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ISO Revisited

April 17, 2000
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Just when you thought you had satisfied your ISO requirements, up pops an article in this issue on ISO 9000:2000 — The New Quality Standard (pg. 42).

Since its inception in 1987, a quarter of a million organizations have registered to ISO 9000, a series of international standards that establish Quality Management System requirements. According to the article’s authors, Clyde Pearch and Jill Kitka, Eagle Group USA, Inc., Troy, Mich., ISO 9000 is by far the most influential initiative that grew out of the quality movement of the early ‘90s.

The authors point out that the standard was changed in 1994, but only around the margins. Now ISO 9000 has been revised again, and this version, called ISO 9000:2000, is a radical revision. It will require the organizations that have already been certified to update their current quality systems. It will also change the ground rules for the tens and even hundreds of thousands of organizations that are seeking or will seek registration in the future. National standards bodies, registrars, consultants and the rest of the apparatus that have grown up around the ISO standard now have to contend with a whole new set of challenges and opportunities.

The new ISO may not be as overwhelming as it seems. Well-run companies already have procedures in place that will facilitate the new ISO requirements. And as we’ve moved ahead from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, many of our tools for running a business have become more sophisticated.

For instance, the new ISO requires an effective, strategic business-planning process in place. The American Institute of Small Business is offering a book entitled A Business Plan Example. The book is reported to make it easy to write a business plan by following the model in the book based on an actual case study. Using the example format, one need only substitute the information gathered to create his or her own specific plan.

The Institute’s plan is in the style recognized by leading management organizations, banks, commercial lending institutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

A Business Plan Example comes complete with an

  • executive summary,
  • mission statement,
  • marketing plan,
  • advertising and public relations plans,
  • production plan,
  • funding sources,
  • future products,
  • financial analysis,
  • competitive strengths and weaknesses,
  • key employees,
  • advisors, and more.

The book also includes spreadsheets for three years, including profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow.

The Institute also offers a software package called How to Write a Business Plan with many of the same features as the book. It is available for Windows or DOS systems and in MS Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 versions.

A Business Plan Example ($29.95) and How to Write a Business Plan are available from the American Institute of Small Business, 7515 Wayzata Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55426, or call toll-free 800-328-2906.

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