Most business owners would love to reap the rewards of better business credit scores and ratings, but most will tell you it's just not in the budget. Little do they realize there are five free things they can do right now that will boost their D&B scores that won't cost them a penny — and most can be completed in less than fifteen minutes!
Your company's D&B scores and ratings are dependent on just three things:
Verifiable data about your business
Reliable payment history
I have worked with lots of business owners who previously struggled to achieve credit approvals. I've see the same patterns in behavior over and over again, so it was easy to understand how updating certain information or making a few simple changes to their business practices can have an unbelievable impact and turn things around for them.
That's why I outlined these five key issues that any business owner can address on their own time that will provide a substantial boost to their D&B scores and ratings, and every single one of them is free!
1) Make sure you have access to your D&B D-U-N-S® number and data.
• If you don’t have a D-U-N-S number, request a free one online. • Register to use the free self-help portal at http://iUpdate.DnB.com • Review all available data to insure the most accurate report is available. • Dispute any derogatory information to see if it can be removed. • Make yourself available in case D&B calls to verify your changes.
2) Check that your business information is consistent across all media.
• Your business name, address, and contact information needs to match everywhere. • Review your website and social media platforms for consistency. • Search for your business on the web to verify old out-dated data is removed. • Check business listing sites such as Bizapedia, Yelp, and Yellow Pages. • Check for accuracy in your phone information on 411.com and ListYourself.com
3) Verify all billing, banking, and credit card information matches your D&B.
• Review invoices from suppliers to ensure company name and address matches. • Most credit card underwriters auto-report on their commercial customers. • 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 business checks matches to D&B.
4) Sign up to monitor your business credit file using a free or paid service.
• Sign up for a free CreditSignal® service from D&B to be alerted to changes. • Review your credit file in D&B‘s free iUpdate portal at least once per quarter. • Check that the Business Experian and Equifax files are consistent with D&B. • Track any inquiries or changes that occur to your report over time. • Print and save copies of your report every single time you check the file.
5) Be proactive instead of reactive toward your corporate credit profile.
• Change bill-paying practices to insure prompt payment history gets reported. • Work toward getting your existing creditors and suppliers to report to D&B. • Challenge inaccurate or derogatory information that is in the credit report. • Check to make sure there are no duplicate credit files at previous addresses. • Call for a free one-on-one business credit review and consultation.
Whipping your D&B business credit scores and ratings into shape may only takes a few minutes of your time once per year, but changing how you create new accounts or apply for credit can also translate to less time you have to put into that process.
By stepping up your game, you can help ensure your company's credit possibilities are always improving. There are lots of companies who auto-report payment history, but some may only report to the bureaus when something has gone terribly wrong. It's important that you stay on top of your credit scores and ratings (and immediately address any issues) so your D&B report represents your company in the best possible light even when you aren't watching!