I’ve discussed the importance of certifying as a diverse supplier, Why should suppliers certify as a diverse business ?, but beyond certification, how can these organizations help you make your business grow?
The local chapters of National Gay and ******* Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) , Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and The Department of Veteran Affairs are your business partners and business advocates. Their goal is to help you develop and grow as a business owner and create an environment that maximizes opportunities between buying organizations and diverse businesses. Certification is a very small part of what councils offer. So here are some steps to leverage the certification you worked so hard to attain:
1. Don’t be shy: After you certify, engage with the staff at your council. Let them know what your needs are and how they can assist you.
2. Business Plans: Your council staff has seen many businesses come and go. Ask a staff member to take a look at your business plan and leverage their expertise.
3. Financing: Many councils have internal staff members or connections with other organizations that can help you look into financing. Have that conversation early so when your business starts to grow, you know where to look for capital.
4. Introductions: Connecting with the businesses or corporations that are potential buyers for your goods or services is what you want most from your council. The councils are very involved with corporate representatives and can assist with requesting those important meetings.
5. Opportunities: Councils often offer or have access to websites that provide information on opportunities in both the private and public sectors. If your council provides one, take advantage.
So just don’t certify and think the work of your council is done. Get to know the staff, get engaged, fully leverage your certification and discover how to make a business grow successfully.