One of the biggest issues facing small and medium businesses is financing. And the ability to secure finance is often directly related to the business’s credit score. But it’s often a challenge for small businesses to establish their credit when they have nothing to show for it. However, there are some things any new small business owner can do to boost their credit and get access to more financing options. Here are the exact steps you should follow to boost your business’s credit score.
Know the Basics
If you want to build your business’s credit, you first have to understand how it works. While consumer credit scores are usually rated on a scale of 300 to 850, business credit scores are usually rated from 0 to 100. A variety of other indicators are also used to calculate business credit scores, like Fico’s rating service for small businesses (SBSS), which rates business credit on a different scale.
You should also know that each of the main credit bureaus for businesses, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax, all have their own set of criteria when scoring a business’s credit. However, for the most part, they will all look at things like credit obligation data, how much outstanding debt you have with lenders and supplier, your total credit utilization, background info on your company, such as what sector you operate in and how long you’ve been in business, and various other factors.
While having no history can make getting credit more difficult, it’s also the perfect place to start since you have no blemishes on your record yet, which allows you to start building your credit on solid grounds.
Make Sure That Your Finances are Separated
If your business happens to be incorporated, keeping finances separate will be easy. But if you’re a sole proprietor, you have to make sure that you completely separate your finances and that you keep your personal transactions and business transactions separate at all times. This means opening a bank account and getting a business credit card as well.
When choosing a business credit card, make sure that you pick one with perks that will benefit you in your line of business. For instance, if you spend a lot on wireless phone service, there are business credit cards that will give you bonus cash back on wireless spending. It would also be wise to check reviews of business credit cards Canada so you can compare things like APR and rewards as well.
Keeping your finances separate will ensure that bad personal spending habits and debt do not end up affecting your business credit score and vice versa.
Get a DUNS Number
Dun & Bradstreet is a major credit bureau recognized worldwide and can play a vital role in helping you establish your business’s credit. You can also use your DUNS number to bid on a variety of government contracts.
Once you get your DUNS number, they will open your business’s credit profile using that number. It will help them track your vendor and lender relationships to get a clearer picture of your business’s financial stability and assess your creditworthiness.
Open Multiple Credit Accounts
Getting a business credit card and bank account is only the first step. Now, you should try opening more credit lines to help you establish your credit. These accounts will allow you to show that you are a trustworthy borrower. But you have to have discipline and use them correctly, however. Making one-time payments will help credit bureaus keep a track record of your financial activity and stability and adjust your score accordingly.
Some examples of accounts you could open include gas cards, store accounts, and lines of credit. Not enough small businesses open a line of credit, but it’s an important step for any business trying to establish their credit.
Choose Vocal Vendors
While you want to flex and use that credit, it’s essential that you spend money with vendors that will actually be reporting your activity to credit bureaus. You have to make sure that you spend your money with vendors who have an actual reporting strategy in place. If you aren’t sure, just ask them. If they don’t have one, then you should consider spending your money somewhere else.
This should be common sense but make sure that you pay your bills on time is essential if you want to establish a strong credit score. And while paying on time is good, paying early is even better. Some indicators will only give you a perfect score if you consistently pay early, so do everything in your power to pay your bills as soon as possible if you can.
Make Sure You Check Your Reports Often
You’d be surprised at how many people got credit rejected because of false information on their credit reports. Maybe it’s an outstanding bill that they paid but didn’t show. Or an account that was closed that still shows as active. These are all things that could affect your credit negatively and that you must address immediately. All you need to do is request a copy of your credit report and look for any inconsistencies. If you see any, credit bureaus will have a clear and easy to set of procedures you can take to correct errors.
Use Your Credit
Credit utilization is an important factor when credit bureaus assess your credit score. So, it’s important that you actually use your credit and don’t leave your credit lines sitting there without using them. This is why you should start using them as soon as possible, but make sure that you don’t max them out. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for about a 20 to 30 percent utilization rate.
Building your credit as a small business is possible if you take the proper steps and maintain good habits. Make sure that you follow the tips in this article if you want to start building your business credit the right way.