Roadmap for Small Businesses to Meet the ISO 9001 Certification Requirements

More and more businesses are getting certified with ISO 9001 which is the globally accepted standard for the quality management system (QMS). According to the official report of ISO, more than one million organizations have got the standard in nearly 170 countries. Isn’t that huge? However, this brings us to the next question. Are small businesses or startups also eligible for this international-level certification? The answer is YES! Small businesses must consider this certification as a priority because it will create opportunities for them to grow by delivering quality products/services consistently in the market.

If you are a small business owner, then you are on the right page! Here is a guide to the small business ISO 9001 certification requirements which will help you to implement the standard. Take a look.

Small Business Guide to the ISO 9001 Certification Requirements

What to Consider?

If you want your small business to get the certification, first you should consider a few basic things.

  • Buy or get a copy of the standard and read it thoroughly
  • Compare each of the requirements underlined by the standard with your business’s current processes
  • Improve the processes and management system in place to ensure compliance with the standard’s requirements
  • Have a team of ISO consultants or experts who can guide you in the process of getting certified
  • Select a reliable and accredited certification body that will conduct an audit and reward the certification

Key Benefits

If you are wondering why this standard of quality management is a prerequisite for small businesses today, here are the benefits that you need to know.

  • Processes get streamlined and run efficiently
  • Errors, redundancies, duplicate tasks, and reworks are reduced
  • Operations become cost-efficient
  • Efficiency results in faster delivery of services or products
  • Marketing and brand recognition of your business are enhanced
  • Increase in customer satisfaction which enhances their loyalty to your business
  • Competitive advantage in the market and chances of gaining opportunities for international trade

Thus, there are both internal and external benefits of this quality certification. If you want to reap these benefits for your small business, here is the roadmap to get it.

Step-by-Step Guide to Get Your Business Certified with the ISO 9001 Standard

Well, you might have never known that the world’s best-known quality standard can be implemented as quickly as you want with minimal cost. Here, is an easy 5-step guide to help you do that.

Step 1: Getting Onboard with Resources and Top Management Team

The first step is about preparation. You need to determine all resources including staff which will need to implement the QMS. You also should have full-fledged support from top management executives in your organization at this step. Their commitment is required for successful implementation.

In this step, you need to set the goals of your quality management program and create a definite policy. Accordingly, set the scope of your QMS. The staff/employees should also be made aware of their responsibilities. Thus, you need to decide the training programs, learning courses, etc. required to make the employees adept at the implementation procedure.

Step 2: Get all the documentation done

Documentation of the processes and management system is a prerequisite for any ISO certification. It is also the most complex and time-taking procedure. The documents about your QMS and related processes must also meet the technical requirements of the standard. Thus, it is often hard to create all the documents rightly. Here, the team of consultants will take the responsibility if you have hired one.

The most crucial documents that you need to prepare are of quality policy, quality objectives, scope statement, work instructions, operational procedures, forms, and process maps.

Step 3: Go ahead with the implementation of QMS

It is now time for the implementation phase. During this phase, you need to introduce new practices of quality management to the employees. Then, you should help them adapt to those practices and subsequently, improve your work processes. Thus, the implementation requires all the employees to recognize the changes in their routine workflows and get familiar with them.

You might need to incentivize the employees to make the new practices efficient. Therefore, it is best to inform them about the tangible benefits of an ISO-based QMS such as more sales and increased profits. Also, during the implementation, employees should get used to the practice of record-keeping. Records of every process or work procedure must be maintained as they will be reviewed by auditors for verifying ISO compliance.

Step 4: Perform a thorough internal audit

An internal audit is an effective process of self-inspection that most organizations undertake during the ISO certification process. It helps them to ensure that the management system is implemented well and working properly.

If you have hired consultants, they can perform the internal audit process smoothly for you. During the audit, they will observe all your processes, QMS, and records to ensure everything is as per the standard’s requirements. Also, they will interview a few employees to examine their adaptability with the QMS.

After performing the audit, they will provide a report mentioning all the non-compliance issues observed by them. They would provide suggestions/corrective actions for resolving each of them quickly.

Step 5: Get the certification from a registrar

You need to select a registrar which will be an independent body providing ISO certifications to businesses. They would do a certification assessment or audit. Thus, prepare your employees to cooperate with the auditors and answer them honestly during interviews. Once they have assessed your QMS, processes, records, and have examined the employees, they will confirm the status of your compliance. Eventually, they will decide whether your business gets certified.

If you have implemented the QMS correctly and fixed any non-compliance issues found during the internal audit, there is nothing to worry about. You will successfully pass the certification audit and receive a certification with 3-year validity.


Most small businesses consider certification to an ISO standard to be an overwhelming and costly process. However, it is not true when you know the steps well and get the right support. The above guide to the small business ISO 9001 certification requirements has presented a clear roadmap for owners of small businesses. So, what you need next is a team of professional ISO consultants who can make this 5-step procedure as straightforward and cost-effective as possible for you.

We, at Compliancehelp Consulting LLC, can provide you with the necessary assistance and lead you to successful certification. Our consultants will help you in developing and implementing the QMS, improving your processes, documenting, and auditing. Thus, you will have every support to get certified in a quick time while saving your money. To know more, contact our team today!