As any entrepreneur knows, building good business credit is easier said than done. After all, if it were easy, everyone would have outstanding credit. But if you’re like most business owners these days, the only thing outstanding is your accounts payable.
The Small Business Administration has teamed up with Dun & Bradstreet to offer five smart and easy business credit tips that can put your company on the right path. The advice is fairly straightforward, such as separating your business and personal expenses, making your payments on time, monitoring your credit file, and being diligent about how and to whom you extend credit. But taking these tips to heart could mean the difference between a booming company and one that goes bust.
Call to Arms for Road Warriors
Nobody made it through 2009 unscathed, least of all the travel industry. But 2010 promises brighter economic times, which also means more business trips. But don’t expect to travel in style. Hotel suites and first-class seats are out, while economy flights and hotel downgrades are in. This heightened price sensitivity could mean greater bargains for business travelers. Air Canada, for instance, is trying to lure small businesses with bulk-rate deals they previously only negotiated with large corporations. What’s more, hotel prices are dropping. Room prices in Beijing are estimated to fall 8 percent in 2010, while New York rates should drop 4 percent. Car rental costs are also shifting downward by as much as 5 percent in 2010 after many years of steep increases. With deals like this, maybe it makes sense for road warriors to strap on their battle gear once again.
It’s a cherished tradition in business: Hire an eager young intern to do a ton of work for a teeny paycheck. But if you’re a small business, how do you compete against huge corporations with well-established intern programs? The answer: Hold a talent contest a la American Idol. That’s what La Jolla Group, an apparel company in Irvine, Calif., did. Budding high-school fashion designers recently displayed their creations on the catwalk while 500-plus audience members voted for their favorite outfits via text message. The winner of the fashion show received an internship at La Jolla Group, a $4,000 scholarship, free clothes, and a mention in Teen Vogue. The company received hundreds of applications for the contest. Of course, it helped that La Jolla is a cool fashion company and not a manufacturer of ball bearings.