Opportunity Is Knocking for Small Business with Certifications
So, you’ve launched your small business — your business plan is rock solid, investments are secured, you know your target market inside and out, and you’ve officially opened your doors. Congratulations! Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or you’ve been at it for years, this is no small feat. But it’s also just the first step to success.
Beyond managing employees and overseeing day-to-day operations, you also need to find ways to grow. This can seem like a daunting task for any business owner, but research shows those who come from minority, economically disadvantaged, or historically underserved backgrounds face additional challenges when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Fortunately, there’s a simple step you can take to help your business tap into new customers and take advantage of beneficial resources: small business certification.
Small business certifications are issued by federal bodies, including U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and the Veteran’s Association (VA). These certifications were created to help diverse small businesses grow and thrive:
- 8(a) certification for businesses that are at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are socially and economically disadvantaged
- HUBZone certification for businesses with their principal office located in a HUBZone and at least 35% of employees living in a HUBZone
- Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification for businesses that are at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are women
- MBE certification for businesses that are at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens from a minority background
- Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certifications for businesses that are at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. military veterans
If your business qualifies for one or more of these programs, there are many benefits to becoming certified.
1. Certified businesses are eligible to provide goods and services for federal, state, and local governments, opening a significant new source of revenue for your company. Beyond the ability to compete for general government contracts, businesses can also take advantage of sole source opportunities. These set-aside federal contracts represent millions of dollars reserved exclusively for certified 8(a), HUBZone, women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned small business.
2. Certification also increases the likelihood of becoming a vendor for large enterprises. These companies are incentivized by the government to work with small, diverse firms like yours. Large government contractors, such as Boeing or Northrop Grumman, are required to set aside a minimum of 15% of their vendor dollars for small, diverse businesses. As a certified small business, you’ll gain the credibility you need to become a preferred corporate vendor.
3. Certified small businesses qualify to attend national conferences and match-making events that help them gain visibility and establish partnerships with large corporations and government agencies. Mentorship programs are also available to certified business owners, connecting small businesses with mentors from larger businesses who can provide guidance for growth.
Additional benefits vary by program, including specialized trainings, exclusive loan and grant opportunities, and access to government surplus. Furthermore, the ability to advertise as a certified small business can serve as a significant boost to your brand, helping you solidify and broaden your existing customer base!
If you’re ready to open new doors for your small business with certifications, Sage is here to help you navigate and accelerate the application process. Get started today with a complimentary consultation.