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ISO 9001 for small businesses: 8 reasons it makes sense

A firm favourite with industry across the globe, ISO 9001 represents a best practice quality management system. Fundamentally a framework to ensure consistent quality, ISO 9001 is chosen by businesses to demonstrate their capacity to provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

ISO 9001 is particularly popular with construction, engineering and wholesale businesses and adherence to its criteria is recognised as the hallmark of quality. Favoured for its ability to streamline and structure business systems, ISO 9001 enables business processes to operate smoothly and to achieve the benefits customers and stakeholders value most, such as keen prices, sound value, good quality, and reliable service delivery. 

Benefits of ISO 9001 for Small Businesses

1. Setting solid foundations for your business

Without a solid foundation, businesses may struggle to create anything of value. This is the working ethos of ISO 9001; The set of standards it enshrines works by rooting a brand to the ground by establishing solid working values, functional structures, intuitive processes, and teams built around effective leadership with the scope for career progression. The main principles of ISO 9001 helps to create a customer-facing business that values the engagement of people, customer focus, evidence-based decision making, and relationship management.

2. Progress and improve your supply chain.

Customers will be reassured that a business is ISO 9001 compliant or certified because it means that the brand has a standardised approach to quality management which is proven to be effective. ISO 9001 provides a set of standards that form the foundation for the supplier to ensure consistency of product and service quality when it is implemented properly. This systematic approach to quality reflects how a supplier can meet their customers' needs and expectations whilst simultaneously complying with relevant regulations. This approach can also level profits and costs.

3. Identify and work towards evolution

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is a success. Continually refining techniques and realigning QMS strategies allows both small and larger brands to realign operations, thereby achieving greater efficiency. The focus should be razor-sharp, honed in on improving business processes continually and consistently.

4. Transform procedures to be more cost-effective

Quality is critical in achieving customer satisfaction and the loyalty that comes with it helps to ensure that your customers will continue to buy from you in the future. Achieving a high-quality product or service through a recognised set of standards helps grow a profitable client base and can increase the potential for new leads and the associated increased income. In addition, when customers find that a company is easy to do business with,  their experience of it is rewarding and they also get their needs met, this usually leads to enhanced brand loyalty. So, prioritise your existing customers, secure their word of mouth referrals and watch your business flourish.

5. Give your marketing a boost

Consumers implicitly trust the ISO 9001 certification as the hallmark of a prestigious set of standards characterising brands that aspire to continual progression and perfection. An international mark of quality ISO 9001 signals best practice QMS; Small businesses can grow steadily within the framework of this certification. 

6. Identifying risks and avoid slip-ups

Risk assessments help reduce the likelihood of work-related accidents and the ill-health it can bring about. Prioritising awareness of hazards and the risks they pose can help employers identify ways to protect the health and safety of employees and customers health and safety risks which in turn will help protect a business's reputation. ISO 9001 formalises risk assessment as standard and promotes the development of. Business underpinned by effective risk management.

7. One size does not fit all.

ISO systems bend and shape to fit every size and business specialty. ISO consultants are on hand to tailor programs to each brand's requirements. From mass producers to bespoke manufacturers, there is a version of the ISO standard to suit every organisation out there, so dive in and find out more. 

8. Audit your own organisation

Internal audits provide insight into a brand's governance arrangements and its policies and procedures, all overseen and governed by sound internal controls. Audits also attribute credibility to companies' financial statements by scrutinising them with professional rigor, allowing shareholders to trust that a companies accounts are an accurate reflection of its value. 

By using widely available, user-friendly software, you can train your staff in auditing the processes you have in place to assure ISO 9001 standards are maintained. It's now easier than ever to be the master of your own audit trail. So get to know your business better and skill up today!

In case you find the idea of independently certifying your own business or appointing a colleague with the responsibility of managing ISO 9001 certification to be too daunting, there are companies specialising in ISO 9001 consultancy available to offer you their expertise. 

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