The term "small business credit" can refer to a variety of things. For instance, there are business credit cards, business credit lines, business loans, and just plain ole business credibility - all applicable to small businesses of any size. While these are all different, really they are all the same. Essentially, they all lead to money that you can borrow for your company's needs.
As a smaller business, getting access to small business credit can either be really easy or really hard; There is no real middle ground. It really all depends on how old and profitable your company is. The older your company and the more money you make, the easier it is to get it. The younger your company and the less money you make, the harder it is to get it.
With all that said, here are some proven ways to get business credit:
1) Maintain Your Personal Credit While there are ways around this, the average person can only get access to business credit if he/she has good personal credit. Conducting a credit check on your personal financials is usually the only means that a banker has to determine whether or not you are too risky for them. If your personal credit sucks, fix it. It will be well worth your time - however long it takes!
2) Shop For Banks
Always remember that banks need you just as much as you need them. Giving you access to credit creates revenue for them. Therefore, if one bank turns you down - try another. In your community, there are probably at least 25 different banks. All of them have a different application process, all have them have different criteria, but at the end of the day - they all want to do business with you. FindABetterBank.com is a great tool to find banks in your area.
3) Search Online
In addition to the banks in your local community, there are tons more on the web. These virtual banks may have higher rates, but they too are very desperate for your business. Many offer business loans and business credit cards. Conduct extensive research using Google, Yahoo, and business directories such as Business.com
4) Find a Broker
A broker is a person or company that can help you find the best bank available. They can save you a lot of time and energy, and may even bring opportunities to your attention that you would've never found. Be careful about shady brokers who are so desperate for your business that they will connect you with loan sharks.
5) Attend Financial Seminars If you're aware of a financial seminar or workshop in your area, make every effort to attend. What better way to be educated about the best financial options for your company, then to be advised by a local expert? Usually these events are free to attend, and the person hosting it is usually very knowledgeable about the best banks and financial institutions to do business with. As always, double-check any references by doing your own research.
6) Attend Business Conferences
Every year, hundreds of business organizations and publications host their own annual conferences. Most have expos where companies such as banks can set up booths to recruit new clients. This is a great opportunity for you to inquire about their services, collect literature, and learn exactly what you need to do to apply and be approved.
7) Read Business Magazines
Publications such as Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Black Enterprise, Hispanic Business, and even Business Week, report regularly on the business credit and financing industries. They often provide unique tips and techniques that can be used. Not only can you benefit from the content from the articles within, but you can also benefit from the advertisements (both display and classified) that promote various opportunities.
8) Shop For Business Credit Cards
In addition to shopping for banks, you can also shop for credit cards from banks that you don't even belong to. If your own bank won't give you a card, that doesn't necessarily mean that others will also deny you. There are many to choose from, with vary interest rates and rewards programs that can benefit your business.