ISO 9001 For Small Business is about thriving and even surviving. Surviving in a competitive world where things get change within a blink of an eye and customers’ expectations get skyrocket in a desire of getting the best of the best.

For small businesses and new startups, the war of survival is getting more robust as survival of the fittest is the ruling rule in the marketplace and satisfying customer needs and expectations has become the next not-so-easily possible thing in the world.

For new businesses, it might sound a bit daunting to keep standing stable in such rapidly advancing workplace. With customers’ increasing awareness level, the only practical way left to come up with customers’ expectations and desires is by establishing, following, and maintaining a Quality Management System often abbreviated as QMS.

ISO 9001 has been crafted for any conspicuous quality organization regardless of its size and scope of business.

Why is ISO For Small Business needed for Micro Businesses?

  1. A recognized quality management system has been implemented, followed effectively and wholly embedded in organization’s management system exhibits clearly how much quality of your products and services are taken seriously and willing to produce up to the mark outcomes by all means.
  2. Meeting contractual requirements is pre-requisite for any new business to enter the world of new business opportunities. Grabbing big business tenders over market competitors will increase profitability, ultimately leading to expansion for your small newcomer business.
  3. Owning a small business initially will be having small team based employees working for your organization. Going for establishing QMS in the initial stage of your business will result in better employees’ engagement making them realize that how seriously quality is considered in their organization and how employees will do their best to deliver best quality products and services to customers.
  4. Having a robust QMS makes everyone record problems, the team will have the ability to not only record the issues but to take corrective and preventive actions to cease the recurrence of the problems. Stopping the same problem to re-occur will help in saving time and energy to be wasted on one repeated problem again and again. Plus it will increase the frustration level of the employees of solving one problem by quick fixes again and again rather than solving the root cause of the problem.
  5. Reporting and monitoring by senior leadership team can be done smoothly since periodic reviews will be presented to you by your team members, and you will be able to have a bird’s eye view on what’s happening under you.

Ten Clauses of ISO 9001 for Small Business

Being a micro business owner, one can translate the main clauses of ISO 9001 for small businesses:

  1. Scope of ISO 9001
  2. Normative References
  3. Terms and Definition
  4. Context of the Organization
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance Evaluation
  10. Improvement

Methodology and Process Approach

The working principle of ISO 9001 has been built on the foundation of PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) cycle on which employees first have to gain first-hand training, on-site implementation hands-on experience. Moreover, the team will feel more empowered working in a system where the PDCA cycle is embedded, and continuous improvement is being guaranteed by seeking room for improvement.

  1. Plan: Set up the ambitions and goals of every component of the business no matter how major and minor it is. Please note that all goals and objectives should be a time-bound activity, and periodic monitoring is mandatory for every action.
  2. Do: Simply doing what has been agreed and planned in the previous first step.
  3. Check: Once the team is done with the complete implementation of decided actions, one of the member of the team and senior leadership team member has to monitor the implementation outcomes.
  4. Act: upon identifying the gaps between the planning phase and implementation phase, go for filling up those identified gaps which will be again a time-bound task for the team.

Six Components of Continuous Quality Improvement

Implementing QMS from scratch can be a bit difficult, but it is preferable to apply methodologies and systems in the initial stage of your business development rather than gaining maturity level to some useless hit and trial method. Enlisted below are mandatory seven elements of QMS about which team must be aware or should get training for smooth implementation of QMS.

  1. ISO 9001 For Small Business Hard Core Management Commitment

Employees should know the commitment level of top leadership team towards the importance and long term benefits of implementing QMS and employees should know if they feel stuck somewhere during the implementation journey of QMS, they will get support from the management team in an instant.

  1. ISO 9001 For Small Business Documentation Record and Control

One of the key to satisfy certification audit is to have firm control on documentation system as it is one of the critical control systems because when it comes to change management, one will be in dying need of documentation control.

  1. ISO 9001 For Small Business Employee Development

Building competency levels of your employees from having no knowledge till the stage of becoming a trainer and train others on technical and management competencies are what employees’ competency building all about. Building a training program and getting all teams on board should become a periodic practice even after complete implementation of QMS as maintaining QMS is one more important factor.

  1. Evaluation of Suppliers and Vendors

Marking your level a notch up will automatically urge your business partners to make their notch to a higher level so that they can keep serving your business in such a competitive world. Inspection of every lot of raw material that you receive from supplier, making observations of abnormalities and launching complaints to the relevant supplier will instantly raise red flags in the mind of the supplier to provide you best quality raw materials every time.

  1. Identification of Non-conformities

Be it major or minor non-conformities identified during a raw material inspection or testing,  un-met specifications during the manufacturing of the products or even on testing and verification phase of the final product before final delivery to the shelf, a non-conformity report has to establish revealing what, why, when and how of the problem.

  1. ISO 9001 For Small Business Corrective Actions

Identification of root cause and devising the solution is a problem-solving technique. Corrective actions are designed so that the problem can be rectified. Corrective actions can be taken in the form of training the employees (if it is by human error), making procedures more defined and cleared or any design fault can be addressed.