ISO 9001 for Small Business Guide

ISO 9001 for Small Business Guide

Like large enterprises, a small to medium sized business can struggle with quality issues. At first look, standards like ISO 9001 can seem too complex and like a major undertaking for smaller organizations to implement with success in hopes of supporting fixes for these issues. However, when applied practically, ISO 9001 for small business uses what a company already has in place for quality practices, makes improvements upon them where necessary, and documents them effectively. Read our ISO 9001 Small Business Guide to see how this can help you.

For a Small Business, Is ISO 9001 Worth It?

Yes. When it is done right, achieving ISO 9001 certification as a small to medium sized business can be a real boon for a company, creating an opportunity for improved processes and business growth.
One of the goals of the most recent iteration of ISO 9001, known as ISO 9001:2015, was to simplify and clarify the process of compliance to the standard. Once the time is taken to digest the information within it, it becomes apparent how setting up a Quality Management System (QMS) based on ISO 9001 compliance is not as hard as it may have first appeared to be. The main crux is to take time with each requirement within the ISO 9001 standard and map out how your small to medium sized business can comply with it.

What to Consider Before Seeking ISO 9001 for Small Business

From a high-level view, there are just four major steps to focus on before seeking ISO 9001 as a small to medium sized business:
  1. Purchase a copy of the standard and read through it.
  2. Compare and contrast each requirement with the process you have in place.
  3. Improve on the process or systems in place that do not meet the standard’s requirements.
  4. Select a Certification Body to conduct the audit.
Achieving certification to the current standard of ISO 9001 for small business does not mean that your company must create brand new quality programs (assuming you already have some in place). It does not require added paperwork, nor does it demand that you hire an "expert" or a full-time position to implement. Most of what ISO 9001:2015 focuses on is flexible enough to be tailored to small to medium sized businesses, as well as service industries. From records to documentation, processes and procedures to business management plans, your QMS can be built to satisfy the specific needs of your organization, regardless of size, while still maintaining compliance.

Benefits of ISO 9001 for Small Business

After investing in ISO 9001, small business and medium-sized business owners can reap the benefits that proper implementation of the standard can deliver, making the certification worthwhile. Here are just a few examples of the impact an ISO 9001-certified quality management system can have on your small or medium sized business:
  1. Operations become more structured – With a focus on leadership and efficiency, ISO 9001 promotes systems that enhance productivity and employee buy-in through engagement, helping your organization run at its optimum level.
  2. Processes become more cost-effective – Cost savings are important for every company, but particularly so for small and medium sized businesses where margins can be thinner. ISO 9001 helps to improve efficiencies in operations, which leads to service/production cost savings and increases in profit.
  3. Marketing gets upgraded – More often than not, marketing your small or medium-sized business requires not only getting your message out, but showcasing why your organization is an industry leader. Adding the internationally recognized mark of quality to your portfolio reinforces to your customers, and potential customers, that your company is committed to continual improvement.
  4. Lower organizational risks – Organizational incidents, losses or dangers can be devastating to small and medium-sized businesses who often have more to lose. ISO 9001 certification promotes risk-based thinking, and part of the audit is designed to identify potential company risks.
  5. Improvements in customer satisfaction – From improved confidence in buying from your organization to a foundation for optimal performance company-wide from your employees providing the customer experience, ISO 9001 certification for small business relays to your consumers that your small or medium-sized business is internationally certified and positioned to exceed their expectations.
When considering ISO 9001 for small business, the key takeaway is this: The foundation of ISO 9001 promotes organizations to prioritize organization, and company-wide organization leads to improvements in efficiency, cost-savings, production potential and customer experience. Ultimately, these factors lead to healthy businesses and scalable growth.

Find Out More About ISO 9001 for Small Business at Smithers

This ISO 9001 Small Business Guide is only the beginning. To learn more about how ISO 9001 can help your small or medium-sized business, visit our ISO 9001 Service Page. Smithers is ready to provide auditing and certification services that can help your business.

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