Consumers have many choices when selecting a service or product provider, so a distinct marketing strategy is key to business success.
One vital way to differentiate yourself from the pack is by certifying your woman-owned, minority, LGBT, veteran or disabled-owned company as a business that meets the exact criteria of major certifying organizations. This certification reaps many rewards through contracts or partnering on projects with other certified businesses, and by becoming a potential bidder on corporate and public agency contracts.
Certifications give minority business owners opportunities to become part of corporate and governmental supply chains. Given the rapidly changing demographics of the U.S., corporate America is seeking ways to have its employee and supplier base reflect the general population, and certified minority-owned businesses are one means of achieving that goal.
Minority-owned businesses are often more cost-effective, and offer an expanded customer base and market share for the corporations that contract with them. These businesses tend to have greater access to emerging markets and make outstanding contributions to the economic viability of the communities in which they are located.
Generally speaking, the process of becoming a certified diverse supplier can be arduous and time-consuming at best. A large number of applicants drop out of the Process long before finishing their application, and many are denied based on technicalities, such as incomplete or inaccurate paperwork.
Enter CERTIFY MY COMPANY, a coaching service that helps diverse business owners obtain minority business certifications.
Before any of the work begins, the first step is to determine if your company is eligible for certification. Many believe ownership is the sole criteria for determining eligibility. In fact, for a company to be considered minority-owned, it must be at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a diverse individual or individuals. Additionally, a company cannot be reliant upon a non-diverse company or person(s) for any core resources or competencies.
The standards listed may seem obtuse; however, the devil is in the details, and by details, I mean documentation.
Once the customized Intake InterviewSM is completed and it is determined that a company is truly owned, operated and controlled by a diverse individual or individuals, the next step is the Documentation MeetingSM. Regardless of the legal or tax structure of a company, there are documentation requirements that must be met. Understanding a company’s structure allows the coaching service to simplify the process and identify the most effective way to obtain proper documentation.
The Documentation MeetingSM is an opportunity for the business owner, along with their diversity specialist, to establish the most effective and efficient way to gather the necessary documentation. Some opt to remain hands-on and supply the specialist directly with necessary credentials and paperwork. Others prefer to relay the contact information of their knowledge sources and rely on the specialist to obtain required documents. The process is a team effort, but the mission of CERTIFY MY COMPANY is to remove the burden from the business owner, so they can focus on growing their business.
Many business owners utilize an online legal solution to organize their business structure, and with these solutions come template agreements. Others opt to employ an attorney. Lawyers often utilize templates as well, but even if a unique agreement is composed, few sufficiently understand the eligibility requirements of diversity certification to draft relevant governing documents.
Often, it is assumed that a minority-owned business is a small mom-and-pop operation. The reality, however, is these companies are savvy, sophisticated enterprises with owners who understand the requisite for layers of liability protection as well as estate planning.
Diverse-owned businesses also have investors – – whether they are institutional, private, peerto- peer or personal — because they need capital infusions and avenues of growth.
Any or all of the listed business conditions can but do not have to render a company ineligible for certification. Throughout the collection process, trained professionals review the documentation to ensure the paperwork accurately reflects the true makeup of the business and that there is no erroneous information that would cause a rejection. If denied, a company must wait 6-18 months to reapply, depending on the certifying organization.
Outsourcing the certification process to a certification expert will most likely save your business time, increase profits and boost your productivity. It might seem scary to put your trust in someone else, but it’s good to keep in mind that not doing so can hold you back. After all, entrepreneurs don’t go into business because they enjoy spending valuable time handling detailed administrative tasks.
As a business owner, you should be able to enjoy the benefits and privileges of certification without the headaches of the process by gaining the CERTIFY MY COMPANY advantage.