As life slowly but surely begins to return to “normal,” LGBTQ entrepreneurs are faced with the prospect of an exciting summer — one full of new clients, customers, and business ventures. 

Diving back into business as it was may seem overwhelming considering the way business has been conducted for the past year. But with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) at your side, you become part of a network that is here and ready to help at a moment’s notice. 

Here are NGLCC’s tips for LGBTQ entrepreneurs to best prepare their business for what lies ahead this summer and beyond. 

1. Get your NGLCC certification

NGLCC is the exclusive third-party certification body that verifies that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBTQ individuals. By obtaining the Certified LGBTBE® designation for your business, you can open up additional channels of contracting and procurement for yourself. 

Certified LGBTBE® companies are routinely sought after by NGLCC Corporate Partners, who are looking to increase their spend with the LGBTQ business community through our internal, proprietary database. In turn, Certified LGBTBE® companies have access to hundreds of corporate representative and supplier diversity professional contacts. Through these contacts, companies can begin building strategic relationships and making preparations to meet face-to-face with them at NGLCC matchmaking and networking events, which are held throughout the year. 

As business ramps up and becomes more competitive this summer, these contracting opportunities become all the more sought-after and valuable. Obtaining certification for your business gives you first pick at these opportunities, as well as allows you to participate in special professional development programs. Certified LGBTBE® companies are eligible for scholarship programs, mentorship and leadership training, and other business development tools!

2. Attend LGBTQ networking events

There is no better way to grow your business than to regularly interact with other LGBTBE owners. Our network of LGBTQ entrepreneurs proves that we all grow and learn more effectively with support from each other. 

The best way to meet other Certified LGBTBE® owners and entrepreneurs is through NGLCC’s diverse array of events! Every month, we offer a variety of informational programming through our Webinar Wednesdays initiative, covering everything from workplace conflict, virtual work tips, PPP loans, and more. Through these events, LGBTQ professionals can connect and discuss what they’ve learned.

NGLCC also offers a monthly Sip & Pitch program. Sip & Pitch is a chance to informally present your LGBT-owned business to a panel of experts and your fellow business owners for positive, constructive feedback and new ideas. Although these are mock pitches, these programs are a tremendous opportunity for exposure for businesses of the NGLCC community. For the final hour of Sip & Pitch, all members of the LGBT and allied business community in the NGLCC network are welcome to pour a drink of their choice — with everything from coffee to cocktails welcome — and casually network with their fellow community members over video. 

It is unclear how many events will be in person this summer, but NGLCC’s virtual programming is here to stay. Events like Webinar Wednesday, Sip & Pitch, and other community programs are beneficial opportunities to get to know our network and to meet fellow entrepreneurs as the scope of business continues to change with the pandemic. 

3. Engage with platforms like Hello Alice

NGLCC partner Hello Alice helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses with a variety of tools and personalized resources. Hello Alice is a digital platform that helps small business owners strategize around and build aspects of their businesses that they may need help with. It offers data insights and a personalized user experience to participants as they make their way further into the platform’s programming. 

Hello Alice also offers a wide variety of online communities for business owners to directly interact with each other, get their business questions answered quickly, and collaborate. This programming is accomplished through a series of content partnerships with numerous field experts and partners that can help entrepreneurs continue to build. Some of these partners include Salesforce, Bumble, Chase, and many more.

Additionally, Hello Alice is the leading author of new reports on the intersection of identity and COVID-19 recovery for small businesses. NGLCC is proud to partner with Hello Alice in deepening their research with elements of our America’s LGBT Economy Report.

You can sign up for free at helloalice.com! Click here to read our conversation with the co-founder of Hello Alice, Elizabeth Gore.

About NGLCC

The NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community, the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people, and the exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses. At NGLCC, we recognize that a growth business needs not only a strong local network where business owners live and work, but also business certification and access to all the strategic growth opportunities offered by our national organization.

The LGBT business owners NGLCC represents generate over $1.7 trillion in economic impact, create jobs and innovate business solutions nationwide. Additionally, NGLCC is the leading public policy advocate working to include Certified LGBTBE® businesses in procurement opportunities at the federal, state and local level. NGLCC Global is expanding its reach to five continents, bridging economic opportunity and LGBTI human rights worldwide.