- Discrimination is prevalent among LGBT-owned businesses in the U.S., citing difficulty in accessing capital, finding suppliers, and experiencing unequal treatment at business events.
- LGBT business owners should understand legal protections, such as the Equality Act and state/local laws, and consult an LGBT business attorney for support.
- Funding options for LGBT entrepreneurs include obtaining loans and grants from organizations such as the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
- Advocacy and community involvement are critical to growing and sustaining an LGBT-owned business.
Starting your own business can be an exciting endeavor, but it can also be a challenge. As an LGBT owner, you may face unique obstacles and challenges when starting and growing your business. However, you can overcome challenges and thrive as an entrepreneur with the right preparation and support.
LGBT Problems in the U.S.
Discrimination is still happening among LGBT business owners in the United States. According to a 2017 survey by the National Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce, nearly 60% of LGBT-owned businesses reported experiencing discrimination on some level. The most common forms of discrimination were difficulty accessing capital (35%), difficulty finding suppliers (31%), and unequal treatment at networking events or other professional activities (20%). Here are some other problems you might face as an LGBT business owner.
First and foremost, it is essential to understand the legal protections that are available to you as an LGBT business owner. The federal government provides specific protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through laws such as the Equality Act. However, it is also critical to research the laws in your state and local area for additional protection. Additionally, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in LGBT business law to ensure that your company is fully protected.
Regarding funding your business, several options are available to LGBT business owners. One option is to apply for grants or loans designed explicitly for LGBT entrepreneurs. For example, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) offers its members various funding opportunities and resources.
Additionally, you can explore traditional funding options such as small business loans and angel investors. Regardless of the funding option you choose, thoroughly research and understand the terms and requirements before making any commitments.
Networking is a critical component of any business’s success. As an LGBT business owner, finding the right networking opportunities that align with your values and goals may be challenging. However, several organizations and events are specifically designed for LGBT entrepreneurs, such as the NGLCC’s National Business & Leadership Conference. These events provide an opportunity to connect with other LGBT business owners, learn from industry experts, and expand your professional network.
You’re not alone if you face stress and pressure from your family about starting a business. Family members may be concerned about the time, money, and energy required to start a successful business. However, it is essential to remember that your family’s opinions do not define who you are or what you can achieve as an entrepreneur. If you’re experiencing some family problems, it might be wise to hire an LGBT family attorney to help you out. These attorneys have the know-how to provide the necessary support and advice to keep your business goals within reach.
Improving Your LGBT Business
These problems won’t define your business, and there are steps you can take to improve your LGBT-owned business. Here are some ideas:
When marketing your business, you must consider the message and image you are portraying. As an LGBT business owner, you may consider targeting the LGBT community specifically. However, ensuring that your marketing materials are inclusive and welcoming to all potential customers is essential. Avoid making assumptions or stereotypes about your target audience, and instead, focus on building a brand identity that is authentic and representative of your values.
There are many ways to get involved in advocacy efforts as an LGBT business. Consider joining a local LGBT chamber of commerce or business association, and look for ways to engage in activism and education about the issues that impact LGBT business owners. Additionally, research organizations and campaigns you can support with your time, money, and effort.
Finally, as an LGBT business owner, it is essential to give back to your community and support causes that align with your values. Consider partnering with local LGBT organizations or offering pro-bono services to help make a difference. Additionally, consider supporting other LGBT-owned businesses or vendors to help create a stronger and more supportive community.
Starting a business can be difficult for any entrepreneur, but it is incredibly challenging for LGBT business owners. However, with the proper preparation and support, you can overcome obstacles and succeed as an LGBT entrepreneur.