Remember, that reaching for your dreams is a verb. It’s action – and it’s always IN action. Your goals and dreams may change as YOU change and grow closer to them and that’s ok. That’s part of the journey. You can’t focus on whether or not you made it to the finish line – you need to focus on the journey, on the trip that gets you there – that’s where the greatest rewards can be found.
Category: LGBTQ Entrepreneurship
LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings, Inc. (OTC PINK: LFAP) (“LGBTQ Loyalty” or “the Company”), a diversity and inclusion driven financial methodology company that quantifies corporate equality alignment with the LGBTQ community and minority interest groups, is pleased to announce that the Company has executed a term sheet for a $10,000,000 equity line of credit (“ELOC”) with Cavalry Fund I LP (“Cavalry”). “We believe that the ELOC will (i) provide the necessary funding to assist the Company in creating diversity and inclusion thematic preference Indices and becoming a niche ETF Sponsor, and (ii) create recognition for the Company as a leader in the LGBTQ equality and environmental, social, governance (“EGS”) marketplace,” said CEO Bobby Blair.
The term sheet provides that the Company may not sell shares of its common stock below an agreed-upon price, which was included with the goal of preventing excessive dilution to our shareholders. The term sheet also provides that certain principal shareholders of LGBTQ Loyalty agree to a lock-up of their shares, with a length of time to be determined and provided in the definitive ELOC transaction documents.
LGBTQ Loyalty CEO Bobby Blair said, “We are pleased as a company over the past 7 months with the launch and listing of the LGBTQ100 ESG Index on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the effectiveness of registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission with respect to the LGBTQ100 ESG ETF, and the assembly of our proprietary quantifiable data analytic reports. We feel it’s a wonderful opportunity and appropriate time for our LGBTQ community leaders to be aligned and engaged with us in our pursuit of Advancing Equality.”
“As we continue to attempt to scale our business, Cavalry provides us with not only capital, but also strategic experience in our quest to become the leading global index platform to advance equality, maximize impact, and deliver performance for investors and the community globally.”
Since officially listing the LGBTQ100 ESG Index on the NYSE in October 2019, LGBTQ Loyalty’s index has out-performed the S&P 500 Index benchmark by over 2.0%.
About LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings, Inc.
LGBTQ Loyalty is a diversity and inclusion driven financial methodology company that quantifies corporate equality alignment with the LGBTQ community and minority interest groups. The Company has benchmarked the first-ever U.S. Loyalty Preference Index which the Company believes empowers the LGBTQ community to express their preferences for the nation’s high performing corporations most dedicated to advancing equality. The Loyalty Preference Index, branded as LGBTQ100 ESG Index, is an ESG Index, offering an added perspective for those seeking to align with equality-driven ESG responsible corporations. LGBTQ Loyalty’s leadership includes seasoned authorities in the financial industry and the LGBTQ community. www.lgbtqloyalty.com
About Cavalry Fund I LP
Cavalry Fund I LP is a privately held investment fund with a flexible and creative approach to investing in emerging growth companies. Cavalry Fund identifies investment opportunities with asymmetric risk/reward profiles by focusing on the underserved small cap market. Cavalry provides capital solutions to companies unable to access traditional funding sources.
Being an entrepreneur is challenging. The LGBTQ entrepreneur can face additional challenges that our couterparts likely won’t face such as biased limitations to captial funding to launch or grow your business, access to business mentors, hurdles to reach revenue growth due to biases, lack of strong suplier diversity practices, and so much more. This can lead to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer business owner to still in today’s time hide their true self causing yet other stresses.
Happiness is important. There are some LGBTQ entrepreneurs who have sacrificed their health, sanity, happiness, life balance, and personal relationships in pursuit of success. Like all professionals, LGBTQ entrepreneurs who are authentically happy, are those who have found a way to balance all of the various facets of their life.
Happiness matters, more than you might realize. It’s important to your physical and mental health and in your resiliency in the face of challenges and crises. Additionally, your happiness is important to the happiness of those close to you, the community at large, and the success of your business.
Are You Happy?
- Do you feel you are working on supporting your big “why” that sparked your passion that sparked the idea of your startup in the beginning?
- Do you feel you have quality time with your life-partner, family, and friends?
- Are you taking the time to focus on your physical health – taking care of yourself?
- Are you “out” in your professional life?
Would You Change?
It is often said that no one on their death bed wishes they spent more time at the office, more time marketing and pursuing customers or more time perfecting the fundraising pitch deck. Most say they wish they spent more time being present physically and mentally with those they care about.
Take a moment, now or schedule it. Take a walk and really think about this. Are you happy in all facets of your full life and if not why?
What small changes can you make to work on that? We’d love for you to comment and begin a discussion of the struggles, opportunities, strategies, and success – in happiness you have encountered. Are you putting on your busy calendar time for yourself and time with others? If not, give yourself permission to just do it.
As we are going through the COVID-19 it has added a whole other level of stresses. Things to consider putting on our calender as you can while still being safe:
- Once a month catch up call with a long distant relative or friend.
- Weekly or bi-weekly special date night with your life-partner – doing something that makes the day or evening special quality time to stay deeply connected. Share some ideas in the comments.
- Do you have kids? Consider a board game night or other unplugged activities that allow interaction, discussion, and fun. What other ideas do you have?
- Consider some alone time too – maybe that is walking around your neighborhood or parks. While walking listen to the birds and crickets, relaxing music, or even podcasts on topics you enjoy. Maybe your alone time is starting or rekindling a meditation practice. What activities work for you that you could recommend to others?
- Are you involved in any local charities? If not, consider volunteering a few hours a month.
- Get and stay fit. Exercising releases happy mood endorphins. With COVID-19 you might be stuck in-home workouts, but luckily there are tons of free instructional videos on YouTube with both male and female instructors.
- Due to COVID-19 are you in or near financial ruin? Have you considered bankruptcy? How are you dealing with that?
- If not out as a business owner, would you like to talk to others and to get their stories and support?
What resources would you recommend to others? What has been working well for you? What areas would you like to find support in?
Please share those in the comments.
Consider joining the private Out:Startups group here on OutBüro to connect with other business owners, share ideas, methods, and all tactics in a safe space where you can be yourself.
Brucecy Marketing Group is a high-spirited and creative event management and planning firm based in northern New Jersey specializing in promoting brands at existing consumer events such as a legacy of innovation at engaging pride event attendees. Founded by Tom Legan, an out LGBT entrepreneur, with a remarkable history in television marketing leadership and a keen focus on end to end project execution. Under Legan’s leadership, Brucecy has been instrumental in bringing non-profit Pride organizations top-notch sponsors year after year. Legan understands how to make a brand stand out at Pride and how important the financial support of sponsors is in enabling Pride to happen. Not only does that support affect the Pride non-profit’s ability to put on a great event, but it also has a direct and indirect impact on the local community. We’ll discuss a little background and how Legan got involved in supporting the Pride ecosystem. We’ll also chat about some of the challenges that the COVID-19 virus forced upon the Pride festivals and opportunities it also created.
OutBüro-Q – How long has your marketing agency been involved with Pride festivals?
I started doing pride festivals through my first national marketing agency called Legan Promotions Inc. in 2003. Prior to that, I worked for Showtime Networks for six years and headed up National Promotions and Events where I had the amazing opportunity to promote all Showtime Original Series including the premiere of the groundbreaking hit series Queer As Folk in 2000. I started the LGBTQ outreach area at the network and sponsored over 100 pride events during my time there. Along with Queer As Folk, later I also promoted The L Word at pride festivals. When I left Showtime in 2003 to form Legan Promotions, Showtime became my first client! Other clients included ABC (Dancing With The Stars), TLC, Lifetime, IFC, Ovation, Macy’s, and Wolfgang Puck.
In 2011, I closed Legan Promotions as an incredible opportunity came my way from AMC Networks to be the Director of Activation, Promotions, and Licensing for their original series, many of which were favorites of mine. From 2011 to 2014, I got to promote major hit series like The Walking Dead, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, to general audiences – a very exciting period!
By 2014, several past TV network clients from Legan Promotions had been reaching out to see if I could help them promote at gay pride festivals again, so it was at that time I made the tough decision to leave AMC and form Brucecy Marketing Group, my current agency which is basically “Legan Promotions 2.0”. The name of the agency comes from the first names of my mom and dad – Bruce and Cecy – who always valued diversity and supported me in every way. Since then, our agency has worked with global brands like SKYY Vodka and 2(X)IST underwear and networks such as Freeform, Game Show Network, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
OutBüro-Q – What has been the traditional role of your agency with Pride festivals?
Our agency connects brands, TV networks, and movie studios directly to the LGBTQ community through a presence at Pride festivals, parades, gay film festivals, and related events to promote brand awareness, new series premieres for networks, and new movie releases for studios. We handle everything from start to finish for our clients making it all turnkey for them. This includes recommending the best Prides based on what they are promoting (the premiere of a new series or the launch of a new brand product, for example) followed by planning each activation and negotiating directly with each pride organization on the sponsorship details.
Then we manage the activation onsite for each client with our trained brand ambassadors and provide a complete summary recap after each event to the client. Through our long-standing relationships with the Pride organizations, our clients typically get exclusive added value benefits they can’t get by going direct, so many return to our agency year after year. Plus we’ve received many compliments from clients on how our agency has some of the best-personalized customer service they’ve encountered, better than with agencies ten times our size, so we’re proud of that!
HGTV was a client of ours for four consecutive years and we managed over 80 Prides for them. One of the main things they loved about our agency was how turnkey everything was for them and how easy it was to reach us anytime.
OutBüro-Q – How has that changed this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
This year is unprecedented in terms of how we celebrate pride and how our agency does business. As there are no plans for physical pride events until at least September, Pride organizations, especially those who normally host prides March through June, have had to get very creative to still find ways to celebrate pride. Pride festivals are a big source of revenue for many pride organizations, most of which are non-profit entities, so it was critical Prides find a way to still celebrate but also raise critical funds for their local LGBTQ communities.
In addition to Global Virtual Pride on June 27 which I’ll talk more about, several larger Prides like NYC Pride, San Francisco Pride, Denver Pride, Washington DC Capital Pride, and several others will be having their own virtual Pride festivals where everyone can still celebrate pride from the comfort of their home and brands can still sponsor these virtual events and support the community.
OutBüro-Q – What new challenges has the concept of a Virtual Global Pride brought and how have you and the team addressed and potentially capitalized upon those?
Virtual Prides, in general, have been a tough sell for our clients who are used to traditional event marketing at large Pride festivals where attendees can experience the brand activation firsthand and interact directly with brands. We’ve been bringing our clients up to speed on how virtual Prides will work and how they still can connect to the LGBTQ community in a personal and quality way.
As much as we’d love to promote movies like JUDY starring Renee Zellweger as we did at Prides last year for our client Roadside Attractions studios, where Judy Garland drag queens posed with pride attendees as they walked along a VIP red carpet area, that’s just not feasible in these times. But we can still get creative with how to connect to the community while still being far apart.
OutBüro-Q – What new opportunities, maybe unexpected, has this created?
The number of people virtual Prides has the potential to attract is far greater than physical attendance at regular pride events as anyone can watch the pride celebration online. This is exciting for our clients as they consider sponsorships. Also, with all 50 states reopening in at least some way as of this week, brands can sponsor virtual Prides to support the community but also use the opportunity to promote they are back in business. This is especially applicable to the hard-hit travel and tourism industry like cruise lines, hotels, airlines, restaurants, movie theaters, theme parks, and similar companies. It seems to make a lot of sense in the next few weeks for these types of brands to tell millions of loyal consumers eager to get out of their homes that they are back (and at a very low cost to do so too!)
OutBüro-Q – Has past Pride corporate and community sponsors embraced this necessary new approach? Is sponsorship steady, increased, lower?
We’re still speaking with all clients and potential clients about virtual Pride sponsorships and participation. Normally by March every year (usually earlier), we would have locked in clients for regular physical pride campaigns for the entire year especially those occurring in June as many of those Prides sell out of space and sponsorship options early. This year, everything has shifted later as Prides had to scramble to come up with another option to celebrate (virtual Prides) when the crisis hit the US in March. So we are all working fast and furiously to introduce clients to this new concept but timing is very tight. Therefore we do expect fewer clients to sponsor virtual Prides, at least those Prides occurring in June.
OutBüro-Q – Naturally, attending a Pride Festival in person has its emersion experience and loads of people watching. How will the Virtual Pride engage attendees to participate and feel a part of it
We have a lot of fun and creative ideas we’ve been discussing with clients and with the various virtual Prides. There are many ways to engage consumers from their homes as they watch Pride celebrations online so they still feel a part of this community experience. The biggest obstacle we have to deal with is time since all virtual Prides really just came together in the past few weeks. Putting together a sponsorship or campaign for clients in a matter of weeks versus months is challenging.
OutBüro-Q – Are there new technologies and/or new media partnerships being leveraged? If so, what and how will they create the vision of Global Virtual Pride?
Global Virtual Pride’s goal is to allow as many people as possible to watch the 24-hour stream all around the world, so there will be several platforms on which people will be able to view the festivities. Some countries block access to platforms we use here in the US everyday like YouTube and Facebook, so we’re working on ways to be sure everyone who wants access to Global Pride can get access.
OutBüro-Q – Will attendees need to download apps to participate – if so, what are they? Let’s get ready.
Yes, these are some of the ideas and concepts we have been discussing such as:
- Participation through an app or through social media
- Getting a physical object of some sort in people’s hands before they watch the stream on June 27
- Asking them to submit photos or videos of what pride means to them and incorporating those into the broadcast and so many more ideas.
It will just be a matter of seeing what can be done in the short amount of time before the broadcast as we’re just five weeks away now.
OutBüro-Q – Since the date is set, can people already register to join the virtual party, and if so where and how?
Details will be forthcoming! It’s a new and exciting time for all of us, so stay tuned!
As soon as additional details are available to OutBüro we’ll update it here and likely also post a fresh new announcement article.
Disruptive Technologists mission is to inspire, guide, advise, teach, change, and create disrupters. Their in-person New York City meetings draw a weekly impressive crowd of 300 with standing room only. It is graciously hosted by Microsoft in their NYC building auditorium. Their communication distribution reaches over 20,000 developers, founders, investors, hackers, startup teams, professors, students, journalists, other media, vendors, corporations, and entrepreneurs.
Each week the panel of regulars and guests discuss pressing issues of the day and how technology can be positively leveraged as well as issues such as security and privacy. The May 20th discussion revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Dennis Velco of OutBüro was invited to be a panelist bringing an LGBTQ perspective to the discussion.
The full panelist line up:
- Esther Dyson, Executive Founder at Wellville & Angel Investor
- Voltaire Xodus – Founder of WeUp and Impact Philanthropy
- Dennis Velco – Founder of OutBüro – The LGBTQ Professional and Entrepreneur Community Platform
- Moy Ogilvie. Partner at McCater & English
Q1: New York Cities’ poorest are dying at more than twice the rate of more affluent neighborhoods. Is this just to be expected in Modern America?
– Poorer areas lack adequate medical care.- Diabetes and Hypertension are more prevalent in low-income communities.- 94,327 US Deaths. – What could we do better?
Q2: The Apple/Google contact tracing app update was released today. Is it too little, too late?
– Combined Market Cap over $2 Trillion Dollars.- First Chinese cases December, US cases in February. – Only for Bluetooth enabled smartphones.- What are the better solutions?
Q3: Amazon has called itself ‘The New Red Cross’. Without useful Government assistance, is this the new reality?
– A workforce of 270,000 in the US and 800,000 globally. – Vast majority working in warehouses at $15 per hour. – During this talk Jeff Bezos made an additional $9 Million dollars.
There are more important things than living and that’s saving this country.Dan Patrick – Lt. Governor of Texas – March 31, 2020
Who is your: Hero of the week and villain of the week
What technology or Diversity & Inclusion approaches do you like right now?
To learn more about Disruptive Technologies find them on their many soical media chennels listed below:
- Digital Publication: www.DisruptiveTechnologists.com
- Event Site: https://www.meetup.com/Disruptive-Technologists-in-NYC/
- LinkedIn Site: linkedin.com/in/laurenkeyson
- YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/disruptivetechs
- Facebook Site 1: https://www.facebook.com/LKeyson1
- Facebook Site 2: https://www.facebook.com/LKeyson
- Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/disruptivetechs
- LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/disruptive-technologists
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DisruptiveTechnologists
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disruptive_techs/?hl=en
The first step to any budding LGBTQ entrepreneur no matter what startup’s business may focus on it is understanding your “why”. It is important to have, acknowledge, and understand your “why.” Why is this important to you? This is vital because if you have your “why” that you believe in you are in a better position. You can push yourself through and over the hurdles that will inevitably arise. Being an entrepreneur is tough, risky, high pressure, challenging, and can often feel lonely. Your “why” becomes your mission, your passion, and your drive.
It likely will shape the products or services you offer. It can become a core part of your marketing. All great marketing is rooted in “why” and leveraging that to tell the story and connect the client/consumer with the brand and its products/services. An authentic “why” can help get others on board in the early stages to support your business venture. It becomes a tool for measuring your own definition of success and helps to keep you focused.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”Maya Angelou
Your “why” might strike you all a sudden or it may develop over time. It could be that something inspired you from your childhood. Maby you see a problem in the world and aim to be a part of creating a solution. Your “why” may have been inspired in a countless number of ways.
Questions to Ask to Get to the Heart the “Why” of Your Business
- Why do I do what I do? Or Why do I want to do this?
- What does it mean to me, my family, my life, the community, others?
- What is the purpose for me, my family, my life, the community, others?
- How can it help me, my family, my life, the community, others?
- How can will it make a difference for me, my family, my life, the community, others?
- How will it support me, my family, my life, the community, others? In what ways?
- How will make me feel fulfilled and happy?
- What are there gaps that it might be able to be a part of filling and why does that matter?
“Why” and Your Story
Your “why” can become of your company origin story being the foundation of your mission, driving your vision, and demonstrating your commitment. It can lead customers to identify with it, fall in love, and become brand champions. With businesses and consumers being overwhelmed with social media, emails, text, and more your well-crafted message has the challenge and opportunity to stand out as authentic. If your target audience sees and feels your passion, they are more likely to appreciate it, connect with it and do more than become a client/customer to becoming a valued brand champion sharing it with all they know.
Your “Why” is Not Money
Well, technically it could be money, such as the desire to help LGBTQ people with their personal finances like my buddies at The Dept Free Guys. Their branding has their “why” message clearly throughout. John and David were $50,000 in dept. They made a plan and became debt-free. They want to help others do the same.
A true “why” is not “I want to get rich“. Businesses rarely make profits right away, so the dream of money alone will not be reason enough to see it through. Could your “why” lead to financial gain, comfort, and success as you define it? Sure. Amazing if it does. Naturally, as you build your business plan and start executing on making it a reality you’ll set targets.
On a pure financial front, maybe your “way” is simply so that you can support yourself and your family while being your own boss. That is perfectly fine. There are lots of entrepreneur ventures matched with your skills than can if well executed fulfill that worthy “why”. Maybe a franchise would be a good fit with a business model, suppliers, and marketing pretty much done for you. But if its a mindset of only greed and to hell with anyone or anything else, you will likely live a miserable life doing crap you really don’t enjoy and feel zero personal satisfaction doing it regardless of the money. Money cannot buy true happiness.
Surround Yourself with Support
It is often said, and I wholeheartedly believe, that no matter if you are an entrepreneur or building your professional career, you must surround yourself with likeminded people who support your vision and lift you up even if they don’t totally understand it right now. That support can be in person or even online. Ideally, you will have also have one or more mentors who can guide you as well as hold you accountable to reach the heights of what your “why” can contribute to yourself, the community, and those your serve.
Having your immediate and extended family support can be helpful. As LGBTQ persons sometimes that is not a reality due to homophia and learned biases. But if you are one of the lucky ones that you being LGBTQ does not negatively affect your personal family relationship, they also can support you in your entrepreneur startup vision. This support might be that they just lend an ear when you need to talk or it could be that they are the first finanical investors in your business.
I and most industry leaders believe that having a life partner who supports your entrepreneurial interests is vital to your potential success. You are taking a huge risk, will have sleepless nights, likely work long hours, and may have financial ups and downs. If your life-partner doesn’t fully support you, it WILL strain the relationship. As early as appropriate, start the dialog with your life-partner about your ideas. Does that person support you and have as best as possible an understanding of all the risks, challenges, and commitment involved? If so, GREAT! Be sure along your journey that you keep the lines of communication open so they are part of your journey and sense when you need that extra effort from them.
A personal Note
My ex-husband was not very supportive of my entrepreneurial drive. He was more comfortable with the illusion of stability working for someone else, commuting every day to an office, and sitting in a cubicle. We got into many heated discussions over the topic. He had a difficult time understanding that my entrepreneurial drive is at the foundation of who I am. The best years of our relationship were when I did business travel 50-80% but was also miserable due to that. So, for many reasons after 17 years we parted ways and divorced – now 3 years ago. I’ve been single since and hope to eventually stumble upon a life-partner that supports, challenges, balances, and compliments me – and me him.
Friends – Supportive, Negotiate and Edit
This also goes for people you consider friends. As you start and work to grow our business, as mentioned you may be working long and irregular hours. You’ll likely often be stressed out. You may have financial struggles. Are your friends really your friends? Are they there for you as best they can be or are they superficial who will complain when you are no longer as accessible or don’t have the time or funds to join them all the time for activities like you might have before? If you value that person, at the first sign of them being frankly clueless and/or selfish, schedule a time to have an honest conversation. Then time will tell if they are a supportive friend or not. If need be for those that prove to be superficial as quickly and kindly as possible either edit them out completely or move them to the occasional acquaintance category.
It is perfectly fine if a friend doesn’t understand your business or why you work so much. But a good friend will strive to understand that it is important to you and be there when you are able to hit the beach, go out dancing, go on a hike or bike ride, and also lend an ear when you need someone to talk to.
Seek Out Other Entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur it is a great idea to build a network other entrepreneurs who do get you and what you are going through. They might also be a great resource to bounce ideas off of. They could be a good barter partner for services your business needs and referral source. They can be a great business and community resources. They can become great personal friends. And who knows, if the timing is right a mutual attraction, who knows maybe become a life partner. Who better to understand your and your entrepreneur’s journey than another entrepreneur?
Your “Why” Is Your Strength
When you boil down to your “why” it will give you strength. When you whole-heartedly believe in your message and your mission it’s easy to stop feeling self-conscious and just do it! You, like me, have something more important than your own insecurities to share. Your audience, customers, clients, constituents, employees, members, life-partner, family, friends, and the community, need you to shake away the clutter, identify and live your why and be as awesome, amazing, inspiring, and as kick-ass as you can be. They deserve it. You deserve it. You have the potential to be a great LGBTQ entrepreneur but they’ll never know it if you don’t step up, own it, and grow into your “why’s” potential. Plan don’t get stifled in thinking perfection is needed before starting. Most entrepreneurs, if honest, learn as they grow, and grow as they learn. Your first step is “why”.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer entrepreneurs often struggle well beyond their heterosexual start-up counterparts in many areas of business. One, in particular, is raising funding in the form of venture capital and operational working capital funding to launch and grow their business. Most businesses will need to apply for some sort of working capital during their lifetime. Traditional loans are not always an option to many LGBT business owners due to the lengthy paperwork required and strict rules and guidelines, and discrimination from the staff of traditional VCs/Banks/Leading Companies/Financial Institutions who have historically favored heterosexual white males. Progress towards diversity in entrepreneur funding is happening, yet continues to be slow.
Several financial companies and organizations have stepped up to aid LGBT entrepreneurs in acquiring the capital they need to see their vision to reality and continue its growth trajectory.
We’d like to consider this an active and growing list. If you are aware of a company or organization that providing funding and capital targeting the LGBT entrepreneur, we’d appreciate you using the Contact Us form and provide a link to their primary website so that we may review their info and potentially add them the resource list below.
If you contact any of the below, we’d greatly appreciate it if you would let them that you learned about them here on OutBüro.
LGBT Venture Capital Funding
Note: this site does not have SSL active, yet still live.
We’re out to change the world of business finance! Founded by LGBT with a focus on LGBT and other minorities.
Diversity Fund is a new business finance platform that unites rewards, lending, and equity finance provides sophisticated tools for investors to evaluate each deal and company and is fun and engaging for everyone!
Through Diversity Fund, an entirely new generation of entrepreneurs can finance their venture or expansion by immediately reaching thousands of potential investors who support their goals. Diversity Fund opens the world of business finance to entirely new sets of entrepreneurs and investors and leverages crowdfunding to even the playing field to the rest of us. Founded in Austin, Texas, Diversity Fund seeks to become a leader of small business finance and a trusted source for both entrepreneurs and investors. We’re excited about Diversity Fund and hope you are too. Be sure to register, so that we can send you information and news. Also, subscribe to our e-newsletter and check out our social links for more!
Less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to women, People of Color, and LGBT founders. Other VCs see this as a pipeline problem. We see it as the biggest opportunity in investment.
Backstage Capital has invested more than $4M+ in over 80 companies led by underrepresented founders. Backstage Capital is backed by Anthemis Group who at its foundation is dedicated to diversity.
3. LGBT CAPITAL
LGBT Capital was established in 2010 with a focus on the LGBT Consumer segment as a credible investment sector and to demonstrate the business case for advancements in LGBT equality and inclusion.
Since then and to support these aims, LGBT Capital has pioneered the development of an LGBT Diversity Investment Index with a complementary Institutional Investment methodology, developed Statistics and Research to demonstrate the potential of the LGBT Consumer Sector, and launched the first international specialist LGBT Wealth Management offering as well as an LGBT focussed Property Portal. LGBT Capital also works with a number of quality LGBT focused businesses to support their investment plans and growth.
LGBT Capital’s portfolio is guided by a primary focus on a sound business opportunity while actively supporting the advancement of LGBT Equality and Rights globally We prefer to work closely with clients and partners towards achievable goals. We will advise, but prefer to help structure, implement and execute. We believe in the power of Impact Investing and in particular that Impact Investing can support the progression of LGBT freedoms and inclusion globally. We also believe that the growth of quality LGBT businesses, particularly in developing markets, will play a key part in further developing LGBT freedoms and quality of life.
Formerly known as Google Ventures, GV was launched in 2009 to serve as the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. Since then, it’s invested in over 300 startups within the life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cybersecurity, and agriculture industries. Some of these startups include Walker and Company, Tala, and Vida.
Google Ventures is very open to exploring relationships of entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.
We believe in the power of spending time together face to face. Whether we’re hosting a summer BBQ, celebrating Pride, or playing softball, you’ll find us with our portfolio founders and their teams.
Startup52X is focused on grooming extraordinary startup founders to launch highly successful and profitable ventures. We especially like teams that have at least ONE founder from underrepresented communities in tech. These include people of color, women, entrepreneurs who are – veterans, with disabilities, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc. We hope to increase diversity in startup and tech spaces while launching outstanding ventures.
Startup52 is an early-stage accelerator based in New York City. As the first sole diversity-focused accelerator in NYC, Startup52 was founded by Chike Ukaegbu to identify and groom outstanding entrepreneurs, especially those from untapped and under-tapped communities. Our main goal is to increase diversity in startup and tech spaces.
We run two cohorts a year with up to 15 outstanding ventures per class. Startup52’s ecosystem of partners, mentors, advisers, industry experts, investors and more, helps our ventures and founders thrive well even under the daunting challenges of startup entrepreneurship.
Our program follows an intensive structure that implements strategy aimed at uniquely helping startups develop an effective framework for decision making in focusing, aligning, executing and delivering against strategic adaptive and growth initiatives. This, we hope will lead to launch, longevity, and successful exits.
Our community of mentors, advisers, experts, serial entrepreneurs and more, are successful people, who have sold businesses, held executive positions at large companies, have advanced degrees from ivy league schools, are current entrepreneurs, among other great accomplishments.
AngelList is a U.S. website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. Created in 2010, the platform has a mission to democratize the investment process and to help startups with their challenges in fundraising and talent. It started as an online introduction board for tech startups that needed seed funding. Since 2015, the site allows startups to raise money from angel investors free of charge.
The LGBT Market on AngelList is a resource to consider. Companies listed include HER and HORNET along around 150 other LGBT entrepreneur-owned businesses and worth investigating as a potential venue for exposure to angel investors
Connectivity Capital Partners is a venture capital firm that funds early-stage startups. Through the efforts of its Chief Investment Officer, Denmark West, the firm advocates for diversity in technology by supporting extraordinary startup founders regardless of their background.
As an LGBT entrepreneur, you are a champion of your brand. With Republic you can create a crowdfunding campaign that does more than attract small investors – it aids in creating brand ambassadors. Not LGBT specific as a platform, yet via your network and the compounded social influence that has you can spread your fundraising efforts to the audience of your making coupled with an active investor pool of 350,000 current members. In May 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enacted Title III of the JOBS Act, allowing non-accredited investors — the majority of the US population — to invest in startups. But the complicated legal requirements demanded a founder and investor-friendly, easy to use platform to make startup investing truly accessible while adhering to legal requirements so that it is an ethical safe space to invest from within.
That’s why we built Republic: to democratize investing and level out the fundraising landscape for founders and investors alike. We’re SEC-registered, FINRA-licensed, and if you’re at all interested in startups, you’ve heard of our past work: Republic is part of a family of startup platforms together with AngelList, Product Hunt, and CoinList — one of the most trusted online startup ecosystems in the world.
Gaingels is a profit-focused, mission-based affinity organization (a networking group of investors) which offers venture-stage investment opportunities into companies worldwide that have at least one LGBT founder, senior C-level executive, or board member.
Our members put great effort into assisting the companies we invest in. In turn, exceptional founders seek out this type of assistance to produce strong returns.
We also invest directly in venture funds, accelerator partners, and charity partnerships, including our own scholarship and mentoring program.
Announcing the Diversity Initiative, the largest venture capital resource ever created to focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs. This $125M commitment, part of Intel’s groundbreaking diversity efforts, will ensure that funded entrepreneurs enjoy the access to business development programs, global network, technology expertise and brand capital their talents deserve. Focusing on both the seed-stage and expansion phases, Intel Capital – Diversity Fund invests in technology, environmental or social mission driving startups, and must be within the U.S.
In June 2015, Intel Capital announced the venture industry’s largest-ever commitment to invest in technology companies led by women and underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans).
Initially envisioned as a five-year, $125 million fund, the Intel Capital Diversity Initiative was expanded in October 2016 to also invest in startups led by entrepreneurs living with disabilities, U.S.-based entrepreneurs from the LGBTQ community, and U.S. military veterans.
In May 2018, Intel Capital announced that the Diversity initiative had exceeded its initial $125 million investment target more than two years ahead of schedule. Through September 2019, we have invested $381M in companies led by diverse teams; such companies make up 15 percent of our active portfolio.
500’s mission is to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems.
We believe that great founders come in all shades, genders, and nationalities.
Since our inception, we’ve made it our mission to find and empower talented founders, whether they’re across the world or overlooked in our own backyard.
Diversity has always been a core value at 500. We’re committed to being champions of the global VC community, not as it is, but as we’d like to see it.
At 500, we don’t just slap a poster on the wall about diversity – we know that LGBT founders, mentors, and investors are a huge part of what makes our #500Strong family so great. In 2014, we even launched Rainbow Round to highlight great entrepreneurs and do more community outreach.
If you have a socially responsible business model, Pipeline is a great start. Business owners can pitch to a network of women investors through pitch summits which happen several times throughout the year in various locations. To be eligible, businesses must be for-profit, headed by a cis female, non-binary femme or transgender woman. Our members serve as the friends and family for entrepreneurs who may not already have support at their critical startup stage.
DigitalUndivided understands that cultural, structural, and financial barriers have functioned to restrict the involvement of people of color in economic chances. But, black and Latina women are the fastest-growing set of entrepreneurs in the USA. BIG is more than an incubator- it’s a direct pathway into the innovation economy for women of color. The BIG process begins with START, an invite-only weekend of ideation, pitching, feedback, and networking. From this weekend, we chose the cohort of the BIG Incubator
Self admittedly, this is an investment portfolio that happens to take on minorities, not as a mission, but as a matter of good business as discussed in his short article here >> How to build a successful and diverse venture capital portfolio without really trying Brooklyn Bridge Ventures manages $23 million across two funds, leading or co-leading investments of around $350,000 in New York City companies that have yet to raise $750,000 in prior rounds. BBV is the first venture capital fund based in Brooklyn, NY and it is managed by Charlie O’Donnell. Conversations often start pre-product and pre-deck. The fund invests in a wide variety of sectors, so say hello.
15. Kapor Capital
Kapor Capital invests in tech-driven seed stage companies committed to closing gaps of access, opportunity or outcome for low-income communities and/or minority underrepresented communities in the United States. We are open to investing in every sector, including education, work, finance, justice, food, and health.
We have invested exclusively in companies that have real potential to produce both significant financial returns and large-scale social impact by:
- closing gaps of access to information or goods and services; and/or
- expanding economic opportunity in the workplace and the marketplace; and/or
- increasing outcomes such as efficiency and competitiveness of market-based solutions to social and economic issues.
We seek entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, especially people of color, women and other groups that have been historically underrepresented. We believe lived experience helps entrepreneurs identify rapidly-scalable, market-based solutions others have overlooked.
They construct Hispanic and Minority company success stories by giving experience for early-stage companies. They supply mentorship, strategic guidance, and technical assistance. They focus particularly on first-time entrepreneurs and first-time small business owners.
17. Astia Angels
Astia was founded in Silicon Valley in 1999 as a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying and promoting best-in-class, high-growth ventures that include women leaders.
Astia levels the investment playing field by cultivating a trusted global ecosystem of engaged male and female investors and advisors, who offer crucial resources, including capital, networks, and expertise. Unlike most VC’s, investment firms, or accelerators, Astia provides a creative, proven approach that contributes to the success of women leaders and their ventures.
Collaborative Fund Partners, LLC, is a social impact and inclusion investment firm. CFP exists to “do well by doing good.” Through a multi-company investment approach, CFP is able to minimize placement risk, where most early-stage funds have failed in the past. By becoming directly involved in each company, CFP is able to maintain a quality control position with the management team and the use of funds needed to take each company into revenue and profitability.
Collaborative Fund Partners, LLC generates capital appreciation through investments in its portfolio companies that meet the Fund’s investment policies. The Fund will seek to fulfill its primary investment objective by making investments in early-stage companies that require additional equity and/or working capital in order to establish or expand their businesses
Founded in 2011 by Angela Benton, NewME has accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs through our online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators, and equity portfolio. We pioneered diversity in Silicon Valley by focusing on helping entrepreneurs identify strengths from their non-traditional backgrounds and leveraging them in business. We’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build better businesses some have even went on to raise venture capital funding. To-date NewME has helped minority entrepreneurs raise over $43MM in funding.
Mariah Lichtenstern’s background of building bridges between the privilege with those that are not prompted her to found Diversecity Ventures. Its focus is to invest in startups that not only aims to make a socio-economic and environmental impact but, more importantly, those that strive to promote cultural, geographic and cultural diversity.
21. Reach Capital
Co-founded by Shauntel Poulson, Reach Capital is a venture capital firm that aims to support minority-led startups striving to help underserved communities in the country, particularly in the field of education. We invest in education because we believe itʼs our most valuable resource. It has the power to influence our course, contribute to our dreams and strengthen our communities. We invest in the people we believe in and the ideas we want to help build. Whether we are your sole investor or one of the many partners along your journey, we’ll always be there, ready to go to bat for you when necessary.
Black Angel Tech Fund was started by a group of successful Black entrepreneurs and angel investors after a thought-provoking panel about the lack of Black startup founders during the 2015 Stanford Black Alumni Summit. Since then, they have taken up the cause to use financial resources from successful African-Americans to support Black-owned startups. If you are LGBTQ and also happen to be African American, this VC may have interest in you.
Digitalundivided was founded by Kathryn Finney in 2012. Its mission is to champion Black- and Latinx-owned startups, by providing financial support and sound advice that will not only help launch these startups but also scale. If you are LGBTQ and also happen to be African American or Latinx, this VC may have interest in you.
DID continues to expand it’s impact and create true systems change through initiatives like The Doonie Fund, which has made over 1000 micro-investments in black women entrepreneurs and the expanded START program, which serves as an entry way for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs into high growth entrepreneurship.
Project Diane 2020 is set to be released in Fall 2020 and while financial impact remains a central focus, 2020 data will spotlight community impact and what it truly means to be “self-made” in the tech and innovation space.
24. KEC Ventures
Based in New York City, KEC Ventures was founded by entrepreneurs from different ethnic backgrounds and industries. This unique blend of leadership gives KEC Ventures the ability to discover and support early-stage startups founded by entrepreneurs belonging to minority groups.
We help entrepreneurs bring the future into focus to find their breakthrough moment. Our proven track record of 100+ investments has unlocked growth opportunities through capital, advisement, and relationship building. We are the result of the merger between successful Los Angeles and Bay Area based Seed funds, Cross Culture Ventures and M Ventures. We invest in technology companies that create infectious products that benefit from shifts in cultural trends and behaviors in an increasingly diverse global marketplace.
Based in New York, Harlem Capital Partners (HCP) is a venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage, minority-owned startups. Its mission is to invest in 1,000 of these types of startups within the next 20 years, with half of these being women- and minority-owned startups. HCP focuses its investments towards startups that aim to enhance financial, marketing, and operational experiences. As a solution to this challenge, HCP partners with entrepreneurs who have revenue-generating tech-enabled products or services that can leverage our financial, marketing and operational experiences to implement key processes to go from selling products to running a sustainable business.
27. Dreamit Ventures
Dreamit Ventures prides itself not only one of America’s top startup accelerators but also a catalyst of diversifying startup ownership in the country, particularly those that focus on developing Health and Urban Tech solutions.
Its partnership with Comcast Ventures aims to provide financial support and mentorship to minority-owned startups with ready-made products to help them scale through their Dreamit Access program.
28. Humble Ventures
Since it was founded, Humble Ventures has invested in 47 different startups, 70% of which are those established by women and entrepreneurs belonging to minority groups. These theCut, The Mentor Method, and KweliTV. Humble Ventures’ goal is to bring to innovative startups collective human, financial, and technical resources for them to launch and scale.
We focus on diverse entrepreneurs that are solving problems for the fastest growing demographic segments. We believe that diverse entrepreneurs provide opportunities for disproportionate returns and represent the markets of the future. We know that diverse audiences are tied inextricably to the future of cities. These audiences require responsive healthcare, access to wholesome food, economic stability, education, safe neighborhoods, and tight social support to create an environments for them to thrive.
Founders First Capital Partners is a venture capital firm founded by Kim Folsom with the goal of providing capital and support to startups owned by women, entrepreneurs from minority groups, and military veterans.
We fund service-based companies generating between $250K and $5M in annual revenues typically led by minority, military veterans, or woman founders. We offer Revenue-based investment (“RBI”), a new form of business financing, distinct from the preferred equity structure most VCs use and more flexible than traditional bank debt.
Its goal is to help startup founders not just launch a successful business, but also one that can be carried from one generation to another.
30. Valmo Ventures
Valmo Ventures is a venture capital firm founded by Valerie Mosley, a successful entrepreneur who’s made it her mission to help under-represented startup founders grow both their self-worth and net worth.
In line with this, Valmo Ventures’ mission is to create, advise, and partner with startups to transform them into valuable and profitable assets to society as a whole. Valmo Ventures creates, collaborates, and invests in companies, assets, and efforts that add value to portfolio returns and add value to our society. We believe that when we advise, invest in, and collaborate with bright, like-minded, and like-hearted individuals, extraordinary results are possible.
31. Base Ventures
While Base Ventures is still a relatively young venture capital firm, it’s already making a mark as far as bridging the gender, and ethnic gap observed among startups in the country. Already, it has raised multi-million dollar funding for startups like StyleSeat and Balanced Payments.
Much of the success of Base Ventures is owed to its founder and Managing Director, Erik Moore. A seed investor of Zappos.com, Moore is recognized as one of the top 25 Most Influential Black in Tech and is driven by his desire to change the world by investing in young entrepreneurs.
Precursor Ventures is a venture capital firm that provides funding to pre-seed startups developing B2B and B2C software applications and services, and connected hardware. Although it’s one of the lesser-known firms, Precursor Ventures has willingly taken on the mission to ensure startup founder from diverse backgrounds are given equal opportunity to receive funding to grow and scale their businesses.
Precursor Ventures was founded with one simple premise. It is our belief that all entrepreneurs, regardless of background, benefit from having an institutional investor to help them scale and grow their company from the very beginning. We have built the entire firm around this premise that helping entrepreneurs get started and scale will be our life’s work. To that end, we have six core principles that drive our decisions and strategy:
We want to invest in your first institutional round of investment. We do not have requirements for traction or metrics. We want to be part of the company as early as possible. We are unafraid to back unproven, first-time entrepreneurs; unproven is not the same as incapable. We believe that the greatest returns in venture come from entrepreneurs who are capable but have not yet had the opportunity to show the world their talents and capabilities. We aggressively back entrepreneurs who have something to prove. We hold ourselves to high standards in terms of the diversity of founders we back and support. We are committed to investing in founders who represent a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of gender, race, background, academic experience and life circumstances. We are patient because building meaningful companies takes time and the rewards are great for those who participate in the entire journey. Building great companies takes time. There are no shortcuts and we know that the journey will be long but the rewards are worthwhile. We focus on long-term thinking. We value intellectual curiosity and open thinking. The best companies are built by curious founders who question everything and are open to thinking about new ways to tackle problems. We invest in early-stage companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and Toronto. We are willing to consider other geographies, but we focus our energy in these locations.
No Equity Lending and Cash Flow Funding
Excel Capital Management is a proud supporter of the LGBT community, and we are here to help with all of your business funding needs! For more information on Excel and the funding solutions we offer, check out our Solutions page and APPLY NOW! For even faster service, contact one of our funding specialists TODAY at 877-880-8086
34. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo a national leading small business lender for eleven years and they are dedicated to supporting the business needs of the LGBT entrepreneur client community. This dedication includes being a founding corporate partner of National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and strong support for LGBT inclusion with their LGBT clients and their employees. As an employer, Wells Fargo fosters a culture in which all people and their individual differences are not only accepted but celebrated. If you’re an LGBTQ+ employee of Wells Fargo rate them here.
Being an entrepreneur is never easy. But so worth it. You can make inroads to attaining your entrepreneurial goals. Be smart about who you partner with for funding. It will be a long-lasting relationship not to be taken lightly.
Bear in mind there is not any failure, only feedback. Remember that there are organizations and persons which are pushing for diversity and that encourage LGBTQ and other diversity entrepreneurs. One such organization is the National Venture Capital Association who has listed over 40 venture funds dedicated to diversity. We are still reviewing all those companies to validate they are worthy of including in this list in a future update.
We are facing unprecedented times, and the world may not look the same when we come out on the other side. But we will come out on the other side.
True entrepreneurs understand that opportunities are embedded crisis. You may have already been dreaming of business ownership or found yourself in an unanticipated career transition, but now could be the perfect time to make the decision to regain control of your financial future. We’ve already seen a shift in “essential” industries. We are all re-learning the value in sanitation and respect for senior citizens.
Entrepreneurship in the time of COVID-19 doesn’t just mean selling face masks (though we truly appreciate those). If opening a business to help rebuild the country’s spirit and enhance our found-again values aligns with your entrepreneurial dreams, then the right franchise could be your ticket to career freedom.
This crisis will end
Whether it ends in a few weeks or a few months, there will be life after lockdown. You’re taking precautions to make it through the pandemic, so why not take precautions to set yourself up for success after it? The journey to business ownership isn’t a fast one. In fact, the process of researching franchises to being awarded one can take between 8-16 weeks. The decision to embark on this path isn’t a purchase decision, but rather an education and timing decision.
At the end of this road, there will be business casualties. But rather than letting fear of that dead-end keep you from opening your own business, take advantage of it. Lean into the presented opportunities of prime retail space, a motivated workforce, and hungry consumers ready to resume life outside their own 4 walls.
You have support
You’ve received an email from a business or two (or ten) reminding you to support your local businesses. You could own one of those local businesses.
We acknowledge that sounds overly simple and is not intended to discount the hardships encountered over the past month. You’ve seen businesses forced to close. You’ve witnessed friends experience layoffs. You yourself may be a casualty of the economic times. We don’t say this to make light of your personal situation, whatever it may be. We say this to motivate. Humans are resilient and determined and come together most during hardship. As of right now, there are millions of Americans rallying to support each other. To support you.
In addition to the communities rallying to support local businesses, state and federal governments are falling over themselves to pass laws to increase the cash flow for businesses. They have already passed the unprecedented $2 trillion CARES relief act, with more money to follow. Also, the “Impact For Small Business Act“ has secured an additional $50 Billion in SBA funding for the remainder of 2020 alone*. SBA rates are currently extremely low, with additional incentives as well, making it an ideal time to explore funding.
Have Questions? Let’s Chat
Uncover Your Next Step with Franchise Connect Pro
It’s our passion to link professionals to a franchise perfect for them. As a Certified Franchise Consultant, I am passionate about helping everyone, including LGBTQ entrepreneur, find their best business opportunity match.
For insight on your next step, feel free to give me a call at 770-366-0715, send an email to [email protected], connect with me here on OutBüro, and/or check out our website to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and more.
We look forward to assisting you. Stay safe, healthy, and motivated!
*as of the time of article publishing
We’ve all been there—a tough day on the job that makes us eager for a new opportunity. Those periods at work can be frustrating, leading our minds to wander, longing for the American dream. Whether you’re stuck in a cycle of routinely sifting through job openings or you’ve just come to the conclusion that you need a fresh start, the idea of becoming your own boss is a refreshing thought. It’s common and OK to be dissatisfied with corporate America, feeling like you’re meant for so much more. You are reading this so YOU ARE MEANT FOR MORE. Own that, explore your options and take action toward making a change. A new opportunity might be on the horizon for you if you see it and seize it. So let’s explore the reality of opening a small business and how a Franchise Consultant can help guide you to a successful investment of your time and resources and if an established proven business model cutting your startup learning curve and increasing your chances of business startup sucess is right for you .
A great reason to start your own business is a recent study found that even being perceived as LGBTQ can impact your ability to get hired, get promoted and even if hired the salary the employer decides you are worth is typically less than what they’d offer a perceived heterosexual.
America has an estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners as innovators, job creators, taxpayers, and providers of essential services that benefit our entire society. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender business owners are a vibrant, essential part of the small business engine that makes the U.S. economy run. That is why Franchise Connect Pro has partnered with OutBüro to help bring awareness and opportunities to the LGBTQ community.
Why owning a franchise may be the right choice for you
The truth about starting a small business
Many people looking to make a professional transition turn to starting their own business. Those who start a brand-new business offer unique products and services to the market, but the advantages of being an entrepreneur are usually exceeded by an overwhelming number of financial woes and time constraints.
While we definitely admire the drive and passion needed to start your own business, this might not be the most fruitful avenue for you, as shown in these facts of the reality of starting a small business:
- Nearly 50% of new businesses close their doors after five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Less than half of small businesses are profitable, according to Small Business Trends.
- Entrepreneurs typically work odd hours, exceeding 40 hours per week, according to Business News Daily.
Starting a small business might not be a practical option for you to invest your time and resources into, but there is thankfully another way: franchise ownership.
Investing in a Franchise
With a successful model and established brand in place, aspiring business owners can find success by becoming franchisees. Not only is franchise ownership successful in terms of finances in many cases, but it is also beneficial for your overall happiness and satisfaction with your career, as shown in these stats as reported by Small Business Trends.
- 90% of franchise owners enjoy their business, and 85% positively support their franchisor.
- Nearly 75% of franchisees would choose this path again if given the option.
- Nearly 80% of franchise owners would recommend franchising with their brand to others.
If you’re a pizza lover, then you might think that owning a nationally recognized pizza chain will be the perfect opportunity for you, but that isn’t always the case. Your professional strengths and desires might be calling you to own a business in a different industry. Guidance in finding the perfect brand is where a Franchise Consultant can help.
Making the Right Choice: Working with a Franchise Consultant
Your next step should not be a guessing game. Owning a franchise will be an investment of your time and money. When working alongside a Franchise Consultant, you’ll get intuitive advice and insight on what option is best for you and your family, factoring in your ideal schedule, income, and industry. A Franchise Consultant will carefully contemplate and evaluate your drive and passion, taking into consideration factors such as when you want to work, where you want to work, and what line of business you want to be in.
Pairing you with a franchise that’s the best match for your personal and professional needs, a Franchise Consultant will work alongside you to make the most of your next career path. And, much like working with a realtor to shop for a new home, working with a Franchise Consultant is no cost to you!
Have Questions? Let’s Chat
Uncover Your Next Step with Franchise Connect Pro
It is our passion to link LGBTQ professionals to a franchise business opportunities perfect for them. As a Certified Franchise Consultants, we are passionate about helping people like you find their best match and increase your chances of business sucess through established business models and brand with recognition.
To explore your next step, give me a call at 770-366-0715 or send me a message here on OutBüro. Connect with me on LinkedIn and check out the Franchise Connect Pro website to stay up to date with the latest trends and more.
As an LGBTQ entrepreneur with startup business should a competitor analysis to help you launch, remain focused, grow, adapt and own your market.
There are an estimated 1.4 million LGBTQ businesses total in the United States, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. As LGBTQ business owners we can face challenges others do not, Some of these include disclosing their sexuality to their angel and venture capital investors, traditional loan officers, staff, co-workers and customers, landlords perhaps, and being a victim of harassment and discrimination based on who they are. This could be an outright blatant, conscious yet not visible and simple unconscious bias of others.
Why bother? I know what I’m doing.
There are many things a LGBTQ entrepreneur with startup business should have to help them launch, remain focused and grow including a business plan, a clear understanding of your target audience, a clear mission & vision, general marketing, great content marketing in all forms and clear understanding of the direct and indirect competition to become the front runner in the competitive landscape you are trying to grow your business in.
Completing a competitive analysis will help you to better understand your industry market trends, identify your competitors, evaluate opportunities, analyze threats to your business or organization, adjust your go-to-market and positioning strategy accordingly. Looking at our competitors analytically uncovers what works and doesn’t work. It helps you find that golden nugget of how to differentiate yourself in the market. Unknowingly they are essentially being a mentor to you and your startup.
So, let’s get growing your LGBTQ owned business so you can create job opportunities for others and grow your personal financial freedom and hopefully give support to the great LGBTQ non-profits supporting our community.
How Gay is This?
Now is creating such documents uniquely GAY? Of course not. Your sexual orientation does not play a role in the mechanics of creating a business plan or doing competitive analysis. However, the individual(s) who are LGBTQ entrepreneurs can face challenges their heteronomative competitors may not. There is little entrepreneur content out there that is LGBTQ centric – so we are helping to create it and OutBüro is a publishing platform for you to add to the collective knowledge and resources via posting your own articles. It can be leveraged as marketing your knowledge, skills, products, and services targeting predominantly LGBTQ professionals and other entrepreneurs.
Perceived Competitor Maybe Synergy
I’d also like to add that we’d love to think that everyone in the LGBTQ community is open, welcoming and supportive of all other LGBTQ. That sadly is not the case. In business, it is the same. You may have other LGBTQ businesses and even non-profits view your business as a competitor. Maybe you are. Maybe there’s some overlap of products and services yet the majority is different. Unfortunately, even if another LGBTQ owned business or non-profit perceives you are in some way and scope encroaching on what they believe to be their domain – you are their competitor. So you might as well do a competitive analysis on them to better understand their mindset. Maybe you are a competitor. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to partner. After having done your homework, if they accept a call/meeting with you, you would be able to clearly articulate the synergies and joint opportunities and dispell their assumptions and maybe a partnership would improve both companies/organizations.
Get the OutBüro Competitive Analysis Worksheet
Get the OutBüro LGBTQ Business Owners Competitive Analysis Worksheet in Excel spreadsheet format. Click the image to download it now so you may reference it as you continue reading this resource article.
Competitive Strategy Benefits
Your competitors can come in many forms depending on the type of business you have. Maybe you are a dentist opening an office in an underserved community. It’s a potential that a medical non-profit serving that area could view you as a competitor since their funding may be based on numbers served.
Your competitors have likely been operating for a while. They have clients/customers and therefore making money. Those clients/customers to some degree like them, find value in them and respect them. No matter if you are opening a new local ice cream shop, bar, legal office, dentist office, or launching a potential industry disruptive technology, in all cases, you must understand your real and perceived competitors to ensure:
- What they’re doing better than you right now so that you can strive to do it better?
- What are their marketing strategies and tactics that seem to be working>?
- What mistakes in your humble opinion or that’s been publically reported that you can strive to avoid and possibly capitalize on?
- Don’t be modest here. What do you believe you are doing better? How are you different? Leverage these in your marketing.
Competitor as a Mentor
Well, most competitors won’t sit down over coffee and share their entrepreneur journey or provide business advice to help you not make the mistakes they have made. But they have achieved, to a level of success, what you strive for serving a similar target audience. Think like that, they’d make the great mentor. You still can learn a lot from what you can observe through completing a competitive analysis.
Even just one insight into how your competitor operates can give you great ideas. But after a full competitive analysis, all the gathered can drive your competitive strategy.
Who are your competitors?
There are two kinds of competitors to consider:
Companies/organizations who have similar products or services – i.e. McDonald’s and Wendy’s
Companies/organizations that have different products or services but who compete for the same dollar – i.e. McDonald’s and Papa John’s Pizza
Consider the example of Hulu. They don’t just compete with other streaming services, they compete with movie theaters, cable TV, YouTube. They are competing for your couch time. So the gym, social events, social media, and gaming could all be considered competition. Focus on your direct competitors first and then expand to consider indirect competitors too.
Questions while completing a competitor analysis
Starting off with the big questions like:
- Who are the major players serving this market?
- Use internet searches and other resources to locate them for the geographic area you intend to cover
- How is the market split up between them?
- If there aren’t reports, you might find their revenue reported on their website, or in articles and lastly, you might find the company tax reports.
Next go a little deeper, with more specific questions like:
- How does the market think about these competitors?
- Check out online reviews. Search for articles online.
- What is their target demographic? Do they market to a target age group or income level? If B2B what size and kind of company is their ideal client/customer?
- What sort of experience are they offering?
- If a physical location, check out their office/store. Interact with employees. How is their customer service?
- If they offer professional services such as consulting, check out their employee profiles on sites like LinkedIn. To be a real sleuth, create a temporary account so the competitor employees don’t see that it’s you checking them out.
- How does their product or service look and feel? How does it work?
- If local, check them out. If online and you’d like to sign up for their email marketing newsletters and maybe have a sales discussion including a product demo then again being a sleuth, use a pseudo name (i.e. John Smith), create a new Gmail email account, get a Google Voice phone number to use.
- How are they delivering?
- What do they charge? How do customers order? What reviews do they get?
- Search, search and then search more.
Along the way keep asking if your business can differentiate itself in some way.
Identify competitor strengths and weaknesses
You’ll begin to see which ones will challenge you most as you learn more about your competitors. They might be in your region, or they might target the exact same market segment as you. List the strengths and weaknesses of these competitors.
Strengths might include things like:
- huge brand awareness – they’ve been around forever and people trust them
- great distribution – they’re in all kinds of shops, all over the place
- really good networks – they’ve built lots of great relationships with buyers
- low price point – It may be impossible for you to compete on the price. However, in many markets leading on price can be perceived as low quality.
Weaknesses might include things like:
- Reputation – clients/customers don’t get a thrill buying from or interacting with them
- Cheap packaging – their product packaging is not aligned with the target audience’s expectations
- Lack of depth – the competitor has remained limited in service or scope that you may offer
- Bad reviews/perception – clients/customers aren’t have left bad reviews online or you hear industry talk of clients/customers desiring an alternative
- Poor client/customer service – consumers don’t feel valued which may tie into bad reviews
- Lack of innovation – their product or service offering has not improved or evolved over time
- Poor messaging – their online and offline marketing content is dated, stale and lacks excitement.
By understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out what differentiates you – and where you fit in the
When doing a competitor analysis, it’s important to consider your advantages. There may be things about your business that others can’t replicate, like:
- Patents or licenses: Are you the only business that can produce a certain product?
- Exclusive supply arrangements: You might be the only business in your area that can sell certain products.
- Special processes: You might have a way of working that others don’t know about.
- Innovation: Maybe your product or service is an industry disruptor.
- Costs: Maybe you offer a wider service or better products at a similar cost. Again, don’t just try to be the lowest-priced offering.
- Social reach: Maybe you are good at social media and content creation to attract the attention of clients/customers/members.
- Customer Happiness: Maybe you provide such a great service/product and in all touchpoints, you and your team excel at customer service creating happy customers/clients.
It’s important to know where you have advantages like these. Leverage them in your online and offline marketing.
Do it again and again
Be sure to schedule at least every 6 months to update your competitor analysis and ask:
- Have new competitors popped up?
- How difficult would it be for a current competitor or a new company/organization to replicate you product/service and strategy? If easy, what can you do to make it more difficult?
- Have current competitors made changes to their business/organization?
- Have they improved on their weaknesses?
- Have they added new products or services?
- Have they updated their marketing?
- Have these changes affected your own competitive advantage positively or negatively? If so, adjust to the evolving market in whatever manner is most effective to regain your competitive advantage.
Start your competitor analysis today
You don’t have to have an exhaustive competitor analysis to get started. It can take weeks to complete your first version working it into your business daily and weekly schedule. But, put it on your calendar so you are to be sure to get it done with as many competitors as possible at first, even if that is only 2-5. Fill in what you can find easily and then add to it as you go to learn more. It won’t complete itself and is a vital tool to understand your competitors and ensure your product/service and marketing is on target.
GO GET ‘EM