Standards and Certification

How to Stand Out

Everyone who has a service, or product, to sell wants to be able to stand out and everyone is scrabbling for a USP, or UPB, to conquer the world with.

Sometimes things are not as difficult as we think they are. You just need to find what it is that could provide you with a piece of magic to jump a step or two up the ladder.

Your little piece of magic could well come in the form of an accreditation, or certification. No, I’m not off with the fairies, or in cloud cuckoo land, having someone else testify that you know what you’re doing helps, and for some enormously, and that is what qualifications and certifications is all about.

We can go back some decades now and see where some of the first standards came in.

Let’s look at scales:

Used in many places and many industries, but the “customers” often complained about being swindled by those weighing the goods being bought in to trade for other goods, or cash – gold being one of them. Having a “Weights and Measure Department” increased trust between customer and provider. 

What would you do, go to one with, or without the certificate?

What is Important?

This is the crux of the matter is, and the thing that so many get caught up on, your decision could well have £ signs attached to the answer.

What you have to find is a qualification, or certification, that matches your business strategy and goals. Some are easy to find and some not so easy.

Some are industry specific and some are more over-arching in their nature, but they will all add to your credibility. 

Once found, there is a bit of a choice available as they are also found at various levels and some for specific elements of your total offering.

So, to answer this question truthfully, it’s choose the right subject to do first – and I do mean first.

For many, an ISO certification is not the right thing to do first. One of the reasons why is the amount of time that needs to be invested to gain, and maintain, that certification. It is a long term investment that needs constant nurturing and change.

Follow Things Through

This is the part that most people do not want to do. A lot of the things that are the most worth while mean you need to make changes to get the most benefit from them.

Some of these won’t make sense to you as they are moving you to a point you’ve never been to before. The thing is, without some of these changes you will only be able to stand still and/or it will actually cost you more in the long run.

Changing, in these scenarios, mean raising the standards within your own business so that others can see that you are growing and capable of supporting them more than you do now.

That might mean getting your first contract in your own right, or getting one from a larger, even nationally recognised, business.

It's not All About Cost

Well it shouldn’t be, but some of us do get hung up on the pound signs. There is no better investment than looking at the future of your organisation.

The really fabulous thing is that if you package the changes correctly there are ways of getting some of that hard earned cash back.

How would you feel if making one change actually paid for the next one? Now that’s not going to happen every time, but I have seen it happen,

So, four stages, if you like, that you can look at and have a revitalised business with more sales, better control methods, and ways in which you can continue to grow.

Of course as soon as you stop, that investment starts to lose it’s momentum, slowly maybe but it can also gather pace if those around you continue to improve what they do. Perseverance is the key to continued success. 

Those initial change must become your “new normal”. This was a term used, even over-used, during the lock-down periods of the Covid pandemic, but for these steps it is certainly true.

You must make these new habits practical and effective to get the best out of them.

It doesn’t matter what the level of this standardisation, or qualification is. It just has to matter to you. The smallest businesses probably will not need to gain an ISO accreditation and a national IT supplier would look out of place trying to attain a bronze standard Microsoft partner certificate.

No-one knows the future with any absolute certainty, but failing to make the best opportunity for your organisation is definitely something to be questioned.

To know what’s best for you talk to someone. Either someone who’s been in a similar place before your, or a subject matter expert (maybe even me) to help you choose the right way, and level of qualification, that would be right for you.,