30 Days/30 Voices Interview with Jennifer Brown
Listen to the episode by clicking the play button below
The meat of this podcast talks in detail about maximizing your LGBT Outreach with a Solid Plan. We go over the following key questions –
1. Who am I trying to market to? If your answer is the LGBT community you need to be more specific. ie. gay men ages 35-50 who need retirement planning or lesbian mothers who need estate planning. Additional questions to ask yourself include; What are the demographics of your target market? How well do you know your target market? Where do your target customers spend their time and hang out? What problem are they trying to solve and how can you help?
2. How will I position myself differently than the competition? Marketing to the LGBT community can be a crowded space. You’ll always see plenty of financial planners, lawyers, accountants and realtors looking to work with the community. So figure out what makes you different. Find out by asking those you already work with. What is your hook that gets people to know, like and trust you? Additional questions to ask yourself include; What are your Strengths? What are your Weaknesses? Where are the opportunities? Where are the threats?
3. How will I begin my LGBT outreach efforts? This is where you will need to do some research to determine the best place to start. Is there a local LGBT Chamber of Commerce in your area? Do you have a pride center nearby? Is there a professional networking group geared towards the LGBT community?
4. What steps will I take to start building relationships? Think about what strategies you will use to make yourself known in the community. Will you place an ad in the local LGBT media? Will you attend a big gala in your area? Will you volunteer for a local LGBT non-profit organization? To build quality relationships and get a solid reputation within the community you need to be active.
5. How will I measure my progress? Measuring your goals is critical. The best way to measure is by making your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.) Check out my friends at the INUS Group for more information on SMART goals.
You can find these 5 questions at jenntgrace.com/solidplan/ – there are also links to additional information for each question to dive deeper into the questions.
Additional Links from this Episode
And finally…. thank you for putting me over 1,000 fans on Facebook! I totally appreciate you! If you haven’t checked out my page you can do so here.
Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below.
AUDIO TITLE: Episode #5 – Building your LGBT Outreach
You are listening to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, Episode 5.
Welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast where you’ll learn how to do business with and market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way. We’re talking about the $790 billion lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. We’ll help you grow your business, gain market share and impact your bottom line. And now your host – she’s an entrepreneur, a marketing maven and an advocate for the LGBT business community. Jenn, with two N’s, T. Grace.
Hello and welcome…
Hello and welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I am absolutely delighted to be sharing this fifth episode with you. I have an absolutely jam-packed episode for you today, but before we begin I will go over just a couple of things that you can look forward to throughout this show, as well as a couple of new formatting things that I am going to try out here. As you may know on Tuesdays and Fridays each week I post a new article around doing business with and marketing to the LGBT community, and those articles are going quite well right now so I thank you all so much for checking them out each week and hopefully learning a thing or two. So I’m sharing with you that I post to my blog twice a week because I was recently listening to another podcast and as I’ve shared in the past I do have a high love for podcasting and I listen to at least a half a dozen others on a regular basis. And one of the new formatting ideas that someone came up with was starting off their episodes with a win. And asking their audience what a recent win of theirs was. So in this episode I want to start off with a win with you, and what I mean by that is essentially something that has recently happened to me or to my business that has happened since we spoke last. So I’m going to share with you my win for the week and I would love if you would go over to Facebook or Twitter and post a win of the week that you’ve had. So if you are recently starting a business or you’ve been in business for a while, and you just had something amazing happen to you, I would love to hear about it. So please hop over to Facebook or Twitter, or LinkedIn even, and just you know throw me a message. Let me know what’s going on with you; or you could be really awesome and head over to my website and on the right hand side there is a bar that says ‘Send a Voicemail.’ If you click on that it will let you send me a voicemail and if you do that I would love to able to play your win on the air on the next episode. So the website is JennTGrace.com and all of my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn information is over there as well.
My First Column Debut on Dot429Magazine.com
So my win for these past few weeks is that I had my first column debut on Dot429Magazine.com, which is super exciting and the first column is really just an introduction to who I am so that way the readers understand why I’m there and why I’m talking about LGBT business and marketing. So my posting for them will be bi-weekly and it’s in the off weeks of my podcast so that really is just giving you more content that I am producing for them. So I’m really excited for that; all of the content that I’m providing them is 100% original to them, so if you’re looking for additional information from me on a regular basis, that is another outlet you can check out as well. And the website for them is Dot429.com. All of the links that I am mentioning in the show today, you will be able to find if you go to my website and go to JennTGrace.com/005. That is the blog post that goes with this particular podcast so all of the interviews and all of the comments and the blogs that I’m referencing,or social media pages, or anything that I’m talking about that has a link to it, if you head on over there you will be able to find that information really quickly.
For today’s episode…
So today’s episode we are going to talk about maximizing your LGBT outreach with a plan. And I’m going to go over some key questions to have you ask yourself when you are trying to determine what your plan should look like. Each business is different and everybody’s going to have different answers, but it would be great for you to just have a very broad overview of the types of things you could ask yourself to really drill down on what that marketing plan might look like.
So that is going to be the meat of our episode, I am also going to share with you a resource that I absolutely love and a company that I have been doing business with for quite a while, and I want to share their information with you because they’re launching a few new products that I think that you would be able to benefit from them. So I will bring that up later in the episode.
A short snippet of my interview with Jennifer Brown..
Additionally I am going to talk about a conference that is coming up later this year. If there were only one conference that I go to the entire year, this is the conference. So I want to make sure that you are fully aware of that now, as we’re in the month of February and this conference is just around the corner in July. So make sure we get that on your calendar and I will give you details of it later. I’ll also share with you a few details on what’s to come in the next podcast which is an expert interview. And lastly I am going to share with you the date of my first free webinar of 2013. I’m super excited that I finally put the date out there, I already have RSVPs coming in, and I would love for you to be on that RSVP list; so I will bring that all up later. Before we dive into the meat of this episode I want to share with you a short snippet from my last episode which was an expert interview with Jennifer Brown of Jennifer Brown Consulting. She gave tons of great wisdom around entrepreneurship, diversity, being a woman in business, being an LGBT person in business, and the whole episode was just totally awesome and I’m thrilled to have had her do it with me. So I want to share a brief 35 seconds of what that episode was like. So check it out.
You know and really pay attention to getting to know yourself because you can’t be all things to all people and I don’t think there’s a lot of CEOs out there who are great at it all. If you’re smart you can apply yourself and become good at it all but that’s not, to me, the right question. You know the right question is what is your gift? What is your towering gift and what role you’re going to play; even if the company has your name on the door, you still have to be specific about what that is. Sales, Business Development, Operations, Marketing, I don’t know, Research. You know think about the functions of a large company and those are the functions in your small company, even if you’re a company of one.
Jenn T Grace:
So that was Episode Four with an expert interview with Jennifer Brown and if you’re interested in hearing more of what she had to say, you can head on over to the website, http://www.JennTGrace.com/004. And the 004 is for Episode Four.
Let’s dive into today’s topic..
Alright so now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s dive into today’s topic. So as I stated at the beginning of the show, we are talking about maximizing your LGBT outreach efforts by having a solid and strategic plan. I’ve started a series of blogs on my website, it’s a six part series, and each one of those blog posts is going into far more details of the questions that I’m going to ask you here today.
So on this podcast we’re going to go from a really high level overview of the components that you need to be considering when you’re putting together your outreach plan. And if you’re looking for additional information around these specific questions, you’ll be able to head on over to the website and see the questions, find a link for additional information. So all the information that I’m giving you here today, a lot of it is online although some of it will be different, and do not make yourself crazy and be trying to take notes on what I’m talking about here because I do have it in writing for you to make your life a heck of a lot easier.
So if you are sitting here and listening to this show, you likely have some sort of interest in doing business with the LGBT community, or marketing your goods or services to the LGBT community. And one of the things that I talk a great deal about, either on my blog or on these podcasts, or just in conversations with people is if you’re going to put together a plan to market to the community, you have to be doing it in an authentic and transparent way. You truly cannot just throw a rainbow sticker on your front door and hope that an LGBT person is going to walk through and do business with you, just because you have that rainbow sticker on the door. There is a lot more involved in terms of gaining LGBT loyalty and years ago it would have been very simple for you to be able to do just that and put a rainbow sticker on your storefront and have people see you say, “Oh wow they must be open and accepting,” and walk on through your doors. But in this day and age with us being online so much, people have access to people and business and relationships that they used to not be able to have access to. So this is why having a plan is so incredibly important. Because I as a business owner could say, “You know what, I’m going to start today and I’m just going to start marketing myself to the LGBT community.” And if I’m a business owner, what does that look like? What does me as a marketing person- what does that mean to me to go start selling or positioning myself in the LGBT community? And nine out of ten times, the people that I’m talking to can’t answer that question, they just know that they are gay-friendly, their company is gay-friendly, they know they have these great policies at their place of employment or the company that they own, they know that they’ve built that company on a pillar of diversity and inclusion but without a plan none of that matters. You have to have a solid concrete plan and a vision in mind for what you are trying to accomplish. Because what will end up happening is that you’ll be sporadically throwing things here, throwing things there, and none of it is going to be cohesive and then it’s just going to look like it’s not authentic. And authenticity is the number one key in this equation.
Five key questions to ask yourself..
When creating your plan there are five key questions to ask yourself to get you started in the right direction. So I will rattle off all five of those questions really briefly and then we’ll go back into them one by one and get a little bit deeper.
So question number one, ‘Who am I trying to market to?’
Question number two, ‘How will I position myself differently than the competition?’
Question number three, ‘How will I begin my LGBT outreach efforts?’
Question number four, ‘What steps will I take to start building relationships?’
And question number five, ‘How will I measure my progress?’
So there you have the five questions to ask yourself, and as I mentioned before these are available on the website and I will provide a link in Episode Five’s show notes, JennTGrace.com/005.
Who am I trying to market to?
So the first question was ‘Who am I trying to market to?’ Oftentimes I will be talking to somebody and they are convinced that they have their target market figured out. And I’ll say, “So what is it?” And they’ll tell me it’s gay men, ages 35-50. So, okay gay men ages 35-50, that’s- you’re getting there. That’s certainly not specific enough, but you’re getting there. And so then after a few more questions we start to unravel that, okay their target market really is gay men, 35-50, who have partners, who are in need of retirement planning, who have vacation homes. Like it could be really, really specific. Or they can be really broad and say, gay men who need retirement planning. The more specific you are with knowing who your target market is, the more specific you can make your outreach efforts to that specific target. So if I am just saying that the LGBT community is my target market, that is not nearly enough because I could be targeting lesbian mothers who need trust in estate planning, or I could be targeting older gay men who need retirement planning. Those are two very specific niches within the LGBT niche. So I cannot use the same outreach efforts for one that I would the other. And that’s somewhat of a basic rule, or a basic principle, of marketing in general; is that you need to know your audience, you need to know how you’re going to target them and you need to understand that everybody needs a different message to be really, truly effective.
Helping to define your target audience with four steps…
So I have four questions that we can go through that will help you define your target audience a little bit deeper than the broadly based gay men, ages 35-50, who need retirement planning.
Question number 1…
So the first question in that is, ‘What are the demographics of your target market?’ Knowing this is absolutely key and your first step to take. So how do you find the demographics of your target market, you might be asking yourself. So let’s go really, really granular here. What are some of the things about your client base now that you can glean as some sort of pattern? So looking at your client base, you know what are their ages? Or what is the gender? Or what’s the marital status? Sexual orientation, their education level, their income level? These are all things that can help you determine who you are currently selling to, or who is currently purchasing your services. By knowing who is currently purchasing from you, you should be able to figure out how you can improve upon what you’re already doing or use that information to help you determine what other target markets might make sense for you. So as I mentioned before, if you would like additional information, there is a link that I will include in the show notes here that you can go to, that will give you additional information including some actions steps that you can take to help you determine the answers to these questions.
Question number two…
So question number two to determine what your target market is, is how well do you know your target market? So this is building upon the first question, but really trying to figure out how well you know your current customer base. So you may think you have an idea of who you’re actually serving, but if you look through the data and survey your current client base, you may find some really interesting patterns. So if you were able to put together a survey for your current customers, and determine that you had a really high concentration of married lesbian professionals who were college educated, you would be able to find ways to serve their specific needs. Or going a little bit deeper, you might find what types of professions they are. So you might find that you have a lot of lesbian accountants, or a lot of lesbian college professors, or lesbian bankers. These are all really specific professions that you could then tailor a marketing plan to, to position yourself as the best business for their particular needs. For example if you are a computer repair company and you have a survey done and you find that you have a large percent of your client base that have children. So perhaps you have a large percentage of lesbian clients that have children. You may have made an assumption that because they were lesbians, or because they were someone in the LGBT community that they didn’t have children, but when in fact your data is actually showing the opposite. So this is why it’s really important to have data that can show you what exactly you are doing right now and who your clients are right now; because you may never know what’s already there that you can then build upon. So if you have a high client base of lesbian clients with children, then that would be a way that you could then branch off of what you’re already doing and now make children of LGBT parents a sub-segment within your marketing plan. So you already have the bodies, it’s just a matter of how you’re going to reach out and market to those specific people. This is why I find that it’s really valuable to know who you’re currently serving.
Question number 3..
So on to step three, or question three. ‘Where do your target customers spend their time, and where do they hang out?’ So this is another really important thing to figure out for when you’re trying to figure out who your ideal target customers are. Because you could have a really heavy Facebook presence or a really heavy social media presence and come to find out that none of your clients are actually on social media, they prefer to be listening to the classic rock station that’s local to your geographic location. And it’s really important for you to know these things because you could be spending time, money, energy and effort in building this great Facebook campaign or this great Twitter campaign, and then come to find out none of them are actually there. This is where knowing where your customers spend their time and hang out and where potential customers spend their time and hang out will really become valuable to you.
And question number 4…
Question number four is ‘What problem are they trying to solve, and how can you help them solve it?’ So this is a frame of mind that people really need to put themselves into really be successful in their marketing efforts. You need to remember that your customers have a problem, and your job is to solve that problem. But you need to know what that problem actually is, not what you think it is. So you know if we’re going back to that example of a computer repair place, we could look at it from a really high level and find out what is the source of their stress? So they’re bringing their computer in to your location because something’s wrong with it. And digging deeper, what is that something that’s wrong? It could be that the computer itself is actually crashing, it could be the computer is old, or it could be that the person bringing it to you has absolutely no idea what they’re doing with their computer. And that’s causing them to be stressed out and to cause them worry. So as a computer repair shop, you might be able to partner with a company that offers trainings on computers and do some sort of cross-promotion with one other where your clients now have this opportunity to be trained on how to use the computer in a more effective way, which would hopefully in essence reduce their stress levels. And it also makes you look like a hero because they’re already coming to you because they trust your expertise in being able to fix their computer. If you’re going to take your time to recommend that they check out this particular class or offering, they’re going to give a little more weight to that versus the company that you might be partnering with, having them just reach out to them on their own terms. So it’s things like this that if you can figure out what your customers’ problems are, whether you think you’re serving that problem or not, and just dig a little bit deeper and figure out where you might be able to help solve additional problems, it’s just giving you a more robust offering to those particular clients. So those were four questions in determining ‘Who am I trying to market to?’
How will I position myself differently than the competition?
The next question that we talked about in the beginning was, ‘How will I position myself differently than the competition?’ And there are a lot of ways that you can differentiate yourself but the best way, or the best piece of advice I have for you to help you determine that, is conduct a SWOT Analysis. And for those of you who don’t know what a SWOT Analysis is, it’s a core marketing principle that allows you to put together your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities and your threats all in one place. So looking at those things individually you just have to ask yourself, you know what are your strengths? What does your company do really well? What are you really strong at; is it customer service or is it your fulfillment capabilities, or is it that you are the only one in your particular industry that is still providing live customer service and you haven’t outsourced it? You know those are your strengths. What do you really excel at?
Any weaknesses? Improvements needing to be made?
And then ask yourself, what are your weaknesses? You know where do you need to improve? Is it that your company has a problem with lack of recognition? Does your company have poor customer service scores? Or you know, those types of things. Or it even could be something, if you are in some sort of manufacturing, is your cost to manufacture your product really high, which then translates into your prices being higher than the competition.
Where are there opportunities?
Then ask yourself, where are there opportunities? So think of your opportunities as your competitor’s weaknesses. So do a little digging, find out where your competitors are really weak, and then find a way to do it better. So if your competitor is ignoring an entire market, that is an opportunity for you and clearly you’re listening to this particular show which means you have an interest in targeting the LGBT market. It’s very likely that your competition is not doing that right now. So that is your opportunity. Your opportunity is to service the LGBT market in a way that no one else has, and your competition isn’t even considering, so there’s an opportunity for you.
Any imposing threats? If so, what are they?
And finally you have to ask yourself where are there threats? You need to keep your finger on the pulse, you need to know what’s happening in your industry, what your competition is up to. You know find out why things are happening for them and they may not be happening for you. So your competition may be increasing its market share year over year over year and yours is just staying flat. So if that’s the case find out why that’s happening. It could be something as simple as your competition having exceptional customer service. They have a 99% track record with keeping their customers happy, and you don’t. So if you don’t have that track record, find out why, find out where the missing link is in your organization to then change it to make it that your customers are that happy as well.
Creating a SWOT Analysis is an absolutely awesome way to just put down the information that you know and the thoughts that you know around your company, but you could easily break this out into two and do one for yourself and one for your competition. And if you have three or four competitors you could do one for each of them as well. And then that will be able to help drive your decisions on where to spend your time and where to focus on things. So these questions and putting together these strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats that you have, it will really help you solidify how you’re different from your competition. And help you really define what your competitive advantage is.
Here’s a story for you…
As I mentioned before there is a blog post that has this information on it, but one of the things I don’t have included in that blog post is, I had a conversation with a gentleman who owns two businesses, both of which really have nothing to do with one another in terms of them being in different industries. But he’s a small business owner and he and I were talking about ways that I can help him leverage his status as a gay man in his environment. So he and I were talking about how to define his competitive advantage from others in his industry. And I’m going to use the art of making chocolates as an example even though that wasn’t his business. So let’s just say that he was in the chocolate making business. And one of the things that makes him stand apart from others, is the packaging that he puts his chocolates in. So he was sharing with me how each and every box, or each and every item that he packages for a customer is 100% unique. And he was explaining to me how he has to travel to several different states sometimes to find the particular packaging, he was sharing that he spends days, you know a couple of days a month going out and trying to find the particular packages and the particular- you know different items because he wants it to be unique, he wants it to be interesting, he wants it to have a story. So when I was talking with him I said to him, “Well is there a way that you’re conveying to your customers that each of these pieces does have a story?” And he said that he wasn’t. So to me, so if he’s a consumer based product and we’re using chocolate as the example, if there’s what he’s doing which is travelling around and really trying to find unique products, unique packaging, for his products versus somebody like Hershey’s chocolate; who would want to purchase his product versus Hershey’s? Granted there’s very specific markets for each, but if he’s just saying, “Oh here’s my chocolate, it’s in this package. Please purchase it.” There’s no story, there’s no compelling ‘why.’ Why do I want to buy this from you and not just buy Hershey’s that I know what it tastes like, I know it to be good, it’s been around for ever. So as we were talking it occurred to me that wouldn’t it be pretty cool if you were to create tags that went on your products that shared what their story was. So if you went to a flea market or a yard sale or a tag sale, or some sort of vintage antique store; and you found all these great little packages for your products, it would be pretty cool if I, as a consumer, who lives on the northeast coast of the United States, and I’m getting this product from somebody that lives in the middle part of the country. And I say, “Oh you know what I’m interested in trying out that chocolate, it seems pretty cool. You know I’m used to the same old, same old here in the northeast. Let me check it out.” And when I got it and it arrived in the mail it had a tag on it, and that tag said something to the effect of, ‘This package was found at a tag sale in Tennessee.’ Or, ‘This package was found specifically for you from a antique store in Ohio.’ To me that would be pretty cool, to be able to say that, “I just got this great product and there’s this great little story behind where the packaging for this product came from.” And the packaging being something that can be reused for something else. Looking at it from my perspective, this is something that he’s already doing, this is just part of his process in creating his products. So why not take it a little bit further and create a story around it, create something whimsical, create something that’s exciting that gets people to say, “Huh, that’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t have known that.” So it’s those types of things that for him in particular, can help him define what his competitive advantage is. So in this case his competitive advantage is the fact that he hand picks all of the packaging that his products go in versus working with, or purchasing from, a large company like Hershey’s, who has a giant factory plant and all their packaging is exactly the same. So again, it’s a different type of client for each product. But for him, that could be his selling advantage. He’s not trying to sell on a really large scale, he’s selling locally, he’s selling regionally, but he’s selling in a way that he can still do this. He can still maintain trying to find all these great packaging and these great items for his products. And that’s what gets him excited, that’s what makes it an exciting business for him. So you may as well play to that advantage versus trying to be cookie cutter and fit yourself into a box.
So that’s my little tidbit for how to define your competitive advantage. So think of things that you are doing in your business right now, that you may be able to take just a step further, tweak it just a little bit to really customize it to you, and customize it to your business. Because it’s things like that, that make a product unique, that make buyers take notice. So just think about those types of things and really just try to put a different perspective on what you’re already doing and perhaps you’ll come up with some great idea about adding a story or the journey to a product that you are selling. And if you are doing this I would absolutely love to hear from you. I love hearing from my audience, I love getting emails and Twitter messages and information on LinkedIn, and I absolutely want to be here and be a resource to you, so if there’s something that you’re doing as a result of this particular podcast episode, please let me know. And as I said earlier in the episode you can go to my website and hit ‘Send a Voicemail,’ which is on the right hand side, and I would love to be able to play a success story on this show as well. So we have covered questions one and two and then we have three other questions, I’m not going to dig as deep into those but I will go over them all just really briefly.
How will I begin my LGBT outreach efforts?
And so the third step is ‘How will I begin my LGBT outreach efforts?’ And this is the step where you’re trying to figure out where the best place to start is. And if you’ve read any of my blogs or seen anything on my website you will see that I am an absolutely huge proponent of working with local LGBT Chambers of Commerce or working with Pride Centers or professional networking groups that are in your area that are geared towards the LGBT community. So if we’re talking about how are you going to begin your efforts, you really need to find a place to start. And finding that place to start is just a matter of figuring out where the intersection is between your business and what you’re offering and these possible networking environments and groups that are in your area. So to begin your LGBT outreach efforts, just jump into the deep end and get yourself to an event. Find a local LGBT organization in your area and just go and scope out the scene and see if it’s something that you believe will help you. If you are fortunate enough to have an LGBT Chamber of Commerce locally in your area, I guarantee that is a fabulous place to start. And what you would want to do is go check it out, bring a friend or two, bring a colleague, bring your business partner and when you get there find the person who is in charge, find people who serve on the board of directors, and really just start asking them, you know “how has your relationship with this organization improved your business?” Because I guarantee they’re going to have a really awesome success story to tell you why they became involved in that organization. And I say I can guarantee that because I have been incredibly active in the Connecticut LGBT Chamber of Commerce here, which is called Cabo. And I have been active since 2007, I’ve run it for over three years and it has been a life-changing experience for me. So I know the types of things that LGBT Chambers of Commerce offer, and I know that they can help your business, I am positive of that. So if you aren’t certain where to start, in finding if there’s a chamber in your area, you can certainly send me a message on any of my social media outlets, through the website, send me an email; however you need to get in touch with me, and I would be more than happy to connect your personally with the person in charge of that chamber that’s in your area.
What steps will I take to start building relationships?
So on to step four, we have ‘What steps will I take to start building relationships?’ And these are the strategies. You know what are the strategies that you’re going to use to help build the relationships and start making a name for yourself within the community? And it could be something like, are you placing an ad in the local LGBT newspaper? Or on the LGBT media’s website? Or are you planning to attend the next big gala event that’s in your area? Are you planning on volunteering for an LGBT organization in your area? So in order to start building quality relationships, and to have those relationships help propel you forward, you really just need to be active within the community. So that could be being active within your community locally, wherever you happen to live or you can be active regionally, you could be active on a national level. So I, in my case, I feel really fortunate that I live in Connecticut, in the northeast area of the United States, and I am sandwiched directly between Boston and New York. So I am in a fortunate position where I can go network in Boston really easy, I can go network in New York really easily and then of course Connecticut has amazing opportunities as well. So it’s one of those scenarios where- take a look around where you are because you may be in an area that doesn’t have a really strong LGBT presence, but that doesn’t mean that a couple of hours away there isn’t a place that has a really strong active and thriving community that you can get involved in. You can get involved in organizations from a distance and not have to be regularly attending the events to still get value out of what they have to offer. Of course I always recommend attend as many events as you can because then you’re there, you’re building new relationships with people, you’re building more quality relationships with people, and people start to see you over and over again and then you become one of the regulars. And I find that if you’re one of the regulars, you’re usually the person that’s at the top of mind for other people to refer to. So if it is a possibility for you to be active, really out there on a regular basis, I highly recommend it. But if you aren’t in an area where that is possible, don’t let that be limiting to you.
How will I measure my progress?
So then step five is, ‘How will I measure my progress?’ And measuring your goals is absolutely critical. So you want to make sure that you’re putting goals out there that are SMART. And when I say SMART I’m talking about Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Those are the five keys to defining SMART goals, which will help you keep yourself on track, make sure that you are making progress, and that you’re hitting your goals in order to be successful in reaching out to the LGBT community. On my website and on this blog post that I had mentioned before, which is JennTGrace.com/005, I will have a link to additional information about SMART goals. So in that post I will include a link to my friends over at the INUS Group and they have a great article that was written for me to share with my audience about SMART goals and what all of those goals entail. So I will be absolutely certain to include that link in this blog post as well.
So that wraps up the five questions, the five overarching questions to ask yourself to help you start creating your LGBT outreach and plan. So we went through the five, we dug a little bit deeper into the first couple of questions, but overall I hope this information will really help you start yourself on the right path to making sure that if you’re going to market to the community and do business with the community, that you’re doing it in an authentic way, you’re doing it in a transparent way, and you’re doing it smart. You know you’re really just paying attention to how can you maximize your time and your efforts.
So I hope this information was valuable to you, and as I have said a handful of times I will make sure that I include the links to the specific posts that I was talking about. But if you’re interested in finding out just having the information for the five questions that we’ve been discussing of the meat of this episode, you can head over to JennTGrace.com/solidplan and that will bring you to these five specific questions and then let you go deeper if you choose to.
So that wraps up the meat of this episode and I’d like to tell you really briefly about the Human Performance Academy. Over the last couple of episodes you probably heard the commercial that I had included in there for the Human Performance Academy as they are indeed sponsors of this show which I am so thrilled to have them be a sponsor of. And what’s great about this company is that they have been working on this Human Performance Academy program for I believe six years. And I’ve gone through the program myself, which was in an-person live, four week training session that really teaches business owners and entrepreneurs how to perform at peak levels so that way you’re getting maximum productivity from yourself, you’re thinking about things in a completely different way, and a lot of it- there’s a lot of psychology to it which is really interesting. So the owners, Michael and Maria, are absolutely fantastic. I’ve been working with them for about two years, and the’ve recently launched a podcast which is super exciting and I listen to it every week. And they also have a website called MentalCompass.com where they provide all sorts of great resources to helping companies and business owners and entrepreneurs perform at their peak best. So I want to play a short commercial for you from Michael, who is the owner of the Human Performance Academy.
So there you have it. The MentalCompass.com. I highly recommend checking it out, as I said before they are a wealth of information and resources. You can find a link to them on my website and I will include that on the show notes as well.
More information about the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s National Business and Leadership Conference
So I have just a couple more things to mention here that I’m really excited to talk about. And the first is, in the beginning of the show I had mentioned a conference. If there were only one conference that I could go to over the course of the year, for some reason I was only allowed to attend one, this would be the conference. And it is the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s National Business and Leadership Conference. And they have it every year, it’s usually in the end of July or August, and this year it happens to be July 30 through August 2 and it is in Dallas, Texas. And this conference is absolutely amazing on so many levels. And it’s really important for my audience to know about this conference, because the conference is built around business and leadership, and it’s built around entrepreneurs and helping entrepreneurs build their businesses. So there’s a lot of tracks that you can go down that are helping entrepreneurs build their skills in their respective fields, and there was a lot of corporate people here as well. So there’s 140 plus corporate partners of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and those partners are at this conference because they want to do business with LGBT businesses. So if you are an LGBT business owner, and you have a product or a service that you can sell to a corporation, this is hands down the environment that you want to find yourself in. So if this peaks your interest in any way, shape or form, please head on over to JennTGrace.com/Dallas and that will give you a link over to the NGLCC’s website with additional information on ticket pricing and how to get involved and how to register. And if you have any particular questions, I would be more than happy to make an introduction to somebody at the NGLCC that can then help answer those questions for you.
Of course if you are going to attend this conference, please let me know. Because if we have not yet met in person I would love to be able to do that and we can certainly do it while we’re at the conference; that would be really awesome.
So that is the conference and please put it on your radar and let me know what happens.
So just a couple of more things to mention and then I will wrap this up. On the next episode of the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, which will be Episode Six and that will include an expert interview with Laura Davis of Yahoo News. I had a chance to talk with Laura about same-sex marriage and its influence on business. And it was a really interesting conversation and she has a really interesting story to share, so if that is of interest to you, that will be the next interview.
First free webinar of 2013!
And the other thing that I wanted to mention is I have released the first date for my first free webinar of 2013. So if you would love to have more information on how to do business with or market to the LGBT community, which includes a live Q&A at the end of the presentation, please put it on your calendar for March 21st from 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. And head on over to my website and there’s a Webinars tab, please click on it and register for the event. It is going to be an absolutely great event and I’m thrilled to have the live Q&A portion of it at the end because in any given week I get a ton of questions from people, and this is a great opportunity for me to be able to interact with you live. So if you have questions in advance, please make sure you write them down and bring them with you. So I’m really excited to be offering this first free webinar and I hope to be offering several more of them over the course of 2013; but this is certainly my first start and I’m excited to see what happens.
And finally, each episode I have been giving you updates on my Facebook fan count, and as of this recording, I can tell you that I am now over 1,000 fans. And I am so incredibly happy for that, and I appreciate every single one of you. So thank you all for listening to this podcast, becoming a fan on Facebook and for all of your interactions on all the other social media outlets. I truly appreciate it, thank you for listening, and I will talk to you real soon.
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