3 easy things you can do today to build an inclusive business
So, you want to build an inclusive business that aligns with your values but you have no idea how to start, where to start, and you can’t hire a diversity consultant because, well, it’s just you in your business right now.
I just want to let you know that that is perfectly okay. You can start right now, today, by only making a few tweaks to what you’re already likely doing.
Here are 3 super easy, super simple tips on building an inclusive business presence.
1. Use diverse images on your website, in your digital courses, in your social media, on content you create for clients — everywhere
Really be intentional on the images you use and not just in images but in your podcast guest invites, guest bloggers, etc.
It’s so much easier now to create content that is as beautiful and diverse as our planet. There really is no excuse to just be using images of white people or white families or inviting white guests onto your show — unless your show is meant to sustain white supremacy which, if that’s the case, what are you doing here babe? Let me show you the door… This ain’t for you.
The same is true for clients you might create content for whether you are a social media manager, graphic designer, or illustrator.
Here are some gorgeous, high-quality examples of stock images you can use.
Quick story time…
I had an Instagram client whose niche is “divine feminism” but what I’ve mostly seen out of this community, and her to be honest, was this white, Euro-centric view of feminism. And nope! Not having it. So, while I worked with her, I made sure to also use stock photos of Black women and Black joy. I challenged her “brand” and if she had a problem with it? I was looking forward to hearing what the issue would be.
That never happened, thankfully. But I was prepared to have that conversation if it came to it.
2. When providing analogies, use they/them pronouns too
Chances are you’ve used analogies and stories in order to further a point be it in your blog, podcast, social media post(s), or even digital course. Right?
It might look like, “Imagine if Jessica spent all her time marketing on the wrong platform” or “Derek has $200 to invest in his business, his best move will be to…”
Commit today to also using non-binary folks in your examples.
Now, this is different than sharing a testimonial from a client — with this, you absolutely should honor their pronouns.
For those instances in which you might be sharing a hypothetical, include they/them to challenge the gender binary. This might look like, “Alex felt completely unprepared for their interview, here’s what they could have done to have felt more confident.”
3. Follow and support BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Body-Diverse, and disabled fellow entrepreneurs and creators
Let’s face it… for a majority of those in marginalized communities, building a business is likely harder for you than if you’re a straight-cis-white male. It’s more difficult to get funding and (due to ignorance) it’s also more difficult to be taken seriously in a professional capacity. Discrimination about hair, being trans, and disabilities exists.
To help make the journey a bit easier, be sure to diversify your own social media follow list. Engage on their posts, share their posts in your Stories or Feed, highlight their business in a blog post or in a TikTok of your favorite people to follow. This will make their day. Here are a few of my favorites…
This is definitely not an exhaustive list. I could go on and on about this topic. And if you are ever interested in following a Latina-owned business, give us a follow at @SoulesteCo!
Important: Building an inclusive business shouldn’t be seen as something “trendy” to do.
It’s the right thing to do and doing the right thing should never be treated as a phase that you can capitalize on.
Also, trust me when I say that performative allyship can be pretty obvious and people will eventually notice. Worse, even, when your allyship is built on just making money off of people what will likely wind up happening is that you embarrass yourself and/or your business. Think of those businesses or entrepreneurs who decided to announce a discount at the most inopportune time or created products that were straight-up tone-deaf and had to apologize later. Don’t be that person.
I encourage you to really start listening to marginalized communities, to put up a mirror and challenge your held beliefs, and to remember: no community is a monolith.
All I ask is that you genuinely do your best to listen and grow because we all have blind spots — no one is born “woke”. As long as you do your best and you make a genuine effort to amplify marginalized voices (not speak over them) you will be fine.
Also Important: This is a bare minimum, there is so much more you can do and should do
Don’t just stop with these three tips. There are so many other ways your business can embrace inclusivity. So, here are a few bonus ideas…
- Credit Black creators for any TikTok dances you learn or were inspired by
- Thinking of growing a team? Make sure to interview diverse candidates too
- Read books like White Fragility, Stamped from the Beginning, and The Sum of Us
- Include alt text in your images as much as possible.
- And again, because it cannot be said enough: put your ego aside and listen, Listen, LISTEN.
These really are small actions you can take to equalize the playing field.
What are some of your favorite ways to build a more inclusive business? Give us a DM and share away!
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