Every Diverse Business Should Be Certified – Even Yours

When it comes to owning a business, knowing how to set yourself apart is just one of many essential strategies that can lead to success. And when it comes to being a diverse business owner, pursuing diversity certifications should always be a top priority. It can seem like an additional administrative task to manage, but there are key benefits for business owners who belong to historically disadvantaged groups. In this blog, we’ll share three reasons why every diverse business owner should consider becoming certified.

More contract opportunities
First, certifying your business can increase growth by providing new target demographics for marketing, which can have positive impacts on your company’s business development and sales strategies. Certifying your business can also open the door for opportunities to learn from industry leaders across several sectors such as finance and tech. Access to these resources can help you improve elements of your company, making you more competitive in the marketplace.

Agencies that provide these certifications will often create learning and network opportunities. Several conferences and trade events are specifically geared toward certified businesses. Not only will your business have access to these events and the networking opportunities they provide, but you can also create meaningful relationships with other like-minded business owners who aren’t afraid to chase their dreams. These types of experiences are invaluable and can lead to lasting change for you, your employees, and your business.

Increased visibility
Second, visibility is crucial for any business or brand. Having limited or no visibility can make sustaining or growing your business almost impossible. When budgets for advertising and marketing are limited, getting the word out about the services you offer can be a challenge – regardless of how phenomenal your business is. Companies and organizations often set goals for how much they pledge to spend with diverse-owned and small businesses each year to encourage these efforts. So, being certified can help put you in front of new customers who are specifically looking to engage with diverse-owned small businesses.

Access to funding sources
The right financial support at the right time can help fuel growth and expansion. Businesses that are diverse-owned can have access to funding specifically created for and available to those that are certified. There are also funding opportunities administered by certifying agencies and government-run small business agencies.

Regardless of what stage your business is in, investing the time and energy to earn a diverse-owned business certification is one of the smartest moves you can make. Certification, paired with your company’s expertise and readiness to take on new business, is a powerful tool to help you identify opportunities and land contracts. Don’t miss out on these key benefits of certification that can help you grow your business.

The process of certifying your company can feel overwhelming. Following are a few tips to help you get started.

Identifying certification programs
Several certification programs exist for businesses that are minority- or business-owned. Widely recognized programs like the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) are just a few programs available. Take time to research what your company qualifies for and what certifying agencies may be most beneficial.

Collect required documents
Application requirements for each certification will vary. You may be required to provide documents like bank statements, articles of incorporation, and tax returns. While the process may seem extensive, it helps to ensure that those who receive certifications are properly vetted, which maintains that agency’s integrity and your status.

Apply
After you’ve gathered the required documentation for your desired certifications, you’ll be able to begin the application process. As you fill out the initial application, you may be required to complete more forms or provide financial forms and documentation. Don’t let the added steps prevent you from crossing the finish line. Once you’ve completed the official application process, the agency will review it before finalizing the result. It’s important to know that the review process doesn’t happen overnight and may take up to a few months before it’s complete.

Maintain your certifications
Once you’ve been certified, be sure to keep up-to-date with the requirements to maintain your status. Rules and deadlines can vary depending on your certifying agency. Knowing what documentation you need to submit – and when – can prevent unnecessary headaches down the line and will ensure your certification stays up-to-date.

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