It was a question I had answered a hundred times before, but somehow, it still left me shaking my head. "Can you help me get trade lines added to my D&B report?" And it had come from Larry, a Business Credit Basics subscriber who called in for a free consultation. His voice sounded tired and frustrated.
I think my response surprised him. Perhaps because he expected me to move immediately into a hard-sell strategy, or perhaps because just having asked the question had somehow made him feel uneasy, maybe even vulnerable.
"Yes," I said. "But you do realize that's something that you can do yourself, right?"
Over the next 30 minutes, I realized there was a lot that Larry didn't understand about "trade lines". He had been fed misinformation on the web and when talking to other people in the past... People who had been more interested in making a sale than doing what was best for him and his business. Those companies had been trying to "sell" him some "established trade lines" rather than teaching him how to build legitimate and long lasting business credit using simple, affordable, reliable, and legitimate techniques.
Trade lines are vendors or suppliers who extend your business general retail credit accounts based solely off the fact that they can verify your business is active and functioning. Most, but not all, do this by verifying your business information against D&B's database. By simply having a D&B file, your business qualifies for a basic line of credit. How you use that line of credit will determine how much it will impact future credit approvals. Use the credit line wisely and you'll be rewarded with additional opportunities. Be irresponsible and you could find yourself facing challenges in the future.
The term "trade lines" comes from the premise that a specific supplier would be generally associated with your specific industry, or "trade". There are some things that are a given... but, for now, let's just focus on these four business types...