Three 'Do-It-Yourself' Mistakes to Avoid

Sunday, September 16, 2012 | comments

The certification services that I provide are in demand, but, oftentimes, my biggest competition isn't another company doing what I do, but the Do-It-Yourselfer.

I love DIY'ers because I'm one of those people myself. I have a number of projects in my home that I've taken on with varying degrees of success... and completion (like the samples painted on my master bedroom wall that I now consider art, lol). Some were so good it looked as though a pro had done it. One such project was the wallpaper mural I hung in my daughter's nursery years ago. Another project, however, did not go so well. From both the good and the bad projects, I've learned lessons that I can use the next time I evaluate a project that needs tackling in my home (like never tackle a toilet plumbing project again... E V E R!).

The same goes for certifications. You've got "projects" in your business as well. It's the list of items on your "To Do" list - things that don't disrupt the daily operation of your business but would benefit the business. The things on that list can all be done by you, or you can outsource them. Now, if you are the DIY type, then I wanted to provide you with three biggest mistakes I've seen Certification DIY'ers make so you can avoid them.

Some DIY'ers don't follow the directions. Every certification has a checklist to follow. It lists all of the stuff you need to provide to the certifying agency. If you use the checklist and provide EVERYTHING it asks for, you will be successful, period. If you don't you will have varying degrees of success.

Some DIY'ers don't answer the question being asked. Similar to what I mentioned above, this relates to reading the checklist or the instructions and answering the questions being asked of you in order to comply with that certifying agency's guidelines. Oftentimes, the agency is trying to answer a few basic questions, i.e. does a veteran own 51% or more of this business, does a woman control this business, etc. Make sure the information you provide answers that question. If it does not, then you need to provide additional documentation to answer that underlying question.

Some DIY'ers give up just before reaching the goal. The certification process can be lengthy and there can be a lot of back and forth. Just because you get a deficiency letter from the SBA saying the file is incomplete or the certifying agency calls asking you for more stuff, doesn't mean the deal is dead. That just means more clarifying information is needed. Work through any deficiencies just as diligently as you worked through the process and you will be successful.

Remember, DIY projects are not for the faint of heart and the end result is well worth the effort. If you avoid the common mistakes outlined above, you can be successful. The good news is, just like Superior Plumbing rescued me, I'm here to rescue you if you get in over your head.
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