Making Your Startup Accessible to Everyone

Grace Holden

Part of making your startup a huge success is enabling everyone to access it. Your startup should be available to every one of your customers, and every potential employee. Being accessible isn’t always a one-trick thing, it takes time and effort, but it’s hugely important for your startups' integrity and worth. Businesses must make conscious efforts to consider diversity and accessibility for Black and Asian people, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+ people and all minority groups. Here at blazon, we want to help you make your startup accessible to everyone so we’ve compiled some top tips to help you along the way. Here we go!

Transgender and non-binary inclusivity

We live in an increasingly accepting society, where we are, by and large, free to be who we want to be. However, for transgender and non-binary people, going into unknown spaces can be unnerving and sometimes frightening. One way your business can facilitate access for trans people is by putting gender pronouns at the end of emails, next to the names of team members on their websites and anywhere that assumes a person’s gender. Not only will this help your employees feel more comfortable expressing who they are but will also reassure your customers that you will respect their identity throughout their journey with you.

If your startup requires a consumer to declare their gender identity, it is important to offer more options for non-binary people, people with other gender identities and people who may not wish to disclose their identity. By doing so, your business will reach many more people and you’ll be seen as a business that gives great customer experience. What’s to lose!?

Disability Access

Disability access is currently a huge problem in many workplaces and businesses, and it’s no different for startups. It’s a complex and dynamic issue, stemming from misinformation, lack of understanding and prejudice on behalf of employers and society. But there are simple things you can do to make your business accessible to people with disabilities.

If your startup is in a physical space, it’s important to consider whether a person using a mobility aid will be able to manoeuvre around effectively. For example, is your door wide enough for a wheelchair to get through? Do you have a disabled toilet? Customers with disabilities will not want to return if they can’t even get through the door and employees can make official complaints if their workplace is not accessible.

But disability access isn’t exclusive to physical spaces, it’s just important online too. If you have videos on your website, it’s important you make subtitles available and audio descriptions available when necessary. If you provide printable sheets, where you can, it’s important to make sure they are available in braille and are Dyslexia friendly.

Employment

As a startup, your team may begin as a small group of people working together. Despite this, it’s still important to consider that you may have a team member with an impairment (remember not all disabilities are visible). As an employer, you have a duty by law to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace to enable your employees to be able to do their job effectively. If you’re not sure how best to support your employees, ask them!

Training

Part of making your startup accessible requires your employees to be on board too. One way to do this is to provide sensitivity training. This can be done within the workplace or be given by an outside source. Online courses such as Culture Wizard give virtual classes on inclusion and unconscious bias training, which is hugely beneficial when looking to tackle or prevent racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia in the workplace. Most importantly, it shows your employees and consumers that you are a responsible business and care about their wellbeing.

Marketing

How many times have you seen a disabled person on TV? How many adverts have you seen with two black men in love? Not many? Us neither. But your startup can go a long way to helping to change that by diversifying the people you use to market your product. So, the next time a member of your team suggests using a white, straight, non-disabled cisgender male in your advert, maybe think again!

Making your startup accessible to everyone might seem like a daunting prospect, but we hope that we’ve shown that small changes can make a huge difference. Being aware of your audience and your employees will build trust in your brand and in you. You’ve got this!