ISO 9001 is the international Standard for quality management and has been developed by experts from across the globe. Issued by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), it has been specifically designed so that organisations of all sizes can work towards it.
The main goal of ISO 9001 is to create a framework so that organisations can prioritise consistency, quality and improvement. By doing so, they can keep their customers happy and drive forward business improvement, advantages that will benefit sole traders just as much as a large corporation.
The benefits of ISO 9001 for sole traders
1. Understand your business
By implementing the Standard for quality, you can gain a true overview of your business.
ISO 9001 asks you to examine your business’ strengths, weaknesses, risks and opportunities, giving you the chance to spot any areas that can be improved and time to create a strategy to mitigate or control anything that may negatively affect you. This can help you to strengthen your business and drive it forward.
2. Improve and correct your performance
A rigorous system of monitoring and evaluation can also identify your business ‘slip-ups’, otherwise known as non-conformities. With the ISO 9001 Standard’s processes in place, you can log these errors, implement corrective action to prevent them reaching your customers and evaluate the results. These and other improvements can then be investigated with internal audits and an annual management review, which are useful for touching base even when you’re the only one in the team.
3. Boost customer confidence
By keeping a close eye on how your business is performing and reacting quickly when something does go wrong, you can boost your customers’ confidence in your ability to meet their needs. This can improve the reputation of your company, ensuring that you retain loyal customers and attract new ones to your services or products. As an internationally recognised mark of quality management, an ISO 9001 certification immediately indicates to your customer base that you prioritise quality and their satisfaction.
4. Enter new markets
This mark of quality also means that you could enter new markets or produce work for clients that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Some clients will stipulate that they will only work with providers or suppliers that have ISO 9001 certification, which means having the certificate will put you ahead in any pitches or tenders you enter. This was the case with Efinity Labs, who were able to pitch for a cosmetics contract as a result.
5. Aim for growth
Finally, having a quality framework in place means that you have the processes in place to ensure long-term continuity and growth. ISO 9001 is all about improving performance, which means that if you have ambitions to scale beyond a one-man band, then you will be set up with a solid foundation. The management system can be adapted to your growing business, supporting its growth and new objectives while ensuring that consistency and satisfaction remain at the heart of what you do.
How we can help you to certification
Achieving ISO 9001 does not require you to complete reams of documentation or to embark on the journey alone.
At QMS, we will work with you every step of the way. We will also write up your management system processes for you to speed up the process and keep things simple. Our interactive online portal, QMS Connect, acts as a secure place in which to store and edit your key documents, and it also boasts a large library of templates and tutorial videos to guide you through the certification process. A built-in task manager ensures that you stay on track.