When you’re starting a business, you probably have many questions. What is the best way to get your name out? How should I network with other businesses? We at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) looked to our friends at Forbes for some advice, and put our own #LGBTbiz spin on these tips and tricks we found:
1. Build a Network
Interacting with fellow entrepreneurs is essential. Events offer a great opportunity to network with other business owners. At conferences, like the annual NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference, there are countless planned and unplanned opportunities to network. Cultivating relationships with businesses you’d like to work with is not only smart for your growth, but also comes in handy when a genius idea comes out of left field and you need an expert to help bring your vision to life.
Maintaining the connections you create at events and conferences by meeting and building relationships with business owners are key. Consider this: Do you need advice on marketing, hiring employees, or financial solutions? Reach out to other LGBT business owners for their take and personal experiences.
2. Learn from Others and Take Advice
Our annual NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference that took place in August is more than just an amazing networking opportunity. Our conference offers many educational programs designed to help businesses grow. Once certified, you can register online to attend educational programming sessions to learn valuable tips and tricks to build and improve your business. You can also learn about scholarship opportunities, our year-round mentorship programs with corporate representatives and how to access our capital pipelines.
The NGLCC newsletter highlights several events and online classes that LGBT-owned businesses can attend.
3. Brand, Brand, Brand!
Learning to speak confidently and openly about your business is a major key to success. NGLCC offers a business profile on MyNGLCC for certified businesses, where corporate partners and other certified businesses can connect with you for opportunities. For example, companies such as Five North Chocolate are taking steps to brand themselves as LGBT on their own packaging.
To indicate to prospective clients that you’re certified with the NGLCC, you can brand yourself as an LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE). Certified LGBTBEs are encouraged to use co-branding in unique and creative ways such as through business cards, marketing materials, website design and more.
There’s no easy way to start a business, but there are smart ways to propel yourself in the right direction. Implementing our tips will help make the path to success a little less daunting and stressful for you. Do you have any tips that you have learned as an LGBT business owner? Share them with us!