Congrats, you’re certified! Whether you just received that exciting letter or you’re just getting around to wondering how to leverage it, follow this checklist to understand everything that comes with certification and how to use it.
1. Learn How to Use It
Tune into our regular free webinar “Maximizing Your Certification,” offered every 1-2 months. We’ll introduce you to the network, tell you about resources and upcoming networking events, and share ways to use your certification to grow your business.
2. Download the Logos and Market Yourself
The WBENC seal is very well recognized among corporate and government procurement and supplier diversity offices. The Women-Owned logo is great for customer or public facing businesses. Add one or both to your business card, website, capability statement, and other materials. Both can be downloaded on WBENCLink under Tools, Branding & Media.
3. Download and Share Your Certificate
You can also find your certificate in WBENCLink. Corporate and government clients will often request this before allowing you access to their supplier diversity programs or contracts. Many corporations also have their own internal database of diverse suppliers (women-owned, minority-owned, LGBT-owned, veteran-owned, or disability-owned). Take a look to see if your target corporation has their own database and upload your certificate.
4. Attend a Local Networking Event
Keep an eye out for events called Business Connections Day, Meet & Greet or Food for Thought, as these will give you direct face-time to pitch to corporate and government representatives, as well as other women-owned businesses.
5. Check Out the Directory
In WBENCLink, you have access to the directory of corporate and government members (Search- Members) as well as other certified WBEs (Search- Vendors). You can search by name, location, or keyword. But remember, the best way to build a business relationship is with a handshake, so come out to those in-person events (see above).
6. Join a Local Committee
It’s never too early to volunteer and get more involved. We have a number of local committees looking for all types of skills, from site visitors to program planners to awards reviewers.
7. Nominate Someone or Yourself for an Award
We offer a number of awards every fall; nominations typically open up in the summer. Was there a WBE or corporate representative who mentored you as you got certified? Is your company a “brave-little-startup” that beat the odds? Are you an emerging leader in your field under 40? Check out the award categories that could get you some serious recognition.
8. Attend a National Event
Trust us when we say your socks will be blown off. Both Summit & Salute in March and National Conference in June welcome thousands of business owners and buyers, and provide plenty of opportunities to network, pitch, and learn. If your goal is to grow your business outside of our local region and meet potential business contacts in various states, these events can be a game changer. Both events are huge, so keep an eye out for smaller gatherings of business owners from our region.
9. Recertify Early!
You are probably still exhausted from your first application review, but be reassured that recertification is so much less arduous and requires few documents unless you’ve had major operational changes. Your expiration date never changes, and you can reapply up to 120 days before you expire, so set your calendar and don’t delay!