A major new study released today has revealed that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)-owned businesses are optimistic for growth over the next twelve months. More so than their heterosexual counterparts, LGBT-owned businesses have reported that seeking opportunities in new markets will be a key driver to growth.
For the first time, Business Link’s Diverse Business Confidence Index identifies variations in how the recession is affecting London’s small businesses by sector, business type and business ownership (gender, Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME), Deaf and disabled).
The majority of LGBT-owned businesses (85%) reported that they have plans to grow in the next year. Half of all LGBT businesses have targeted new markets as a means to growth, compared with just 44 per cent of their heterosexual counterparts. Launching new products was also a key target for LGBT businesses, with an impressive 39 per cent having firm plans to come to market with a new product or service.
When examining the impact of the recession as a whole, the LGBT businesses mirror the rest of London’s small business sector.
Patrick Elliott, chief executive of Business Link in London, said, “This Index gives an unparalleled insight into how London’s LGBT-owned small businesses are impacted by, and responding to, the recession.
“We’re seeing a very positive message from most sectors of the market right now, and LGBT businesses are no different. There’s a great deal of optimism around growth prospects over the coming months, and according to the Index LGBT-owned businesses seem clearer than other sectors on how they’re going to achieve that. That ambition is translated into broadening horizons and looking at new markets, as well as significant effort put into developing new products and services.
“We regularly survey our clients on how they’re managing through the recession and we’re seeing a clear trend emerge of a sector that is refusing to get bogged down in the doom and gloom.”
Mr Elliott continued, “The recession is affecting businesses in different ways – the analysis gained from this Index will be essential to our planning so that we can better tailor our support and advice to them.
“We’re working with businesses every day on activities such as developing detailed business plans, building financial skills, drawing up effective marketing plans and building on their network of contacts. Through our Business Advisers, our business health check service and hosting events and workshops, we provide tailored and practical help to small businesses looking for a way out of the recession,” he added.
To be published quarterly, the Diverse Business Confidence Index will provide a regular gauge on business sentiment amongst London’s small business sector.