With the month of June just starting, now is a great time to celebrate Pride Month! Pride Month serves as an important reminder to embrace diversity and support the LGBTQ+ community, not just during the month of June — but all year round.
While hanging a rainbow flag in your shop’s window is supportive, you can take more meaningful actions to support our LGBTQ+ friends and become a stronger ally in your community. Whether you’re a small coffee shop or a larger daycare, you can create inclusive environments, organize pride events, and show your support in meaningful ways — and we’ll give you some simple ideas on how to do it.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is getting on board, too, committing to put more resources into the LGBTQ+ community by focusing on equity in the small business world. In fact, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce estimates there are “1.4 million LGBTQ+-owned businesses in the United States (U.S.), and they generate more than $1.7 trillion in economic impact.” By the SBA focusing more resources on LGBTQ+ businesses, even more of these businesses will be successful in the future.
Why Support Pride Month?
Small businesses have the power to make a significant impact in their communities, especially during Pride Month. By actively supporting the LGBTQ+ community, small businesses can help create an inclusive environment for all — which is good for your local community and business.
As a small business owner, Pride Month presents an opportunity to do more than just show your support for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s also a chance to tap into a growing market and create a loyal customer base. By being vocal about your support for Pride Month, you can attract new customers and demonstrate to existing customers that you care about social issues beyond just profits. This can lead to increased sales and, more importantly, create long-lasting customer loyalty.
In fact, studies have shown that consumers are six times more likely to do business with companies that have a strong sense of purpose and social responsibility. So, this Pride Month, why not take the time to show your support and make a difference for your business and the community?
Are you tired of feeling anxious and uncertain about the future of your business? Our latest blog post on How to Embrace Business Uncertainty offers practical tips and strategies for adapting to change, managing risks, and more.
Focusing on Advocacy, Activism, and Education
Showing support can take many forms, such as creating policies or events that promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in your company, offering more inclusive products and services, or partnering with LGBTQ+ organizations. These actions can help promote diversity, equality, and social justice — values that resonate with many of your consumers. By supporting LGBTQ+ communities, small businesses can show that they are committed to creating safe and welcoming spaces for everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. But how can you show support, especially during pride month? And what does being an “ally” mean?
Being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community means taking time to educate yourself and others, participating in advocacy, and taking action. We can all use our platforms to make a difference in the lives of others — and small business owners are no exception.
7 Ways Small Businesses Can Support Pride Month
Pride Month is the perfect time to not only show your support as a small business but also to drive sales and create long-lasting customer loyalty. Here are a few ways for small business owners to get started:
1. Hire Diverse Staff
It’s one thing to say you’ll hire diverse staff and another to put a plan into place to ensure it happens. Here’s how you do the latter: Make and stick to a goal (you can use tools such as Smart Goals to help you keep track). For example, if only 25 percent of your current employees are diverse, set a goal to double that by 2024. Then stick to it when it comes time to make your next hire. Ensure your hiring practices are inclusive by focusing on education and experience — and don’t shy away from candidates with resume gaps. You can also cross out names when you route resumes among your team.
2. Build Inclusive Spaces
Think about how to make everyone feel included when it comes to your space. Nursing moms should have their own safe spaces that they feel comfortable in, and you can create non-gender-specific bathrooms, too. If you’re unsure what would make your employees feel most comfortable, you can simply ask them! You can boost employee morale and productivity by making small changes to your workspaces.
3. Form an Inclusion Committee and Host Inclusion Workshops
Forming a committee to ensure inclusion and diversity is a smart way to stick to your goals and make sure they don’t get forgotten when work gets busy. You can also incorporate quarterly inclusion workshops, discussions, or training into your company calendar on different topics.
4. Focus Leadership on Diversity
If your small business leaders are on board, they can drive the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ communities from the top down. And when it comes to your leaders, you’ll want a diverse group there, too. Your leaders should strongly support anti-discrimination policies and actively participate in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
5. Volunteer and Donate
When you give your employees time off to volunteer or donate to causes they believe in — such as gender identity causes — they know you really care about supporting underrepresented communities.
Homelessness and mental health challenges with LGBTQ+ youth run rampant — and you can make an impact by focusing time, money, donations, and effort on these causes. During Pride Month, another idea is to donate a portion, such as five or ten percent, of all your sales that month to LGBTQ+ causes to show you’re celebrating Pride Month. This can also be a powerful incentive for customers to buy your products and services, as they’ll feel good about supporting a business that aligns with their beliefs.
6. Don’t Partake in “Rainbow Washing”
Rainbow washing is like it sounds — making a social media post about Pride Month in June but never taking any other supportive action until next year. As a small business owner, you’ll want to take action and work toward positive changes in your business all year round.
You can host inclusive events and marketing campaigns to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community year-round or contribute regular donations to supporting LGBTQ+ organizations and focus on diverse hiring and leadership.
7. Create Authentic Marketing
Even though you can run inclusive marketing campaigns year-round, June is a smart time to highlight and support the LGBTQ+ community if you haven’t recently. You can even partner with influencers and inclusive nonprofits and organizations who support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Want to take your marketing to the next level? Check out our blog on How to Market Your Business Successfully for practical tips to keep your marketing game strong — no matter the economic landscape.
Becoming a Stronger Ally
Showing our support as allies toward the LGBTQ+ communities during Pride Month — and all of the other months of the year — makes a difference. The United States practices marriage equality as of June 26, 2015, but many states still don’t protect their LGBTQ+ communities. And with more anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced in several states this year and violence against the transgender community on the rise, the community needs our support more than ever.
If you need even more inspiration to take action, note that LGBTQ+-friendly businesses are considerably more profitable. Companies like Apple, Google, and Walt Disney have championed LGBTQ+ rights and are better for it in many ways.
If you aren’t where you want to be as far as inclusivity, it’s not too late to make a change. With some small actions here and there, you can make a big impact on your community and business. Here are some more tips on how to become a stronger ally as a small business owner:
- Provide inclusive employee resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
- Create safe and welcoming workspaces for employees from a wide range of backgrounds.
- Host community events and marketing campaigns that celebrate underrepresented communities.
- Donate a portion of your profits to LGBTQ+ organizations. You can also sponsor or collaborate with local Pride events. Find local Pride events here.
- Use your social media platforms to amplify LGBTQ+ voices and share educational resources to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues.
Remember: Becoming or being an ally is a journey, not a destination. You don’t have to do everything perfectly overnight. Instead, focus on taking small positive actions that align with your values and gradually build on them over time. By doing so, you can make a meaningful difference in your community and beyond.
Better Business with Guidant
At Guidant Financial, we believe in celebrating diversity and supporting underrepresented communities. As Pride Month begins, we wish all of our LGBTQ+ friends a happy and fulfilling month of celebration and acceptance. Guidant is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our business. We strive to create a workplace that is welcoming to all individuals, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, or background. Our goal is to foster an environment where every employee can thrive and contribute to our mission of empowering all American small businesses.
In fact, Guidant has helped fund and support over 30,000 small businesses across the U.S. But Guidant is more than just a business partner. Our services are tailored to meet the unique needs of each small business — and our experienced team of experts will work with you every step of the way to achieve your business goals. Whether you’re looking for innovative financing solutions or supportive business services, Guidant can help you succeed.
With over 20 years of experience in small business financing and support, you can trust us to be your partner in hassle-free business growth. Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation!