Building Business Credit: The Greatest 7-Step Guide to Empower Your Business


Just like you have personal credit, your business has business credit. Business Credit is all credit available to a business. This can come in many forms including credit that does not require a Personal Guarantee (PG) and some business credit that does.

With a PG, your personal assets are on the line

You will always need your EIN to apply and use business credit and in many cases you’ll need your SSN to verify your identity.

How long does it take to build business credit? Establishing business credit is a process. But it doesn’t have to take forever. You’ll often see that it takes three years for a business to build credit. While it can be helpful to be in business for that long, you can build a good small business credit profile and business credit score long before that.

To start establishing business credit you will need to determine what type of vendor credit card you will need.

But first, here’s how to build business credit.

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Step 1 – Build Your Fundability Foundation™

The first step for how to build business credit is to set up your business Fundability™. In practice, this means as a small business owner you will need to get all your licenses, open a business bank account, and set up a credit profile with each of the bureaus to be Fundable in the eyes of lenders and credit issuers.

You will also need to get their personal finances in order. That means getting your personal credit report and making sure your personal credit score is as good as it can be. Your personal credit score can help you build an even stronger business credit score, so pay close attention to it. Furthermore, for those seeking to take their credit profile to new heights, we recommend exploring Next Level Credit. With tailored strategies and expert guidance, Next Level Credit helps you maximize your personal credit potential, paving the way for stronger business credit opportunities.

A big part of setting up a strong business credit foundation – a Fundability Foundation™ – is making sure that your business and personal credit are separated. Incorporating and having a separate business address and dedicated business phone number will help.

So does a separate, professional business website—with an email address that has the same domain name as your website. Example:

Most importantly, building Fundability means you are building credibility for your business; giving lenders, customers, and prospects reasons to trust your business.


Step 2 – Incorporate Your Business

In order to start building business credit, there needs to be an entity separate from you. The only kind of business entity that truly does this is a corporation.
Incorporating will mean some paperwork, and it will inevitably mean fees of some sort. Check with your applicable Secretary of State’s office for the details.

The two main types of corporations you need to consider are a C-corporation and an S-corporation.

A C-corp is what we often think of when we think of corporations. C-corporation profits are taxed, and are reported on the corporation tax return.

Then, any after-tax profits distributed to shareholders as dividends are taxed again, and are reported by the shareholders on their personal tax returns.

But C-corps have no restrictions on the number of shareholders they can have.

S-corps cannot have more than 100 shareholders. With S-corporations, profits (or losses) are passed through the S corp. to the shareholders, and are only taxed to the shareholders and reported on their personal tax returns.


Step 3 – Get All Identification Numbers

Getting a business credit score means you have to stop using your Social Security number on your business credit card and loan applications. Instead, you want to use your EIN.
Small business loan applications will ask for your EIN, so it will save you time to get yours set up early, before you are in a rush and really need business credit and loans.

An EIN comes from the IRS website. They are easy to get, and they are free. Your EIN isn’t just useful for credit cards and loans. You will also need it for filing your business taxes. It is a number which is useful beyond the purpose of building business credit.

You also need to get a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet. This is another free number with an easy application process. You will need a DUNS number to start getting a business credit score from D&B. You will also need payment experiences. We’ll get to those in a moment.


Step 4 – Get Set Up With the Business Credit Reporting Bureaus

When you get your DUNS number, you should also set up your account with them as much as possible. Any information you can provide will only help you.
Dun & Bradstreet is also where you can send trade references, which are subjective pieces of information you can add to your business credit history. Otherwise, everything else in your business credit reports is objective information.

D&B is the largest business credit reporting agency, by far. Getting set up with them will get you set up with Experian and Equifax automatically, because they will check Dun & Bradstreet’s records and follow suit.

Once you receive your DUNS number, make sure to check Equifax and Experian to see if your business has a record with them yet. Once you have such a record, check it for accuracy, and move quickly to get any errors fixed as soon as possible.

Set up a reminder to check your records and business credit reports with these three CRAs every year, to be sure they are still correct and complete.


Step 5 – Keep Business Details Congruent Everywhere

All of your business details need to be correct. This means your business name and address on your website needs to perfectly match your business name and address on any registration papers you have filed with the Secretary of State.
Business credit card issuers, lenders, and any business credit reporting agency is not going to stop and think of all the myriad ways your business can be listed. Instead, if there’s a discrepancy, they will just mark your application as fraud and move on to the next application.

But it does not have to be that way. Your best bet is to copy and paste the information every time. And keep track of where your business information is, both online and offline. Check it at least once per year, as errors can creep in.

Even an ampersand (&) in place of the word ‘and’ will be enough for your application to be dismissed and rejected as fraud.


Step 6 – Apply for Starter Credit

There are vendors which will provide you with a credit card even if you don’t have a good business credit score yet. Yes, business owners don’t have to be building business credit to get a credit card or business line of credit from them.
You will not need to prove cash flow, and you do not have to have already qualified for a business loan.

They will, though, require that business owners have a business bank account. Here is where building Fundability™ makes a difference—and a business bank account is one facet of establishing Fundability.

You do, however, want to be sure they are reporting your payment history to one or more of the business credit reporting bureaus. Otherwise, you won’t be building a business credit score, no matter how well you manage a credit card from them.

And you want your payment history with them to be stellar, because it is the single most important factor in calculating your business credit scores. Good business credit scores will get you a business loan in the future.


Step 7 – Monitor Your Credit Regularly

Errors in your business credit reports are going to damage your business credit scores and keep you from getting good credit. And, of course, you want to be sure that all your efforts for building business credit are being reported, each with the right credit limit.
Since your personal credit score is a part of the calculation of your business credit score with Experian, it pays to check your personal credit reports as well. Make sure your payment history is right and your credit utilization is in order.

However, unlike with personal credit, you are not entitled to a free credit report every year. And monitoring each business credit score—which you need to be doing more than once per year anyway—can get expensive fast.

Fortunately, Rios Business Funding, in partnership with Credit Suite, offers businesses access to view their business data from all three major business credit bureaus through the exclusive Bureau Insights™ product for a fraction of the cost of purchasing directly from each bureau. 

Making sure each business credit score is right—and stays right—is a fundamental part of building business credit.