Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Women-Owned Business
Women-owned business certification is a great way to increase visibility, open doors to new customers and create a competitive edge. Learn what it takes to get your business officially certified as a women-owned business and the benefits that come along with it.
Research Eligibility Requirements for Women-Owned Businesses.
Before you embark on the journey of becoming a women-owned business, you’ll need to make sure you meet the qualifications. There are specific requirements that must be met to receive certification, such as having a minimum percentage of ownership by an individual woman (51 percent) and maintaining a separate business entity from her personal finances and activities. Research and understand all eligibility requirements before starting the certification process.
To help level the playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses participating in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program.
Check the list on SBA at this link to ensure your industry is eligible.
Obtain Necessary Certification and Documentation.
Before your women-owned business status can be officially acknowledged, applying for the certification and obtaining the necessary documents is essential. It would be best if you first looked into whether there are local, state, or federal certifications available in your area that would be beneficial to apply for. After you’ve identified which certificates you should apply for, make sure to gather all the necessary documentation and submit your applications; this process can take several months, so make sure to do it early. Once you have completed these steps, you will be ready to reap the benefits of being a certified women-owned business.
Most recent changes have made it easier for small businesses to get certified. Head to WOSB.Certify.sba.gov, home to SBA’s free online certification process, in order to compete for WOSB Federal Contract program set-aside contracts.
Program eligibility requirements
To be eligible for the WOSB Federal Contract program, a business must:
- Be a small business according to SBA size standards
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens
- Have women manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions
To qualify as an EDWOSB within the program, a business must:
- Meet all the requirements of the WOSB Federal Contract program
- Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with a personal net worth less than $750,000
- Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three years
- Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each $6 million or less in personal assets
Women-Owned Businesses Take Advantage of Opportunities for Government Assistance.
Becoming a women-owned business opens up many government assistance opportunities that can help grow your business. Various programs and initiatives are specifically created for women entrepreneurs, such as the Women’s Business Centers, access to capital from the Small Business Administration (SBA), and grants available from state and federal agencies. You may find valuable information on financial incentives, training, and other services that can help you thrive in the small business industry. Take advantage of these resources by researching them before applying.
Develop Your Marketing Plan and Brand Identity.
Developing a solid marketing and branding plan is key to setting your business apart from the competition. Your marketing plan should include strategies for direct and online marketing and outline the steps you will take to reach potential customers. It would help if you also considered creating distinct visual and verbal components that communicate your unique brand identity to customers and vendors. From there, it’s essential to keep up with industry trends to stay competitive, ensuring you take full advantage of all available opportunities so your business can thrive.
Check out this article on Forbes about The Power Of Crowdfunding For Women-Owned Businesses
Connect With Other Women-Owned Businesses to Build Your Network.
Building relationships with other women-owned businesses is essential for growing your business. Highlighting the unique advantages of being owned by women can help you gain better access to resources and new opportunities. Networking events, webinars, and professional associations are great places to start when building your network and finding allies in the business world. Additionally, using social media to connect with other female entrepreneurs can help you stay up-to-date on industry news and strategically promote your business.
And check out WBENC, which is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women entrepreneurs. They charge $350 to get your business certified if your sales are $1MM or under. The cost for certification then goes up. Check out their full pricing here.