Each year, millions of entrepreneurs across the country turn to business lenders to fund expansion projects, new equipment purchases, staff hiring, marketing campaigns, and technology upgrades. Whatever your business type, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually need funding assistance to help grow your company.
More often, though, it has become increasingly difficult for small business owners to obtain financing from traditional lenders. If your company wants to borrow money easily in the future, you will need to develop a strong business credit history. Keep in mind that lenders will view your business credit score to assess your company’s financial health and capacity to repay a debt.
Here are five simple steps to help you build business credit quickly, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Step 1 – Choose the Right Business Structure
To make your business a distinct legal entity requires that you select a business structure such as an LLC, LLP or corporation. Remember, sole proprietorships do not create a separate business entity.
Once you form your business entity, the next step is to register your business. This particular step is dependent on your structure and where your business is located.
For additional support on choosing the right structure for your company and registration be sure to check out SBA’s Business Guide.
Step 2 – Obtain a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
You can apply for a federal tax ID for free using the IRS assistance tool. This is a nine-digit number assigned to your company which you will use for things such as filing company tax returns, opening a business bank account, applying for licenses and permits, and applying for business credit.
Step 3 – Open a Business Bank Account
Once you have your federal tax ID, you’ll want to open a business bank account for your company. This is a mandatory step in creating a clear separation between your business and personal expenses.
Your banking relationships play an important role in your company’s funding potential. Not only does your business bank account serve as a bank reference on credit applications, it also allows provides key data that lenders use during a funding review.
Step 4 – Establish Credit with Vendors/Suppliers Who Report
One of the easiest ways to build business credit is to apply for net terms with vendors and suppliers. As you buy supplies, inventory, or other materials on credit, those purchases and payments get reported to business credit reporting agencies.
This activity creates your company’s credit profile and business credit report. After your company has several trade lines reporting, a business credit rating (score) is generated.
Remember, it’s important to select vendors and suppliers that report to a business credit reporting agency. Each relationship you have also serves as a trade reference that can be used on future credit applications as well.
Step 5 – Monitor Your Business Credit Reports
There are three major business credit reporting agencies so it’s important to monitor each of your company credit files. Each agency collects data from various sources and may have different information about your company.
The good news is each of the business credit agencies provide a way for you to update basic information about your business. If you uncover any outdated or incorrect information, you’ll want to contact the agency to make the appropriate change.
With an established business credit report, you may get higher credit approvals, better interest rates and repayment terms on loans and lines of credit.
It’s equally important to establish a diversity of accounts with other types of business credit such as a business credit card or line of credit. Let these five simple steps serve as a starting point to building business credit for your company.
Looking for Small Business Funding?
At First Union, we make it our job to help small companies that may run into roadblocks with traditional lenders. A bad credit score doesn’t necessarily disqualify you. Our flexible and fast funding programs may be just what you need to get your company to the next level. Call 863-825-5626 today to get started!