ISO and SMEs

ISO International Standards help businesses of any size and sector reduce costs, increase productivity and access new markets.

For small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), standards can help to:

  • Build customer confidence that your products are safe and reliable
  • Meet regulation requirements, at a lower cost
  • Reduce costs across all aspects of your business
  • Gain market access across the world
ISO and SMEs video
Learn how ISO standards help SMEs


Setting the standard for services

ISO works across a range of service industries to ensure the needs of all kinds of consumers are catered to.

We have even produced guidance for those who develop standards related to services: ISO/IEC Guide 76, Development of standards for services - Recommendations for addressing consumer issues.



Find out how ISO is working to support the services that consumers expect and deserve.

Standards make market access easier, in particular for SMEs. They can enhance brand recognition and give customers the guarantee that the technology is tested and reliable.

Jens Albens CEO, Nanotron Technologies Ltd, Germany

Learn more about the benefits of standards for SMEs

Cover page: 10 good things for SMEs
10 good things for SMEs
Managers of small businesses in 10 countries from around the world say how ISO standards contribute to their success.
The small-business advantage
We look at how SMEs promote diversification of economic activities, support sustainable development and stimulate innovation.
Cover page: ISO Strategy for Service Standardization
ISO Strategy for Service Standardization
ISO developed this strategy because we anticipate that market demand for service standards will steadily increase and we want to make sure that ISO, and its members, have the tools and knowledge necessary to respond to this demand and to the challenges and opportunities it brings.

Top tips for SMEs

Check out our fun infographics that help SMEs get started with standards.

Infographics ISO 50001 benefits for SMEs
ISO 50001 for SMEs

Whatever size your business is, being less wasteful makes good sense.
Discover our 8 top tips for saving energy that are good for your pocket.

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Infographics ISO 50001 benefits for SMEs
ISO 14046 for SMEs

How much water do you use?
Check out our top tips for measuring your water footprint

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Infographics: ISO 20121 for SMEs
ISO 20121 for SMEs

Got a big event coming up?
Check out our top tips for sustainable event management

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Publications for SMEs

Discover our publications aimed specifically at SMEs. 

Cover page: ISO 9001:2015 for Small Enterprises - What to do?
ISO 9001:2015 for Small Enterprises - What to do?
A handbook for SMEs wishing to implement a quality management system based on ISO 9001:2015.

Getting involved in standards development

ISO International Standards are developed with the help of a wide range of stakeholders - not just big business. Active involvement helps you shape the rules that define your sector. Don't leave it all up to your competitors.

Get involved today

ISO Standards and SMEs in the real world

Not taking part [in standardization] would have cost me my company and my livelihood… What does it cost me if others define rules that are out of line with my needs but which I have to comply with because they are laid down in a standard ? It is best to join in right at the start.

Martin Denison, Managing Director of Scuba Schools GMBH

Scuba Schools Dive Training is an SME based in Austria.

Read the full story

Discover more case studies on the Economic Benefits of Standards.

Standards specific to SMEs

ISO Store

  • ISO 14005:2010
    Environmental management systems
    Guidelines for the phased implementation of an environmental management system, including the use of environmental performance evaluation
  • ISO 28004-2:2014
    Security management systems for the supply chain
    Guidelines for the implementation of ISO 28000
    Part 2: Guidelines for adopting ISO 28000 for use in medium and small seaport operations
  • ISO 28004-3:2014
    Security management systems for the supply chain
    Guidelines for the implementation of ISO 28000
    Part 3: Additional specific guidance for adopting ISO 28000 for use by medium and small businesses (other than marine ports)

Visit the ISO Store to buy more standards