Trying to grow and develop a SME can be difficult; often it can feel like you’ve plateaued once you have reached a certain level. When you’re not sure how to move your business forward, there is one simple thing you can consider that offers your business numerous advantages; gaining an ISO certification.
What is an ISO certification?
ISO certifications demonstrate when a company has set up a management system for a particular aspect of their business. For instance, an ISO 27001 certification pertains to an information security management system - this helps to assure consumers that there are sufficient protocols in place to safeguard digitally stored information. Google’s Cloud platform is ISO 27001 certified, it offers evidence that an impartial source has deemed your approach up to the best practice standard set out by industry experts around the world.
If you’re not sure where to start with ISO certifications, I’d suggest ISO 9001. It’s the most popular and widely utilised standard, currently there are over a million companies ISO 9001 certified in over 175 countries, and therefore it brings the most recognition. Achieving this certification would mean that a company operates an effective quality management system. Essentially this means you would look at the process involving the way you make or manage your products/ services and systemise them according to the framework provided by the ISO certifications guidelines.
Carefully examining the current way your company runs allows for you to identify areas where things could be improved. This will naturally happen as part of becoming ISO 9001 certified – it’s based on an underlying principle of plan, do, check, act. Planning is part of the initial assessment to see where quality management could be improved and where it needs monitoring. The “do” aspect is implementing this system. The “check” is a regularly scheduled evaluation of the management system which identifies any areas that need improving and the “act” is making these changes. This way your business is continually increasing efficiency and refining its procedures. Streamlining business operations in this way can help to cut costs and save time.
Improve Public Perception of your Product/Company
An ISO 9001 certification increases the perception of trustworthiness among consumers and thus increases the likelihood of them being interested in purchasing your services or products. Research (Wu and Jang, 2013) has even found that an ISO 9001 certification causes consumers to perceive a product to be of a higher quality and thus they are more willing to purchase it. Furthermore, research (the ISO 9001 survey by Dun and Bradstreet) has gleaned that 85% businesses experienced external advantages, including improved perception, after becoming ISO 9001 certified.
Opening up New Business
Recognition is part of the appeal of an ISO 9001, once certified you are part of an elite set of businesses – it can even be a prerequisite other companies have for organisations they wish to work with. Gaining this certification can help you to win work with other businesses. In particular it can be helpful when entering international markets because of the worldwide recognition of the standard. It has been found that 44% of firms have won new business due to becoming ISO 9001 certified. ISO 9001 can offer a competitive advantage over other similar businesses in your industry.
If you’re interested in becoming ISO 9001 certified you can find out more information here.