The Power of Certifications and Lessons from Our Pilot Program

black owned storefront
black owned storefront

April 23, 2024


Param Nayar

In today's competitive market, distinguishing your business is more crucial than ever. At agreenably, we understand that one of the most effective ways to stand out is through certifications. Over the past three months, we've worked closely with our pilot users to help them obtain certifications like Leaping Bunny, USDA Organic, Women Owned, and Black Owned. Here’s what we’ve learned and why we believe certifications are key to driving business growth.

Why Certifications Matter

Certifications can serve as a powerful tool for businesses, opening doors to new markets, improving company image, and increasing credibility. They often come with several benefits:

  • Improved Financial Opportunities: Certifications like Women Owned and Black Owned provide businesses with greater access to working capital through grants and private lending opportunities. Financial institutions and grant-making bodies often favor certified businesses, seeing them as more reliable and aligned with their values.

  • Enhanced Brand Recognition: Certifications like USDA Organic or Leaping Bunny can make your products more appealing to specific consumer groups who are committed to environmental sustainability and ethical business practices.

  • Access to New Markets: Certifications such as Women Owned and Black Owned can help businesses tap into niche markets and public sector contracts that prioritize diversity.

  • Increased Consumer Trust: Certifications can act as a stamp of approval from trusted bodies, reassuring customers about the quality and integrity of your business.

Insights from Our Pilot Program

Our three-month pilot program provided us with invaluable insights as we supported our users through the certification process:

1. Personalization is Key

Each business is unique, and so is the path to certification. Customizing the approach to fit each business's specific needs was crucial. Our AI-driven platform helped identify the most beneficial certifications for each business, considering factors like industry, business size, and market goals.

2. Understanding the Requirements

Navigating the certification landscape can be daunting due to the variety of standards and requirements. We learned that educating our users about what each certification entails and the steps involved is essential for a smooth process. For instance, obtaining the USDA Organic certification involves rigorous monitoring and documentation to prevent cross-contamination, which required our users to adjust several of their operational practices.

3. Strategic Planning

One of the most significant lessons was the importance of strategy in the certification process. For example, the Leaping Bunny certification not only requires a company to comply with no animal testing but also to consider their supply chain's compliance. We helped our users assess their supply chain readiness, make the switch to vendors who shared similar values, and ultimately implement strategies to grow their business sustainably.

4. Support and Communication

Continuous support and clear communication were pivotal throughout the process. Regular updates, reminders, and check-ins kept the certification journey on track and made our users feel supported every step of the way.

Moving Forward

The positive feedback from our pilot users has been overwhelmingly encouraging. They reported not only a smoother certification process but also significant benefits post-certification, including higher sales and increased brand loyalty. As we move forward, agreenably is committed to refining our platform to make obtaining certifications even more accessible for all small businesses. We're eager to release our grant writing AI in the coming weeks to help small businesses across the country gain an additional channel to working capital.

Certifications are more than just badges to adorn your marketing materials; they are a testament to a business’s commitment to excellence and integrity. At agreenably, we’re excited to continue empowering businesses to achieve these milestones and grow in meaningful ways.