How can you support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses?
To help you identify the best ways to support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses, we asked LGBTQIA+ business leaders and allies this question for their best tips. From providing ongoing monetary support to partnering with firms that support gender equality, there are several ways for you and your organization to support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses all year long.
Provide Ongoing Monetary Support
One meaningful way you can support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses is by ensuring your support goes beyond the one-and-done. Instead of just buying one sticker or a t-shirt in June, think about how you can support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses as an ongoing part of your life. Can you follow the business on social media or sign up for their newsletter? Do they have a Patron page or a low-cost membership option? Can you buy their products as gifts for friends throughout the year? Think about how you can support LGBTQIA+ businesses beyond Pride month.
Lindz Amer, Queer Kid Creative, LLC
Promote Their Services to Your Workplace
You can support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses by promoting their services to your workplace or organization. Corporations often seek out small businesses as suppliers, and may even have a Diversity Supplier Program for LGBTQIA+ owned small businesses (Certified LGBTBEs). Whether to collaborate with an LGBTQIA+ owned clothing company for Pride merchandise, or hire an LGBTQIA+ consultant to provide a Pronouns Training to employees, the possibilities between corporations and LGBTQIA+ owned small businesses are endless.
If you know of a small business that could partner with your organization, start an internal discussion with the appropriate stakeholder and learn the best way to get that business connected. For example, if you’re interested in seeing a Pronouns Training Seminar at your workplace, contact your HR or DEI Director with information about the training, why you feel it’s important, and a suggestion for an LGBTQIA+ small business to partner with.
Rex Wilde, Rex Wilde Consulting
Support the Entire Community All Year Round
It is important to recognize that LGBTQIA+ people fit into all parts of society and intersect with many other identities as well. Understand that we don’t always focus solely on providing LGBTQIA+ services or products. We don’t only hire LGBTQIA+ people or strictly serve the LGBTQIA+ population.
To be deemed an LGBTQIA+ business, 51% of the ownership must identify as LGBTQIA+. And gay white men are still 67% of LGBTQIA+ ownership. Seek opportunities to help the entire community, not just gay men. You can support LGBTQIA+ businesses by using their services, sharing promotions, or becoming an employee, and by supporting them all year round, not just during June (Pride month).
You don’t have to be LGBTQIA+ to benefit from LGBTQIA+ companies - either as clients or as employees. We serve all and need more than the LGBTQIA+ community to thrive.
Kim Brady, Kim Brady Business Coaching
Develop Authentic Relationships
When assessing how you can have a positive impact in supporting a local LGBTQIA+-owned business, I recommend focusing on the relationship development aspect of support.
The importance of having a supportive and affirming community is transformative for LGBTQIA+ individuals as they choose to share their authentic selves with those they feel comfortable with. The same can be said of LGBTQIA+ businesses and the people behind them. By spending your time and energy developing authentic relationships with the business owner(s) and their employees, you will help strengthen their business and the community.
Whether you invest in the relationship by inviting the owner to your next networking event or simply having a conversation with them in their store, connections like these can be incredibly beneficial. Since word-of-mouth referrals are a way for LGBTQIA+ businesses to gain opportunities, these referrals become much more natural and genuine coming from authentic relationships.
Andrew Tessmer, Eddins Counseling Group
Invite LGBTQIA+ Entrepreneurs to Your Network
Inviting LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs to our professional network is one way we support their businesses. We encourage them to participate in our hosted events and casual gatherings to give them the platform to expand their networks and reach like-minded individuals in the industry. These events provide them the platform to promote themselves, their brand, and their businesses while contributing to diversity initiatives.
Not only do they offer a fresh perspective and firsthand experience as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, but they also help educate our members to be better professional allies of the community.
Nunzio Ross, Majesty Coffee
Identify the Lesser-Known LGBTQIA+- Owned Businesses
Similar to the non-profit space, where organizations like GLAAD and HRC are dominant (and important) forces, the gravitational pull of the larger LGBTQIA+-owned businesses gets most of the attention. Also, these businesses are likely to be owned by those with more privileged identities within the LGBTQIA+ community.
With a bit of extra effort, you can find businesses owned by Queer People of Color (QPoC) or those who identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming. Many of these businesses are locally-owned, which means you can simultaneously shop locally, support small businesses, and amplify the most marginalized within the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a win-win-win!
Brian McComak, Hummingbird Humanity
Leave Google and Yelp Reviews to Help Boost Business
Although purchasing products from an LGBTQIA+-owned business is fantastic, sharing their story on social media is a fantastic way to support their communities. If you can amplify the voice of these businesses, you are standing in solidarity with their values.
Taking this one step further, leaving an online review of their product or service has a longer-lasting impression than a simple Instagram post. Google and Yelp play an instrumental role for businesses. By contributing a positive review, you will help these businesses thrive in the long run.
Jonathan Zacharias, GR0
Share Your Positive Experiences On Social Media
It has become normal for people of all persuasions to support the LGBTQIA+ community through Pride marches and events, which certainly helps to bring these minorities into the mainstream. However, these people and businesses don’t go away once the festivities are over; they exist all the time, attempting to deal with prejudices and trying to stay relevant and profitable as a business. You can help these businesses by not only purchasing their products and using their services but also by promoting their qualities on social media.
When you have had a pleasurable experience dealing with one of these businesses, make sure your followers know about it. Post that positive experience on social media and draw attention to the fact that, regardless of their orientation, this is a business with value to the community as a whole.
Morgan Taylor, Sourcery
Partner With Firms that Support Gender Equality
Establish strong partnerships with LGBTQIA+ organizations that empower gender equality and advocate for eradicating gender biases. Doing this enables you to learn best practices to create a more diverse and inclusive culture in the workplace.
Through genuine affiliations, you can encounter LGBTQIA+ experts and seek their advice. Invite them to your company programs and give them the spotlight to discuss topics related to gender equality at work, which includes showing respect to the LGBTQIA+ community in general.
Adam Garcia, The Stock Dork
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.