How Your Business Credit Score Leads to Better Business Financing
Establishing a good credit score is crucial for any business looking for financing or applying for a credit card. Business credit is one of the ways lenders, vendors and suppliers evaluate if your enterprise should qualify for financing and on what terms. The better your business’s credit, the lower its interest rate, which in turn curbs overhead. So, start building business credit now, and the easier it will be to obtain financing later. This takes time, but here are some steps to get started.
Choose the Right Business Structure
When registering your business, there are many factors to take into consideration, such as product or service liability, taxes, and other financial implications. Depending on your enterprise’s structure, your personal credit history may or may not be taken into consideration along with your commercial-credit record.
While credit may not be the only deciding factor in choosing a business structure, it is crucial to do your research and understand how each structure operates.
- Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship means that all business assets, financials, and obligations are not separate from your personal assets, financials, and obligations. Since your business operates under your name and Social Security, your business credit is your personal credit.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): LLCs are legal entities unto themselves that shield their owners from legal and financial liability. LLCs cannot go public and issue stock, which makes it more difficult to raise funds.
- Corporations: This legal entity is separate from its shareholders, legally and financially. Corporations are the preferred structure for businesses that plan to raise private capital or go public in the future.
Get an Employer ID
Unlike personal credit, which uses your Social Security number to legally identify you, business credit is associated with an employer identification number (EIN). An EIN legally identifies a business entity and can be used when opening a business bank account, applying for a business loan, and even filing for taxes. Applying for an EIN is free online through the Internal Revenue Service’s website.
Open a Business Bank Account
Once your business has an EIN, you should open a business checking account to keep your personal and business finances separate. The business account will serve as a reference for future commercial finance applications. Whether you own a small business or a larger business, Patriot Bank has checking account options for you. With low opening deposit amounts and access to digital banking tools, Patriot Bank checking accounts can bring added efficiency to your business operations.
Maintain Good Relationships with Vendors and Suppliers
As your business starts to grow, you are going to need reliable vendors and suppliers to provide inventory. Partnering with top-notch vendors and suppliers can lift your business’s reputation, lower administrative and logistics costs, and ultimately, boost your credit score.
When choosing suppliers, ask about net terms or trade credit. This means they will allow you to pay days or weeks after you receive your goods. This not only conserves cash, but paying within terms not only makes you a valuable customer but also can build your business’s credit history.
However, not all suppliers share their customers’ payments history with business-credit reporting agencies, so it’s important you know which ones do.
Check and Monitor Your Business Credit Score
Just like personal credit scores, business credit scores are reported by multiple agencies. Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the best known. It is important to check these reports at least monthly, or quarterly, to spot inaccurate or outdated information.
Following these guidelines and maintaining responsible trade-financing habits will set you and your business on the road to a higher credit score.