An increasing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer professionals are exploring the potential of starting their own company to become an LGBT entrepreneur. It sounds like an ideal job to work for yourself, to have no ceiling on your income potential, set your own daily schedule and do something you are passionate about and really believe in. And who knows. From being a dog groomer to dreams of becoming the next billion-dollar tech startup. The possibilities are almost limitless.
However, the harsh reality is, being self-employed can quickly become a burden and headache if not tackled in the right way. 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 30% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business. Such statistics are scary, but it reinforces the importance of knowing the key principles of entrepreneurship before setting off on an expensive venture.
1. Passion Drives
When looking at all the of hard work, long hours and financial commitment being passionate about what the business, industry, and clients can go a long way to sustain you during the startup and down times. Check out our article titled “Want to be an LGBT Entrepreneur? How to Start Business
2. Research It
No matter how much passion you have for something you also need to be somewhat convenienced that there is a market for your business. Check out our article titled ““>Market Research for LGBT Business Startups for a bit more information.
Hopefully, you have the family, a life partner, and friends who believe in your vision and support you in any way they can. If not already consider joining your local LGBT Chamber of Commerce in your area. It’s a great way to not only stir business opportunities but also to network with peers for business coaching success support. Consider finding a mentor in that group or via OutBüro to be a business coach mentor either overall or within a particular area such as marketing or finance. As a small startup, you may be very knowledgeable about what you do, but as a business owner starting out you have to wear many hats and do it all or pay for it to be done. Getting coaching guidance can help you be effective and cut valuable dollars from hiring others. If you have success and talent to share with a startup entrepreneur you may also consider being a mentor to someone else and help grow the LGBT business community.
4. You have a Life – Hopefully
Launching and growing a business can be mentally and physically draining, in addition, to financially which all can add a huge amount of stress to your life. You have to take care of yourself first, your family, love and social relationships. Schedule time for the gym or other physical activities and outings with those that love and support you. If needed actually schedule this time so that your calendar app automatically reminds you of these important activities. This will aid in maintaining a balanced life and so can give your business all your energy when it’s time to focus on that. Ensure the business doesn’t 120% consume you.
5. Start Local/Small
Every business has to start small. Even Facebook and LinkedIn had small beginnings. Check out our article titled “The LGBT Entrepreneur10 Steps to the Perfect Business Plan”. Every business no matter the industry needs to prove there is an existing market. To get a good idea of your market review our article titled “Market Research for LGBT Business Startups”.
6. Cash Flow
Entrepreneurs have varying definitions of what this means, but at its core, cash flow is the most important factor in your early business’ success or failure. Without a positive cash flow, even the best business ideas will be bankrupt.
7. Lean and Mean
It’s easy to churn through cash in the business start-up stage when new entrepreneurs put their valuable early limited funds toward things like a cool downtown office space and provide employee perks that make working in the office seem like a trip to Dave and Busters.
It’s important to keep overhead low, especially during the startup phase. Keep a lean team and don’t sign up for unnecessary ongoing expenses. There are many ways to raise business capital. For ideas take a look at our article titled “How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business”. Check out our resource article titled “LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Venture Capital Funding” for a listing of venture capital who are LGBT themselves and/or open to business owners just like you.
8. Simple and Focused
So many entrepreneurs get exuberant about investing in trademarks, patents, complicated legal agreements, and company structures. However, these can drain your funds and time when you may be better off focusing on building your product or service, creating brand recognition in the most cost-effective manner you can, and an initial customer/client base.
9. Minimum and Grow
Craw, walk and then run is a great way to consider launching your business. In business, this is also termed as the minimum viable product (MVP), which is a product/service with just enough features/services to gain early customers and provide them with the value they appreciate and that you can do well. During this time is where you’ll acquire valuable feedback from the clients/customers/users to hone and grow your product/service.
10. Just Enough Talent
As an entrepreneur, you have to do so many jobs. It’s tempting to add staff, but really consider what a minimum viable team looks like before investing in employees. Check out our articles titled “LGBT Entrepreneurs Hiring Your First Employee”, and “How to Build a Great Team in Your LGBT Owned Business”.
We hope you found this and the related articles helpful. Do you have other tips? Please comment below. Join an OutBüro to discuss topics of related business ownership with your peers. If you don’t see a group you’d like, start it or use the Support | Contact Us form to request a new group be created. You may further use your OutBüro profile to post blog articles about your business or industry and content for all LGBT professionals and entrepreneurs to learn from. It is your community. Become an active part of it today.