The 4-Step LGBTQ+ Business Growth Strategy (That Actually Works)
The LGBTQ community has made great strides in business the last 20 years, but still Queer entrepreneurs still face more setbacks than their straight counterparts. By creating growth strategies designed for us, by us, we can level the playing field.
Unfortunately, the LGBTQ+ community is still underrepresented in the business world. We don’t have nearly as many successful businesses or entrepreneurs as we should. Our businesses fail at higher rates than others. We receive less outside funding, as well.
These 5 steps will help LGBTQ+ business owners develop a growth strategy that works for them. This strategy is based on my own experiences as a gay business owner, has helped me grow my business and make a real difference in the community.
The 4 Growth Strategies
The first step of my 5-step LGBTQ+ business growth strategy is to determine the types of growth strategies that work best for your business. There are 4 pillar business growth strategies. The one you choose will depend on the service or products you offer, and where you’re at in your journey as an LGBTQ+ business owner.
1. Improving Processes & Efficiency
This type of growth strategy focuses on improving the efficiency of your business. By identifying areas of improvement in your processes and operations, you can make changes to implement better ways of doing business.
Hopefully, you’ve got a pretty solid operation. But if you’re still in the early stages or if you’ve shifted priorities a lot, this might be the place to start.
2. Expansion into New Markets
This type of growth strategy involves expanding your business by entering new markets - such as moving from ecommerce to brick and mortar retail. You can explore new markets, analyze the available opportunities, and then find ways to capitalize on them.
For example, if you own a Queer-inclusive gym. You might be offering personal training and group classes, but not currently offer a traditional open gym like people are used to. Consider the market for this kind of experience, and if it will be profitable in your city. That’s a new market.
3. Developing New Products & Services
With this strategy, you’re developing new products or services to provide even more value to your customers. You can analyze the needs of your customers and develop products or services to meet these needs.
One way to explore this is to examine your reviews and those of your competitors. Do you see a common thread? “I wish they did X” or “Can’t wait to try Y!” If your competitors are offering a service you haven’t got, maybe you could do it - but BETTER.
Even better still - if there’s a major gap like they’re not responsive enough to communication, or an offering fell flat - that’s a space where you can expand your current offerings to steal their customers. And there’s nothing wrong with that since if they wanted to keep their customers, they should have thought of it first.
4. Exploring Strategic Alliances
This type of growth strategy involves forming strategic alliances with other businesses or organizations to increase your reach and leverage your resources. This might even include influencer marketing if that’s the way you want to go.
The easiest inroad using Strategic Alliances is through podcast guest spots or collaboration posts.
Reach out to a friendly competitor with whom you share an audience. If you collaborate, you’ll each benefit from the other’s reach, while exploiting the 2nd and 3rd connections each of your connections has.
Start With the End in Mind
Once you have identified the types of growth strategies that will work the best for you and your LGBT business, you need to spend some time thinking about your goals and what tools will help you reach them.
Identify your goal
The first step in creating a growth strategy is to identify your goal. You should have a clear idea of what it is that you want to accomplish. It should be pretty terrifying to tell a friend - or even say out loud to yourself!
I like to call the BHAG - the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal.
Develop a plan to reach your goal
Once you have identified your goal, the next step is to develop a plan to reach it. You should identify the different steps you need to take in order to accomplish your goal. Those steps, or Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) should be specific and measurable.
Beyond just the steps themselves - you should understand how meeting each benchmark leads to the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal you just thought about. If you don’t know how each small step leads to your BHAG, you’ll be unable to measure and change course as necessary.
Analyze the resources available to you
The next step in creating a growth strategy is to analyze the resources available to you. You should identify the resources you have available to you, and those you may need in order to reach your goal.
Develop and implement a timeline
Once you have identified the resources you have and the resources you may need, the next step is to develop and implement a timeline. Those OKRs you just defined? Set deadlines for each one.
You should have a timeline of steps that you need to take in order to reach your goal. This will help you stay on track and give you a sense of accomplishment as you reach your milestones. As you inch closer to the BHAG, those OKRs should create a roadmap that leads to success.
How to Implement a Growth Strategy
So, you’ve decided whether you’ll be focusing on Improving Processes and Efficiency, Expanding into New Markets, Developing New Products and Services, or Exploring Strategic Alliances.
Now, it’s time to actually implement all those grand plans. There are 4 Steps to Implementing a Growth Strategy in your Queer-Owned business.
Embrace a Growth Mindset
Embracing a growth mindset is essential for a successful LGBTQ+ business growth strategy. This means having an attitude of learning and looking for ways to improve. It requires a constant focus on learning and being open to experimentation.
Here are 4 ways to nurture a growth mindset:
Challenge the status quo
Don't be afraid to shake things up and experiment. The more you experiment, the more you'll learn about trends and preferences. This will come in handy later on, when you’re analyzing your results and looking for more efficient ways to meet your goals.
Look for feedback
Ask customers for feedback and take it seriously. This feedback can help you identify areas to focus on and areas to avoid. Afraid to ask? Send an email survey, or check out your own Google reviews.
Measure and track
Track your performance by measuring key metrics such as customer satisfaction, website traffic, or conversion rate. On top of that, track your customers’ successes.
Increased revenue, weight lost, new contracts signed… the metrics your customers use to define their own success, speak to whether YOU are doing your job or not.
Commit to ongoing evolution
Stay open to learning and continuous improvement. Embracing a growth mindset means re-evaluating your business strategy regularly and refining it as needed. By embracing a growth mindset, LGBTQ+ business owners are more likely to succeed.
A willingness to experiment, take risks, and learn from mistakes will open up new opportunities for growth and success. Besides, we’re the children of Madonna - evolution and change are in our blood!
Create a Continuously Productive Environment
Creating a productive work environment is an essential component of any successful business growth strategy. A productive work environment provides a platform for employees to work efficiently and effectively, thereby boosting morale and spurring creativity.
Using Sprint Planning, Queer owners can quickly develop work environments that are hyper-focused on achieving OKRs, and eventually, those Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.
In addition to Sprint Planning Methodology, take care that you’re fostering an environment people actually want to work in.
Provide equity in the workplace
Treat all employees equally, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Create an open and inclusive atmosphere
Create a safe and comfortable atmosphere where every person is accepted and respected.
Encourage teamwork to cultivate a creative and productive work environment.
Promote diversity and inclusion
Celebrate diversity and foster inclusion in all areas of the business.
Utilize the latest tools and technology to increase productivity and navigate the changing digital landscape.
By following these guidelines and creating the right work environment, LGBTQ+-owned businesses will position themselves for business growth.
Measure Progress Constantly
For LGBTQ+-owned businesses, measuring progress is particularly important since it enables you to track the impact of their efforts and maximize business growth. With less funding, we don’t have the luxury of being able to waste resources.
When measuring progress, it’s important to consider both qualitative and quantitative metrics. Qualitative metrics measure the intangible aspects of a business, such as employee experience, customer satisfaction, and brand recognition. Quantitative metrics measure the tangible aspects of a business, such as sales, revenue, and profit.
Businesses should be using a mix of quantitative and qualitative data when measuring progress. For example, measuring customer loyalty should include both surveys and data collected from customer interactions.
Each OKR you measure should point directly to your overarching goals. How are you doing? If you’re signing more and more customers, but not making the revenue you’d hoped for, it might be time to change something about your offer or product.
Or maybe your customers love you, but you’re working way too hard to find them. Is your current client acquisition process working, then? Probably not. Time to make a change there.
Adapt Based on Results
Finally, when using any business growth strategy, Queer owners must adapt based on their results. Regularly review and reflect on data obtained in the previous steps—outlining the ideal customer, identifying brand positioning, tracking progress, and adjusting based on feedback.
Let’s take one of the examples we used in the last section:
If you’re signing more and more customers, but not making the revenue you want, you might want to change your pricing. You could implement a lower-effort, entry offer (probably your current offer). But create a more intensive experience, that you do work harder for - but you can charge 5-10X as much for.
You’ll take on fewer lower-paying clients. You’ll be able to carry fewer premium ones, yes, but the revenue increase will more than make up for it. And you’ll be working LESS time overall, so you have more time for those VIPs you want.
This review process should be used to identify areas of improvement. In addition to adapting the strategy itself, businesses should also continually adjust their operations and processes to increase efficiency. This can include adopting new technologies, streamlining processes, and adjusting roles and responsibilities. Some of that streamlining might be outsourcing - hiring out VA services so you’re not managing your inbox and calendar, or a Social Media Manager so you aren’t spending hours online looking for new business.
Titanology: the Business Development Platform for Queer Owners
These 4 steps will help LGBTQ+ business owners implement a new Growth Strategy in their businesses. In order to be successful, Queer owners must follow the steps diligently and be prepared to make changes when necessary.
The strategy starts with developing your own growth mindset. The next step is to track progress, followed by gathering feedback and adapting the business growth strategy. Finally, owners must adapt their processes based on the results. That’s the true key to staying relevant and creating continuous growth.
Titanology is proud to house a one-of-a-kind platform for Queer Owners to develop and implement their own Growth Strategies. With Monthly Events and Masterclasses, the LGBTQ+ community finally has a place of its own.
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What are the 4 Types of Growth Strategies?
Improving process efficiency, entering new markets, developing new products and services, and exploring strategic alliances.
What should I do before implementing a Business Growth Strategy?
Decide on your Big, Hair, Audacious Goals. Create a set of OKRs that lead directly to the Goal and understand how meeting each OKR is connected to your goals.
How do I implement a Business Growth Strategy?
There are 4 steps to implementing a business growth strategy: develop a growth mindset, create a continuously productive environment, measure progress, and adapt your strategy based on results.