Two business-owners walk into a bank…
It may sound like the beginning of an old joke, but it is no laughing matter. A downturn in the economy means that banks, creditors, and lenders are going to be even more guarded when it comes to who gets their money. They have to determine which business brings the least amount of risk. In every aspect of the corporate credit world, it is going to be survival of the fittest.
Before you begin to apply for the most basic business credit accounts, you need to focus on the same information your potential creditors are focused on ~ the corporate credit file. With funding possibilities dwindling on a daily basis, you will need to first determine if you have a corporate credit file, and then check to see what information is already in that file.
Believe it or not, most small businesses already have an existing credit profile even though they never knew it. Information is gathered by the commercial bureaus much like it is from personal credit agencies, behind the scenes. When creditors report on your business, the bureaus will oftentimes create a profile for that information to flow into even before you request one. Dun & Bradstreet®, the world’s oldest and largest business credit bureau, has created millions of files on companies without their knowledge or consent, all based upon data that has been provided by creditors, lenders, retailers, and vendors, as well as local, state, and federal authorities.
It takes about two minutes to do a simple free check to see if D&B® already has a file with information about your business. It may not sound like much, but we have seen this little two-minute miracle really turn things around for some small business owners.
Follow these simple instructions:
Go to http://iupdate.dnb.com
Find the box titled Register To Use iUpdate
Click on the Start Now button
Search for your company name, city and state where you are operating
Or search in the city and state where your business is registered
If you see your company name in the list to the right, you already have a D&B® report and there is information about your company that is being reported. If you want to see a free copy of that report or update information about your company, you will need to complete the registration process. There is no charge to view your file or update your company information on this website.
If you do not see your company name in the list to the right, D&B® does not have a report prepared for your company. Anyone else who is looking for information about your company is not finding you either, which makes it appear that your company has never paid a bill and no one has ever extended you credit. Requesting a D-U-N-S® number and D&B® credit file created is free of charge and generally takes three days to three weeks. Once the file has been created, you will be able to access the file in iUpdate and track any changes occurring within the file.
If you haven't already, you will need to register to use the iUpdate owner's portal. To do this, you'll need to use your personal data to validate your identity, including your home address as it appears on your current driver's license, and the business name, address, and phone currently listed in the existing D&B report (yes, even if it is incorrect).
You should NEVER identify yourself as a potential "government contractor" just to get updates completed faster, especially if you have no intention of completing the process to register as such. Doing so will hamper your ability to process updates directly into the D&B owner's portal and could flag your business as possibly "misrepresenting" your company's operations. If you ARE a "Government iUpdate" registrant, you can call into the D&B's Federal Registrations Support department to update details in your file, but you should ALSO complete this registration process.
Once you are registered in the iUpdate portal, simply click on the "Start Update Process" tab to begin updating your file. Scroll through the site and update the details as needed. There are certain pieces of data (such as the official start date and legal structure) that can only be updated by uploading supporting documentation, so you should have access to those files electronically.
As you navigate through the site, be sure that you complete all aspects of the update process by filling in any empty blanks and providing legitimate, verifiable information. When you get to the end and reach the "Review Edits" page, you will see a box that will allow you to address any specific details you were unable to update or clarify any specific changes.
If the D&B Fulfillment agent who is assigned your case has any questions, they will call you for clarification. Be sure that you take any calls from D&B and answer the questions truthfully. If D&B's agent can't reach you for clarification, they may not complete your request and this could delay the update process. (If you are contacted by a D&B agent who attempts to sell you a service as a way to speed up this process — UNDERSTAND — you are NOT REQUIRED to pay for ANY service as a way to update your D&B file.)
iUpdate does not provide scores, ratings, or colorful charts filled with analytical data, but you will be able to update the file to ensure the most accurate information is available to those making a determination about your company’s creditworthiness. To see scores and ratings, you will need to purchase a full copy of your report from D&B®.
LESSON: Please feel free to reach out to us directly if you have any questions or need assistance with registering at iUpdate®. We’ll be glad to provide any assistance we can to get you access to your business credit profile.