her MBA from Cornell University after completing a legal undergraduate at UC Berkley. Sarah runs her own business consultancy firm in tandem with working alongside the FinImpact team.
The Finimpact Blog