The Two-Minute Miracle
Two business-owners walk into a bank...
It may sound like the beginning of an old joke, but it is no laughing matter. A downturn in the economy means that banks, creditors, and lenders are going to be even more guarded when it comes to who gets their money. They have to determine which business brings the least amount of risk. In every aspect of the corporate credit world, it is going to be survival of the fittest.
Before you begin to apply for the most basic business credit accounts, you need to focus on the same information your potential creditors are focused on ~ the corporate credit file. With funding possibilities dwindling on a daily basis, you should first determine if you already have a corporate credit file, and then check to see what information is already in that file.
Believe it or not, most small businesses already have an existing credit profile even though they never knew it and never requested for one to get created for their company. Information flows into commercial bureaus much like it does to personal credit agencies, behind the scenes and without you seeing it happen.
When creditors report on a business that is NOT in the credit bureau's system, the bureaus will oftentimes create a profile for that information to flow into even before you request one. Dun & Bradstreet®, the world’s oldest and largest business credit bureau, has created millions of files on companies without their knowledge or consent, all based upon data that has been provided by creditors, lenders, retailers, and vendors, as well as local, state, and federal authorities.
It takes about two minutes to do a simple free check to see if D&B® already has a file with information about your business. It may not sound like much, but we have seen this little two-minute miracle really turn things around for MANY small business owners.
Follow these simple instructions:
Find the box titled Register To Use iUpdate
Click on the Start Now button
Search for your company name, city and state where you are operating
Or search in the city and state where your business is registered
If you see your company name in the list to the right, you already have a D&B® report and there is already information about your company being reported. If you want to see a free copy of that report or update information about your company, you will need to complete the registration process. There is no charge to view your file or update your company information on the D&B iUpdate website.
If you do not see your company name in the list to the right, D&B® does not have a report prepared for your company. That means that anyone else who is looking for information about your company is not finding it either. This makes it appear that your company has never paid a bill and no one has ever extended you credit. Requesting a D-U-N-S® number and D&B® credit file created is free of charge and generally takes three days to three weeks depending on your scope of operations. Once the file has been created, you will be able to access the file in iUpdate and track any changes occurring within the file.
If you haven't already, you will need to register to use the iUpdate owner's portal. To do this, you'll need to use your personal data to validate your identity, including your home address as it appears on your current driver's license, and the business name, address, and phone currently listed in the existing D&B report (yes, even if it is incorrect).
You should NEVER identify yourself as a potential "government contractor" just to get a new DUNS number created or to get updates completed faster, especially if you have no intention of completing the process to register as such. Doing so will hamper your ability to process updates directly into the D&B owner's portal and could flag your business as possibly "misrepresenting" your company's operations. If you ARE a "Government iUpdate" registrant, you can call into the D&B's Federal Registrations Support department to update details in your file, but you should ALSO complete this registration process.
Once you are registered in the iUpdate portal, simply click on the "Start Update Process" tab to begin updating your file. Scroll through the site and update the details as needed. There are certain pieces of data (such as the official start date and legal structure) that can only be updated by uploading supporting documentation, so you'll need to have access to those files electronically.
As you navigate through the site, be sure that you complete all aspects of the update process by filling in any empty blanks and providing legitimate, verifiable information. When you get to the end, you'll reach the "Review Edits" page, and you'll see a large text box at the bottom that allows you to address any specific details you were unable to update or clarify any necessary changes.
If the D&B Fulfillment agent who is assigned your case has any questions, they will call you for clarification. Be sure that you take any calls from D&B and answer the questions truthfully. If D&B's agent can't reach you for clarification, they may not complete your request and this could delay the update process. (If you are contacted by a D&B "Credit Advisor" who tries to sell a service as a way to speed up this process — UNDERSTAND — you are NOT REQUIRED to pay for ANY service as a way to update your D&B file.)
The iUpdate portal doesn't provide scores, ratings, or colorful charts filled with analytical data, but you will be able to update the data in your profile to ensure the most accurate information is available to those making a determination about your company’s creditworthiness. To see scores and ratings, you will need to purchase a full copy of your report from D&B®.
LESSON: Please feel free to reach out to us directly if you have any questions or need assistance with registering at iUpdate®. We’ll be glad to walk you through the process or provide any assistance we can to get you access to your business credit profile and free advice regarding your changes.
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Gain access to your business credit profile
Update the business information in your file
Dispute removable slow payments
Challenge outdated public filings
Gather your existing vendors and suppliers
Submit your trade references to D&B
Track your updates and scoring improvements
Send you an updated report as changes occur
Establish new trade lines for your business
Advise you against potentially risky behavior
Provide companies who can report payment history to the business credit bureaus
Register your business with SAM.gov
Provide you with guidelines and the training you'll need to keep making progress
Refer you to trustworthy lending sources for working capital and business lines of credit
Walk you through the application process and answer your questions along the way
Keep you on a consistent track to success