As with most businesses, diverse-owned businesses want a seat at the procurement table. Everyone appreciates the opportunity to bid on future business! That can be tough invitation to get, however, regardless of your business size or history due to a business climate ripe with entrepreneurs, newly formed partnerships and historically branded and trusted companies. In your toolbox full of helpers including a strong financial history, testimonials from successful partnerships, and talented, proactive staff, it’s a good idea to also have verified and approved certification.
Certifications from a national recognized organization including the SBA (Small Business Administration), NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council), WBENC (Women’s Business Entrepreneurial National Council) and others are widely recognized and respected at the local, national and global business levels. A valid certification is becomes an important marketing tool for expanding your company’s visibility among top procurement decision makers because it verifies who you are when it comes to reporting and outreach.
Corporations, be they compliance-, customer-, or consumer-driven, know that reaching out to certified diverse-owned businesses provides economic advantages and grows a more responsive and nimble supplier base. Maybe your company can fill a supplier chain niche, or maybe it’s on the cutting edge of creating new efficiencies in reaching target markets. Certifications save corporate procurement teams valuable research time in trying to find you. Outreach happens more effectively and expeditiously. Reporting is done with more integrity.
Certification from credible, national organizations offers an opportunity for you to begin to build connections not only with corporations, but also with like-minded suppliers you may eventually need to form an alliance with. Certifying agencies provide a community—a network of professionals growing their own businesses and sharing resources along the way.
Along with certification, involvement with your regional council is key. Being vested in your business is a given, but what about building community with other professional outreach organizations where major corporations also “play”. Be on Boards, volunteer for committees, sponsor community and national events.
Be successful by being involved and by providing corporations with a clear understanding of who you are and what you do. Certification helps pave that path.
For more Diversity 411 posts, check out DIR's “The Business of Supplier Diversity” book which is published annually.