Your Small Business Should Have Its Own Credit Score

Many people understand the importance of their personal credit score. Most lenders use them to determine who will receive financing opportunities — such as auto loans, mortgages and lines of credit — and on what terms. Your score tells lenders how likely you are to repay loans.

But if you’re a small-business owner, your business can and likely should have a credit score separate from your personal one.

Why your business needs a credit score

There are several advantages to having a separate business credit score. First, it helps protect your personal credit from a possible business failure. It also works in reverse: If you’re just starting your business, and your personal credit history isn’t so great, you can still establish business credit.

Once you’ve built your business score, you’ll have a better chance of raising capital for your small business, either from small-business lenders or credit card companies. And a good credit history should get you better terms.

Finally, building a business score can help you promote and maintain a good image of your company. You need to consent for people to view your personal credit score, but others can access your company’s credit score at any time.

» MORE: How to get a business loan in 5 steps

How to build a business credit score

Your business’s credit is based on factors including its size, its account balances, whether it pays its bills on time, and the risks associated with your industry.

You can develop your business’s credit history by applying for a credit card in its name. Make payments on time, and avoid maxing out the card. Credit bureaus like to see that you’re not using all of your available credit.

You can also build credit by asking vendors with whom you do business to report your payments to a credit bureau. This record of payments to suppliers helps you build a history of trustworthiness.

How tax status affects business credit

Your business structure can affect the way you build a credit score. If you have a sole proprietorship or partnership, you file taxes under your Social Security number. Before applying for a credit card or business loan, you’ll have to request an employer identification number — that’s a unique number businesses receive for easy verification by the IRS. This can be a long process and requires information and documentation.

Corporations and LLCs, on the other hand, are taxed differently and receive their EINs from inception, making it easier to build business credit.

If you’re interested in additional resources, check out some of the business credit bureaus, such as Dun & BradstreetEquifax Businessand Experian Business. These use a matrix of creditworthiness to create a credit score for your business.

Remember, building good business credit is like building your own personal credit: It’s a process that takes time. Have some patience as you and your business grow.

Heather Castle

I am originally from Virginia and grew up in Tuscaloosa, Al.  I completed both of my degrees at the University of Alabama.  My undergrad degree in Finance and then later my MBA from the Manderson Business School through their Executive MBA program. 

I started Castle Wealth Advisors, LLC because I wanted to provide ethical and approachable financial planning and investment management to individuals and business owners, concerned with their financial futures, regardless of age, sex, race, or net worth.

I've always believed clients should work with reputable, qualified, and experienced advisors.  So it was important to me to gain industry experience as well as pursuing additional industry specific designations.  I have passed the following licensing exams:

     Series 7, General Securities Representative

     Series 66, Investment Advisor Representative 

     Series 9 & 10, General Securities Sales Supervisor

     California Life, Health, and Variable Insurance (License #0K01554)

I have been in the financial services industry since 2006 and have work with many differing type of clients over the years.  One thing I know to be true, everyone wants to feel heard and cared about.  Meaning everyone I have ever worked with wants to feel like their desires, wants and needs have been heard and taken into consideration when speaking about their personal financial matters.

Many people have the same goals, they just express them differently, and then there are a few who’s view and desires are completely different.  This is one of the aspects I love about my job.  The PEOPLE!  I get to meet some many interesting people and they challenge me daily.  No day in my line of work is the same.  Today I could be planning for a family who owns a small business and tomorrow working with a women going through a painful divorce.  Listening and building financial plans and strategies around personal needs is why many of my clients have said they do business with me and have stayed with me. 

Another reason I love my job… I get to truly HELP people.  I get to make a living and provide for my family while helping others.  Over my career I have felt a need to dive deeper into financial planning and working with high net worth individuals who have greater planning and investing needs.  Listed below I have highlighted a few of the areas I specialize in:

·      Women in transition (divorce/ death)

·      Corporate Executives

·      Young Entrepreneurs

·      Small Business Owners

·      Family with Special Needs Members

·      Complex Retirement and Estate Planning Needs

Currently I live in Brentwood and really enjoy the West Side of Los Angeles.  I am actively involved with the Junior League of Los Angeles.  I have a passion for trying new things and new experiences.  So, in my free time I love traveling and scuba diving.  I also am interested in learning French, taking pilot’s lessons and dancing the tango!