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As fun an exciting as starting a new business is, it's also one of the most nerve-wracking experiences you will ever have. It's little wonder that so many businesses fail for lack of adequate funding. Needless to say, with more money and the proper use of credit, more businesses would, no doubt, survive. And even when you are able to secure credit for your business, how do you build it and make it grow with your business?
This article will give you some steps to follow with that goal in mind.
1) Know your numbers. After your business has been established, one of the most important things that you could do is to ensure that the name of your business as well as your Employer Identification Number is listed with Dun & Bradstreet. This organization will create a profile for you and issue you an identifying number, called a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS). You receive one number for every physical address that your business occupies. The benefit of this is that banks and other lending organizations will check this to determine your credit worthiness.
2) Open utility accounts. If you are starting a business, chances are good that you will have to have utilities--electricity, water, telephone--anyway, so why not make them count towards your credit? In and of itself, this won't help much, but the receipts that you receive when you pay them on time are a big step towards showing other possible credit sources that you handle credit wisely.
3) Build supplier credit. Another excellent way to build business credit is by way of the purchases you make with your suppliers. Not only is this type of trade credit easy to get, but it's a big help towards getting started as well. For example, if you are in the printing business, why not buy your ink, paper, machinery etc., on credit? Even if you have the cash to pay for it immediately, buying on credit from your suppliers will build a credit history very quickly and easily.
There are many companies that make a great deal of their business from other businesses. These include companies such as Home Depot, Office Max, and others that offer credit terms that will often beat banks. It's easy to get 30- or 60-day payment terms from these, as well as discounts for early payments.
4) Borrow from the bank. There is no better way to get a bank's endorsement of your creditworthiness than to get a good referral from them. A good way to do this quickly and easily is to apply for and receive a bank credit card. At first you will need to do this based on your personal credit, but to quickly establish a history of prompt payments will lead them to be happy to issue you a business credit card.
5) Pay on time or early. By paying what you owe on time or early shows that you are serious about establishing good credit and that you are responsible for handling credit when you have it.
6) Keep an eye on your profile. Mistakes happen, even to credit reporting agencies. Unfortunately, if you don't watch their reports, you could fall victim to mistakes, and even worse, identity theft. You should check your credit every year, as well as 30 days before you apply for credit to make sure everything is in order. And if you find an inaccuracy of any type, make sure it is corrected.
7) Revisit terms and guarantees. After your business has been established, you might want to check the terms and guarantees on credit cards and lines of business credit that were placed on your obligations to clear them of any ties to your personal credit. Releasing these ties will give you better rates when applying for bank loans.
Make no mistake about it, business credit can be the key to success or failure of your enterprise. The misuse of credit can destroy you, but establishing it at the earliest and protecting it throughout your business history can be an important key towards making your business thrive.