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Starting a business in today’s competitive business landscape is challenging, but many entrepreneurs choose to do so, including myself. The risks and hardships are worth it if you can bring your ideas and visions to life. All businesses’ survival is contingent upon their ability to distinguish themselves from the rest of their industry. But this is especially true for new businesses.

As a female entrepreneur, I know firsthand that owning a woman-owned business will open up opportunities for you that aren’t otherwise available. But taking advantage of those opportunities requires more than being a woman and owning a business. You need to get certified as a woman-owned business. This process requires submitting the necessary paperwork and receiving a third party’s confirmation that you are the key stakeholder in the company. It’s not a terribly complicated process — and, trust me, it’s well worth the effort.

I wanted to work with corporations in the private sector, so my company was certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Such certification wasn’t only a huge honor; it has also helped us stand out to our clients in a diverse range of industries. That’s because doing business with a certified WBE provides enormous advantages for our clients. Below are just a few examples of the benefits our clients receive from partnering with us.

1. Tax Incentives

In order to support more women-owned businesses, the federal government provides significant tax breaks to any individual or organization who works with a certified WBE. The government also offers another tax incentive that can reduce tax liabilities for certain WBE-related projects that are funded by federal or state grants. We will provide you with all the WBENC information you need to take advantage of those tax benefits, so you need not worry about obtaining the necessary documentation.

2. Increased Profitability

Research conducted by The Hackett Group has demonstrated that companies enjoy more profitability when they work with women-owned businesses. One reason is that WBEs can help you lower your operational costs. Employing a WBE normally introduces new, diverse perspectives which foster an environment where collaboration, innovation, and creativity can thrive. These factors can positively influence your decision-making process and push your business strategy forward.

3. Higher Levels of Satisfaction

When you work with another company, you expect to be satisfied with its work, as well as the partnership. Women-owned businesses consistently meet or exceed performance expectations 99 percent of the time. Because WBE companies tend to be smaller in size, they provide better access to their employees and more flexibility than larger corporations.

4. Commitment to Supplier Diversity

When customers research brands, they prefer those that share their values. Customers are more likely to place their loyalty with companies that are socially responsible and support diversity. When you partner with companies and diversify your suppliers, your customers will notice — and you will benefit.

5. Superior professionals

The WBENC provides regular training sessions, workshops, and professional summits for its members. It prioritizes ongoing development and provides members with a pool of other candidates with whom they can regularly network. Female leaders stay informed about every industry and continue developing their skills to offer superior talent and services.

Women-owned businesses are a competitive force in their marketplace. And so are the individuals and organizations who work with them.