[This article was written by Katie Tejada.]
If you’ve ever started or managed your own business, you’re probably aware that there’s no end to the number of licenses and certifications your company needs in order to stay on the government’s good side. But did you know there are some types of documents that can actually give you a competitive edge over your peers? Join us today as we take a look at some of the business certifications you can use to stay one step ahead.
Food Handlers Certification
Studies have shown for years that if people can get a bite to eat at your business, they’ll spend more time there—and by extension, spend more money as well. The requirements for meeting a food handler’s certification varies from state to state, but no matter where you’re located, it’s a worthwhile perk to look into.
The SB8 (A) Certification
Though it might sound more like the name of a mechanical Star Wars droid than a business certification, the SB8 (A) is simply documentation that grants contracts to businesses that are economically struggling, be it from their profit turnarounds or due to more external factors. The SB8 (A) certification is considered invaluable, so if your workplace has been struggling (and many have during the COVID-19 pandemic) it could be a great thing to look into.
One of the more intimidating aspects of growing your business can be opening it up to the stock market, which is why corporate bylaws are essentially a kind of custom contract that dictate how much influence your shareholders can have once they get a piece of your company. They can be pretty complicated to understand, but they’re essential to lock down if your business starts to get bigger (if it becomes a publicly traded entity), and thankfully there are places that can write your bylaws for you quickly and at little cost.
Getting certifications for your business is important, but making sure that you personally have the right degrees and certifications as well can go a long way in winning over clients and contractors: everyone likes a leader with a proven track record of know-how. The relevant expertise to have for a given client is always in flux, but many people make a living out of tracking what the most important documents to have at this exact moment are.
State DBE Certification
This is another certification that’s been crafted specifically for struggling business and disadvantaged business owners, and since many entrepreneurs aren’t even aware of this certification’s existence it’s likely that there are lots of available vacancies for it in your area. The qualifications and availability of this degree does vary somewhat widely from state to state, but a little bit of research should be all it takes to let you know where you stand.
Things to Keep in Mind
These are just a few of the certifications you can get to give your place of business a competitive advantage in the marketplace, but obviously the needs of every company are going to be different. Here’s an easy checklist you can reference to make sure you’re spending your time and energy on getting the right certification to help you stand out.
- Do Your Own Digging: The requirements for some certifications can be buried under a lot of legalese, and since applying for some of them can come at a cost to you it’s important that you do some research before spending time and money on something you may not need.
- Size Matters: The size and scope of your business is going to play a big part in determining which certifications are and are not valuable to you; to use an example from our own list, you might not need to invest in corporate bylaws quite yet if your auto-shop or small restaurant is just getting off the ground.
- Push Your Advantage: If you believe you’re uniquely qualified for a grant or certification, definitely let the administrative body standing between you and your goal know that, because in a lot of ways proposals are just like college applications: standing out is almost as important as getting top marks.
Do you have any tips of your own about hunting for the right certification for your business? Leave us a comment below and tell us all about it!
Katie Tejada is a writer with a focus on small business development and marketing strategies. She works with BizCentral USA, a small business resource center focused on helping entrepreneurs who want to start and grow their business, utilizing expert strategies, marketing solutions, and certification assistance.