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ISO a Go-Go More companies comply with ISO than ever before-not necessarily because they want to. What will pleasing your clients cost your business?

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It was July 2000 when John Fris' biggest customer droppedthe bomb: By the end of 2001, Holland, Michigan-based Fris OfficeOutfitters Inc. would have to comply with the international qualitydocumentation standard, ISO 9000. Otherwise, the customer wouldstart looking for another office products supplier.

"The first thing we thought was the terror of possiblylosing them," says Fris, 46. But after researching therequest, he decided his company would make efforts to becomecompliant with ISO 9000 but stop short of certification. "Ihad originally thought we'd just get certified and there wouldbe nothing to it," Fris says. "But after asking around, Idecided that the costs associated with certification aren'tnecessary at this point."

Fris isn't alone. Figures from the InternationalOrganization for Standardization (ISO), based in Geneva, show408,631 companies worldwide were certified in December 2000.That's up 64,988 from 1999, but the annual growth rate was downmore than 10 percent.

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