Small Business Standards & Certifications
As a leading accredited certification body, NQA provides certification, training and support to help companies in a range of industries improve their processes, products and services. We have extensive experience working with organizations of all sizes — including small businesses.
At NQA we view our relationship with our customers as a partnership. We take pride in providing the best people, processes and programs to help your small business stand out from the crowd. Your NQA Auditor will help you and your employees feel at ease during the certification process while still providing you with excellence in their audit approach. NQA has been working with small businesses for more than 30 years, so our auditors understand the unique needs and challenges of the small business environment.
The Small Business Sector
The small business sector makes up large portions of economies around the world, yet small businesses face many challenges — from hiring talented employees and earning contracts to attracting new customers and meeting stringent regulatory requirements.
The average small business has a lot to contend with. As a result, some believe ISO certification wouldn't apply to them or fear the certification and auditing process would put too much strain on resources. In reality, small business certifications come with many benefits, including:
- Improved product quality, consistency and tracability
- Reduced waste and environmental impact and compliance with environmental and safety regulations
- Improved customer trust, leading to more business
- The ability to earn contracts from international clients and organizations that only work with certified businesses
- The ability to compete with larger businesses on level playing ground
Small Business Standards Supported By NQA
In smaller organizations, an ISO-compliant management system can be a critical advantage when competing for new business or managing the challenges of growth. All ISO standards are based on a cycle of continuous improvement, in which benchmarks evolve to meet changing needs and goals.
ISO publishes a diverse set of standards, many of which can apply to smaller businesses as well as larger ones. At NQA, we offer certification to a number of small business standards, including the following:
- ISO 9001 (Quality): ISO 9001 is a generic quality management system that can be applied broadly to businesses of any size. It is a globally recognized standard that can help you move into new markets and improve your reputational standing with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. You can use ISO 9001 to enhance quality control and overall customer satisfaction, streamline workflows, manage risk more effectively and simplify auditing and other regulatory compliance issues.
- ISO 14001 (Environment): Waste and high operating costs are problems many small businesses can’t afford. Add to that the risk of noncompliance with environmental regulations and it is clear why ISO 14001 is such a useful small business standard. ISO 14001 outlines best environmental management practices and gives small businesses tools to mitigate waste production without sacrificing productivity. Use ISO 14001 to identify clear environmental goals and set achievable waste reduction targets that help you run a leaner and more profitable business.
- ISO 50001 (Energy): Waste reduction is only one component of environmental management for small businesses. ISO 50001 focuses specifically on energy-efficiency, giving you tools to reduce consumption from the ground up. As a smaller business, it is easier to make changes today that will both save you money, reduce your carbon footprint and position you to grow in a responsible, sustainable manner in the future. If you’re currently ISO 14001-certified, you already have the framework in place to meet ISO 50001 requirements.
- ISO 45001 (Health and Safety): The cost and long-term reputational damage of even a minor on-the-job accident can be devastating for smaller businesses. For this reason alone, having an appropriate health and safety management system in place is critical. ISO 45001 is a health and safety management system that can be implemented by any small business. It is easy to identify workplace hazards, mitigate risks, avoid lost productivity and establish an overall culture of safety in your organization.
- ISO 27001 (Information Security): While high profile hacks against major corporations attract the most media attention, small businesses – particularly those that don’t have adequate policies in place to protect against them – are increasingly becoming the target of choice for hackers. ISO 27001 aids with asset protection and regulatory compliance by giving organizations of any size a framework for implementing a more proactive cybersecurity management system. Use ISO 27001 to keep your intellectual property and private data safe, minimize downtime and loss when an incident does occur and implement a continuous improvement system for managing future risks.
- ISO 27701 (GDPR Compliance): A natural extension of ISO 27001 information security guidelines, ISO 27701 provides guidance for the creation of privacy information management systems and compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Whether you must comply with GDPR to continue doing business or you want to demonstrate your dedication to privacy, use this small business standard to build trust with customers by protecting their privacy rights, improve relationships with stakeholders in the European Union and reduce risk to your organization.
Whatever industry you’re in, whether your organization has 10 employees or 100, compliance with any of the above management systems can help you distinguish your operation from the competition, control costs and enjoy a number of other important benefits.
NQA works with small businesses to simplify the audit and registration processes for a wide range of ISO and related standards. Read on to learn more about our service packages.
Small Business Programs
At NQA, we offer two programs for small business certification:
- The "Simply Certified" Package: This small business certification package includes an initial certification audit, annual surveillance audits in year one and two and a recertification audit in year three. This package is ideal for small businesses that want a straightforward certification process and are prepared to implement ISO standard requirements independently without a gap analysis.
- The "Competitive Edge" Package: This small business certification package includes a pre-assessment audit, or gap analysis, an initial certification audit, annual surveillance audits in year one and two and a recertification audit in year three. A gap analysis identifies areas where your business is not yet meeting the small business standard of your choice and can reduce the amount of time an initial certification audit takes.
When you choose to work with NQA, you're getting more than auditing and certification — you're getting years of industry experience and technical knowledge. Since our founding, we have issued more than 43,000 certificates to businesses in over 90 countries. We have worked with well-known and respected organizations like NASA as well as many small businesses like yours.
Our experts participate in standards writing and serve on technical committees. This allows them to keep up with important developments and point out areas for improvement at every audit.
Our process is perfect for small businesses like yours. We understand your unique needs and work to help you achieve certification through our non-bureaucratic audit approach, focusing on the requirements as they are relevant to your business, not just by going through a checklist.
Registration starts with a two-part initial visit (Stage 1 & 2) to review your documentation and speak with your staff. This ensures that the primary processes and resources have been identified and documented correctly. Following the successful initial visits, we will recommend you for registration and issue your certificate! We will then return each year to ensure that things are on track.
In addition to small business certification, we also offer other services to help you improve your business. These services include in-house, classroom and online training and world-class customer support.
At NQA, we work to provide your small business with the best possible value for your investment. We offer competitive rates and never use hidden fees. Our auditors will also explain the steps of the certification process and the technical requirements clearly.
Get Started Today!
Start working toward a small business certification today! Fill out our online Request for Quotation form or call us at 219-363-6151. If you have questions, please reach out to us — we would be happy to help.