How to Build a Great Team in Your LGBT Owned Business

Hiring the right employees is important but it’s not enough. For your business to succeed you’ll have to shape those employees into a winning team. Team building isn’t easy though, so how do you get everyone to work well together?

Understand the strengths of each individual

It’s likely that your new employees will have come from a variety of backgrounds. They’ll have different personalities and therefore different ideas about how to do their jobs. If you’re a manager, it’s important to recognize this because having a deep understanding of people is worth its weight in gold. If you can enable each employee to channel their strengths and shine in a way that benefits your business, then you’re on the right track.

Here are some tips on turning a group of individuals into a cohesive successful team that will help your business reach its full potential.

Explain your business vision

Start by setting the scene for your employees. Let them know what they’re aiming for and help them to understand the goals of your company.

  • Talk about the culture you want to build
    Plant the seeds of your business culture in your workers’ minds so it grows and flourishes. Get them excited about being part of the team and the environment.
  • Describe your future plans
    Create a vision of where your team should be, six months, a year and two years from now. Use your accounting software to draw up realistic financial forecasts and share these with your employees.
  • Explain the environment of customers, prospects and partners
    Use diagrams if necessary to show the interaction between all the people around your company.
  • Use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ when talking about your business
    It’s a common startup mistake to associate yourself with your business, but if you want your employees to feel part of a team then you’ll need to include them too.

These points will help your employees feel settled and give them a feeling for the situation in which they’re working. Once that’s done, you can start to bring out the best in them.

Get your employees involved

It’s important to quickly get your employees involved in the day-to-day running of your business. Keep them active and use their strengths to help them integrate and develop.

  • Give them tasks right away
    On the first day, your new employees should already be doing useful work. Get them engaged right from the start.
  • Challenge them
    Help your employees to push themselves. Use time lines or specific goals (with their input) for them to strive for.
  • Acknowledge their successes
    Use the carrot, not just the stick. Always reward success with praise.
  • Mentor your new hires
    Partner your new employees with someone senior on the team. The more mentoring you do, the faster your team will take shape.

Explain to your employees that the more effort they put in, the quicker the company will grow and the better their rewards will be. This could be in terms of promotion, salary and benefits.

Define roles clearly

Everyone needs to know their job – what’s expected of them and what’s not. If you don’t make this clear, the morale of your employees will suffer, and progress and efficiency will be affected.

For example, if one person is waiting for another to finish a task, but the other person doesn’t believe that task is part of their job description, progress will grind to a halt.

So be sure to update roles and task lists frequently. Then your employees will know what they’re supposed to be doing.

Consider team-building exercises

Small businesses are often fast-paced environments. That means you need to get your team working together quickly. Team-building exercises can help, but there are some important points to consider:

  • Budget carefully
    Days off work will cost you money in terms of lost productivity, plus the cost of the team-building event itself. Good accounting software will keep your accounts up to date, so you can see at a glance what you can afford.
  • Examine all the options
    Paintballing? Go-karting? Building log bridges over rivers? Ask your employees which options they might prefer, but be prepared for many different answers.
  • Don’t forget the simple things
    Something as low key as providing drinks and snacks for the last hour of a Friday afternoon might work well. Not everyone wants to crawl through undergrowth in camouflage clothing.

Recognize the value of diversity

Complementary skill sets can mean contrasting personalities. For example (as a general rule only), sales people tend to be extroverts while programmers and developers tend to be more introverted. That reflects the type of person drawn to each role and also the demands of the role itself.

Trying to ‘fix’ these differences so everyone’s the same will not work. In fact it’s likely to backfire badly. At best you’ll annoy your employees, at worst you’ll breach diversity and equality legislation.

Accept that people are different to you – maybe even very different. Race, gender, sexuality and personality differences are irrelevant. What really matters is how good people are at their jobs.

Extend your team beyond your business

Think beyond the four walls of your business premises. Your team can be more than the people you hire directly. Make the most of your outside contacts:

  • Ask guest speakers to meet with your team 
    Talks on anything from organizational psychology to technical matters can help inform your team and improve their skills.
  • Share development ideas with customers and key business partners
    If you’re gearing up for major investment, make sure your customers and business partners are ready for it. Get your staff involved with these discussions.
  • Invite customers and key partners to staff meetings
    Give them the chance to provide feedback and take questions from your team. Do this carefully to avoid giving out confidential business information.
  • Have a team coach
    Consider using the services of someone who can provide real-time feedback on how your team is working together.

Getting an outside perspective can also help prevent ‘groupthink’, where employees become subdued and unwilling to challenge the norms of your business. Keep your staff thinking positively and creatively at all times.

Let your team know that you value them

This is important and quite straightforward. You simply have to take an interest in your staff.

  • Show them you care
    Learn about things like their family, personal life or hobbies.
  • Focus on personal growth
    Think about enhancing your employees’ skill-sets and management skills. Know their career goals and help them get there.
  • Invest in your employees
    Give them the support and tools they need to be successful. This could include things like a healthy working environment, a supportive team or the right software or technical equipment.
  • Celebrate the little victories!
    Reward every success, no matter how small it might seem. The goodwill generated will pay you back many times over.
  • Be positive and stay positive
    Don’t lose your cool or lose control, as that will set a bad impression and affect morale.

Identify problems early

You may have people who are having (or causing) problems in your organization. The reasons for this might include issues with their home life, financial problems, or other personal hardships.

In this situation you must tread carefully and follow all local laws, especially those relating to privacy and employment rights. Seek professional advice if necessary.

Sometimes people just won’t fit into your culture, which is again why making the right employee choice is so important. Firing people should be a last resort if you’ve tried every other option including third-party mediation services and verbal and written warnings. Be sure to follow local legislation if you’re forced to take this option.

Understand negative team dynamics

There are other influences that can prevent a team from becoming successful. These include:

  • Unwillingness to change
    A fixed mindset, for example: “But we’ve always done it this way.”
  • Inability to work together
    Usually due to personality clashes. Resolving these is one of the hardest tasks for management.
  • Too many individual projects
    People who like to excel will feel unmotivated if they have to spread their abilities widely.
  • Too much individual recognition
    Favoring some team members above others will cause resentment.
  • Competing agendas
    If there’s a lack of consensus, productivity will drop.
  • Top-down talk and micro-management
    Saying “Do this, do that” is usually less effective than setting a goal and letting the team achieve it on their own.

Be aware of the potential for these problems to arise, and do what you can to prevent them.

Use your people skills to build your team

For your team to thrive you must be approachable, friendly, authoritative and responsible. In other words, a good manager and leader.

You may need training to help you become a better manager and there’s no shame in that. Running a business is a learning process – and just like your employees, you can learn and improve.

After all, the better you are at managing people, the better your team will perform and the faster your business will grow.

LGBT Entrepreneurs – Managing Your Business Finances and Cashflow

Your small business exists to make you money. But whether you sell goods or services, you need to make a profit. And you can’t do that unless you manage your finances and cashflow carefully. So what are the best ways to do it?

Cashflow problems and mismanaged finances are major causes of business failure in the early years.

Money management matters

The first few years for any new business are crucial to its long-term success, with many challenges to overcome and lessons to be learned.

Cash flow problems and mismanaged finances are major causes of business failure in the early years. Some companies fail to plan properly, some set their sights too high or low, some don’t keep track of costs, some fail to chase payment.

You can maximize your chances of business success by being aware of the pitfalls. Then you can manage your company’s finances carefully and keep a close eye on its cash flow.

Taking sensible, practical steps will help you control spending and grow your business without taking excessive financial risks. Here are some useful tips to consider.

Use financial planning and forecasting

It’s useful to develop a financial plan or framework to keep track of finances coming into and out of your company. For example, one model for your business might be to spend:

  • 50 percent of revenue on expenses (such as payroll or supplies).
  • 30 percent of revenue on building the business (such as expansion of equipment or recruiting costs).
  • 20 percent of revenue on the future, for developing new products and services.

Different plans work for different businesses, and you should discuss this with your accountant to see what works best for you.

But circumstances change. When they do, your financial plan should change too. Try to conduct some simple forecasting of your business for at least the next six months. Be realistic and try to estimate how much you will sell and how much you will spend. Plug these numbers into your financial plan and see if the results will still work for your business. If not, you may need to change your plan.

Be ambitious but stay realistic

Ambition and enthusiasm are important characteristics of business owners and managers. But so is the ability to make rational financial decisions based on the facts. When you start a new business the feeling of control can be exhilarating. Free from the constraints of employment, you can make any financial decision you want to. Some of those decisions will be good. Others won’t.

Like any other area of life, learning to run a business comes through experimentation, successes and occasional mistakes. The mistakes are important – if you read any successful entrepreneur’s autobiography or biography, mistakes will feature highly.

But successful entrepreneurs have two things in common – they learn from their mistakes, and they make small enough mistakes that they are able to recover from them financially.

This is a pragmatic approach to doing business. Few large companies became large overnight. They grew over a period of time, with setbacks along the way. Taking the occasional risk is part of good business. Taking unnecessarily big risks is not.

Chart your cash flow

Good accounting software can create charts of inflows (sales of goods or services) and outflows (accounts payable) for your business. It will let you change the time period and other variables so you can really understand what’s happening. If you look at these charts over a period of weeks and months, you’ll get an idea of the rates of flow of money into and out of your business.

Obviously you need the inflows to be greater than the outflows to make a profit. But the size of the difference is what’s important. It will vary over time because few businesses make a consistent profit day in, day out. Some months or weeks will be good, some not so good. Looking at the charts will help you see the pattern as these values change.

Is the difference between income and expenditure often small? Does it sometimes dip into negative territory? Those are periods when your business is potentially at risk of cash flow problems. Try to find out what’s causing this to happen at specific times. You can then attempt to restructure some aspects of your business to avoid the dips.

Make minor adjustments to regulate cash flow

Where possible you should have enough cash on hand to last you approximately three to six months. That way, if you have a rough month or two it shouldn’t have a major effect on your business. But if your cash flow is causing problems at specific times of the month or year, don’t panic. You may be able to improve the situation without dramatic changes. For example:

  • Consider negotiating different payment dates to your suppliers to better align inflows with outflows
  • Experiment with reducing your invoicing payment terms by a day or two to encourage your customers to pay faster
  • Understand the negative impact of having inventory sitting in your back office or warehouse – it costs you space and revenue
  • Establish a good line of business credit so you can access extra short-term money if necessary.

Manage your company’s debt

Debt is a fact of life for many businesses. It might be start-up funding, loans for capital equipment or commercial mortgage payments. Few businesses are entirely debt-free. And if the cost of the money you borrow is lower than the return generated by your company’s use of that money, it makes sense to borrow.

It also makes sense to keep an eye on your borrowing costs. This is particularly true with variable rate loans, which can change due to any number of reasons, some of which might only be in the small print of the loan contract.

Assess your debts on a regular basis. Look at repayment costs, see whether your circumstances have changed, and decide whether you need to reduce – or increase – your debt funding. And don’t forget to shop around. Get your accountant to see if there are better ways for you to borrow. Shifting your debts to a different lender can sometimes save you a lot of money.

Review expenses regularly

It’s important to keep a close eye on your business expenditure. Good accounting software will let you quickly draw up useful reports, such as:

  • Profit and loss reports
    These show your company’s income, expenses and profits over time.
  • Balance sheet reports
    These show assets, liabilities and net equities.
  • Statement of cash flows reports
    These show the cash flowing in and out of a business.
  • Accounts payable and accounts receivable reports
    These show how much money is owed by, and to, your company.
  • Depreciation reports
    These give you a breakdown of the value of the assets owned by your company.

Keep an eye on your payroll too, even if you outsource some of it. For a growing company, this is often more complex than anticipated

Review all of these regularly, preferably with the help of your accountant or financial advisor, who can act as a sounding board.

Remember to keep your personal and professional finances separate: use a separate credit card and bank account for business-related expenses. That makes it much easier to keep track of your company’s costs and also identify business tax write-offs.

Five questions to ask before bidding for big contracts

Don’t run before you can walk. If your business is ticking over nicely and you’re given the opportunity to bid for a big new contract, stop and think first. It can be tempting to “punch above your weight” and go for the prestige associated with a big contract. But that might not be the right choice for you.

Ask yourself some questions before you bid.

  1. Do I have the staff to fulfill the contract if I win it? If not, will I have to hire new staff or use contractors?
  2. Do I have the funds to pay for any new equipment required?
  3. What effect will the new contract have on my current business: am I likely to neglect my existing clients?
  4. What happens when the contract ends, or if it’s terminated early?
  5. What happens if the new client takes a long time to pay?

Sometimes it’s preferable to build up a number of smaller clients instead of trying to sign up one or two larger ones. Your cash flow is likely to be more predictable that way. And if one contract ends suddenly, or you experience payment problems, it’s less likely to ruin your business.

Understand the true cost of money

The money you receive obviously has value to your business, but so does the money you spend. Getting value for money is important in both directions:

  • Pay all your bills on time to avoid being charged interest and negatively impacting your credit score/rating.
  • Look into the pros and cons of accepting different payment options such as cash, credit cards, PayPal and other options. Charges for receiving payments will eat into your profit margin, but convenience helps your customers to pay you.
  • Research the costs associated with buying or leasing equipment. There could be hidden fees for maintenance or damage, not to mention different effects on your tax bill.
  • Save money by educating yourself about tax legislation, insurance requirements and retirement fund financing.
  • Consider bartering (trading goods and services) if it will reduce payment costs. But be aware that many countries treat this as a taxable transaction.

Good accounting software will break down your accounts in fine detail, so you can see the monetary cost of payments into and out of your business.

Adjust your margins and get your pricing right

What are the margins for the products or services you sell? This can be hard to quantify if you’re in the service sector, unless you use sub-contractors to carry out the actual work for you. But it’s easier for retailers. Some might simply apply a 50 percent mark-up to their cost prices, and sell an item for $30 that cost them $20 to buy.

Such basic pricing techniques are attractive for their simplicity, but there are often better alternatives. If you learn about price elasticity, or the price sensitivity of the things you sell, you can price your products or services more accurately.

For example, let’s say you price an item at $50 and sell 80 of them in a week. If they cost you $20 each to buy, the $4,000 of revenue looks pretty good. But if you priced them at $30, would you sell 300 of them? Or if you priced them at $60, would you sell 70 of them?

There’s no easy answer. It will depend on the desirability of the product, the location and visibility of your company, the effectiveness of your marketing and the pricing policies of your competitors.

What you can do is experiment. Test different pricing for a week or two, and keep track of how much inventory you manage to sell at each price point. Use good accounting software to compare the revenue and profit from differently-priced products over time. Remember to take into account any seasonal variation, cost overheads and other factors. With some fine-tuning you should be able to get the maximum possible profit from the items you sell.

Chase the money you’re owed

Understand the importance of collecting money on time so that you don’t leave cash on the table. Use your accounting software to draw up aging summaries so you can see who is taking longest to pay. And then chase them, politely, and keep chasing them until they pay. Make your invoice payment terms and the payment due date very clear, to avoid any confusion.

If you have a lot of invoices to chase, you might consider using a factoring agency. They can guarantee your invoice payments within a certain number of days by buying your accounts receivable ledger at a discount. However, it could cost you a significant percentage of the invoice total, and some agencies exclude the chasing of bad debts. Still, in some circumstances such agencies could help stabilize your cash flow.

Put financial management at the heart of your business

Managing your finances and cash flow shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be a fundamental part of your business strategy.

To be a successful entrepreneur you must thoroughly understand the numbers that drive your business. That will give you the knowledge you need to keep your company running, and help it to grow when the time is right.

Good accounting software will make it easy for you to plan, forecast, chart and chase your company’s money. But even with that support, only you can steer your business in the right direction.

LGBT Entrepreneurs Leverage Key Performance Indicators in Your Business

How do you measure the success of your business? How do you find out where it’s performing well and where there’s room for improvement? KPIs (key performance indicators) can help you. Here’s how they work.

KPIs are useful tools to help you measure the performance of your business. But you need to use them sensibly.

Using KPIs can give you better business insight

Doctors use KPIs to measure our health and wellbeing. Our body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and cholesterol level are all KPIs that have a specific medical meaning. In the same way, business KPIs carry specific meanings too. Debt/equity ratio, receivables days and gross profit percentage are all measures that have specific meanings in a business context.

Key performance indicators are used by businesses of all sizes. KPI measurement uses data to show how well your business is performing. They will be different for each business, but the basic idea is the same. That is, to measure the important features of your business.

On its own, your blood pressure reading only says a little about your overall health. When you combine this with cholesterol levels and BMI, you and your doctor get a more informed picture of your health. In the same way, a business KPI tells a small part of the story about your business. Looking at set of business KPIs or metrics tells a bigger story. Measuring KPIs helps you understand your business from top to bottom. You can use that knowledge to make effective, strategic decisions.

Choose what you measure with care

Think carefully about which areas of your business are suitable for measurement. Different sets of metrics are important for different businesses. Focusing on the right ones gives you early confirmation of success or early alerts to potential problems.

Your accountant will be able to help you decide which are the important KPIs for you. When they advise you about this they will consider:

  • the field that you are in.
  • your business size and location.
  • where you are in your business life-cycle.
  • what your short and long-term business goals are.
  • any unique personal circumstances you have.

What does a KPI look like?

A KPI is a metric, which means it’s a way of measuring your business. To be effective, it should be:

  • Relevant
    The best metrics are those that have the most impact.
  • Balanced
    Measure short and long-term KPIs.
  • Understandable
    Everyone in the business should know what the KPI means.
  • Shared
    Everyone in the business should know why it’s important.

Financial KPIs come from the data in your accounting system. Non-financial KPIs come from data outside of your accounting system, such as your website and your CRM system. This guide focuses on financial KPIs.

Here are examples of what you might measure:

  • Debtor days
  • Average margins
  • Inventory turnover
  • Debt ratio
  • Net profit percentage

Identify the key areas you want to measure

If you’re measuring key performance indicators then you need to concentrate on your key areas of business. There’s no point in measuring things that won’t make a difference to your business over time.

How many KPIs should you measure? It depends on your business. Small businesses may only need half a dozen or so. Larger organizations might have that many per department – or even per manager!

More doesn’t necessarily mean better, so don’t get carried away. Too many metrics can complicate the picture. Make sure you have just enough to give you a clear overview of your business. Your accountant will be able to help choose the ones most relevant for you.

Understand what your metrics are telling you

OutBuro - Performance Management - LGBT Entrepreneurs Startup GBLT Professionals Gay Owned Company Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Community Job Postings News InformationKPIs are useful tools to help you measure the performance of your business. But you need to use them sensibly. Don’t just take them at face value.

A sales dip recorded by a KPI might be due to seasonal variation. For example, people don’t buy much winter clothing in summer. There’s not a lot you can do about that – it’s not the fault of your sales staff.

Similarly, inventory turnover might drop because you bought lots of inventory while a supplier had a sale. Normally a drop in inventory turnover would be a bad thing. In this case, you would monitor inventory turnover to check that it returns to normal as you sell the surplus inventory.

So it is important to understand what KPIs are telling you before you try to solve a problem. If you use common sense, key performance indicators are useful tools. Again, your accountant can really help out by interpreting the message the metrics are giving you.

Four KPI groups to improve your business

Effective key performance indicators can be organized into groups. Here are four groups that could have a big impact on your business.

1. Efficiency

  • Reducing waste and making the most of your resources.
  • Finding ways to improve staff productivity.
  • Lowering inventory days on hand to reduce storage costs.

2. Growth

  • Increasing your sales, measured by gross and net revenue.
  • Improving wealth, measured by business equity.

3. Health

  • Balance debt and equity levels to the best proportions.
  • Balance inventory levels with trade payables to get the best performance.
  • Optimizing trade terms to speed up receipts.

4. Resilience

  • Reducing credit risk by optimizing debt levels.
  • Improving profitability to increase interest coverage.
  • Reducing financial risk by increasing equity-to-asset levels.

These are just examples. No doubt you can think of others that might apply to your particular business.

Remember, you can use modern accounting software to track some of these KPI groups. And if that software is cloud based, you can keep an eye on your KPIs from anywhere and at any time.

Get a better view of your business

As you can see, key performance indicators are useful in all areas of business. But it’s important to use them in the right way and not just define a KPI and then forget about it. Make sure that whatever you choose to measure is reviewed and tracked on a regular and frequent basis.

KPIs will help you get a clear view of where your business is now – and where it’s going. Used properly, they help you take the pulse of your organization’s health.

Define Your Target Market as an LGBT Entrepreneur

You can’t go far in business without customers. Make sure you know who yours are, and what they want. Use these tips to help learn more about your target market.

What does it mean to define a target market?

From the moment you came up with your business idea, you probably had a specific customer in mind. When you tweak your service or product, you do it with them in mind. When you write your promos, you highlight the features that will interest them most – and use language that they get.

This is a great way to think. It gives focus to everything you do. But you’re probably making a lot of assumptions about what your target customers really want, and how much they want it. When you define your target market, you’re doing a little research to make sure you’re not misleading yourself about who’s going to spend money with you.

When to do it

It’s a good idea to define your target market before launching your business. The exercise will help you test a lot of assumptions before you sink too much money into the wrong things. It’s a lot less expensive to change direction at this early stage.

But even if you’ve been in business for years, it’s helpful to keep defining your target market to stay in touch with who your customers are.

What will you know at the end?

Defining a target market can give you three important pieces of information.

1. Is there a market? 

Dig around and see if there’s enough demand to sustain your business. Are people (or businesses) buying your category of product? What portion of that market is gettable for you?

2. Who’s in the market?

Once you’ve confirmed there are customers out there, start to get more focused. Who are those people?

What’s their age? Do they have certain types of jobs? Where are they most likely to work or live? Do they have common interests? Are they more likely to be men or women? Do they have a lot of money, or are they on a budget? These are the demographics of your target customer.

Start by going after a specific cross-section of the market. That way you can get to know your target customers even better.

3. How do they think?

Once you’ve identified who your target customers are, you can start to find out what makes them tick.

What do they care about? Use this information to promote the product benefits that are most relevant to them. Where and how do they shop? Try to get your products into those places (and make sure you’re online if that’s how they like to buy). Where do they get information? Run your ads, promos and PR in these places. Who do they take advice from? See if you can enlist those key opinion leaders to give you some profile.

Where to get information about your target market

The internet is a good place to start looking for demographic data. Search for statistics on your target customers. You should be able to find credible research that’s been done by governments, trade and industry groups, universities, marketing institutions or even other companies who serve that same market (check out their annual reports).

Once you’ve got some of this basic information, go talk to your target customers. Nothing beats getting their input, either one-on-one, through focus groups, or by sending surveys.

Example of targeted marketing

Let’s assume you have a video production company offering engagement, wedding, and new baby videos. On a really basic level, your potential customers are all couples who are engaged and/or pregnant. Resist the temptation to stop there. You don’t have a big enough budget to market to them all.

Try targeting a subgroup like unmarried double-income couples, aged 25 to 35, who live within two hours of your studio. They should have money to spend on recording upcoming life events, and they’re nearby so you can easily meet with them.

This is also a group you can get to know. Find out what local 25-35 year olds care about. Where do they shop? Where do they get their information? Who do they take a lead from? Maybe there’s an Instagram account they follow closely – so see if you can get a credited photo posted there, for example.

Defining your target market is just the start

You don’t need to get too carried away with this type of research in the startup phase of your business. You’re just aiming to confirm there’s a market there, and to learn a little about who they are. It’ll slow you down if you do a heap of research now.

As you get underway, however, you’ll want to keep learning more about your target customers. The more you know them, the better you can serve them – and the smarter (and more cost-effective) your marketing can be.

Learn more about how to do market research.

LGBT Entrepreneurs Hiring Your First Employee

At a startup business hiring the first employee(s) could be a rather stressful encounter. Proceeding with care a fantastic idea. Congratulations on getting to this degree that extra help is necessary. As the LGBT entrepreneur who has launched and built the business up to now on a great deal of sweat equity together with probably tears and utter dedication, to cover the income of another individual to do everything you’ve been doing could be a frightening thought.

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Things the LGBT Entrepreneur should ask while hiring first employees

The very first question is, can the business afford to bring extra staff along with considering all the factors? Committing to wages and benefits is pricey any way you slice it.  Rarely can a LGBT startup manage to have even one staff person who is not functioning at full capability.  Firing a worker may mean not just severance pay but there might be litigation. What’s more, the price of the downtime, locating a replacement and attracting the new individual along with ramping them up would be added expenses and drain any company but particularly a small startup.

The second questions LGBT entrepreneurs typically encounter when hiring your first employees are where and how to when locating excellent candidates. The following is a rundown of some basics.

What jobs/tasks to fill/delegate first will be different for every company, based on business, location and also the abilities of the LGBT business owners.  LGBT entrepreneurs have to boil their staffing searches down to a handful of quality people who connect with the company’s mission. Frequently the early hires both include people with the ability to do many tasks across the business and be willing to be trained to perform more job junctions they may not have been hired to do. High-level executives are not usually hired before the business has experienced some substantial growth.  You typically do not require a vice president of sales or marketing before there is a customer load to warrant it. In smaller local companies like Pet Grooming, it might be just one or two individuals in the business.  Expanding in this sort of business may be adding part-time team members for customer pet pick-ups and drop-off. Be smart and strategic when hiring.

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LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Factors

As a business founded by an LGBT person(s) hiring with a sensitivity to the built-in diversity is important.  The founder’s sexuality should not be an issue, yet in a small growing company personality fit is a key component.  Hiring persons and making it very clear up front that diversity is valued including sexual orientation and validating that there is no apparent conflict is important for both you and the new employee.

Consider Freelance Contractors for your LGBT Owned Business

Ask yourself, “Do I really need to hire someone?”  Today so many services can be outsourced or accomplished by freelance contractors. Some work that may be able to be outsourced could include manufacturing, financial/CPA work, technical support, website design, traditional marketing, graphic design, social media marketing, sales, and public relations — even administrative assistants can be hired on a “virtual” basis now online.

Deciding what activities to farm out versus hiring an LGBT friendly employee may come down to deciding if the work activity is centered on your core business strength and how much time is dedicated to the tasks on a regular basis.  There may be other LGBT businesses or community friendly vendors that have more resources, skills, and experience than a single individual you may be able to afford to hire.

LGBT Small Company Benefits

When hiring your first staff, LGBT entrepreneur business owners often do best with flexible job seekers who are familiar working in small companies. Typically, the best candidate can perform their job with a lot of independence and doesn’t need a lot of hand-holding.

You might want to consider hiring someone with a large-business background, but they are all too often not an ideal match. In a large business, the daily work process is very different than in a small company.  Small companies require each person to do a bit of everything.

On the plus side, an LGBT small business is usually less bureaucratic and so staff typically have a larger array of projects and tasks their jobs than large companies where jobs tend to be siloed. Also, LGBT small business owners typically have a closer relationship with each employee creating a family-like atmosphere.  For the prospective employee, landing a job in a small and growing LGBT owned business offers the new employee the possibility for accelerated professional growth as well as being a part of making that growth take place.

Hunting for a Great LGBT Business Employee Match

An LGBT entrepreneur’s best source for hiring your first LGBT friendly employee typically starts with professional networking. Don’t be shy about asking for referrals from your friends and industry colleagues.  Also let your professional contacts know such as your accountant, lawyer, board members, and members of any organizations (professional and non-profession) you belong to. Since these trusted people will only recommend someone they know, they have accomplished some of your new hire screening for you. LGBT start-ups typically find their first several candidates levering their personal and professional network this way.

You also enlarge your networking reach with each new employee hire.  Candidates through current employees receive an insider trusted perspective of you and your business.  Typically current staff will only suggest someone he or she believes will be a great fit for skills and culture.  Providing employee referrals bonus program is a fairly inexpensive way to incentivize current employees to offer up great candidates.

No matter how professionally networked you and your staff are this approach will eventually reach it’s maximum ability to continue to deliver the best candidates.  Therefore, you also need to consider niche online job portals such as the OutBüro LGBT Job Portal. Large job boards like ZipRecruiter.com, have advantages yet they can often drown you in a see of low quality resumes.  In a small LGBT business time is money and sorting through a large volume of candidates is costly and exhausting.  Smaller niche sites like the OutBüro LGBT Job Portal can narrow your interested applicants to LGBT friendly quality candidates.

It’s important to be active in professional groups such as the OutBüro LGBT community groups and the OutBüro LinkedIn LGBT Professional networking group.   Keep watch on popular blogs and industry websites for great talent seeking a change.

Employment agencies and headhunters can help you find employees from entry-level to executive. Recruiters do all your legwork — for a fee, of course — and are particularly useful if you are hiring a top-level executive.

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