Updated: Feb 3
• There are 32 million businesses in America. • 22 million are small businesses who generate 54% of the nation's products or services. • 82% of corporate credit reports pulled daily are on small businesses making $500,000 or less per year. • Nearly half of those are being pulled on companies making less than $100,000 per year. So who needs D&B more? • Big businesses who rely on data about applicants to make a credit decision? • Small businesses who are seeking accounts with those creditors and suppliers?
For those who have never heard my story, I was 20 years into a prosperous career as an independent graphic designer in New Hampshire when I relocated my business to Texas after a death in the family. Little did I know I would have to completely rebuild my thriving business. I had never heard of Dun and Bradstreet, but that didn't seem to matter. I was confident, experienced, had a solid client base, and business was booming. But Dun and Bradstreet had heard of me. In fact, not only had they created a D&B DUNS number for me without my knowledge, several of my suppliers had been steadily feeding positive payment history about my company to D&B for years without me even knowing. Before my relocation, if I needed anything for my business, I just opened an account, charged what I needed, and then paid the bill when it came due. I never knew D&B was even in the picture. But after moving my business to a new location, D&B lost track of me, and so did my suppliers. Suddenly, it was as if I never existed. It seemed like I couldn't establish a line of credit or retail account to save my life. All of a sudden I was being asked to personally guarantee purchases, my personal credit scores were plummeting due to all the inquiries, and I was even being required to prepay for supplies from my new sources. Even though I had lots of clients, my access to supplies was becoming more and more limited and profits were being eaten away by the higher cost of equipment, supplies, and increased interest rates. After several years, I was actually forced to shutter my graphic design business and go to work for someone else just to keep food on the table. As fate would have it, I went to work for Dun and Bradstreet, and for the first time in my life, after 20 years in business, I discovered the impact the business credit file had on my company, on every company... no matter how young or old, whether a tiny sole proprietor working from home or major conglomerate trading on Wall Street. Big businesses can suffer similar circumstances when data in their D&B file doesn't reflect their true value and ability to survive risk. Like small business, they feel the impact when their bills don't get paid on time or they're hit with lawsuits or negative publicity. Data can become corrupted. Sudden changes to a business's risk factors can have devastating results. Before Donald Trump became president, for instance, he had very little trouble accessing capital for his commercial real estate deals even though his D&B Paydex score was very low (19 out of 100). He had been in business for many years, had equity to fall back on, and had shown an uncanny ability to withstand high risk over time. What he probably didn't know was that his company was considered risky to creditors. Because of that, he was likely to pay higher interest rates, stiffer penalties, and heightened rates on his bonds and insurance. But that over-the-top corporate magnate will probably not be impacted as much by a low Paydex score as the Mom and Pop shop down the street. Big well-established businesses have the advantage of history, strength, and structure to get them through a few rough spots. Their durability is already in evidence with D&B, so their scores and ratings are less likely to be as severely impacted by some small bit of data in the equation. But big business suffers in other ways when the data in D&B's system is incorrect or incomplete, but not how you might think. You see, big businesses rely on smaller commercial customers to insure their own success. America's biggest and most profitable companies will only establish new accounts for companies who meet a base criteria. Specifically they are looking for a set of scores and ratings to be presented in the business credit report. If a potential new customer is denied based upon D&B's data, and that data is corrupted, it doesn't paint a true picture of a company's creditworthiness. Not only does the small business miss out on an opportunity to grow, but the big business just lost out on what may have been a very rewarding new customer. Unlike a large, well-established conglomerate, small business owners and sole proprietors can suffer irreversible harm if just one piece of information is incorrect, such as an old address, or an unrelated lawsuit, or a couple of minuscule payments showing as past due. The struggle of the small business (brought on by bad data) now becomes a lost opportunity for the big businesses who need those commercial customers to survive. If only that business owner had known how quickly and easily that could all be turned around. My small home-based business was painfully impacted because I never knew I had a D&B file, and because D&B never realized I had moved to Texas and continued operations from a different address. Data was no longer being verified or presented from my old suppliers, and potential new suppliers couldn't find me in D&B's system at my new address so they were unwilling to take on the blind risk. I would have been a great account for them, one small piece of their profit puzzle, but they wouldn't give me a chance because they didn't know my commercial credit report was outdated, and I didn't know I had one. As an Escalation and Resolution Specialist at D&BCC, I worked one-on-one with owners and executives from businesses of all sizes who were struggling to overcome the same types of obstacles I once faced. I've seen eighth-generation family farms losing out on major WalMart contracts, and equipment manufacturers miss out on opportunities for funding, and national contractors lose access to open accounts with major suppliers — all because their D&B reports were not up to the required standards. So, who needs D&B more? Actually, that's a trick question, because we all do. Every small Mom and Pop, every major corporate magnate, every decision-maker, every entrepreneur, every government contractor and grant recipient, every butcher and baker, every tire store and real estate investor. Whether in our ability to get credit, extend credit to others, grow our businesses, pay off debt, hire more employees, buy more trucks, plant new crops, or buy more supplies... We are all impacted in some way by the existence (or non-existence) of a strong corporate credit profile. My own experiences on both sides of the table made me more sympathetic toward those business owners who are negatively impacted — and more determined than ever to keep it from ever happening again. That is why I founded Starpoint Credit Solutions in the first place. It's why I offer free lessons and insight to my subscribers. And it's why I contract specialized services to other business owners to grow and improve their potential. And while I can't possibly help all 32 million business owners in America, I can help those within my reach. Won't you call for a free consultation today?