In the past big used to matter in every aspect of business but as we all know times have certainly changed and as Seth Godin says it best: Small is the new big.
Whether you run a business from your home or oversee a small office, qualifying for corporate credit will require that you have a ‘big’ business structure in place.
Now, I’m not talking about the big office or big staff or even a big elaborate PBX phone system. What you do need is the basic operational components that make your business a real business in the eyes of business credit lenders.
By incorporating your business, you are certainly moving in the right direction — but that alone doesn’t give you a business-credit green pass and open the financing floodgates.
However, with a corporation or LLC, your company is treated as a separate legal entity and operates in its own capacity on behalf of the shareholder. It conducts business, generates revenue, hires staff, and pays its own taxes.
But even with your corporate structure set, there are still many other guidelines that your company will need to conform to in order to qualify for credit. The list below is a sample of some of the basic things you should have in place that will not only help your credit approval rate but also increase sales as well.
Having a dedicated phone line for your business is mandatory. Now, you don’t have to go out and hire someone to field calls; just be sure the messaging system identifies your company name. You also will need to get your number listed with certain directories that lenders use to verify your company information.
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar location or work from home it’s important to have a physical location for your company. That way lenders can verify your business address and may even schedule an onsite visit.
Using a virtual office usually doesn’t work because these services use the same address and suite number for all the companies, so your address can never be verified.
An online presence is almost mandatory if you want to be considered a real business. It also provides lenders and creditors a quick snapshot of what your company is about and what products and services you have to offer.
I wouldn’t suggest going with a free website and free hosting because that kind of cost-cutting shows — and the goal here is to create a real business. So don’t sidestep this one. But don’t break the bank either. Just create a nice professional-looking site and be sure to register a domain name (preferably a dot com).
Company E-mail Address
This is another one of those small items that make a difference both with lenders and potential customers. A dedicated e-mail is another thing that impacts how your business will be portrayed. For example, what sounds more professional to you: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
Obviously the company e-mail address sounds much more professional and automatically portrays you as a real business compared to just using a free e-mail account.
Business Bank Account
Many of the credit applications will require a bank reference and some even require a bank contact name and phone number. Before you open a small business checking account I would suggest identifying the specific loan products that you will need like business credit cards, a small business line of credit or business debit card.