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OutBüro Podcast Trailer

OutBüro – Let’s chat, share, learn, grow, and be inspired together. In each episode, we’ll have casual and informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals. We’ll chat with LGBTQ entrepreneurs about their inspiration, strategy, startup journey, successes balanced with insights from lessons learned. We’ll also talk with leaders in Diversity and Inclusion and community allies across many sectors. Please subscribe to the podcast and join the online community at www.OutBuro.com.

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Kinner – Empowering Lives and Creating Dignity with Every Bottle of Water

I was recently first connected with Laxmi Narayan Tripathi via our OutBüro on LinkedIn Group and connected directly as a 1st-degree contact when I noticed a posting from her in the group about Kineer Drinking Water.  She is a transgender activist and social entrepreneur that works tirelessly for the transgender community in India and thereby around the world.  She’s an activist, entrepreneur, dancer, actress and more than anything a compassionate human who is leveraging her skills and energy to help others to belong, be safe, feel dignity and be empowered.

We at Kineer are at empowering the transgender/third-gender Indian community with employment opportunities and more.

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes and difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.  – Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

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India’s transgender women community, or Hijra, has been a part of the subcontinent for about as long as civilization has. With a recorded history of over 4,000 years and is mentioned in ancient texts, the Hijra community is a testament to the sexual diversity that is integral yet often forgotten in Indian culture.

However, when the Indian subcontinent came under colonial rule during the 19th century, British authorities sought to eradicate and criminalize the Hijra community through various laws. These laws were later repealed after India attained independence.

While the Hijra community is still revered by society at large and celebrated in religious and spiritual ceremonies, they are often the victims of abuse and discrimination. Violence and hate crimes against the community are common, as is housing and other harassment and discrimination.

Although the hijras are human beings full of efficiency and human dignity beyond the male-female dichotomy, the government has not taken proper initiatives for their upliftment. Our society has just rejected their different physical complexities.

Hijras are boycotted from their own family, society, and state. Their own family hides them to cover the so-called ‘shame’ and neglect the truth that hijras are not responsible for what they are. Society ignores the reality that they are just the third gender. Their gender is naturally constructed as diverse. For their diverse identity, they cannot even inherit their family properties. Their funeral activities are also not functioning properly as the persons related to those rituals are not willing to conduct funeral activities when he comes to know that it’s a dead body of a hijra!

Although some attempts are taken for the hijras by the government and some non-governmental organizations who work for conserving human rights, those are really insufficient. We cannot step forward leaving these people having diverse gender identity far behind. Obviously, they have the ability to serve various sectors, but at present, they are not playing that role just because of not getting an opportunity. They could become talented doctors, engineers, intelligent scientists, scholars and what not?

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi - Kineer Packed Bottled Water - Transgender Activitist Entrepreneur Business Startup Gay Professional Networking LGBT QueerCreating a Solution Through Water

The plight of the Hijra Community (Third/Neutral gender) is not hidden from anyone but still, no action has been taken towards providing a sustainable employment/ income source for them. They are left with a choice to either beg on the roads or to indulge in Skin Trade. It was surprising to see that the grants too were only focused on ways of distributing condoms or taking HIV/ safe sex sessions. Which we feel is just another way of labeling/ approving their indulgence in the skin trade.

Kineer Seeking Corporate Customer Partners and Distributors

Kineer Drinking Water is seeking direct corporate customers who serve water to their customers/staff as well as distributors.  This is social entrepreneurs where when you serve Kineer Water you are making a statement that you support empowering the community with jobs and a future of safety and security.

If you serve bottled water for any reason, you are a perfect corporate partner customer.  Kineer would appreciate the opportunity to provide the refreshing water you need and the transgender community will be grateful for your support of their employment and lives of dignity.

Water Not Kineer’s Only Product or Service to assist the  Community

Most entrepreneurs work tirelessly to realize the potential of one business.  Laxmi formed Kineer Services which not only has the drinking water brand yet the following services/products:

  1. Kineer Packaged drinking water plants
  2. Kineer - Water Education Services Empowering Transgender Community in India - Outburo - Gay Professional Networking LGBT Business Startup News Information QueerKineer Cosmetics and washroom amenities range
  3. Kineer Education platform
  4. Kineer Mental health Helpline
  5. Kineer National Cricket league
  6. Kineer manpower Placement and Diversity inclusion platform
  7. Kineer corrective surgeries helpline
  8. Kineer Security Services
  9. Kineer Dance and fine arts academy
  10. Kineer BPO
  11. Kineer apparels and lifestyle accessories
  12. Trans Queen India events

Kineer Services Pvt. Ltd was formed with a vision bringing about a Paradigm Shift for the members of the sexual minorities. They are not only working towards creating dignified employment opportunities for the members of the sexual minorities but is also working towards ensuring the mental and physical health of this neglected community is taken care of.

About Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

She is the Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Kinaar Akhada, a transgender rights activist, dancer, and actress. She was the first transgender person to represent Asia-Pacific at a UN task meeting in 2008 and represented the region again at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. She works with numerous NGOs, including the Astitva Trust, the Asia Pacific Transgender Network and Maharashtra Trithiya Panthi Sangatana, to promote the equality of transgender individuals. She was one of several petitioners in the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment recognizing the ‘third gender’ and is a member of the core committee set up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for Transgender Rights and Upliftment. She is the subject of two books, Me Hijra, Me Laxmi (written by R. Raj Rao) and Red Lipstick: The Men in My Life (written by Pooja Pande).


Are you an LGBTQ entrepreneur or know of another we should interview and write an article about?  Provide us a little bit of information and contact information.

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LGBT Chambers of Commerce & Business Alliances Supporting Entrepreneurs

Promoting, educating, supporting, and empowering is the mission of LGBT Chambers of Commerce & Business Alliances everywhere.There are so many reasons to join and be an active member of a chamber of commerce including:

  • Membership brings credibility to your business.
  • Increase your visibility in the community.
  • Opportunities to be matched with a business mentor.
  • Educational programs.
  • Events – Create networking opportunities.
  • Gain a voice in local, state, and national governments.
  • Discounts on goods and services from participating organizations.

Use the below list to locate an LGBT Chambers of Commerce & Business Alliances near you.Are you aware of an organization not present in the below listings?  We’d love to add them.  Just use our site contact form to let us know.

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 United States


Alabama

Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Gulf South

Alaska

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

Arizona

Arkansas

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

South Dakota

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.

Wisconsin

Wyoming

None listed at this time.  Please use the Contact form to let us know of LGBT business owner resources in this state so that we may add them here.


 International


Australia

Brazil

Canada

Central & Eastern Europe

Colombia

Costa Rica

Dominican Republic

Enland – United Kingdom

Mexico

Scandinavia

South Africa

Philippines

Uruguay

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LGBT Entrepreneurs Focus on SEO to grow business

As a business owner, it’s important you understand that ranking highly in search engines is vital for your website. In fact, it could be your golden ticket to immense profits. But how? The answer is search engine optimisation (or SEO).

As an LGBT entrepreneur SEO improves website’s visibility

SEO is the process of making your website visible in search engine results pages (or ‘SERPs’ as they’re often called). And what a process it is. The Google algorithm considers over 200 factors when determining what websites to show for a certain search term.

It all starts with your website. Google sends out automated ‘robots’ (also called ‘spiders’ or ‘crawlers’) to visit every accessible page on every website across the internet. These robots gather information on each webpage and store it all on the many Google servers located around the world. This way when someone searches for a term related to your site, the Google algorithm goes to work, processing all the information that has been collected from your site and similar sites. It then determines which sites are most authoritative and relevant to query. The results are presented in the form of an ordered list, with the best options at the top.

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.

 

To simplify things, think of the web like your local library. Your site is a new book that has just arrived and the librarian is the Google robot. She gets familiar with your book and determines the most logical section to display it in. A visitor comes to the library and they aren’t aware your book exists but they’re interested in the genre or topic. So they head to the relevant section, explore the different titles and eventually decide to check out your book because it’s just what they’re looking for. Success!

SEO is constantly evolving as an LGBT Entrepreneur – Keep Up!

Website owners have been thinking about how to make their sites rank in search engines since the rise of the internet in the 1990s. Along the way, some SEO practitioners figured out ways to trick the algorithm into thinking their site was more relevant and authoritative than it actually was. This type of optimization was coined ‘black hat SEO’. It quickly became frowned upon due to the negative experience it created for web users. Some SEO techniques were originally acceptable (known as ‘white hat’) but moved into the black hat category as they became overused or as the web matured.

Search engine algorithms are consistently updated to make black hat techniques less effective. SEO is always in a state of evolution – so it’s important to remember that what mattered a few years ago could now be less effective or completely discouraged. If the Google crawlers identify black hat SEO on your website, your site could be penalized and drastically drop in search engine rankings. The best way to avoid black hat SEO is to always ask yourself if you are improving the experience on your site or providing valuable and original information. If the answer is ‘yes’, you can feel confident that your website is search-engine friendly.

Seven ways to optimize your LGBT Business website for search engines

If you ever tried to learn about SEO, you’ve likely heard dozens of different things you should do. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start.

The best place to begin is with the list below:

  1. Keywords
    These are the queries that your prospects would likely search for when looking at your type of business. Start by coming up with the obvious ones and then use a keyword research tool to identify other terms that could direct people to your site. You can get an idea of how competitive terms are and how often they’re searched for and go from there. Once you have your keyword list determined, you need to make sure these terms exist throughout your site. It’s important not to overuse keywords – search engines will penalize any content that looks spammy. Aim for roughly 2 percent keyword density.
  2. Page copy
    It should contain your keywords but be sure not to overdo it. The Google crawlers read text just like us humans do, so it’s more important that copy is readable and well-written. Many people use their keywords too much in their website copy, thinking they are really letting Google know what terms they want to rank for. In reality, they are writing poor copy which makes for a bad experience on their website and can actually hurt their site’s ranking. Before you publish a new page, double-check your copy. If your grammar school English teacher wouldn’t like it, neither will search engine crawlers. See our article on Content Marketing.
  3. Title tags
    This is the copy the appears as the clickable link in SERPs and in the tab of most web browsers. It acts as the title for each individual page so it carries a lot of weight with search engines. You’ll need to make sure each title tag is unique, contains relevant keywords, and follows a consistent format across your site. It’s best practice to include a keyword specific to the page. If you have space you should also include your brand name. It’s best to use a hyphen (-) or a vertical bar (|) to separate keywords from your brand name. Keep copy to under 55 characters to make sure it’s not too long to display.
  4. Heading tags
    There are six different heading tags you can use (from H1 to H6). H1 is the most important heading tag to search engines and should be applied to the page headline. It’s important not to use the H1 tag more than once per page, as it could result in an over-optimization penalty with Google. The other title tags can be used multiple times on a single page. On a page that contains a lot of copy, the H1 tag can act as the headline and H2s can be applied to each sub-headline. This format sends signals to the search engine crawlers, while also making for strong user experience by breaking text into separate sections.
  5. URL structure
    URLs present another opportunity to showcase your keywords to search engines. Be sure they’re included in the resource path – or the part of the URL that comes after the domain name or /. It’s best practice to use all lowercases and hyphens to separate words when optimizing URLs. Here’s a good example: rockyardshoes.com/running-shoes.
  6. Images
    Search engine crawlers can’t see images like humans so they rely on the code behind the image to understand what it is being displayed. They gather information from the alt tag, image title and filename.
    • Alt tag text is the copy shown in place of an image when it can’t be displayed – perhaps it failed to load, or the user is visually impaired and uses a screen reader. You should provide a brief explanation of the image for alt tag text. For example, ‘Woman wearing running shoes’.
    • The image title is the copy that appears when you hover the mouse over an image. The copy should build on the description the alt tag text provides. Think of it like an image caption. For example, ‘Orange running shoes for women’.
    • The filename is the name applied to an image when it’s saved. For example, image337.png isn’t great. But running-shoes-women.png is. Take a moment to make sure it is descriptive and only use lowercase text and separate words using hyphens.
  7. Meta descriptions
    A meta description may seem daunting – but it’s just a name for the two lines of text that appear in search engine result pages under the clickable link and URL. If you don’t provide Google with a meta description, then it will display random text from your page that may mean nothing to a user. Meta descriptions no longer factor into search engine rankings, but they can help encourage searchers to visit your site by providing a preview of what’s in store. It’s best to keep the copy under 150-155 characters and to include a call to action. For example, ‘Start your free trial today’.

Updating your website usually requires editing HTML code. However, many modern content management systems, like Squarespace or WordPress, enable you to build and edit a website with no coding knowledge.

Commit to SEO for the long haul

Once your website is optimized for search engines, you’ll need to form an on-going SEO strategy. This is the hard part of SEO but it’s what will separate you from your competitors. Think of it like going to the gym. You need to devote time and energy, stick to a plan, and patiently wait for results.

 

Three ways to provide visitors with great content

For the people at Google, the internet is all about the exchange of information. This means that the Google algorithm places a lot of weight on the quality of the content on your site how often you publish it.  See our article on Content Marketing

Content is a blanket term that refers to the descriptive copy on your webpages, in addition to blog posts, articles, case studies, videos, infographics, slideshows and so on. Anything that provides valuable information and is accessible to search engine crawlers is considered content.

The key to producing great content for SEO purposes is to make it fresh, relevant, and unique.

  1. Publish fresh new content frequently
    This shows Google that your website is still active. Old content quickly goes stale if it’s in a prominent area of your site.
  2. Keep content relevant
    Your content should be related to your website and what your business offers. Don’t stray off-topic. It could confuse search engine crawlers, as well as visitors to your site.
  3. Always be unique
    You should present information that is not available on other websites or at least in a different form than it exists on other websites. Never copy and paste content from other sites onto yours. It will do more harm than good.

The importance of inbound links

Links on other websites that point back to yours are known as ‘inbound links’ and play a huge role in obtaining favorable search engine rankings. If the web is all about exchanging information, then inbound links are essentially other sites endorsing what your site has to say.

Not all inbound links are created equal in the eyes of Google though. A single link from a major website like nytimes.com or bbc.co.uk can provide value equivalent to a dozen links from average websites.

Creating great content and obtaining inbound links go hand and hand. When you write a great blog post or guide, it’s going to influence Google crawlers. It’s also going to impress visitors to your site, who will want to share it on social media and link to it on their own websites.

Be visible to local searchers

If you run a brick-and-mortar business, you want your website to convince people in your community to visit in person. Optimizing your site to appeal to people close to you is known as local SEO.

Be sure to include your location in your main keywords. If you run a seafood restaurant in Boston, you’ll want to be sure that your website is visible to local searchers seeking a seafood restaurant. You’ll want to optimize around the term ‘seafood restaurant Boston’ in order to let Google know where your restaurant is located.

It’s also important to sign up for a Google My Business account. This ensures that your business contact information is consistent across Google search, Maps and Google +. It also gives your business a greater presence in search results. Your customers can leave reviews, which naturally attracts new customers.

SEO will help your website succeed

As you can see, putting in place a strategy is essential if you want your business to succeed online. If you constantly improve your website and publish great content then you will have a better search engine ranking than your competitors. It’s that simple.

 

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The LGBT Entrepreneur 10 Steps To The Perfect Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. Your business plan will keep you focused and help convince investors to lend you money. But what needs to go into the perfect business plan? Here are 10 steps to help you get it right.

Why do you need a business plan?

You may be wondering why you need a plan in the first place. After all, you have a clear idea in your mind about what you want to achieve. You know the market, you have the necessary skills. So why do you need a plan?

There are many good reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • To clarify your ideas
    Writing something down gives it structure and substance. Your ideas will be clearer on paper than in your head.
  • To discover and solve problems
    The business idea you have in mind may have some holes – you might not have covered everything. This will become much more apparent when your words are on the page.
  • To get feedback from others
    A properly written business plan can be shared with trusted people to get their advice.
  • As a formal document
    Banks, investors, accountants, and lawyers will want proof that you’re serious about your business. A written plan will provide that proof.
  • To guide you as your business grows
    A good business plan will keep you on track and focused, even as day-to-day work becomes a distraction.

If you’ve never written a business plan before, it can be a daunting prospect. But these 10 steps will help you create the perfect business plan.

1. The executive summary

This is where you describe your company and the product or service that it will sell. This must be brief, to catch and hold people’s attention.

Try to describe the goal and mission of your business in just a couple of sentences. Work hard at this and try to make it memorable.

Treat this section as an ‘elevator pitch’ document – it should be short, concise, and easy to remember.

2. Who are your customers?

Do you have a clear idea of the type of people (or businesses) who will buy your product or service? If not, think carefully until you do.  Understand who is your target audience.

 

This is one of the first questions any investor will ask you about your business plan. Have your answers ready:

  • Know whether your customers will be consumers or businesses. If they are businesses, who will you target within those companies? Maybe it’s the salesperson, or perhaps it’s the CEO?
  • Determine whether you’ll have regular clients or one-off buyers.
  • Make sure you’ve actually spoken to some of your potential customers.

3. Evaluate the target audience

There’s no room for guessing here. You need to identify the people who will buy from you. Think about the following:

  • Demographics – such as age, gender, and social status.
  • Firmographics – this applies when selling to businesses. Firmographics include the size of the company, revenue of the company, and services or products of the company.
  • Location – perhaps a specific area, town, or even country.
  • Profession – maybe you’re targeting accountants, police or lawyers, for example.
  • Groups – such as people with shared interests or habits.

The better you evaluate your target audience, the more comprehensive your business plan will be.

4. What are your opportunities?

Successful businesses think big. You might be starting small, but you don’t have to stay that way. So write down the possible opportunities for your business as it grows.  Check out our article turning your hobby into a business.

For example, perhaps you’re planning to start by selling over the internet. That’s great, but how will you get traffic to your site? How will people find you online? Will you need salespeople? If not, how will you convince people to buy from you?

As the business grows, is there scope for a bricks-and-mortar retail outlet? What other opportunities will you have if your business grows as planned?

Understand the competition

Every business has competition. If you don’t mention yours, investors will think you’re unprofessional – or just plain naive. You must understand your competitors. Be thorough, and list all your existing and potential competitors:

  • Who are your direct competitors – those selling the same products or offering the similar services as you?
  • Who are your indirect competitors – those whose market overlaps yours?
  • What will prevent other companies from competing with you – what are the barriers to entry?
  • What is your USP (unique selling proposition)? In other words, what’s your point of difference that makes you different from your competitors?

That last point is important. You need to explain how your business will differentiate itself from all the others. That might be based on price, service, quality, range or value. Make sure you spell it out.

 

6. Build a simple financial plan

All business plans should contain some financial information. This should include the overall costs of setting up your business. For example:

  • Cost to make or buy products.
  • Costs for labor and manufacture, including raw materials.
  • Staff costs, especially for service businesses.
  • Distribution and marketing costs.
  • Fixed and variable overheads.

Good accounting software will help you create a draft financial model. We’ll look into this in more detail in a future guide. For now, talk to your accountant or bookkeeper for help and advice.

7. Include an outline marketing plan

Every business must do some level of marketing.  For this section of your business plan, you need to think about the five ‘Ps’:

  • Pricing – how will you price the end product?
  • Positioning – how does your product or service fit into the market?
  • Promotion – what channels will you use to attract and communicate with customers?
  • Profit – how much do you expect to make per item sold?
  • Place – what are your sales channels?

8. Plan your operations

Put your vision to one side for a moment. What are the daily tasks that need to be done when running the business? Include all business processes such as manufacture and packaging. Try to cover all departments too, including sales and customer service.

9. Get the right people

This is one of the most important factors. Think about who you want to hire. How will you find people whose skills complement yours? And how will you convince them to work for you?

Also think about who you want as your business advisors. You’ll need people you can trust, to guide and mentor you at times when you need it.

10. Simplicity is the key

Keep it simple. Complex and long documents won’t be read – either by you or by potential investors. A business plan should be brief, relevant, and focused.

If you find yourself getting carried away while writing, stop, and take a break. Then go back and edit what you’ve written. Shorter is better. The core of a good business plan should be just a few pages long.

Plan your business around your strengths

As you write your business plan, keep in mind your strengths – and also any areas for improvement. This will help you construct a plan that makes the most of your abilities, while still being realistic. That’s more likely to convince investors that you’re serious.

Your business plan is a roadmap for your business – but it’s not set in stone. Review it at least once a year and make changes if necessary.

Above all, keep getting feedback from your advisors – official and unofficial ones. With their help, you’ll create the perfect business plan that takes you where you want to go.

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