Things have drastically changed in the recent months due to COVID-19. Business owners are forced to be more creative than ever before to retain customers. There’s no better time than now to really sharpen your knowledge of pivoting in your business. Large corporations in the United States are actively looking to increase their spending on goods and services purchased from small business owners, particularly those that are certified as women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned enterprises.
One of the most effective ways to get in front of these corporations is through certifications. While this endeavor can be one that is time-consuming, it is also a game-changer in taking your business to the next level. If you want to grow your business with certifications, here are 3 ways to get started.
It is important to be ready and be able to clearly state what you do, who you do it for, and how you plan to deliver your services. You will need to visit the specific certification website to be sure you are crystal clear on their particular checklist. For example, if you are looking to certify with the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) you will need documents such as:
- History of Business
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Articles of Incorporation
- Agreements pertaining to ownership, operation, and control of the business
- Copies of the businesses’ canceled checks
- Corporate Bank Resolution Agreements
- Business Lease Agreements
This is just a general idea of what it means to be prepared so that you are not overwhelmed by the process. This list is only to name a few things that you will need. Another very important document is a capability statement. If you are looking to get federal contracting as well as work with large corporations, it is wise to have a capability statement prepared. There are plenty of templates available online but I would strongly suggest furthering your research on some of the key components as it relates to what it is that your business offers.
Do your research on which certification fits the goals of your business. Make a list of your top three certifications to start and the benefits of each. The SBA (Small Business Administration) distributes a significant amount of federal contracting dollars to small businesses each year, but in order to qualify for these contracts you must be certified.
Where are you now networking? Get in front of the right people. If your goal is to gain contracts or gain more knowledge on certifications then you will need to attend networking events that match the goals you have for your business. It’s a great idea to attend events where attendees are in leadership, HR, Procurement Management, Logistics, and more. These are generally the groups within an organization that would make the decision to work with small businesses. As a bonus, a lot of companies also have a supplier diversity program within their organization and the process to get your business on their list is fairly simple. Visit the website of the organizations you’d like to work with and search “supplier diversity” and most times it will lead you to a form to insert your business information. If they are interested or feel they need your services, they reach out to you directly.