Which ISOs are suitable for smaller businesses?


At first glance, International Standards can seem tricky, time-consuming, and reserved for larger organisations but take a closer look and you can see why there are big benefits for smaller organisations.

According to the World Bank, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for over 90% of the world’s businesses. As a major driver of economic growth and job creation, it is crucial that SMEs look seriously at ISO certification and the opportunities it can bring. Implementing the right ISOs for your business can not only outweigh the cost but drive growth and establish the future of your company.

Statistics from the Bureau of Labour (BLS) reveal that over 50% of new businesses fail during their first five years. That’s not to mention the effects of the pandemic. International Standards help any business of any size to work more efficiently, improve productivity and reduce costs.

For a small business, they can help you operate best practices, build your resilience and be future-ready.

How ISO certification can help your business

As a small business owner, you can often be too busy with the day-to-day running of your business to think about being more efficient with your resources, time, and money. ISOs can help you manage how you use resources and identify where savings can be made so you can take action.

ISO Standards help to break down barriers and put small businesses on an equal footing to retain and attract customers and open doors to new markets. From driving down costs to expanding your business, achieving ISO certification can help your small business realise its full potential. So, which ISOs are right for your business?

Best ISOs for small businesses

ISO 9001

In any business, but especially in a small business, quality service is key to customer retention. ISO 9001 is the world’s most recognised quality management system Standard. It’s designed to help businesses of any size ensure they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders, by having a framework in place that helps ensure consistent quality. Gaining ISO 9001 certification demonstrates the quality of your processes and your commitment to continual improvement.

What benefits can ISO 9001 certification bring to your business?

  • Streamline and improve the efficiency of your processes leading to cost savings and increases in profit
  • Increase customer satisfaction by reducing errors and continually improving
  • Boost your brand’s reputation for providing high-quality products or services
  • Increase confidence in your business enabling you to tender potential new customers and grow your business

ISO 14001

With an increasing focus on what businesses can do to tackle climate change, ISO 14001 can help small businesses prove their green credentials whilst improving their performance and reputation.

ISO 14001 is the International Standard for environmental management systems and can be achieved by any business, regardless of size or sector. ISO 14001 is designed to help businesses identify, manage, and reduce the environmental impact of their business. Gaining ISO 14001 certification demonstrates your commitment to reducing waste and minimises how your business negatively impacts the environment.

What benefits can ISO 14001 certification bring to your business?

  • Improve efficiency and reduce your environmental impact
  • Identify cost savings in resource, waste, and energy management
  • Enhance your image by showing you are a responsible employer
  • Gain a competitive edge to win more tenders by showing your environmental awareness
  • Help ensure your business complies with environmental laws and legislation

ISO 45001

In business, safety comes first regardless of size. Health & Safety risks exist in any business. The cost and long-term reputational damage of even a minor work-related accident can be damaging for a small business. As a business owner, you’ll want to keep your employees healthy as well as happy. Taking action to keep your employees safe is not only in your business’ best interest but is also a legal requirement.

ISO 45001 is a global Standard that provides organisations with a solution to better manage physical Health & Safety risks, through an Occupational Health and Safety management system – while reducing associated costs.

Gaining ISO 45001 certification demonstrates your business operates best practice and reduces the likelihood of accidents and breaches of legislation, as well as improving your organisation’s overall performance.

What benefits can ISO 45001 certification bring to your business?

  • Reduce the risks of work-related injuries and ill-health
  • Improve reputation, showing your employees and clients that you put Health & Safety first
  • Increase Health & Safety awareness and compliance which reduces claim costs
  • Reduce absenteeism through better management of Health & Safety risks, a major factor in small businesses with fewer employees
  • Can reduce insurance premiums by demonstrating you have an effective Health & Safety system in place

ISO 45003

Work plays an important role in our psychological health. This has been brought into sharp focus by the pandemic. Promoting your commitment to the mental wellbeing of your employees can help build resilience and create a strong company culture with happy employees.

A new standard that can be incorporated with all the above ISOs is the recently published ISO 45003. This is the first global Standard guiding employers on mental health and wellbeing. Developed so that organisations of all sizes can implement processes to protect their employees from psychological risks. ISO 45003 can demonstrate your commitment to building a positive work environment and enhance productivity and staff retention.


ISOs help you find a better way of doing what you already do. Implementing ISO standards can have big benefits whatever the size of your business!

To find out more about how ISO Standards can help your business, get in touch on 0333 3443646 or head here to find your perfect ISO.  

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About the author

  • Name:

    Serena Cooper

  • Company:

    Citation ISO Certification

  • Bio:

    Serena has worked for Citation ISO Certification since 2022, writing creative and informative content on ISO certification and consultation to help businesses reach their potential.


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