Benefits of Certifying Your Business
When you go after certification for your small business, you aren’t just adding a few acronyms to your business card. You’re also opening the door to a world of opportunities. Having a certification can give you access to new contacts and exclusive events. It also puts you in a smaller pool of candidates. It can even help you diversify your client base and weather economic challenges.
Once you have received a certification, you’ll want to put it on as many marketing materials as possible and use it in every request for proposal you submit.
But there are even more reasons to let people know you’re certified. Here are six benefits to becoming a certified small business:
Benefit #1: It gives you a competitive edge
Many government agencies, such as cities, states, and federal entities, have small business mandates or goals. They set overall yearly goals, as well as goals within a specific contract. To meet the goals, those entities are required to utilize certified companies.
Which is where you come in. If you hold a certification they’re looking for, you’ll go further in the contract bid process. Additionally, holding certifications may put you ahead in a request for proposal (RFP) bid. Additional points are awarded to companies with certifications, which may help you come out on top in the bidding process. This also counts for certified companies on your team.
But this also goes beyond just government contracts. Many Fortune 500 companies, such as Walmart, ExxonMobil, and Bank of America, have supplier diversity programs to ensure that their supplier base is as diverse as their customer base. You can take advantage of becoming one of those supplies with certifications.
Benefit #2: It helps diversify your client base
Diversifying your income ensures that you’re never too reliant on a single stream to support your business. Likewise, it will help attract a variety of clients to your business who use your services and recommend you to others.
Having a diverse client base is essential for weathering economic challenges. For example, during the 2008 economic downturn, many woman-owned businesses we worked with independently before forming B2G Victory didn’t have to lay off any staff and attributed it to this exact reason.
Benefit #3: It gets your foot in the door to working with larger companies
When you think government, your brain likely goes to the federal government. There are many federal government contracts small businesses are eligible for through local school districts. But keep in mind there is about a tiered approach to working on these contracts. Many projects have a prime contractor that seeks out certified small businesses to complete portions of a larger contract. Your small business could be a perfect fit and becoming certified is an easy way for primes to find you.
Benefit #4: It increases your brand awareness
Maximize your brand awareness by listing your certification everywhere in your marketing. For tips on where you should be listing your certification, check out this blog post[ME1] . You never know how someone will run across your business, whether it’s picking up a flyer at a tradeshow or searching for woman-owned businesses online via social media. Building brand awareness using your certifications may be the thing that gets your foot in the door with an unexpected contract.
For example, certified small businesses are eligible to be listed in directories that are accessed by prime contractors when they are responding to a bid. We have seen small businesses added to large projects simply because they were listed in a certification directory.
Another way to market yourself is by attending pre-bid meetings with your capabilities statement showing your certifications. Likewise, following up with current or past clients who might pursue government contracts to let them know about your certification may get you added to a project.
Benefit #5: It helps you gain access to education and mentoring programs
Many agencies that have small business programs also provide training for those businesses listed in their directory. They want to ensure these businesses have the capacity to do the work either as a subcontractor or a prime. These trainings are only available to certified companies.
There are also mentoring programs where small businesses and prime contractors are partnered up. These programs often have formal arrangements with specific goals and objectives that the small business must meet. This helps those small businesses grow and learn from larger companies. Occasionally, it also helps the small business win work from/with the prime.
Benefit #6: It helps you gain access to events and networking opportunities
As a certified small business, you become eligible to attend events exclusively for companies within your niche. Imagine walking into a room full of agencies and prime contractors ready and excited to work with you. These events are not only great for finding contracts; they’re also great for networking and getting your company’s name in front of the people who decide who wins contracts.