Access to capital is one of the biggest concerns for small business owners. Whether or not you can receive a loan is largely determined by your credit score. In addition to your personal credit score, consider these steps to build and manage your business’s credit worthiness.
1. Determine whether or not you already have a business credit file. Small business owners should first know if they have a business credit file with D&B. You can find this out by calling D&B Customer Service at 1-866-785-0430 or visitinghttp://iupdate.dnb.com/iUpdate/mainlaunchpage.htm.
If you don’t have a business credit file, establish one by applying for a D-U-N-S® number. Small businesses should apply for a D-U-N-S® number, a unique business identification number, as soon as they start their enterprise to start the process of creating a business credit file.
2. Establish a business credit history. When starting up, many small businesses use their personal credit and finances to get their business going. Establishing a credit history by putting expenses in your business name and using a commercial bank account to pay your bills, will help establish a strong credit history.
3. Pay bills on time and understand other factors that influence your credit rating. In order to improve your commercial credit score and build a positive payment history, the most important thing to do is pay your bills on time. Be very careful not to overextend your business, and use any line of credit judiciously. While payment behavior is important, credit ratings are based on multiple factors. D&B, for example, maintains 150 factors that go into a credit rating, such as industry, revenues and number of employees.
4. Monitor your business credit file and keep it up to date. According to D&B, the credit score of about one in three businesses declines over just a three-month period. By monitoring your business credit file, you will be aware of any change in your ratings before it affects your relationships with customers, suppliers and financial institutions. You should keep your credit file current and accurate, reflecting changes such as location, number of employees, outstanding suits/liens and revenue – all of which impact your credit rating
Small business owners agree that cash flow management is one of their top concerns. Actively managing your business credit can help ensure positive cash flow. A higher credit score ensures access to credit, loans, and lines of credit at a lower cost, ensuring more money in your pocket.