We all understand how to get and build personal credit: Pay your bills on time. Do not have too much debt. But business credit? That often seems like a mystery for many small businesses, a seemingly foreign and exotic world to many small business people. But it needs not be. Getting business credit is not dissimilar to building your own personal credit profile; only you do it in the name of the business.
Below are eight simple steps to establishing business credit to access a line of credit in the future.
The first thing to understand is that to build business credit, you must separate your business and its finances from your own personal credit. That, in turn, means you must have a business that is a separate legal entity from you. It cannot be a sole proprietorship or regular partnership since those are not separate legal entities. No, the business must be either a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC).
By creating a separate entity, you allow your business to have a legal structure and credit rating apart from, and different from, your own.
Get an Employer Identification Number:
An EIN is the business equivalent of a Social Security number issued by the IRS. If you do not have one, get an EIN from the IRS.
Get a DUNS Number:
The main adjudicator of business credit, Dun & Bradstreet, states that a DUNS number is your business credit profile number.
Go to the bank and open two accounts:
The first is a standard checking account. Again, this must be separate from your own personal checking account. Create it using the business name, EIN, DUNS number, business address, and so on.
Second, open a savings account or CD tied to the business checking account. Put some money in it.
Obtain vendor credit:
Once you have all your numbers and accounts in place, you can begin the actual process of building your business credit profile. Begin with the phone company – put your business phone number in your business’s name, not you personally. If you have utility bills through your business, do the same thing.
See if your local office supply store will give your business a small credit line in the name of the business. Maybe one of your suppliers or vendors will do the same.
Get a loan:
Use that bank savings account or CD to obtain a small loan from the bank again, in the name of the business. By securing the loan with the business savings account, you 1) give the bank every reason to say yes to your loan request, and 2) really begin to build business credit by showing that you received and are repaying a business loan from a bank.
Pay on time:
Repay all this credit you ask for on time and in full.
Before you know it, your business will have a strong track record and solid business credit rating. You can then use that to gain additional business credit, as necessary.
BitX Funding is the online marketplace for small business owners looking to fund a project. We specialize in connecting small business owners with lenders who will compete for your business. We believe small business owners drive the economy and are passionate about helping your company reach its full potential.