Business Credit Building Step 1: Building Your Business Credibility
The perception lenders, vendors, and creditors have of your business are critical to your ability to build strong business credit. Before applying for business credit a business must ensure it meets or exceeds all lender credibility standards. There are over 20 credibility points that are necessary for a business to have a strong, credible foundation. It is very important that you use your exact business legal name. Your full business name should include any recorded DBA filing you will be using. Ensure your business name is exactly the same on your corporation papers, licenses, and bank statements. You can build business credit with almost any corporate entity type. If you truly want to separate business credit from personal credit your business must be a separate legal entity, not a sole proprietor or partnership. Unless you have a separate business entity (Corporation or LLC) you might be "doing business" but you are not truly "a business”. You need to be a Corporation or an LLC in order to separate personal from business.
Whether you have employees or not, your business entity must have a Federal Tax ID number (EIN). Just like you have a Social Security Number, your business has an EIN. Your Tax ID number is used to open your bank account and to build your business credit profile. Take the time to verify that all agencies, banks, and trade credit vendors have your business listed with the same Tax ID number. Business Address must be a real brick-and-mortar building, deliverable physical address, cannot be a home address, cannot be a PO Box, and cannot be a UPS address. Some lenders will not approve and fund unless these criteria is met. You must have a dedicated business phone number that is listed with 411 directory assistance, under the business name. Lenders, vendors, creditors, and even insurance providers will verify that your business is listed with 411. A toll-free number will give your business credibility, but you must have a LOCAL business number for the listing with 411 directory assistance. Lenders perceive 800 Number or toll-free phone numbers as a sign of business credibility. Even if you're a single owner with a home-based business, a toll-free number provides the perception that you are an even bigger company. It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive to set-up a virtual local phone number or a toll-free 800 number. A cell or home phone number as your main business line could get you "flagged" as an un-established business that is too high of a risk. DON'T give a personal cell phone or residential phone as the business phone number. You can forward a virtual number to any cell or land-line phone number. Credit providers will research your company on the internet. It is best if they learned everything directly from your company website. Not having a company website will severely hurt their chances of obtaining business credit. There are many places online that offer affordable business websites so you can have an internet presence that displays an overview of your company's services and contact information. It is important to get a company email address for your business. It's not only professional but greatly helps your chances of getting the thumbs up from a credit provider. Setting up a business email address is just too easy and inexpensive to neglect.
One of the most common mistakes when building credit for your company is nonmatching business addresses on your business licenses. Even worse is not having the "required" licenses for your type of business to operate legally. You will need to contact the State, County, and City Government offices to see if there are any required licenses and permits to operate your type of business. State business, county license and/or permit, city license and/or permit and IRS filings listed correctly. Take the time to verify that the main agency (State, IRS, Bank, and 411 national directory) have your business listed the same way and with your Exact Legal Name. Also take the time to ensure every bill you get (power bill, phone bill, landlord, etc.) has the business name listed correctly and comes to the business address.