This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
Stand out from the competition with a professional certification.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Whatever your profession, working toward a professional certification or designation takes a significant amount of time and effort. As with every business decision, you’ll need to weigh out the pros and cons. If your field has mandatory requirements, then you really have no choice but to move ahead with certification. Plus, it’s worth considering the wider benefits that it will bring.
To find satisfaction and success in your work, it’s useful to pursue excellence and knowledge. Business practices, the industry, and your customers will change over time. This means it’s beneficial for you to grow and develop with them. One way to do that is through training courses and certification.
Your first step will be choosing the right form of recognition for your industry. Once you’re on your way to achieving it, it’s time to think about how you can communicate and capitalize on this advantage. Here are four benefits that can motivate you and help you make the most of your certification.
1. Trust and credibility
When customers approach you for the first time with a business inquiry, they don’t know you or how you operate. One of the most effective ways to attract them, reassure them and win their trust is through certification. If the certification comes from a well-known awarding body, then the customer will feel like they know what to expect, which will make them more comfortable.
Knowing that your practices meet industry standards is an excellent boost to your credibility. It also demonstrates your commitment to the profession, which will impress other companies that you partner with or collaborate with, as well as your customers.
Certification can open doors to job opportunities. For example, you might be changing careers to become a personal trainer. If you choose the right personal trainer certification course, you can gain experience in your desired work environment.
2. Stand out from the crowd
If your field doesn’t require certification, then you can use it to your advantage to stand out from the competition. When there are many other practitioners offering similar services, it can be challenging to compete for that same customer pool.
While you may want to channel some of your budget into marketing, there are other routes to consider. Professional development, and in particular, certification, can differentiate you from other companies and give you an edge.
Your certification will act as a badge of excellence. It will also demonstrate that you keep up with industry trends and use the latest tools and software to offer a service that can help your customers.
3. Improve the way you work
Achieving certification is about more than just saying what you’ve done. Any tests you complete or courses that you attend will have their own benefits. Understanding what the best practices in your industry are will give you a new appreciation for your profession, and how you can support your customers.
It’s likely that you will learn new techniques and skills — not only those associated with your field but also transferable skills. These could include discipline and communication. It’s likely that by being successful in your work towards certification, your confidence in your abilities will grow.
Throughout the process, you might find other opportunities to enhance your standing in your industry. You’ll come into contact with others in your industry, including experts in your field. Make the most of these occasions to network and seek ways to support and gain assistance from your peers.
4. Increase your earnings
It’s crucial to consider the possibility that certification might promote your business to a new level. You’ll be attracting new customers and applying advanced techniques, which means you should also be looking at your pricing structure.
Expertise has value, and certification is an achievement that warrants revising what you have to offer. If your standards are now beyond the normal industry level, then you might want to consider a different rate for the advanced services that you offer.
Clients are willing to pay for quality, and you have found a way to guarantee them the service that they want. Even if the cost of your service does not go up dramatically, certification is likely to increase your earnings through the additional business that you will receive.
If there’s a reputable organization that can give you recognition in your field, then it’s worth investigating certification. It can help you improve your reputation and draw attention to your business.
Continued professional development is an ideal way to gain a greater understanding of your industry, and to enhance your knowledge and skills. It also offers excellent chances to network. All these benefits should lead to more clients and potentially more money for your services. This will increase your earnings and push you forward on your career path.