4 STEPS TO STRONGER BUSINESS CREDIT
It’s a fact… Small business owners have to work harder to make their business a success.
Unlike the Fortune500, you don’t have the budget for contracting the best marketing company, or buying the best advertising spots, or hiring a ton of employees. You can’t put that responsibility in someone else’s hands. In many cases, you are the chief cook, bookkeeper, and bottle-washer, all rolled up into one. And, more often than not, you already don’t have enough hours in the day. Budgeting time to learn about, monitor, maintain, and build your business credit usually isn’t one of your top priorities.
Many small business owners fail to realize that building business credit is really not all that hard, it just takes a little time and energy and perseverance to get to the finish line. You may already have everything you need to succeed right at your fingertips.
1. Do you have an active and functioning business? 2. Do you have income and expenses? 3. Do you have a business credit report? 4. Have you paid for anything in the business name in the past?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you are already on the right path. So here are four steps you can take to help get you to the finish line without jumping through hoops…
COMPLETE YOUR BUSINESS CREDIT PROFILE • Get a free D-U-N-S© number at http://iUpdate.DnB.com • If you already have a D-U-N-S© number, register to use the iUpdate portal • Fill in all available data to insure the most accurate report is being presented • Be sure to include all of the following:
• Company name • Any DBA’s or aliases • Company address • Company phone • Date business started • Total employee count • Annual sales • All principals & titles • Describe line of business
DISPUTE DEROGATORY INFORMATION FROM THE CREDIT REPORT • Log into D&B’s free iUpdate© portal at http://iUpdate.DnB.com • Click on the tab at the bottom to “Investigate Payment History” • Choose only the payments reported as negative (slow) payment history • Payments that are removed may return to the file within 45 days • Must re-dispute slow payments up to 3 times to request a permanent block • Incorrect payment history can only be removed, will not get corrected • Also dispute old liens, suits, judgments, and bankruptcies in iUpdate
BANK ON YOUR BUSINESS • Verify all billing, banking, and credit card information matches your D&B® • Review bills from suppliers to insure company name and address is correct • Be sure to check that your bank account is listed to the business address. • Pay all business expenses using business checks or debit cards. • Check that the name and address on your company checks match to D&B® Most credit card underwriters auto-report on their commercial customers. If you have a D&B file and the name and address match, the data should flow into your file automatically.
INSULATE YOUR SCORES BY STRATEGICALLY USING YOUR VENDORS • Try to use several vendors who will auto-report to Dun & Bradstreet • Spread purchases across a variety of suppliers and payment types • Work with suppliers and creditors to avoid using a personal guaranty • Be sure applications and accounts are created/contain exact company data • Ask vendors if they would be willing to report your payment history to D&B© D&B offers a paid service to submit your creditors as trade references. An agent will call to gather payment history to be included into the file, which will boost scores and ratings.
LESSON: Sometimes, something as simple as changing your bill payment habits or updating the data in your D&B file can make a huge difference in your company's potential to succeed. Don't shy away from making the necessary adjustments if they mean you can boost your creditworthiness ten fold.