A comprehensive guide on corporate credit, establishing a business credit profile and acquiring lines of credit from lenders. Building business credit isn’t easy to do by yourself, but with a little assistance you can have corporate credit sooner than you thought. There are a number of things to avoid as well as many essential items that cannot be overlooked. We take you by the hand and guide you through this complicated process.
Preparing for the Corporate Credit Building Process
We document the process of establishing a business credit profile, all the way to an open bank loan, multiple business credit cards and several lines of credit with vendors. This all starts with laying the groundwork for creating your credit profile and the application process with lenders, performing your due diligence. You must ensure that your business is ready for the credit building process – if you begin without performing these tasks, you risk having to start over or even worse, wind up being tagged bad credit / high risk by the reporting agencies. It’s important to understand and complete these steps to build your business’ credit profile.
Step 1 – Credit Name Search with Dunn and Bradstreet
By searching D&B for business names, you can quickly find out if a business with the same name has credit history. By using the advanced search, you can query the D&B database on a national level. Why is searching Dunn and Bradstreet important? If you were to complete the business credit building process and later find out that a company with the same name (perhaps in a different state) had a credit profile with poor or high risk credit history, you could find yourself having to overcome that when your company name is searched.
Once you have confirmed that your business name is unique with D&B, you can continue with the credit profile building process. Should you find a company with the same name, you may consider amending your company records in order to build credit under an entity name that is not already in use.
Step 2 – Entity Name Availability Search
The next step is to check your entity name against all registered entities in the nation. You can do this by going to each state’s Secretary or Commission office, website or call center and check name availability, or you can use an online tool. There are search tools available for credit and financial records as well as registered business entities. This simple search will let you know if there is another registered business entity using the same name in another state.
The search should be conducted without a corporate identifier, meaning just the name of the entity without “Inc”, “LLC”, “Limited”, “Corp”, etc. With this search, you will find your company listed and you can view public record information, such as when the entity was formed, the type and registered entity addresses.
Step 3 – Trademark Infringement Check
You will also want to check the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database for an exact match of your entity name. This type of query will generally show a lot of results. What you enter into the form is parsed and truncated for broad match. For example, if you search for “Business Credit”, you will see results such as “CU BIZSOURCE” which doesn’t have ‘business credit’ in the name or the description of goods and services, however ‘business’ and ‘credit’ are, which will deliver a result, even without an exact match.
Trademarks will be registered and either LIVE or DEAD, in this case, you want to look at live trademarks with an exact match of your business name in order to ensure there is no conflict. Another consideration is that trademarks are assigned categories, so you can have a word mark registered for your industry or sector and another entity can register the same word sequence in another category for other purposes.
Step 4 – Domain Name Search, Website Address
You should register your company name as a domain, preferably with a “.com” extension. Check any domain register provider for domain name availability. Your domain name may or may not include your corporate identifier. Meaning that if your company name is “Best Project Managers, Corp” you would seek to register “www.bestprojectmanagerscorp.com” or alternatively “www.bestprojectmanagers.com” for this purpose.
This doesn’t have to be the primary domain name that your company uses for business. Following the example above, you may be using an alternative domain name, however it is important that the name you are going to build credit under is registered to you.
Step 5 – Google Business Listing
Make sure you have a business listing with Google. If you don’t, you can create one for free. This takes just minutes and doesn’t cost anything. You can create an account and add your business to the directory by following the link below. If you find your business, check to ensure the information is updated with your current contact and location details.
Now, there are several options for your business to be listed, for this purpose, simply having your business name in the directory with your current contact information is sufficient.
Name Conflict Solution
If your entity name conflicts with any of the above checks, you should consider changing it. There are several options available to you, from DBA’s, articles of amendment and filing a new business entity. You can call 1-800-Company and ask a sales associate to assist you with a new entity name. Before you complete a business name change or register a new business entity, you should complete the steps above to ensure you can safely build a business credit profile with it.
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