It used to be that if you identified as queer, or a member of the LGBTQIA community as a whole, it was generally irrelevant to business practice. In some places it might have been downright dangerous to advertise it, and there were few places to safely use it as part of your brand.
So much has changed in recent decades—politically, and socially—to make it okay, even encouraged, to be out and proud as an entrepreneur regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation. While there continues to be conflict and stress for the queer community the world over, visibility is much higher, and no longer taboo in mainstream marketing and business.
This guide is meant to help demystify some of the opportunities available to LGBTQIA merchants.
Registering your business
It may not occur to you to formally register your business, but it’s definitely something to consider. Becoming an official LGBTBE (LGBT Business Enterprise) carries a number of benefits, but it is definitely a process to achieve certification. It’s worth the time to register with the NGLCC (National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce) to access their special events, grants, and networking opportunities. There are special sub-categories for trans and non-binary business owners, so look around to find the best type of application for your venture.
Other communities you may want to consider:
- Out Professionals: Networking opportunities and more, since 1983
- US Small Business Association: Business development and resources to empower LGBT entrepreneurs
- Lesbian Business Community: Fantastic directory and listings specific to the lesbian community
Continuing your education
No matter your business prowess, there is always more to learn. Continuing education is important for every business owner! If you’re thinking about going back to business school, there are LGBT-specific scholarship programs to help you learn more, get started, and achieve your business goals.
Affinity, Inc is a quarterly magazine to help you expand your knowledge about best practices for business. It’s full of resources to keep you up on the relevant issues in the business sector.
Another major organization with a yearly summit is Lesbians Who Tech. Check out their website for their incredible list of past speakers. If you can make it to one of their events, it’s definitely worth your time.
Appealing to LGBT customers
It’s no secret that the LGBT sector has a lot of money to spend. It was estimated that LGBT travel alone is a $70 billion industry. If you are a member of the LGBTQIA community, it’s important to let others in the community know that you’re open for business, whatever that business is. There’s increased LGBT marketing on network and cable television, but there are infinite ways to market your business if you don’t have the money for a TV ad. Here are some ideas:
- 4 important consideration when marketing to the LGBT community
- LGBTQ Marketing and Advertising: Best Practices
- Four tips for marketing to the LGBTQ Community
- 4 things to consider when marketing to the LGBT Community
No matter what, if you’re an LGBTQIA business owner, there are opportunities for you to research to help grow your business. Clover celebrates you and will help in any way possible!
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, Sun Trust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including Ignite Payments, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.