Consumers are much more conscious about the businesses they support these days. Like you, many support LGBTQ-owned businesses to help the community and its members thrive in the long run.
You can find LGBTQ-owned businesses using conventional methods like word-of-mouth or contacting local chambers of commerce. Technology is also helpful, allowing you to find these businesses using social media, mobile apps, and online directories. Your support of these businesses will go a long way towards benefitting the owners, employees, and all other stakeholders.
In this detailed guide, you’ll discover seven ways to find the businesses you’re searching for. You’ll also learn why supporting these businesses is essential and discover a handful of ways you can do so.
7 Ways To Find LGBTQ-Owned Businesses
LGBTQ-owned businesses aren’t as rare as they used to be. These days, you can find them in almost any city, with some being easier to spot than others.
No matter where you live or where you plan on visiting, here are the 7 ways you can find LGBTQ-owned businesses to support:
1. Ask Around
The first and most direct way to locate these businesses is to ask around.
For starters, talk to the community members that you know personally. They’ll likely know of a few businesses that you can start with.
Then, as you visit those businesses and talk to the people there, you’ll discover even more LGBTQ-owned shops, service providers, and other businesses with the products and services you’re looking for.
Remember: you can also ask people who aren’t a part of the LGBTQ community. Suppose you’re on holiday at a travel destination.
In that case, ask local taxi or rideshare drivers and tour guides. They’re familiar with the lay of the land and can indeed point you in the right direction.
2. Search Social Media
It’s rare to find a business today without an online presence, especially on social media. That’s certainly true regarding LGBTQ-owned businesses that often have a profile on Facebook, Instagram, or any other major networks.
You can leverage the power of social media to find the businesses you’re looking for. Aside from checking out individual shops or services, you can also locate groups devoted to businesses in the LGBTQ community.
You can also apply the previous tip by asking around online in those groups to find the LGBTQ-owned businesses you seek.
3. Browse LGBTQ Community Areas
The local LGBTQ community could be spread out or concentrated in specific areas. That depends on the city you live in or are visiting.
Sometimes, you can find the businesses you’re looking for by walking around known areas where the community congregates.
It’s pretty simple: if the community is concentrated in a particular area, you will likely find LGBTQ-owned businesses.
Suppose you know of an area famous for its LGBTQ nightlife with bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Visit that area in the daytime, and you’ll likely find similarly-owned businesses like grocery stores and laundromats, among many others.
You’ll probably find a long list of them just by walking around the block!
4. Look Through Online Directories
Sometimes, you can find all the businesses you’re looking for online in a neatly organized directory.
You’ll often find that other people have done the work to make LGBTQ-owned businesses more straightforward to find through their directories and lists.
For instance, some bloggers, journalists, and writers compile and update lists regularly. They support the community by spreading awareness of the businesses you can help.
5. Contact Chambers Of Commerce
In a nutshell, a chamber of commerce is a network of local businesses championing their interests. You might have already heard of chambers of commerce representing the business owners of a specific city, state, or even country.
What you might not know, however, is that the LGBTQ community also has chambers of commerce. Simply put, these are networks of LGBTQ business owners who come together to fight for their interests.
You can contact them directly to find out where their businesses are located. On top of that, they also have their own directories that you can refer to for even more information.
6. Use Mobile Apps
Another helpful tool to consider is mobile apps, particularly the one designed to help you find LGBTQ-owned businesses.
These apps are becoming increasingly common, as they offer the convenience of a business directory right in the palm of your hand.
Apps these days also do much more than just give you a business’ basic information like its phone number and address. Instead, better-designed apps can even guide you to the business using your phone’s GPS function!
7. Attend Community Events
Lastly, attending community events is an excellent way to find many LGBT-owned businesses in one place. You get to network with people and discover new businesses through word of mouth, and you’ll also see some of them set up at the event.
For example, food and beverage businesses might set up stalls and pop-up restaurants for you to enjoy what they have to offer!
What Kinds Of Businesses Are LGBTQ-Owned?
LGBTQ business owners exist in almost every industry you can imagine. That means you can find practically any kind of business owned by a community member.
Some business owners make it well-known that their operations are a safe space run by an LGBT owner. However, others may be more subtle about how they make that known.
Here are some typical LGBTQ-owned businesses:
Food and Beverage Businesses
The type of LGBTQ-owned businesses you’re most likely to discover are food and beverage (F&B) establishments. These include everything from coffee houses to restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
The reason this is the most common category is quite simple: the F&B industry has a low barrier to entry, regardless of who owns it. While these businesses require a significant investment, that amount is often lower than many others.
As a result, many aspiring business owners choose to go down this route.
It’s also quite common to find lots of entertainment-related businesses. These include places that offer live performances like drag shows and much more.
LGBTQ travelers worldwide are always looking for safe accommodations wherever they go. That has created quite a lot of demand for LGBTQ-owned lodging providers.
These can be as simple as a bed & breakfast or a short-term rental unit. However, many have also built hotel businesses that provide high-quality accommodations and act as safe spaces.
Fashion and Retail
Last but certainly not least, you’ll find many LGBTQ-owned fashion and retail businesses. Some might sell mainstream collections, while you’ll find others that are smaller boutiques run by independent fashion designers themselves.
No matter your style, there’s sure to be an LGBTQ-owned business that can cater to it!
How Do You Support LGBTQ-Owned Businesses?
Suppose you discover a few fantastic businesses you’d like to support in the community.
Here’s a quick list of ways you can support your favorite LGBTQ-owned businesses:
- Buy from them: The best way to support a business you believe in is with your dollars and cents. Purchasing their products and services will empower the business to continue providing value to its customers.
- Publicize them: Of course, there are non-financial ways to show support. You can publicize the businesses you love online or by telling people about them. Remember: word-of-mouth works both ways.
- Refer people to them: There may come a time when people ask you about these kinds of businesses. You can refer them directly to your favorite ones when that day comes! That’s a form of support that costs you absolutely nothing at all.
- Leave positive reviews: Customers do a lot of their research online. That’s why reviews carry so much weight and can make or break a business. Leaving them positive reviews online can go a long way towards supporting them!
- Provide feedback: Lastly, give your favorite businesses feedback. Tell them what they’re doing right, and point out areas where they can improve. This support will help them improve and grow to serve even more people happily!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to support your favorite LGBTQ-owned businesses. While buying directly from them is best, you can also choose several other non-financial ways to lend them your support.
Why Is It Important To Support LGBTQ-Owned Businesses?
Most people don’t realize the full impact they create when they support an LGBTQ-owned business. On the surface, it might feel like you’re just buying a product or service and helping them profit more.
But in reality, your support is essential for a handful of other reasons like the following:
For Economic Empowerment
Firstly, your support is vital for the economic empowerment of the business and its stakeholders.
That means your dollars don’t just benefit the owner but also the employees as well. As you can imagine, many of them are likely LGBTQ community members themselves.
Businesses also have suppliers, which your money also supports indirectly.
Ultimately, your small purchase ends up circulating in the local economy, helping empower everyone involved.
To Promote Values
Supporting these businesses is also a way to promote the values you share with them. Typical values include inclusion, diversity, and a fight against discrimination.
Businesses are a significant part of any community, so your support goes a long way towards benefitting everyone.
To Maintain Safe Spaces
LGBQT-owned businesses are safe spaces for many people, including their employees and customers. Your continued support helps to keep those safe spaces accessible to these people so they have a place to go and be surrounded by like-minded individuals.
To Create Jobs
Naturally, supporting a business also means indirectly helping to create jobs. The demand for products and services leads to more hiring, allowing people from all backgrounds to get jobs and make a living.
Remember: people who work those jobs pay taxes, fund their education, and feed their families. Your support, however small, goes much further than you’ll ever realize.
To Wield Consumer Power
It’s essential to be mindful of the businesses you support to wield your power responsibly.
People often forget that we each have consumer power that we can use to support the businesses that we believe in. That includes those with similar values and are part of the same communities.
Supporting LGBTQ businesses is one way to vote for a more inclusive and equal world.
To Support Representation
Supporting these businesses also goes a long way towards helping the overall representation of the LGBTQ community. Representation matters because it challenges societal stereotypes and long-held beliefs about who should own thriving businesses, and you can have a part in making that happen.
Seeing these businesses thrive will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to start and build their own businesses.
Overall, you’ve learned that finding LGBTQ-owned businesses these days is very straightforward. You can do things the conventional way, like relying on word-of-mouth or contacting chambers of commerce.
However, the internet has simplified things even more. Search for businesses on social media or browse online directories that have already been curated for people like you.