Three Ways Certifications Can Help You Brand Your Business and Get That Contract
What’s in a certification?
There are so many ways small businesses can distinguish themselves from their competitors. Whether the differentiation is in actual services provided, marketing materials or business practices, there are several ways to uniquely brand your business. Now, add to this list of differentiators, certifications. Our society has a long history of social, racial and economic classifications, so it shouldn’t surprise you that the business world follows suit. In business, classifications are called certifications, and certifications can differentiate your business, tip the scales in your favor and can help you secure corporate and government contracts.
Why get certified?
Businesses often limit branding to marketing materials and rely heavily on their visual presentation when branding themselves. Certifications however, are the perfect way to strengthen your company’s brand identity, as well as better position it when targeting corporations or public agencies. The government and companies alike purchase everything from medical services and marketing support to water, table cloths and toilet paper.
You need to identify the categories that your business fits in and research the classification codes that match your products and services. Once you’ve figured out your classifications, many agencies and corporations use the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), you want a front-row seat to the action when the procurement team is ready to buy. While all of this may sound complicated, the good news is that having the right certifications grants you an automatic seat at the table.
How do certifications help?
Many corporations and all government agencies track their spending by category. They report out on their woman, small, minority, veteran and disabled-owned businesses spending footprints. This helps not only with their corporate responsibility profiles, but enables them to comply with local, state and federal set-aside mandates. This is where certifications come in. By certifying your business, you make your firm more attractive because you can help these companies and agencies fulfill their set-aside spending requirements.
Following are three simple ways that business certifications can help brand your business and help get you that contract:
- Access – Get certified. Once you are certified, you should register your business on company and government procurement sites to gain access to current Request For Proposals (RFPs), Request For Quotes (RFQs) and other relevant procurement information. Registering on these sites also gives your business access to industry-specific newsletters and lets the procurement representatives know that you are serious about doing business with them. Being connected to these sites keeps you in the know and helps to prepare you when cold calling or meeting folks at procurement fairs.
- Partnerships – Get certified. Many larger corporations and agencies are looking to develop relationships with small businesses that are 8a, Women Business Enterprise (WBE) or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified so that they can fulfill their internal diversity goals. Certifications makes it easy for these entities to identify your business when searching through their databases. Additionally, once you have met the diversity officers, you can begin to develop partnerships and establish a rapport with them that can be leveraged when procurement opportunities arise.
- Online Visibility – Get certified. Internet search engines are where most potential clients look for vendors or service providers. Having certifications embedded in your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) processes increases the chances of being found online. Additionally, listing your certified business on membership sites also increases your visibility ratings.
Certifications should be used as branding tools to help get you the contract you are after. Those letters and numbers behind your business name, give your company a competitive edge. Certifications serve as the “pop of color” that all companies need to stand out in the crowd.
President & CEO
Impact Consulting Enterprises