Business Certification is all about gaining a competitive edge in doing business, especially with the Federal, State and Local governments. A business certification lawfully differentiates your company from your competitors. This creates a distinction that is important to a potential government or government contract customer’s decision to buy your product or service. This distinction sets your business apart from your competitors who do not have business certification.
The following is a list of ways a business certification provides you with an opportunity to set your business apart from your competition:
- Price – Being certified can mean that your potential customer need not buy from the lowest bidder. Your certification demonstrates other important values to them; they are more likely to contract with you.
- Quality – Your potential customer will be willing to buy in your higher-quality product or service rather than simply hire a cheaper alternative. Business certification adds extra prestige and validity to your product or service.
- Ease of Use – Business certification means that your potential customer can avoid developing detailed procurement specifications and having to conduct complex and lengthy competitive procurements.
- Speed of Service – Simpler procurements are faster procurements. Your potential customer can receive your products or services in a fraction of the time required through the conventional competitive bidding process.
- Customer Perceived Value – Being certified shows your customer that you are more accessible and more personally accommodating to your potential customer than your competitors.
- Different – Business certifications separates your business from other small businesses in the U.S. that are not certified. You can share the benefits a business certification provides with your potential customer, leading to more fruitful client accounts and partnerships.
There are various business certifications available to increase your ability to do more business with the Federal, state, and local governments in which you operate your business. The most important certifications are:
- 8(a) Business Development – The SBA’s 8(a) BD Program, named for a section of the Small Business Act, is a business development program created to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy and access the Federal procurement market.
- HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program – This business certification stimulates economic development and creates jobs in urban and rural communities by providing federal contracting preferences to small businesses. These preferences go to small businesses that obtain HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) certification in part by employing staff who live in a HUBZone. The company must also maintain a principal office in one of these specially designated areas. The program resulted from provisions contained in the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997.
- State Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program – Both the Federal DBE and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Programs are usually considered your state’s MBE Programs. These business certifications seek to achieve a percentage of MBE participation on state issued contracts. Certification as a DBE provides greater exposure for work opportunities on federally funded state projects.
- State Minority Business Enterprise Program – The state-run MBE Programs seek to achieve a percentage of MBE participation on state-issued contracts. Business certification as an MBE provides greater exposure for work opportunities on state funded projects.
- Women Business Enterprise – Both state run and national level WBE programs validate that the business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. This business certification gives women owned businesses the ability to compete for business opportunities provided by private corporations and government agencies.