Step 1: Choose a business name and check your Secretary of State business database to make sure that the business name you want is not already taken and being used by another company. But do NOT file your separate legal entity (LLC/S-Corp, C-Corp) yet. This is because you want to first establish a viable business address before you file your entity on the public record (not your home address or a P.O. Box). You do not want your personal home address on the public record (could cause problems down the road).
Step 2: Get your EIN number. You don't need a business address to do this. And you can get it for free at irs.gov. This is why you will need to make sure that the business name that you want to use is not taken and being used by another company. You will need the name of your new business to get your EIN.
Step 3: Get your business address. If you can not afford to rent or you do not have your own physical location, you can always use what's called a "virtual address". Most lenders will not accept or approve you for a loan or line of credit if you are using a residential address or P.O. Box as your business address. A really good resource for a virtual business address is virtualpostmail.com. For more resources for virtual addresses, click here and get my Business Credit & Business Funding Master Guides.
Step 4: Register your business with your Secretary of State. You can go online to their website and fill out an online form which would literally take you only 15 minutes tops. Or you can pay a company like legalzoom.com to do it for you. I recommend that you figure out how to do it yourself. There is normally a fee attached to filing with your Secretary of State (varies by state).
Step 5: Open a business bank account. Most lenders do not considered you to even be in business until you establish a business bank account. Even if you have no sales, you can routinely fund your business bank account with your own money. But you want to show some activity and have NO negative bank days (days where your business bank account is NEGATIVE). For resources on banks that you can open accounts with, click here and get my Business Credit & Business Funding Master Guides.
Step 6: Get business phone number, business email, business website/landing page and fax number (if necessary). This step is not necessarily needed to start building business credit but you will eventually want to get all of these to make your business look more professional and qualify for different lines of credit and financing for your business in the future. One good resource for all of these in one location, is a company called wix.com.
Step 7: Open an account with Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet is the largest data collector and furnisher of business credit information and is normally on of the first stops for lenders when they are looking into the credibility of your business. So it would be wise not to skip this step and take the 5 or 10 minutes that it would take and register you business with them.
Step 8: Open a NAV Boost account: This will also help fast track your business credit profile so that you can start building a score for your business. NAV reports to all three of the major business credit reporting agencies (Dun & Bradstreet® • Experian® • Equifax®).
Step 9: Open Net30 accounts with companies like, Uline.com, Quill.com, Grainger.com. Net30 accounts normally take about 45 to 90 days to report on you business credit profile and you will need a least 3 reporting periods to begin building a credit profile with most of these types of accounts. For more resources on Net30 accounts, make sure to get my Business Credit & Business Funding Master Guides.
Step 10: Open an unsecured business credit card (with a personal guarantee) or a secured business credit card (with a deposit). Always make sure that any business credit card that you open, reports to at least one, if not, all three of the business credit reporting agencies. If you don't have the personal credit score to qualify your business for an unsecured credit card, then consider working on fixing your personal credit by disputing any derogatory accounts that you may have (late payments, charge offs, collections, repos, bankruptcies, hard inquiries, medical collections, etc) and building new and positive payment history - learn more here. You can also always find someone to co-sign for a loan or business line of credit for your business as well.
NOTE: Make sure to make it a habit to always pay your business credit accounts (credit cards, store cards, Net30 accounts, loans, etc) at least 30 days before the due date. This is one of the secrets to obtaining a perfect 100 Paydex Score for your business.
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