Now more than ever, you need to take a few minutes and focus on your business credit. If you've been putting it off thinking there was "always time to get that later" you are probably already well aware of how quickly that time vanished. But right now, spending just a few minutes doing these five things could get you on track faster than you imagined. And, yes, they really are free...
Right now, you need to focus on these areas:
Detailed data about your company
Payments already reporting in your D&B report
Disputing any slow payments
Challenging public filings
Increasing credit limit recommendations
Insuring new vendor/creditor transactions can flow into your file
Use these step-by-step instructions to address all of these issues (and faster than you think!)
1. Access D&B's new DUNSmanager® service
Go to https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/view-update-company-credit-file.html
In the drop-down, choose "I have a U.S.-based business"
Fill in your business name, address, and phone and click "Search"
Find your company in the list and click on "View / Update Company Information"
Create a new login if you don't already have one (or)
Scroll down and click on Login to use one you have already established
Fill in your personal information to verify your identity and click "Continue"
Answer the four security questions (there may be some trick questions)
2. On the Company Profile page, update your company's detailed data
Verify business details are accurate and up-to-date.
Make sure every box is filled in with accurate information.
Pay attention to your SIC codes. Make sure you clearly define everything your company does since your industry accounts for 60% of your credit limit recommendations.
Be sure to identify your primary SIC code.
3. On the Trade Payments page, dispute any slow payments.
Identify problem payment history
Start on the last page of the payment history and work your way forward.
Identify any transactions that show as Slow, Prompt to Slow, Collection, or Bad Debt
You can select up to five transactions to be disputed, starting with the oldest
Do not dispute positive payment history even if you don't recognize it.
From the drop-down, choose a reason for the dispute. The most commonly used reasons are "Not my payment" or "Incorrect Payment Record".
4. On the Events page
Review all public filings for accuracy
Download documentation for any liens, suits, or judgments that have been resolved
If the items are not showing as resolved in public records, they will not be removed, so you may need to pull up the files on your Secretary of State's website to verify whether they accurately posted or not. If they are not resolved, contact the appropriate lien holder or court to get the records updated before launching your disputes.
Review the Special Events section for any inaccurate or questionable notations. If there are any notations you are unsure about, call me or click to CHAT on our website.
-- On the Financials page
Choose whether you want to submit your financial statements.
You will need to provide the prior year's Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet
Only publicly traded companies are required to submit their financials.
Private companies often submit financial statements to D&B as a way to further boost the scores and ratings of an otherwise lackluster report.
Email your financial statements to StDept@dnb.com
Be sure to put your company name and DUNS number in the subject line
-- On the Ownership page
Verify the accuracy of any branches or subsidiaries.
If anything is not accurate, click the link on the right to update.
-- Review and submit your changes
Once you have submitted your updates, save your online access by clicking on the "person" icon at the top and clicking on "Return to Dashboard"
Scroll down and ACCEPT the Terms and Conditions.
5. Insure new vendor/creditor transactions can flow into your file
Some companies auto-report payment history to D&B. More often than not, though, payment history is auto-reported through third-party payment processing companies and not the vendors themselves. Even if a vendor or supplier says they don't auto-report to D&B, your payment history may still flow into your business credit file from one of these outside sources, such as payment processors, accounting firms, credit underwriters, credit bureaus, and collection agencies.
Access online accounts you have with your bank, vendors, suppliers, or creditors.
Check to make sure they have your company name exactly as it appears in D&B.
Check to make sure the address on your account matches what is in D&B.
Check to make sure the payment method on file uses the same address.
Make sure you always pay business accounts using a business banks account or credit card. If you use a personal bank or credit card, the transaction could be identified as being personal in nature instead of being linked to your business.
When opening new accounts, be sure to use your company name and address as it appears in D&B. Be careful about using abbreviations since these can keep auto-reported payment history from being linked to your company's file.
When applying for credit, use your company name and address as noted above, and be mindful if there is a specific slot for your DUNS number, and then ONLY USE your DUNS number if there is a slot for it.
DO NOT put your DUNS number or EIN number in a slot where a SSN is required. This could throw up Identity Theft alerts for your company and also for the person who that social security number actually belongs to.
Always make business-based purchases (even online purchases) using an account that you have created in the business name, address, and using a business payment method. Never assume a company is too small or insignificant to report to D&B. If they don't auto-report your payment history, you may still be able to submit them later by using one of D&B's paid subscription services.
Above all else, ask for help if you have any questions or need direction. You can reply to my email, call me directly, or click to CHAT on our website. While I offer paid services to those who would like me to do the bulk of the work for them, our Free DIY Training Base is free to any business owner who needs it.