We’ve talked about how small business owners have a personal credit score as well as a business credit score. For young entrepreneurs, most lenders will be very interested in your personal credit score. In fact, you can expect to sign a personal guarantee on most small business loans if you’re business is under two or three years old.
Although your personal credit might be impeccable, it’s just as important to pay attention to your business credit. I’d like to share an experience on of my friends had to illustrate how important it is to pay attention to both your personal and business credit.
“Mid 2005 I got a generic form letter in the mail that said my application for financing was rejected due to information found on my Equifax credit report. I knew my personal credit was spotless and I got real mad, being sick and tired of all the bull I had been fed over the years by banks about commercial financing requirements.
“After several phone calls to the lender, with me becoming characteristically hot, an underwriter clarified that it was my business credit report with Equifax that was a problem, not my consumer credit report with Equifax (the form letter I received did NOT specify). While I knew all about D&B’s business credit report, the existence of an Equifax report was big news to me. They could only mail me a copy, which I was to receive in 3-4 weeks…un-classically old school.
“Once it was finally in my hands, among other egregious errors, the credit report listed my brother-in-law as a partner in my business (he wasn’t), and contained numerous commercial loan accounts that weren’t mine, totaling about 750k in erroneous outstanding debt.
“I was turned down for the loan because the underwriter thought I was hiding a business partner (common tactic when one business partner has poor personal credit), and they thought I was hiding a bunch of debt by not including it in my financials.
“It took a little while to sort it out with Equifax and the lender, and it was a pain along the way, but I ended up getting approved for the loan once my business credit was ironed out (i.e. corrected).
“Don’t go through misery like this by being reactionary about your business credit. In addition to D&B and Equifax, make sure to check your Experian business credit report. Make sure every detail is correct, including seemingly random things like your industry and revenues. Any single error can derail your attempt to secure financing for your business.”
If you’d like to learn more about what banks see when they look at your credit score, click HERE.
Click HERE to learn more about improving your credit score.