Building and maintaining trust should be goals for any business, and certification is one way of evidencing credibility. From sustainability to IT security certifications – each accreditation represents third-party assurance that a business has created a product, process, or service to specified high-standard requirements.
Certification demonstrates that you are doing more than just talking the talk and this brings obvious benefits, like improving best practice, having a better reputation, and increasing your chances of winning new business.
In some industries, certification may also be a requirement of a pitch process, and not having appropriate health and safety certifications, insurance accreditations or cyber-ISOs can take you out of the running from the get-go.
At ECI we have seen the benefits of ISO certification through our portfolio, plus our investment in Citation showed us why these services were in such demand. Here are three growth drivers we’ve witnessed in certification that mean it is increasingly becoming a must have for businesses:
1. International credibility
Companies are increasingly operating on a global scale – at ECI 40% of our portfolio revenue now comes from overseas. Doing cross-border business often means more of a need for transparency, security, and trust, so being certified and holding an international standard is one way for your credentials to be relevant, no matter which markets you move into.
2. Evidence your ESG progress
There’s a growing need for businesses to show what they’re doing to meet social and environmental standards. Customers and employees increasingly expect companies to be able to consider, articulate and demonstrate their purpose.
Business certifications for ESG-related issues give those stakeholders faith that the purpose is genuine and backed up by activity, rather than it just being a brand exercise. This is especially true in areas such as the environment where companies are increasingly being accused of greenwashing.
To do this, more and more businesses are moving towards B Corp status, which demonstrates that a business meets the highest standards of accountability in balancing profit and purpose. During our investment, we helped high-quality pet food brand MPM to move towards B Corp status through launching initiatives to balance purpose and profit, and they achieved the Certification in 2021.
3. Protection against cyber-attacks
Cybersecurity continues to be a big concern for businesses, as the number of cyber-attacks on companies reached record breaking highs last year. In this high-threat environment, businesses are increasingly looking to ensure they have the proper protections and practices in place should they experience an attack and turning to schemes like Cyber Essentials to help.
Getting a cyber certification through schemes such as ISO 27001 or Cyber Essentials will not only give customers, investors, and potential partners extra confidence in a business. Having ISO compliance or certification in IT security is also a powerful catalyst to changing your internal procedures and employee training to make sure they follow best practice, increasing protection against cyber-attacks that could otherwise damage your credibility and reputation.
ECI’s portfolio company 4ways has recently maintained both its ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications for the 14th year running. Demonstrating a systematic approach to managing and controlling sensitive information is absolutely vital to a business like 4ways, who deals with highly sensitive medical records.
Building a strong, compliant, and certified business should be high on the list of organisational goals. Getting the right certification does more than just tick a box, it can drive business growth through customers and suppliers seeing you as a more optimal partner. Certification also requires a certain standard of quality, safety and efficiency that can help businesses ‘sharpen up’ those processes as they go through the process of certification, driving efficiency more broadly across your business.