Small businesses often find themselves at the mercy of creditors, and their view of your company will often be based in no small part on its credit rating. Some of the factors involved in compiling a credit rating might remain outside of your control and depend on external factors but there are ways to help give your company the best chance of achieving and maintaining a valuably solid credit rating.
Here are some tips to that end.
Know your score
The most obvious and straightforward step towards earning an advantageous credit score for your company is simply to find out where that score currently stands. It is only once you’ve established this starting point that you can track and gauge the nature of any problems you might have and how you might make improvements.
Pay your bills on time
This tip is self-explanatory really but it is worth reminding ourselves that even as busy entrepreneurs or over-worked small business managers, paying our bills on time is very important, at least if you’re keen to keep your credit score as healthy as possible.
Prioritize bills owed to big companies
Without behaving unfairly towards the little guys that provide important or valuable services, small businesses should generally lend particular attention to paying bills owed to big companies. Information relating to the late payment of utility or internet bills for example can have a negative impact on your company’s credit score.
Deal with court ordered payments quickly
Whenever you are ordered to pay any amounts of money to lenders or any other party by the courts, it is very important to pay them and resolve any related issues quickly. There is no reason to dread the issue of these orders but they can be damaging to your credit score as a company if a situation escalates or isn’t dealt with to the satisfaction of the courts involved.
The best way to work towards an improved credit score is to assume that every last detail of your company’s financial situation is available for scrutiny by relevant rating agencies. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, there is a good chance that all or most elements of your company’s finances will at some stage be brought to light and noted by credit rating agencies, so keeping secrets tends not to be a sustainable approach. Secondly, the more information you can provide with regard to your financial situation the better. Leaving the relevant parties with a lack of information about your company is often just as bad or worse than revealing what you might think to be a damaging truth about your financial history.
Investigate all appointees to senior roles
The personal financial history of senior figures at small businesses can impact their credit scores significantly so it is important to investigate potential appointees in advance of their recruitment. Without being paranoid or seeming overly suspicious, it is worth doing your homework on the financial histories of individuals, particularly in the context of directorial appointments.
Follow these tips and you should soon be able to make real progress towards better and a sustainably strong credit score. The fundamental point to remember though is simply that your company credit score matters to your prospects of accessing finance so keeping a close eye on it can make a real difference and really benefit your business.
Author: Emily Trant is Managing Director of Check Business, a technology start-up that helps SMEs solve the key business challenges of: getting paid, finding new customers, and raising finance. Emily has a successful track record of delivering growth and innovation in digital businesses, and loves getting under the skin of small business challenges. Originally from Canada, Emily has a degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia.
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