Once you’ve decided that you meet the criteria and want to get certified as a woman owned business, there are three things to keep in mind that will help you through this lengthy process.
First, understand that the paperwork is extensive and tightly regulated. If you have extra funds available, it may be a good idea to hire an outside source to help you gather necessary documents and submit paperwork. This perk will allow you to stay focused on growing your business instead of letting it stall for a bit while you get certification.
We discussed in our last post that in order to be qualified, the woman must own 51% of the company. Included in that requirement, a woman must be involved in the daily management of the company operations and also hold the highest position within the business. Any discrepancies in proving this will slow down the certification process. If you can prove that you do the hiring and firing, or can produce any strategy and growth documents, that will help your case.
Second, get organized. Like with most things, the paper trail and documents you will need for this process could reach the moon. Buckle down; it’s not going to be quick and easy. Don’t wait until the last minute to start gathering everything. It’s a good idea to start setting things aside as you run across them. Everything from lease agreements to incorporation documents should be filed away. The earlier you start, the more time you will save.
Get a glass of wine, take a deep breath and click here for a list of the required documentation. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council also is a good resource for helping with the certification process. They even provide a “certification kit” that will walk you step-by-step through the process and answer many of your questions.
Third, find out where to get certified. The WBENC is one avenue, however certification is also offered through local and state agencies, depending on your needs. For a business who is interested in only doing business with local companies, your local agency is the best route to take for getting certified. For government contractors, it’s necessary to get certification through each agency directly, as each one has different regulations.
There’s no getting around it – getting certified as a woman owned business is no walk in the park. But it’s a necessary evil that will push your company into a more competitive playing field. Take your time wrapping your head around these topics, because next week we’re going to cover a few more!