Is WBE Certification the right next step for your business?
As you look to grow your business, there are many steps you could take. But you only have limited time and resources, so it’s best to focus on actions that you truly believe will be helpful.
One step that can be useful if your business is considering pursuing large government and corporate contracts, is to get certified as a Women's Business Enterprise (WBE). This certification verifies for interested parties that have programs designed to increase business with women business owners that a business is, in fact, woman-owned.
The certification offers numerous growth-building benefits to women-owned businesses. According to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which is the “largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States,” the benefits of certification include peer recognition, networking opportunities, and access to information that can help you expand your business, not to mention access to valuable contracts designated for WBEs. An important resource WBENC provides could be access to procurement executives at hundreds of major U.S. corporations and other entities that accept WBE certification. It’s important to know that this certification only makes you eligible for certain government contracts – it does not guarantee that you will be awarded them.
For that reason, it’s important to really think through whether it’s worth getting a WBE certification and if you have the relationships and knowledge to compete for the contracts it will make you eligible to bid on. Therefore, the WBENC advises businesses to seriously consider these issues:
- Are you willing to do ongoing, detailed research to find bidding opportunities? Good opportunities are about the ones that properly fit your business. Take the time to seek out the right ones, and identify how you can solve a problem for another business or government agency.
- Are you willing to invest in targeted marketing campaigns? You will need to convince the corporation or government agency that you are the right company for the job, and that requires responding with finesse and creativity.
- Is your business equipped to handle larger contracts? Since these contracts are usually more extensive, you must be able to prove that your company can deliver on a larger scale. Reliability is key; you must be able to meet your commitments to these large businesses or repeat business will be hard to come by.
- Can your business financially support the execution of a government contract that involves delayed payments? Make sure you are liquid enough to run your business until you receive payment.
Do your research now to determine if pursuing this certification is right for you and your business at this time. A WBE Certification can be a powerful marketing tool when you’re competing for specific contracts, but that also means that it can take some work to make happen.
There are a multitude of resources available to lead you through the process including U.S. Small Business Association: Office of Government and General Contracting. If you are ready to prepare your business for bidding on those big contracts, certification can be an important step.