Qualifying for a bank loan or other traditional sources of business financing can seem like an impossible task if you’re like most small business owners that haven’t even begun to establish credit in the name of your business let alone have any type of business credit scores.
You probably believe that you have no other choice but to use your personal credit but let me share with you a viable alternative before you slap down your plastic.
Vendor credit lines also known as trade credit is when a company extends credit to your company in order to allow you to buy its products and services upfront but defer the payment for a later date.
After you purchase a product they will issue an invoice which must be paid according to the terms of your agreement. If you’re a startup company or have no business credit then most vendors will have net 10 or net 15 day terms. Keep in mind these terms can be extended to 90 or even 120 day terms if you continue to build a solid payment history with your vendors.
Some of the major benefits include:
Conserving Cash Flow – By purchasing products or services and deferring the payments for a later date your business is able to conserve cash and have the funds it may need for other important expenses.
Establish Business Credit Scores – As each invoice is paid on time you begin establishing a positive payment history on your company’s credit files. Remember it takes a minimum of four accounts reporting to generate business credit scores on your Dun & Bradstreet business credit report.
Improve Credit Capacity – When your vendor credit limits increase so does your company’s overall credit capacity. Larger credit limits showing on your files will improve the overall creditworthiness of your business simply from the fact that banks and lenders will see that other companies are willing to extend credit to you in much larger amounts.
No Personal Credit Check or Guarantee – The majority of vendors will not require a personal credit check or guarantee which clearly protects your personal scores and liability.
Now for business credit building purposes there are some key factors that never get mentioned which can make all the difference in the world.
You see not all vendors report your payment history, in fact out of half a million vendors in the U.S. less than 6,000 supply payment data to a business credit bureau. So either you should select the right companies to apply with or you can always purchase one of DNBs trade reference programs.
Several other factors to consider are the frequency of reporting and how the data is being reported by your vendors. Some report on a quarterly or even yearly basis which does not help in building your profile in a timely manner.
As far as your payment data it’s vital that the actual vendor credit limits that your company is approved for displays on your file not just the amount owed. Some vendors will not report this information and it can have a dramatic impact on how lenders view your company’s creditworthiness plus it affects the size of the credit limit recommendations that business credit bureaus list on your file.
I know this can seem confusing and time intensive but there are ways to streamline this whole process taking all the guesswork and frustration out of the equation. By taking advantage of all the tools and resources available you can improve your company’s ability to qualify for the business financing it needs.
Marco is founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle which helps small business owners start building business credit.
You may contact Marco directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org