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  • Joy Greenwood

Are You Selling Smoke and Mirrors?


He called in for a free consultation late on Friday afternoon. I could tell right away that he was trying to pull a fast one, wanting me to help him "buy trade lines" for his "aged business entity" so he could get payment history into a D&B report he had created for a shelf corporation, but I wasn't buying it.

So I asked him point blank — "Does your company actually sell smoke and mirrors? Or does it just look that way?"

He seemed confused. "Huh?"

"That's what you're selling, right? Smoke and mirrors?" And then I spent 30 minutes explaining...

He had already spent $2,500 to buy a shelf corporation that supposedly came "with $100,000 worth of credit already on it". But it didn't. Then he got more bad advice online, wasted more money to set up a virtual (fake) address and VoIP (fake) phone number for his phony business. Now he wants me to help him get payment history put onto his report so he can achieve REAL credit — credit he probably has no intention of ever paying off.

These are the kind of people who make it harder for legitimate businesses to succeed.

No one — not D&B, not me, not suppliers, and certainly not any of the creditors he plans on defrauding — are actually going to buy the smoke and mirrors someone else has already sold to him, and he's now trying to sell to us. He's fallen for all the oldest tricks in the books... and now I have to be the one to tell him that adding manufactured payment history to his report is not just time-consuming, it can be expensive, and could cost him more than he's bargained for.

If your company doesn't sell smoke and mirrors, then it shouldn't send off signals making it look like it does. Legitimate business owners buy things, pay expenses, incur bills and simple debt. And they spend money for the products and services they actually need and use. They don't have money to waste on manufactured credit.

Trust me... I get it. New, young businesses have a hard time establishing credit lines, and they will often make the mistake of buying and paying under their personal credit, which will weigh it down and impact them personally, but also does nothing to boost their company's ability to stand on its own merit.

There are lots of suppliers and tradespeople out there who ARE willing to give young businesses Net terms credit. You just need to know where to look and how to approach those opportunities so you can thrive throughout the creditbuilding process.

Once basic tradelines are established, you should work to get them added to your business credit report. THOSE are the transactions that are going to weigh heavier on your scores, lend more viability to your business, and prove your company is worth its salt. And THOSE are the types of transactions that are going to get you the approvals you've been looking for.

How To Add REAL Payment History To Your D&B Report

  • Make a list of every company you've paid to at least once in the past 12 months

  • Don't have any suppliers yet? (See below)

  • Include companies who provided you with a receipt or bill with your company's name on it

  • Include major suppliers and small local mom-and-pop shops

  • Do not include things like banks, credit cards, utilities, or insurance

  • Leave off any company that is not operating from within the U.S.

  • Go to www.DandB.com and order a monthly Creditbuilder service (about $150)

  • Start with your highest dollar suppliers and submit them one at a time

  • You can start with the 12 vendor slots that come with the service

  • You can buy more slots if you have a lengthy vendor list

  • Track your submissions daily and make substitutions as needed

Suppliers or creditors who are auto-reporters may actually get added to your file faster if D&B can find payment history in their archives, so use your account number if you have one. For these auto-reporting vendors, D&B will decline the vendor so you can re-use that slot again, and the payment should get added into your report.

If you notice a vendor has been tagged as "accepted" check your report again the next day to see what payment was added. Your report will usually refresh around midnight, so there's no need to rush. If the vendor was already reporting and the payment was already in your report, the vendor will get tagged as "accepted" but nothing new will show up in your file.

Not every vendor or supplier is going to qualify. When this happens, your vendors will get tagged as "declined". This can happen for a number of reasons, and D&B is not going to tell you what those reasons are. I recommend re-submitting declined vendors once, but no more. Constantly resubmitting a vendor that's been declined is akin to poking an angry bear, and it could earn your company a strict once-over by the investigative team.

If a trade reference is tagged as "Unable to verify", you should re-submit them with a better contact number and include your account number or contact person. Sometimes this is necessary if D&B doesn't have up-to-date info for your supplier's company, or if the person who answers the phone thinks it's a sales call or hangs up when the D&B agent calls.

After vendors are submitted, it usually takes a few days before you'll see any changes. During the first few days, a D&B agent will run each vendor through a vetting process to see if: A) they qualify, or B) they are an auto-reporter, or C) there's archived history, or D) three-dozen other details I can't mention here. If everything goes as planned, you can sit back and watch for payment history to get added.

Watch your inbox. Some of your creditors may require authorization before they'll respond to D&B about your previous payment history. If that's the case, you'll need to respond to an email from the assigned trade fulfillment agent before D&B can proceed. You should respond as soon as possible to keep the process on track.

How Young Businesses Establish New Accounts and Credit Terms

  • Make sure you have an accurate D&B file and DUNS number

  • For every purchase, make sure you create a business-based account

  • Make sure the account has the same business name that D&B has

  • The account, shipping, billing, and payment address should all be the same

  • Make sure your purchase meets the minimum $50 threshold

  • Pay for your purchase on-time, whether it's a prepaid account or Net terms

  • Watch for any alerts about new inquiries on your D&B file

  • Inquiries help to insure your D&B file is linked to your supplier

  • Inquiries help ensure future payment history gets onto your report

If you need any help, just give me a call. I'll be glad to walk you through the first few until you get the hang of it. If you want me to tackle this process for you, just go to the Services page and subscribe to the Powerboost service. I'll get started as soon as I have your vendor list.


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Starpoint Credit Solutions LLC
11504 Joy Street   |   Austin, TX 78748
Phone / Fax  (800) 918-7505
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